13 fun facts about Encanto, from Mirabel's gift to hidden Easter eggs

Did you spot Bruno hiding in the movie poster? Or the family details sewn into Mirabel's skirt?

Gael Cooper
CNET editor Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." She's been a journalist since 1989, working at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, Twin Cities Sidewalk, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and NBC News Digital. She's Gen X in birthdate, word and deed. If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
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Gael Cooper
6 min read

Mirabel is the only member of her family without a gift. Or is she?


Whaddya mean, we don't talk about Bruno? These days, it feels like everyone's doing just that. Disney's hit animated musical Encanto came out in theaters in November and now is available on Disney Plus. The coronavirus pandemic might have limited Encanto's time in theaters, but on Disney Plus, it can be watched over and over again. And with its catchy Lin-Manuel Miranda songs such as We Don't Talk About Bruno and Surface Pressure, it's easy to do just that.

If you're spending an inordinate amount of time hanging out in the world of Encanto, here are 13 fun facts you might not know about the world of the magical Madrigal family. 

Warning: Spoilers for Encanto ahead.

What does the title Encanto mean?

You can translate "encanto" from the Spanish to mean charm, or think of it as allure, or enchantment. Not only is the casita in Encanto enchanted with magic, but the entire Madrigal family carries with them that allure and sheer joy. 

Lin-Manuel Miranda inspired many Bruno memes

Actor John Leguizamo voices Bruno, the Madrigal member the family doesn't talk about (except that they totally do). The Madrigals are a Colombian family, and Leguizamo himself was born in Bogotá, Colombia, so the casting seems spot-on there. But many fans saw a resemblance between Bruno and songwriter Lin-Manuel Miranda, in both appearance and the importance of his role. While Miranda hasn't publicly said he ever thought of playing the role himself, the idea of him playing the part has inspired plenty of memes.

"I just saw a TikTok of a guy who said Bruno Madrigal looks like Lin-Manuel Miranda if Hamilton never made it to Broadway," tweeted one fan.

Said another, "How many people do ya think it took to hold Lin back from voicing Bruno?"

Bruno is hiding in the movie poster

Look carefully at the poster for Encanto, crowded with the Madrigal family. Isn't that ... yep, it's Bruno, the mysterious Madrigal the family doesn't like to discuss, hiding under his green cloak in the far left part of the poster, next to a tree trunk.


Can you find Bruno? Hint: Look by the tree on the far left.


Beauty and the Beast inspired the opening song

Remember the opening number from 1991's Beauty and the Beast, in which Belle whirls through her village singing about the people she knows there? That concept inspired Miranda's opening number in Encanto, The Family Madrigal, in which Mirabel introduces her magical relatives and their powers.

"I was really inspired by Beauty and the Beast, Belle, for our opening number," Miranda told the Los Angeles Times. "We wanted to get the complexity of a family on screen. And that means getting our arms around them, not letting them get winnowed away in the story process where you tend to focus on the main character and their quest. We have to be super clear about who it is, how they're related, what they can do, and how that relates to our main character."

Character Mirabel stand smiling at children in her village.

Encanto is available on streaming service Disney Plus.


Mirabel's skirt pays tribute to her family members

Clothing matters in Encanto. Mirabel's family members all have a symbol somewhere on their clothing indicating their gift. (Look for the barbells on super-strong Luisa's skirt, or Pepa's sunshine earrings, fitting since her emotions control the weather.) But Mirabel, who starts the film with no gift, has them all embroidered on her skirt, including a candle for Abuela; a chameleon for shape-shifting Camilo; animals for Antonio; and more.

"My favorite detail about Encanto is that every character has a symbol of their miracle embroidered on their clothes, except for Mirabel who has symbols of her entire family," one fan notes in a tweet.

Look closely at Agustín's outfit, too

Mirabel's dad, Agustín, also reps his family in his outfit, Encanto director Jared Bush points out.

"Agustín incorporated his three daughters into his outfit -- flower for Isabela, one sock with Luisa's symbols, one sock in the style of Mirabel's embroidery," Bush explained in a tweet.

What is Mirabel's gift in Encanto?

Huge spoilers, but when a young Mirabel tries to receive her magical gift, nothing appears to happen. It seems that she is the Madrigal family's one Muggle, in Harry Potter terms. But in the film, when Mirabel finally is able to put her hand on a doorknob after her childhood attempt fails, it brings the magical casita of the Madrigals back to life. Perhaps her gift is the greatest one, the power to keep her family, their home and all their magical separate gifts, together and thriving.

Then again, the fact that she can't lift churches or see visions of the future is shown to be less important than her love for her family. As one witty fan pointed out on Twitter, the film shows that "Mirabel is an independent and capable person who is just as deserving of love and acceptance as the rest of her family, and putting so much focus on a singular aspect of a person's identity can be emotionally and psychologically damaging."

Yet the audience still demands to know: "OK but whats her gift tho?"

Hercules and Cerberus

In Luisa's super-catchy song Surface Pressure, she musically wonders, "Was Hercules ever like 'Yo, I don't wanna fight Cerberus?'" Cerberus is the three-headed dog who guards the gates to the underworld in Greek mythology, but this could also be a Disney movie reference. In the 1997 Disney movie Hercules, strongman Herc tames Cerberus, so this reference could be a smart reminder of that film.

Lin-Manuel's sister inspired Luisa's song

In Surface Pressure, Luisa sings of how the family's burdens are often dumped upon her without them asking, because they're used to her carrying them without complaint. The song was inspired by Miranda's own sister, Luz, who's six years older than he is.

"She takes on way more responsibility than I do -- I was very aware that I was the baby brother who got away with everything -- so Surface Pressure is very much a love letter to my sister," Miranda told The Washington Post.

And Luz indeed sounds like Luisa, even down to her abilities at a young age.

"I remember my parents woke my sister up to put together a He-Man playset for Christmas before I woke up," Miranda told Variety. "They wanted it to be fully assembled when I woke up on Christmas morning."

Go fish

In We Don't Talk About Bruno, one character appears briefly but memorably, claiming Bruno told her that her fish would die, and his vision came true (she even displays the upside-down floating fish). That character's never introduced, but director Jared Bush told fans her name is "Senora Pezmuerto." Translation? "Pezmuerto" means "dead fish."

Mirabel's height

The lyrics to We Don't Talk About Bruno claim that he has a "seven-foot frame and rats along his back," but when Bruno shows up, he's nowhere near that tall. For some reason, fans of the film are very interested in Mirabel's height.

Director Jared Bush said in a tweet, "Here's an answer to a question I've been asked A LOT -- 'how tall is Mirabel?!' Official answer: 5'2" -- all other characters' heights are relative to hers, so that's all I got... except Bruno who has, you know, a 7-foot frame and rats along his back."

Meet Mirabel at Disney

Even though the film just came out in November, Mirabel showed up at Disney's California Adventure theme park in Anaheim, California, for the winter holidays. A Disney representative didn't immediately respond to a question about whether she'll become a permanent presence at the theme park, or whether she'll show up at Walt Disney World in Florida as well.

Nice to meet you, old friend

Voice actors don't always have to be in the same room to record their parts, and that's especially been true during the coronavirus pandemic. Lin-Manuel Miranda said he coached many of the singers through Zoom, and didn't meet many of them until the film's November premiere.

Not easy being green

Notice the importance of the color green in the film, especially connected to two specific characters. Mirabel's round eyeglasses are a bright green, and Bruno hides under a green cloak. It's no coincidence that these two have other things in common, especially when it comes to having unusual talents.

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