A Disney Tale: Join Donald Duck as he opens presents from his friends in South and Central America; reacquaints himself with Jose Carioca and meets Panchito Pistoles. As part of his experience, we also meet Pablo, the cold-blooded penguin; a Uruguayan boy and his winged-donkey, Burrito; Aurora Miranda and the Aracuan Bird.
Disney Hero: As with the previous 'package' film, The Three Caballeros features Donald Duck. For this film, though, he is even more the main protagonist as the film's framing sequence sees him opening presents which introduce him, and the viewer, to the various delights of South and Central America.
But Donald shares his 'hero' status in this film with two other birds, forming the 'three caballeros' of the title: Jose Carioca (who previously appeared in Saludos Amigos) and Panchito Pistoles.
Jose, a parrot from Brazil, shares the wonders of his country with Donald. Soon after, Panchito, a rooster from Mexico, presents Donald with a pinata and completes the trinity of birds.
Disney Heroine: Whilst not strictly containing a Disney heroine, this film does have a significant female presence in the form of Aurora Miranda, the sister of Carmen Miranda. She is central to the Baia segment of the film and Donald falls in love with her throughout the lively song and dance number.
Disney Villain: Even in the various short cartoons included in this package, there are not real 'villains'. The closest we get are the other competitors in the race that Burrito and the little boy enter.
Disney Sidekicks: Again, there are no true 'sidekicks' in this film. To some extent, the little boy and his donkey, Burrito could classify, as could Pablo. But as they don't interact with the 'heroes' of the film, they don't really qualify.
Disney Creatures: There is a sizeable focus in this film on birds. Aside from the three Caballeros there is Pablo the Penguin and the irritating Aracuan Bird. Even Burrito the Donkey has the ability to fly.
Disney Magic: Much like it's close relative, Saludos Amigos, this film has a surreal quality, epitomised in the final sequence which has an almost 'pink elephants' vibe to it. The magical element of a Disney film is present in this sequence, as well as the flying donkey, Burrito.
Disney Land: Obviously for this film we are situated firmly in Latin America. Specifically we visit Brazil (specifically Baia, the capital city of Bahia, one of the 26 Brazilian states), Mexico (specifically, Patzcuaro, Veracruz, and Acapulco), Uruguay and Argentina.
Disney Songs: The songs of The Three Caballeros hold much the same appeal for me as those from Saludos Amigos i.e. not a lot. That said, the title song, when it is sung by Donald, Jose and Panchito is fun and is accompanied by an entertaining sequence.
Disney Finale: Of the two Latin American package films, The Three Caballeros is definitely my preference. I think its the increased 'Disneyness' of it with the three title characters than pulls it away from feeling like a travelogue. The individual shorts are fun but what is also interesting is that this film sees one of the first instances of animation being mixed with live action where the animated characters are in the same scene as live actors. This of course will continue to feature in more famous Disney examples such as Mary Poppins and Bedknobs and Broomsticks.
I'm not sure that either The Three Caballeros or Saludos Amigos will be films I revisit very often but it is interesting to see that even these films have left a legacy within the Disney canon.