The show maintains the same optimistic tone of its parent series, and just like there, it makes the scary moments (subtle, implied, or otherwise) stand out more.
- Elena was trapped inside the Amulet of Avalor after saving her grandparents and younger sister from the sorceress Shuriki. It puts a very dark light on Ivy wanting to melt and destroy the amulet in Sofia the First...
- Shuriki in general is quite frightening when you think about it. There's the fact she murdered Elena's parents, trapped her in her amulet for 41 years, and her sister and grandparents in an enchanted painting, and ruled Avalor with an iron fist by banning pretty much any form of fun and creativity. You can just feel Sofia's agony in the coach scene where she knows she and her family could be one step away from dying . She's also quite calm and collected in her demeanor, making things worse. Her death at the end of the Secret Of Avalor is quite shocking except she actually survived the fall, and is now out to get revenge. This has not diminished her seriousness.
- One of the plot points for "First Day Of Rule" has Isabel and Gabe getting kidnapped by Noblins, which naturally worries Elena, but even more so since she just got Isabel back, and doesn't want to lose her again. Sure, the Noblins have a sympathetic motive since they were forced to work for Shuriki , but still.
- "Spellbound" introduces Fiero, the show's first serious antagonist that isn't Shuriki. His goal is to steal the Codex, and turns people to stone when they get in his way. What really sells him is how dead serious he is in his ordeal, and even when he's given the Codex, he doesn't hold up his end of the bargain, and chooses to leave everyone encased in stone. Sure, Mateo undid everything, but still
- King Hector becomes this trope in his episode "Royal Retreat". At first, he's just simply an arrogant boar with comical traits who treated others like garbage, but he goes way over the mark when it's revealed that he wanted to capture a baby Marposa and the mother for an aquarium. Not only that, he knew what he did was wrong, and lied to the other royals about it.
- Even beforehand, his Villain Song, "To Be In My Club", is all about how the only real rule in Hector's king club is "follow my lead, comply with what I want, and do everything I tell you to do." Basically, he rules by fascism.
- "The Scepter Of Light" brings us Orizaba, a moth fairy who wants to bring "the gift of eternal night" to Avalor. Yes, she wants to plunge Avalor into darkness all because she thinks it would "make it better". If that didn't seal it, then kidnapping Isabel would.
- "The Crystal In The Rough" starts out as your usual "change yourself to fit in" plot, but then takes a darker turn in the last act. Isabel goes off with Quique and Amara during a class trip to a forbidden part to the crystal caverns. The problem lies in how unstable the area is. If it wasn't for Elena helping out, they would've died.
- "King Of The Carnival" introduces us to Victor Delgado and his daughter Carla. They initially present themselves as somewhat morally gray for wanting to steal the crown jewels, but it's arguably justified since they do have the motivation of wanting Esteban to make up to them. Things take a turn for the worse in the third act where they disconnect the float, sending the family on a wild chase, and by the end insinuating that the Delgados' morally gray motivation was a ruse and that they actually have much more sinister intentions.
- "Realm Of The Jaquins" introduces Marimonda, a forest sprite released by Victor and Carla under orders from Shuriki in order to take over Avalor. Marimonda is in a similar vein to Orizaba, where she wants to mold Avalor in her image by overrunning it with plants. Just the level of determination she shows in trying to do so is quite intense to watch. Doubly so for Victor, Carla, and Shuriki.
- "The Jewel Of Maru" has a more serious tone than the previous Dia De Los Muertos episode, hence the leeway with its scarier moments. For example, the titular jewel sent off the dark forces that threatened to destroy the Maruvian civilization, but it caused the people to be sent to the spirit world. In the wrong hands, i.e. Victor and Carla, it could destroy Avalor, and put the Maruvian spirits into a greater state of unrest.
- Only three words can be used to describe a major event from "Rise Of The Sorceress": Shuriki revives Fiero. Oh the nightmare fuel that can result from that.
- Song of the Sirenas:
Shuriki: Still haven't mastered your scepter? Oh, how unfortunate. When I'm done with you, I'm gonna finish of what's left of your family. Goodbye, Elena.
- Shuriki and Fiero cornering Elena in "Song of the Sirenas", with Fiero appearing out of the shadows wearing a Shuriki mask before revealing himself, then Shuriki herself showing up and taunting Elena by saying that her own face is no mask, and finally the two of them almost drowning Elena, which ends the first half of the special.
- Elena and Shurki's final confrontation is pretty intense. Shuriki manages to hit Elena's Scepter of Light with her Dark Fire, knocking it out of her hands. With the Scepter of Light disabled, and Elena trapped on a tower with Shuriki blocking the stairs, she takes aim at Elena with the Scepter of Night, taunting Elena to say goodbye as she prepares to take out the Crown Princess once and for all and reclaim Avalor.
- The climax of "Naomi Knows Best" Ash and Carla attempt to kill Elena with the jewel from the Scepter Of Night during a moonlight incantation. You can feel how helpless Elena is as she's tied up and her life is solely drained away. Thank goodness Naomi came in to save her.