Who better to unveil the Saks Fifth Avenue flagship store's holiday window display than Sofia Carson?
In honor of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs' 80th anniversary, Carson—who plays Evie, the daughter of the Evil Queen in Disney Channel's Descendants and Descendants 2—performed "A Smile and a Song" from the animated classic, released in 1937. "Isn't that crazy?" the actress asked E! News after her set ended Monday night. "Celebrating something so special, like Snow White's birthday and the unveiling of the iconic Saks windows, for me to be the ambassador of this is such an honor. It was probably one of the most magical experiences of my life."
The Monique Lhuillier-clad singer realized what a "cool" twist of fate it was, "because Snow White and I are basically stepsisters, which I crazy to even say," Carson laughed. "And Dopey's son is my love interest in the movie. To be a part of Snow White's legacy, as Evie, changed my life, so to be here celebrating her and honoring her is really surreal."
After her performance, Carson was looking forward to getting a closer look at the newly unveiled window displays. Luckily for her, the light show and window animation and will continue throughout the holiday season—until Jan. 2, 2018. "I haven't seen them; they were completely shut down earlier. Saks reached out to designers, like Monique Lhuillier and Marchesa, to design one-of-a-kind gowns in honor of Snow White. So, I saw those windows, but I haven't seen the ones on Fifth yet," she said. "I have to go down and take a look!" Alberta Ferretti and Naeem Khan also created one-of-a-kind gowns for a 21st century Snow White—set against a fantasy forest backdrop—on display in Saks New York's 49th St. and 50th St. windows.
For Carson, being part of the celebration was a full circle moment of sorts. "A big tradition for us was actually coming here to New York to celebrate the holidays and Thanksgiving and to see the Saks windows," she said. "Since we lived in Florida, we would go up to Orlando a lot—to Disney World—and go around Christmastime, which is the most magical time of year at Disney." And as a little girl, the "Ins and Out" singer said, "I was obsessed with Disney princesses. I knew every soundtrack to every movie. Snow White was probably one of the first ones I saw, because it was the first animated feature—which is so cool. It's Walt Disney's first princess. I think I always related most to Snow White and Belle because they both had dark hair! I just fell in love with the fairy tale of it all, and the music especially. I would spend my days running around my living room singing and dancing to the Snow White soundtrack or the Beauty and the Beast soundtrack."
Carson will get to share her holiday cheer with an even bigger audience when she appears in Decorating Disney: Holiday Magic, premiering Dec. 18 at 8 p.m. "I did a special that's going to air on Freeform with Whoopi Goldberg. We go behind the scenes and see how they transform overnight from Halloween to Christmas. It's the craziest thing to see how the magic happens," said the singer, who previously performed in last year's televised event. "Doing those specials is always really magical. Performing at Cinderella's Castle is so surreal."
Many of Carson's dreams have come true in the last year, and with Thanksgiving approaching, she's taking stock of all that she's accomplished. "I think today is definitely going to be one of those I will remember for the rest of my life and keep really close to my heart. The Fourth of July was really special; I got to sing the National Anthem on the steps of the Capitol. I got to perform for Britney Spears at the Radio Disney Music Awards, which is pretty freakin' crazy. That was unreal. Going to the Oscars was definitely one of those moments I'll never forget," Carson recalled to E! News. "And also, I performed at WE Day in Toronto. I performed a stripped down version of my song 'Back to Beautiful,' with just piano and voice, to a bunch of kids who are doing their part to change the world. That was also one of my favorite things I've ever done."
And next year, Carson is planning to release her long-awaited debut album.
"I've been waiting 24 years! It's been a really beautiful process to be writing and to create an album. It's been really important to make sure every song on it is very honest and 100 percent true to who I am, because when you write a song, you're kind of sharing a piece of your heart with the world," the singer-songwriter said. "So, I want to make sure each song feels like that. But in the beginning of 2018, you'll be getting something!"
Carson has already lined up a heavy hitter: Emmy-, Golden Globe- and Grammy-winning songwriter Diane Warren. "It was the craziest thing. They sent me a song that was written by Diane Warren and I was like, 'Are we talking about Diane Warren Diane Warren?' They're like, 'Yes!'" she said. "Oh, my gosh. I went to the studio and she is just incredible. She's such an icon. We've actually worked a few times together, and we're always texting."
Let that sink in for a moment: Carson has Warren's phone number. "I was like, 'This is crazy!' She truly is such an icon, so humble, such a legend, so great. Her heart is this big," Carson said, stretching both arms as wide as possible. "That's why she just writes the most beautiful love songs in the world, because she has so much love in her heart."
And if fans are lucky, Carson might even get started on the rumored (but seemingly inevitable) Descendants 3 movie for Disney Channel. "I think we're all waiting for that phone call!" she told E! News exclusively. "We all would really love to do it, so we'll see. Fingers crossed!"