The bottom line
It’s a magical Disney-themed adventure for the whole family, especially for kids who are big fans of the Disney movies.
I didn’t know what to expect, but I was amazed at how well this production brought to life some of my family’s favorite Disney characters. I've never taken my kids to Disneyland, but this show was a great opportunity to enjoy the Disney experience close to home.
After bundling my kids up in their warmest outfits, we headed to the show. I quickly realized my mistake as we pulled up to the ShoWare Center in Kent. Practically every little girl in line was dressed as her favorite Disney princess. Many of the boys wore Mickey Mouse ears, king crowns and other Disney paraphernalia.
My 4-year-old daughter noticed right away. “Mommy, I should have worn my Rapunzel dress. Can we go back home and get it?” I told her we didn’t have time, then she proceeded to give me the stink eye for the next 15 minutes. I certainly won’t make this mistake again if we ever attend any Disney-themed events.
As the line outside made its way into the lobby, we were inundated with flashing lights, plush toys and every manner of Disney toy and gadget you could imagine. This is a genius move for the Disney marketing machine, as my children peppered us with the same question, ad nauseam: “Can I get one of these?!” We opted to buy a program that featured colorful photos of all of the characters ($20) and quickly found our seats. As we waited for the show to start, vendors patrolled the audience, selling cotton candy and lemonade (my inner cheapskate balked at the $12 lemonade).
I was nervous about how my kids would do, particularly my 2 ½-year-old. My kids aren’t the kind who will quietly sit and watch a movie. They’ll last about 10 minutes before they start jumping on the couch or playing with their toys. I wondered how long it would be into the show before my husband had to take my youngest out and walk around the lobby with him. Much to my surprise, he was immediately captivated by all the flashing lights, campy music and colorful costumes. He was so enamored, I was torn between watching the amazing talent the skaters displayed and watching the expression of wonder on all of my children’s faces.
The mesmerizing introduction includes a dance-off-sing-off between the boys and girls, led by Mickey and Minnie. Donald Duck and Goofy also hosted the show, appearing in between acts and providing some slap-stick comedy and cheesy jokes that launched my kids into giggle fits. My youngest was particularly intrigued by their costumes. Whenever they left the stage, he would ask, “Where’s Mickey Mouse?”
The four main stories featured were those of Ariel, Rapunzel, Belle and Merida, with a few bonus acts from other movies interspersed such as Pinocchio and the step-sisters from Cinderella. Each act covered the most popular songs from the movies, shortening the plot and highlighting key parts.
Ariel’s story was full of stunning choreography and colorful costumes, with scenes featuring her mermaid sisters, a storm and shipwreck and a parade of characters singing “Under the Sea.” The amazing parade of colorful sea life characters and the beautiful set transformed the rink into vibrant seascape. My kids were particularly intrigued by the intricate costumes of Sebastian the Crab and Ursula the Sea Witch, as well as the shipwreck scene where the ship is split in half by a bolt of lightning. My jaw dropped when Ariel did an aerial act, emerging from Ursula’s cauldron, dangling 35 feet over the ice as she kicked her brand new legs. It was breathtaking.
Rapunzel’s act began with the thugs and ruffians singing “I've Got a Dream” followed by other popular songs and dances, including “Mother Knows Best,” “When Will My Life Begin” and “I See the Light” alongside a beautiful floating-lantern scene that lit up the arena. There is some wonderful choreography between Flynn Ryder and Rapunzel (including a scene with frying pans), but my kids were most intrigued by Maximus, whose costume was incredible and who glided across the ice like a real horse. For the rest of the show, my 2-year-old intermittently asked, “Where’d the horsey go?”
Next came Merida, blazing across the ice as her flying mane of red curls and fast-paced bagpipe music energized the crowd. We then met all three clans — MacIntosh, MacGuffin and Dingwall — as they arrived and prepared to fight for Merida’s hand in marriage after Queen Elinor extended the invitation. Merida’s mischievous trio of brothers and the hilarious shenanigans of the suitors made for lots of laughs. The excitement peaked as the clans competed in an archery contest. Fireworks and Merida’s spot-on archery skills are a glorious end to the scene.
The amazing set and costumes made the story of Beauty and the Beast come to life. It opened with the arrogant Gaston and his adoring fans singing about his superiority. After a pompous proposal and Belle’s rejection, the set turned into an enchanted castle full of talking and dancing furnishing and dishes. The “Be Our Guest” number was dazzling, with intricate costumes and a giant chandelier that descended over the arena. Gaston lead a mob of villagers with fiery torches to track down and “Kill the Beast,” but in the end, with the help of some fog and a little magic, the beast transformed into a handsome prince and all was well.
The show wrapped up with a light-stick show as Merida, Ariel, Belle and Rapunzel were joined back on the ice by their captivating Disney friends to wish the audience farewell. I was amazed that they fit so much storytelling into the two-hour show. My kids promptly fell asleep in their car seats on our drive home — a sure sign that they were worn out from all of the fun.
“Mom, can we go back to Disney on Ice again? Please!? But, this time can I dress like a princess?” – my daughter (age 4).
“That was awesome! I’m going to be an ice skater when I grow up. Can we go ice skating?” – my son (age 6).
- Eat beforehand, unless you are OK with paying $12 for a lemonade.
- Arrive early. All those excited kids in one place makes for chaotic yet slow-moving lines.
- If your child has a Disney character costume of some kind, let them wear it (or even just a crown). I think my kids might have been the only ones not donning a costume.
- Be prepared to buy something in the lobby area, or to deal with a possible melt-down. It’s like they transplanted the Disney toy store into the lobby. I distracted my kids with the promise of bubble gum from my purse and a reminder that they could put items on their Christmas wish list.
- Make a pit stop at the potty beforehand. The show runs for around two hours with just one intermission.
- Bring jackets. My kids didn't need their jackets, but it may get a bit chilly if you sit near the ice.
If you go ...
Where and when:
Kent, Wash., ShoWare Center Nov. 13–18, show times vary.
Everett, Wash., Comcast Arena at Everett Nov. 21–24. Show times vary, see site for details.
Tickets: Prices may range anywhere between $20–$72. Ages 2 and older must have a ticket. For select performances, kids aged 2–12 are just $12 (maximum four kids' tickets per one full-priced adult ticket).
Rory is a slightly neurotic mom to three young children and Parentmap's Social Media Coordinator. She can often be found hiding from her kids in the closet while eating chocolate chips (which she aspires to bake something with but never does). You can see more of her musings about parenting at ParanoidStayAtHomeMom.Google+