Disney On Ice is a world class touring performance that needs no introduction. Featuring internationally renowned ice skaters, Disney On Ice’s 2015 tour is themed ‘Dare To Dream’, and brought both new and old Disney classics to life in Australian arenas nationwide. For those who do not know how Disney On Ice runs, they split the show up into segments telling the stories from select Disney films, while intertwining the classic stories with world class ice skating techniques and tricks. Disney states on their website that noone is too young or too old for Disney On Ice, and they were right. There was a moment of doubt as Mickey and Minnie skated out onto the ice for the start of the show, but as soon as the show began, those fears left me entirely.
The first story up was The Princess and the Frog, the critically acclaimed film that saw Disney return to traditional animation for the first time in years. Disney spared no expense on the costumes and lighting, with everything planned and timed perfectly. At the back of the stage, there was a rotating building that had Tiana’s Restaurant from the film, and a few other Castles and Towers from the following shows to help set the scene. Waiters twirled around the stage whilst carrying big silver platters. Restaurant goers sat in amongst the colourful dancing of the skaters, drinking tea and enjoying the scene. The scene lasted for some time before getting into the first major story of the night- Snow White.
The stage was dark as the Evil Queen stepped out onto the rink. Her magic mirror, on the wall glided eerily on the ice around her, unassisted by any skaters. The story went along, and soon we were treated to the Seven Dwarfs acting out their iconic mining scene from the film, and it was brilliant to see that the costumes were of such great detail. The skaters were so skilled that it seemed as if their work on the ice was much like walking and breathing for them, a testament to their abilities. Props were set up by stage hands in black that shot out from behind the castle, now enclosed in an inconspicuous wall. Tables and chairs were set up while our attention was drawn elsewhere by the skaters, and so the rink became a dynamic stage that took us by surprise each time the skaters circled the arena.
Cinderella came next, and her story took place in two parts, both before and after the intermission. The building rotated and the wall opened, revealing the majestic castle that Prince Charming lived in. The story from our childhood unfolded in front of our eyes, and without a doubt Disney successfully connected with the child in all of us (and the children at the performance too, of course!).
Tangled was the last story to be told, and this one captured the Disney spirit. The tale of Rapunzel was told, Disney-style to the packed out arena, and the kids laughed and cheered throughout the performance. Finn, the male protagonist of the story, performed silkwork with Rapunzel without any visible safety harnesses, flying around the crowd with just one arm wrapped in Rapunzel’s ‘hair’. It was breathtaking, and show just how versatile these performers were. Despite being the youngest film portrayed on stage, the crowd seemed to enjoy it just as much as the earlier stories.
Lucky children along the front row were pulled up throughout the night to be a part of the show, and for Tangled it was no different. A girl was taken up to stage side to light the first lantern in an iconic scene, and the little girl dressed in her favourite Princess’ dress helped the lantern flicker into life before quickly gripping onto Rapunzel, and then Finn in turn, for a big hug. It is experiences like this that allow Disney On Ice to tour the world year after year to packed out venues with different performances and stories to tell.
Mickey & Co. came out to close the show, and for the final song the children all seemed to have the one conscious, all running down to the front in a big wave of princesses and princes to dance next to Mickey Mouse, who was joined by each set of Prince and Princesses from the Disney films. The show wrapped up as quickly as it had begun, and Disney successfully reminded me just why their story played a major role in my childhood.