“ An ice show featuring 65 of Disney's unforgettable characters „
Disney On Ice: 100 Years Of Magic has toured the world and hit the UK in 2010. It was a collection of 18 different Disney stories (featuring 65 characters) brought together on ice! In October 2010 we ventured down to the O2 arena in London to see it. We had 3 kids in tow - 2 girls (age 3 and 4 years) and 1 boy (age 6 years).
* Booking and Prices *
We booked our tickets through the Ticketmaster website and were able to choose where we would be seated (although many of the seats were already taken). Luckily we managed to get a row of seats facing the ice rink and just a few rows from the front (lower tear).
Unfortunately tickets were priced per seat so all children had to be paid for and at the same rate as adults. We paid a total of £186.50 for 6 tickets (that's £31.00 each if my calculations are correct!), which does seem a little excessive for a kids show. Ticket prices varied on where you were seated - Eg. More expensive for front row, less expensive for upper tears.
* Merchandise *
The O2 was full of Disney merch which included programmes, clothing, toys and food. None of it came cheap, far from it infact - we brought 2 Buzz Lightyear toys and 2 Mickey Mouse binoculars and it came to around £60.00! I also brought a frozen slushy drink in a Cinderella cup (Stitch cups were also available) before the show for around £8.00 and candyfloss (with a Mickey crown) and a tub of popcorn in the intermission for around another £8.00 each. I think it's fair to say that it was a total con but it was easy to get caught up in the 'Disney magic'!
* The show *
Stupidly I left my camera at home so all of this will be written by memory!
The show began and Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, Chip and Dale came skating out - cue an arena full of screaming children! Donald had a drive around on an ice resurfacing truck and Mickey found a lamp - this was an introduction to the first story, Aladdin...
Aladdin was a great story to start with and got everybody into an immediate feel good mood. Aladdin and Abu started the scene by rubbing the magic lamp and with a puff of smoke Genie popped out of the ice resurfacing truck! The all singing, all dancing Genie then went on to give a fun rendition of 'Friend Like Me' whilst accompanied by 20 other identical Genies (taken from a snippet in the film)!
I must say I was a little concerned when the characters from Finding Nemo came out as you could clearly see the people inside the costumes. It turns out I had nothing to worry about - the kids enjoyed it so much that I don't think they even noticed the humans attached to the fish! Finding Nemo was a big hit and got a huge "Oooohh" from the audience when the sharks came out (especially Bruce)!
I believe the next story was Beauty and The Beast which started with Belle singing a lovely version of 'Belle' before being greeted by Lumiere (the candlestick), Mrs Potts (the teapot), Chip (the cup), Cogsworth (the clock) and the feather duster - which really got the kids excited. Belle then ventured into the West Wing (otherwise known as the corner of the ice rink!) where she came across the enchanted rose, followed by an angry beast. The bad feeling didn't last long and they soon both burst into song ('Something There')! The tender moment was then ruined by Gaston who burst in and attacked the beast. As the beast laid dying Belle confessed her love to him and hey presto - out of the smoke came a dashing prince! Prince Adam had a skate around and was then joined by Belle in her trademark yellow dress (though a short version as I don't think a full length would have gone down very well with her skates!) where they performed a touching routine to 'Beauty And The Beast'.
Everybody got quite excited when a bunch of green toy soilders came marching out with a huge present, followed shortly afterwards by Woody! They unwrapped the present to reveal... a Buzz Lightyear! Jessie also made an appearance and they all sang along to 'You Got a Friend in Me'. It was lots of fun but I felt it was a shame there weren't more Toy Story characters involved.
The next part was a highlight for me. Minnie and Mickey came out and told of a place "where you can see everybody in the world singing and dancing all together" and shamelessly plugged Disneyland for a little while! A large clock appeared and Mickey exclaimed "Oh boy! I've seen that clock before - some place real special". Jiminy Cricket then informed us he would be taking us on a visit to see It's A Small World. The ice rink was transformed into the It's A Small World ride. My daughter knew exactly what was going on as she had been to Disneyland before but the other 2 kids were a little unsure as they haven't yet been, however they seemed to enjoy it all the same. The performers came out dressed as people from different countries (along with props), singing and dancing to the 'It's a Small World' theme song. The lights then went out and all of the props lit up like the electric light parade! Lots of different things came out onto the ice rink such as a windmill, hot air balloon (with Mickey inside), magic carpets and the Eifel Tower. They all spun around the ice rink to the Small World theme song but a fair/carnival version without words - it looked fantastic.
Half way through the show there was around a 15 minute intermission - just enough time to get something to eat or make a visit to the toilet. After the intermission we were treated to 'The Mickey Mouse March' with a full marching (or should that be skating) band who accompanied Mickey and his pals. The crowd were encouraged to sing and clap along. Stitch also made an appearance which put a smile on all the kids faces.
The story of Pinocchio soon followed which began with the fairy coming down from the ceiling (inside a star) and onto the ice. Jiminy Cricket sang 'When You Wish Upon a Star' whilst the fairy done a lovely routine. The fairy then made Pinocchio come to life and he performed an upbeat 'Got No Strings' with clockwork dancers and other 'toys'. This routine was followed straight afterwards with 'Hi-Diddle-Dee-Dee (An Actor's Life for Me)' with Honest John and Gideon (the sly fox and cat from the film). From out of nowhere a HUGE whale appeared (which impressed the whole audience) and swallowed Geppetto and Pinocchio! Thankfully they made the whale sneeze and both of them made it out safe and sound!
Naturally one of the girls favourite parts was when the princes and princesses came out and each done a beautiful shortish routine together. Belle and Prince Adam came out first and danced to 'Beauty And The Beast', Cinderella and Prince Charming then danced to 'So This Is Love' and Ariel and Eric then danced to 'Part Of Your World'. The next couple were Jasmin and Aladdin who danced to 'A Whole New World', followed by an unexpected Pocahontas and John Smith with ' Colours Of The Wind'. To finish up were Snow White and her prince who danced to 'Some Day My Prince Will Come' which my daughter was thrilled about as she too was wearing her Snow White dress!
The Mulan sequence seemed quite long and I have to admit I did lose interest half way through, however it was nice and the kids didn't take their eyes off it. The choreography was very good. The kids favourite part was when a giant Chinese dragon Mushu (the little red dragon voiced by Eddie Murphy) came out.
I only caught the beginning of The Incredibles as I had to take my daughter to the toilet, so can't comment too much on that!
The final story was The Lion King which happens to be a favourite of mine and my daughters. It began with an appearance from Rafiki (the monkey) and a fun performance of 'Hakuna Matata' by Timon and Pumba. Simba and Nala were played by a man and women dressed up as lions, rather than looking like they do in the films. At first this was a bit confusing for the kids (my daughter asked me who the man was - when I told her it was Simba she simply replied "no it's not!") but by the end of the story they were so captivated that it didn't matter! Simba and Nala performed a stunning routine to 'Can You Feel The Love Tonight'.
All of the characters from the show came out to 'Circle of Life' and waved to the crowd. The princes gathered in a circle and picked the princesses up before spinning them around (whilst the other characters gathered at the back). Music, smoke and fireworks followed and some of the characters finished with some impressive moves. Many of the characters also met/shook hands/signed autographs for kids around the edges of the ice rink.
* Any downsides? *
The princess section was amazing and the girls adored it, however it would have been better if it lasted a little longer. Plus there was no Sleeping Beauty/Princess Aurora! My daughter was a little disappointed as she happens to be her favourite princess. There were also a few missing stories and characters that I would have liked to have seen - such as Peter Pan (the girls kept asking me when Tinkerbell was coming on), Monsters Inc, Alice In Wonderland, Jungle Book, The Little Mermaid (although Ariel and Eric were there) etc.
And as I've already mentioned - the prices!
* Overall *
All of the performers were great and there were no slip ups or incidents which was a relief! The choreography was wonderful throughout.
The music and talking was played over big speakers and the sound quality was good. The songs were brilliant and were ones that everybody knew. We were impressed with the amount of characters and stories they managed to cram in to the show, despite the missing characters/stories as mentioned above. The variety was good too. All of the characters looked (and sounded) as they should and the costumes were excellent. It was very clever how they managed to tell whole stories in just 10 minutes each! The kids loved the show and didn't complain or lose interest once. The younger girls seemed to enjoy it a little more than the older boy (he would have prefered to watch Ben 10 or Transformers I'm sure!) and raved about the show for a long time afterwards. I am an overgrown Disney fan myself so I probably enjoyed it almost as much as the kids! I must admit, I even got a tear in my eye a couple of times - especially watching the kids faces light up.
I was slightly concerned that we would be cold inside the O2 but we all took our coats off and left our jackets/cardigans on and we were all perfectly fine. The length of the show seemed just right too (an hour and a half, excluding the intermission). We had a good view from where we were sitting but I wouldn't have wanted to sit any further back, especially as there weren't any big screens to watch on.
Would I recommend Disney On Ice: 100 Years Of Magic? If this tour comes back and you have young children, absolutely! I wont hesitate to take my child to other Disney On Ice production in future.