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Disney On Ice: Passport To Adventure
Member Name: loopy-lou33
Disney On Ice: Passport To Adventure
Advantages: Fun for all
The Disney on Ice show used to be an annual event that we would always attend as a family. In fact, I had been going to these shows even before I got married and had kids. These days, we get two ice shows a year at the NIA in Birmingham; one in February and one on October. When we attended the Princesses and Heroes show back in February, they gave us a priority booking form for the October show, which meant I was able to bag rinkside seats for this performance.
One thing I have learned is not to expect anything from Disney to be cheap! Tickets start at £14 plus booking fees. As we went rinkside, our tickets were in the most expensive band at a whopping £40 each, plus fees.
I should point out, that at the NIA, all of the seats have a good view of the ice. I have sat in the cheaper seats in the past and still had a fantastic experience.
I think that Feld, who run the shows, should be a little more realistic about their pricing. In these harsh economic times, many cannot afford shows like this, and this was reflected in the large numbers of empty seats in the auditorium. Usually, the shows are a sell-out, but I would say that only maybe half of the seats had been taken when we went, which seemed a real shame.
Another gripe I have about pricing is the price of the merchandise available at the show. When you sit down, there are people carrying all sorts of merchandise on poles, including popcorn, toys, candy floss and programmes. they are relying on "pester power" to shift their goods. I was wise and brought my own sweets and drinks, but many people were buying the overpriced £7-per-tub popcorn and £7-per-bag candy floss. Others got stung for the £15 spinning lights, which inevitably break when you get them home (I know this from past experience). The best way to do DOI cheaply is to bring plenty of your own refreshments and some cheap glowsticks from Poundland to keep the kids happy and their eyes off the pricey stuff.
The production is touring the UK, so is going to be at a variety of locations throughout the country. I like the NIA, as it is close to my home and is easily accessible by rail or bus. The NIA is easy to get to and close to the lovely canalside area of Birmingham with its restaurants and canalside cafes.
Entering the NIA was easy. A man at the door scanned our tickets and let us in. We did not have to queue for long as people were entering the building quite quickly.
The layout inside is very simple and it is easy to find your way. The toilet facilities are dotted around the outer rim of the arena and are clean and well maintained. The merchandise stalls are also around the outer area, but it never felt too crowded or claustraphobic.
Finding our seats was simple and a member of staff took our ticket and led us directly to the seat. The staff were friendly and helpful at all times.
The show theme was "Passport to Adventure" and was based on the travels of Mickey and his friends (a common theme in these DOI shows!). Their travels take them to Africa, where we meet the Lion King, Under the Sea for the Little Mermaid, then on to Hawaii for Lilo and Stitch. The last and longest section is set in London, for the story of Peter Pan.
At the start of the show, Mickey and his frinds come out onto the ice. The kids go wild! The Disney costumes are the same ones they use at the theme parks and look amazing.
I like the fact that whenever a character is talking, the other characters make their way to the edge of the ice to wave to and greet the people watching the show. My daughter got so excited when Donald skated up to us and waved!
A dance routine involving skating monkeys paved the way for the first section: The Lion King.
I was expecting a huge production number for the Lion king segment, but it was actually quite quiet and understated. The ice show itself seemed to start small and builds up to a big crescendo at the end, but more about that later....
There were not many characters in this segment, and the main focus was on the two cubs, Simba and Nala. Rafiki the mokey guides us through a very short version of the story and many of the main parts of the story, such as Scar taking over the pride, are left out.
We are then introduced to Timon and Pumbaa, the meerkat and warthog, who provide some comic relief. Again, the costumes are amazing, and I couldn't work out whether there were one or two people in the warthog outfit! They dance to Hakuna matata and weave offstage briefly as the cub Simba is replaced with the adult lion. This leads into a reunion with Nala and a stunning skating sequence to "Can you feel the love tonight". The skaters were flawless and there were many lifts and holds that wowed the audience.
Now I do have a slight gripe about the little mermaid sequence. As someone who regularly attends these events, I like a bit of variety, and i'm afraid that EVERY show I have attended has had a little mermaid sequence. I can understand why, as the undersea theme lends itself very well to the production numbers, but when I watched the sequence, a large part of it had been lifted from previous shows, and much of it felt like recycled material. When customers are paying large amounts of money for tickets, they want something fresh and new.
Nevertheless, I did actually enjoy the sequence immensely. A full-sized Sebastian crab takes to the ice and gets the crowd clapping in anticipation as three large seashells are rolled out onto the rink. We then meet Ariel's mermaid sisters who do a lively routine with the other sea creatures.
I thought it was clever how they staged Ariel's first glimpse of prince Eric. There was a balcony set above the ice and she was looking up at him steering the boat on the balcony.
The "under the sea" sequence was a huge production number, with seahorses, starfish, jellyfish and mermaids all whizzing and skating around the ice. It was really colourful and immersive.
When Ariel and Eric skated together, the sequence did not flow as well as the Simba/Nala sequence, but there were some clever skating moves included, such as when the three mer-men lifted Ariel and it looked as if she was swimming.
The thrilling climax came when a HUGE inflatable Ursula appeared on the ice, only to be defeated and deflated(!) by Eric's spear. Scary stuff indeed for me sitting so close to the ice!
Lilo and Stitch:
I haven't actually seen this movie, but the skaters did good job of telling the story about a little orphan girl from Hawaii who has no friends. She and her big sister adopt what they think is a dog, but turns out to be an alien "experiment" programmed for destruction. Lilo teaches her new friend the value of family and how to be good, as well as teaching him all about Elvis! This leads to some great skating sequences based on Elvis songs which form the soundtrack for this segment of the show.
The Lilo and Stitch section was upbeat, colourful and fun. The alien costumes were great. The skater who played Lilo's sister was very skilled and was able to perform many impressive moves during her section.
Lilo and Stitch ended the first half of the show on a real feel-good high and we couldn't wait for the second half to start.
When we next see Mickey and his friends, they have arrived in London, no, not London as we know it, but the saccharine-sweet, Disney version, complete with Mary poppins-style pearly kings and queens dancing around a cardboard Big ben singing about "London Tahn", along with the friendly neighbourhood "bobby" who had a Dick van Dyke cockney accent!
The whole second half was the story of Peter Pan. Again, the production team made good use of the balcony as the bedroom for the Darling children. We see the parents leave as Peter and Tinkerbell enter the room. Peter is looking for his shadow, and when he finds it, we are treated to a fun-filled skating sequence as Peter chases the shadow around the ice, as Tinkerbell waves and blows kisses to the audience.
The real magic begins when Peter makes the children fly. They slowly make their way over the ice, hooked up to harnesses and wires and it really gives the impression that they are flying.
We then meet the lost boys and the pirates in two more action-packed skating sequences. The skater that played Wendy was mesmerising and probably one of the best skaters in the whole show.
We have a moment of drama when Tinkerbell drinks the poison meant for Peter and the audience have to bring her back to life by showing that they really believe in fairies.
The section climaxes with a battle between Hook and pan, where Hook is finally swallowed up by a massive inflatable crocodile.
The costumes, scenery, skating and props were all absolutely fantastic and the Peter Pan section provided a suitably impressive and entertaining second half, in which the time seemed to fly by.
The whole cast returned to the ice for a final big party number which had everyone in the audience clapping and joining in.
We thoroughly enjoyed Disney on Ice and my daughter said it was the best show we had ever been to.
The skaters are skilled and the dance routines are impressive. The show would appeal to anyone who loves Disney, young or old.
My only slight gripe, as I have mentioned, is the inclusion of "recycled" routines from previous shows.
The way the characters interact with the audience is also really good
I am already planning on booking tickets to the next show, but will probably book the cheaper seats next time, as they still offer a great view of the ice.
Summary: A great night out