“ Disney on Ice: Worlds of Fantasy - Around the UK in October and November 2011. „
Today we have been to an eagerly awaited show. I say eagerly awaited, as I last went to a Disney on Ice show about 7 years ago when my nephew was a nipper. I have wanted to take my own children, but until this year they have been a bit young, and I didn't think they would appreciate it. Plus, the last couple of years have been a little girlie, so I didn't think they would have the same enjoyment of it.
The venue we visited was the Sheffield Motorpoint Arena. This is a good venue for large touring shows such as this, and the show worked fabulously in this environment. Although we were at the cheaper seats nearer the top of the Arena, we had a fabulous view of the whole stage area, and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, so in my eyes, that was £100 well spent.
The show is presented by Feld Entertainment, who have been producing Disney on Ice shows for a long time, and have worked out a winning formula. From the second the show started, we were waiting to see what magical thing would happen next.
This particular show was in 2 acts, and featured scenes from 4 popular World's of Fantasy. Presented by Mickey and Minnie Mouse, with appearances by Goofy and Daffy Duck, there was something there for everyone.
The show started with a little scene with Mickey and Minnie's car breaking down. While they went off to find some water to put in the engine, the car was left on the stage. This provided a lovely link to a Cars themed segment. With not much on stage to set the scene, the impact was all from the 6 cars on stage, with favourites such as Mater the tow truck, and Lightning McQueen himself. We were marvelling at how smoothly these moved on the ice, with no visible means of control. The eyes on the cars moved as the voice over played, and the lights flashed.
Without us noticing at all, as the Cars cast left the stage, there were dancers carrying huge pieces of blue and green material mimmicking the action of the sea, as we went to Ariel's underwater world for a Little Mermaid secton. Here, there were a few props on the stage to set the scene, but most of the amazement here came from the brightly coloured costumes, and the spectacular dancing as we saw Ariel strike a deal with Ursula, and get legs so she could go on land and make her Prince fall in love with her. The story was true to my memory of the Disney film, though it has been a little while since I saw this one. My boys loved the sea horses and lobster, and there were some impressive lifts from the dancers which I recognised from watching other professional ice dancers.
I was so impressed at how the Ursula character could skate at all in such a huge costume, appearing to glide across the ice with ease. And the other thing that was magical to me was in one of the big song numbers, clouds of bubbles appeared from the truss in the roof, falling to the Arena floor. Visually, it had a lot going for it.
The 3rd segment in the 1st act was the story of Tinker Bell the fairy from Peter Pan. This was my least interesting part, as we have not seen this one on DVD, and while I could appreciate how visually stunning it was, it felt a bit repetitive and boring in places to me, and the kids were getting a bit fidgety during this segment.
The most stunning part of this segment was the main fairy entering by flying into the set. She was on a wire in the air for quite a long time, wearing the most beautiful glittery dress. It looked truly magical. My boys couldn't work out how she was flying.
We were introduced to all the different sorts of fairy. Tinker Bell is a tinker, and needs to work with the other Tinker fairies to help Winter turn into Spring. Tinker gets cross when she finds out she can't go out into the world, and she is persuaded by one of the other fairies to complete some impossible tasks to prove she can go. She instead makes everything go wrong, so Spring can't happen after all, but she realises how to put it all right. She learns to be true to herself, and saves the day.
I felt here, not a lot happened, and it was a bit weak compared to the rest of the show, but like I say, perhaps lack of familiarity is the problem here for me, and everyone else may have loved it.
After a break of 20 minutes, we went onto Act 2, which was the act my family had really wanted to see. It was lovely that so much time was devoted to telling the story of the toys from Toy Story 3. My boys loved this bit, as did us adults, and I would pay again to let them see it.
Opening up, the set was very simple, but effective. There was a computer table with a computer, and a box of toys, and bookcases. Andy was preparing for college, and he was looking through this box of old toys to see what he would do with them. Very effectively, the Arena floor was lit like Andy's bedroom wallpaper from the film. Blue background with white clouds. Very impressive.
When Andy left the stage, the small pieces of set were replaced by identical pieces, but larger. so that the toys looked like they were small compared to the furniture. Simple but very effective.
Sarge entered the stage, and the army men were marching in, arriving by parachutes, and were in synchrony. They performed a routine, before Sarge introduced the rest of the toys onto the stage for a staff meeting. All the familiar characters that we all love were on the stage. Slinky the dog, Hamm, Rex the Dinosaur, Mr and Mrs Potato Head, Barbie, Jessie, Bullseye, Buzz Lightyear, and finally Woody.
The storyline was based upon the story in Toy Story 3, but with some minor changes to make it more suitable for the stage. It was still an impressive piece of show.
The toys are donated to Sunnyside daycare. There they meet Ken, and Lotso-Huggin Bear. Woody tries to persuade the toys to go home to Andy's house, but they want to stay and be played with again. Woody manages a daring escape where he gets on a kite, and flies into the air and off stage.
The other toys meanwhile, are soon realising sunnyside is not that nice a place to be. The children come in to play with them, and they are left wrecked by it. (This was one of the most surreal moments in the set. The children were huge models on plinths being pushed around by skaters in black. They were a bit weird to look at because of the way they moved around.)
When Buzz tries to sort it all out for them all, Lotso and Ken work out how to switch Buzz back into Demo mode and keep the other toys prisoner.
Woody finds out what is happening to the other toys, and goes back to rescue them. It is here that we see a divergence in the script. In this show, the character Barbie is the person who takes the central role here.
My favourite scene from the film is in the show. Ken takes Barbie back to his dreamhouse, where he does a fashion show of his favourite outfits. I loved this section. The set was really simple here, with a rail of clothes, and a bright pink chair for Barbie to sit on. Ken got outfits, and went off stage to change, and was back on in seconds wearing the outfits. There must have been at least 2 dancers playing Ken here, to allow the changeovers to be so smooth. From where we were sat, it looked absolutely seamless.
Barbie manages to get hold of the key to let the other toys free, and somehow they turn Buzz into a Spanish mode. They work out there escape from Sunnyside, having to dice with flames while running from Lotso, but at the last minute, the aliens appear and bring 'The Claw' to rescue the toys. The toys are carried off away from the danger, and come back to Andy. Andy then decides that he is going to donate his toys to a young child called Bonnie so they can stay together.
My overall impression of the show was that the set was quite basic but clever. A few props and different filters in front of the lights could really affect what you were seeing on the ice. The costumes were really amazing. The toy story costumes in particular were so close to what I have seen on the screen at home, and it really made it for me. Even down to the cast wearing plastic wigs to resemble the hair.
It was ok that the script deviated from what we have seen in the film, as it was done to make it fit the time allowed and make it work in such a simple setting.
The professional dancers were absolutely amazing. So fit, and dancing around in these cumbersome costumes in some cases, and making the whole story so believable with such a simple set. I was amazed with the Barbie/Ken scene, as I know from watching the TV show where celebrities learn to do Ice dancing, that one of the hardest things to do is to dance with props, and they were using a chair, canes, hats, and it all went without a hitch. The only mistake I saw, was Woody fell over on one occasion, and that in a live show is pretty amazing to me.
I found the show as a whole definitely worth going to see, and I will definitely look at taking my sons to the Disney on Ice tour next year. For me, it is helping to start the magic of Christmas a little early in our house, and will be something we talk about for a long time to come.
Disney On Ice: Worlds Of Fantasy has toured the world and hit the UK in 2011. It is a collection of different Disney stories brought together on ice. In October 2011 we ventured down to the O2 arena in London to see it. We had 4 kids in tow - 2 girls (ages 4 and 5 years) and 2 boys (ages 3 and 7 years).
We had been to see Disney On Ice: 100 Years Of Magic the previous year which we all LOVED, so this show had a lot to live up to...
* 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 decent row of seats facing the ice rink and in the middle of the 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 around £215 for 7 tickets (around the £30 mark for each ticket), 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, food and photographs. None of it came cheap, far from it infact - we brought a Minnie Mouse toy, Buzz Lightyear toy, Bullseye toy and a sword which came to around £70.00! I also brought a frozen slushy drink in a Tinkerbell cup (Toy Story aliens were also available) for around £7.00 and found the food outlets were very overpriced too - 4 small hot dogs, 2 portions of chips and 1 burger cost around £30! 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 *
Last year we were seated in practically the same seats as this year, however last year we entered through the front of the O2 and this year we had to walk around to the very back of the O2. By the time we had walked around, queued up to show our tickets and queued up to be seated - we missed the beginning of the show which was really disappointing and frustrating.
Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy came out to introduce to show - cue an arena full of screaming children!
The first 'story' was Cars (it wasn't a story as such, they just drove around and talked to each other). This was the first time we had seen Cars on ice and we were all very impressed! The cars looked really good and just like they do on screen. They were the size of actual cars and looked really realistic - nobody could work out how they operated (we couldn't see any feet underneath!). Cars included Lightning McQueen, Mater, Sally, Ramone, Flo and Mickey's car. The Cars section didn't last too long.
Next up was The Little Mermaid section which told the whole story of The Little Mermaid, but a much shortened version - around 10 minutes long. Most of the favourites made an appearance - Ariel, Sebastian, Flounder, Ursula, Flotsam and Jetsam. The characters looked really good and all the kids loved getting involved with dancing and clapping along with Sebastian the crab.
The third story was Tinkerbell. This section lasted around 20 minutes and told the whole story of the first Tinkerbell film (how she became to be a Tinker fairy). My daughter loves Tinkerbell and really enjoyed this part of the show. I think the highlights were when they were introducing each individual fairy and seeing Tinkerbell and Queen Clarion suspended from the ceiling as if they were flying. Other characters included Iridessa, Rosetta, Fawn, Silvermist, Vidia, Fairy Mary, Terrance, Bobble and Clank. The grand finale was excellent - very colourful, music-filled and magical.
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 (although the toilets were absolutely rammed).
The second half of the show was dedicated soley to Toy Story 3. I'd say this lasted around half an hour. All of the kids loved it, especially as all of their favourite characters were there. Characters included Woody, Jessie, Buzz, Bullseye, Mr and Mrs Potato Head, Slinky, Hamm, Rex, Lotso, Barbie, Ken and Stretch. All of the characters looked great, I especially liked the bigger characters such as Lotso and Hamm as they looked very realistic and you could see them very clearly from further back (the human characters which included Woody, Jessie and Buzz weren't as good in my opinion - I think they should have used the characters masks/heads like they do at the Disney parks). I absolutely adored the hilarious scenes between Barbie and Ken - particularly when Ken showcased his outfits in 'Ken's Dreamhouse'! There was also a really touching part towards the end where Andy went through his box of toys and spoke about each one of them - each time he pulled a toy out of the box, they appeared inside a spotlight on the ice.
* Downsides *
Having seen Disney On Ice: 100 Years Of Magic the year before I have to say, I was a little disappointed by Worlds Of Fantasy. 100 Years Of Magic crammed in 18 whole stories, but Worlds Of Fantasy had just 4. There were no princesses (except Ariel) or many other crucial Disney characters/stories. It just felt like there was a lot missing.
I wasn't a fan of the ending of the show either. There wasn't a huge explosive ending as most of us expected. At the end of 100 Years Of Magic all of the characters came out and done a routine, they met some of the children on the side of the ice rink etc - it was really magical. At the end of Worlds Of Fantasy the Toy Story gang done a song, Mickey and Minnie came out and said goodbye.. and that was it. Hmm.
And as I've already mentioned - the prices!
* Overall *
All of the performers were great and the quality of skating was excellent (I only saw a couple of stumbles and one fall, although we didn't see any incidents at 100 Years Of Magic...). The choreography was wonderful throughout, I especially liked the routines they done as couples.
The music and talking was played over big speakers and the sound quality was good. All of the songs were good and were ones that everybody knew.
All of the characters looked (and sounded) as they should and the costumes/props/backdrops were excellent.
The kids loved the show and didn't complain or lose interest once. There was a nice variety for both sexes (Little Mermaid/Tinkerbell more for girls and Cars/Toy Story more for boys). I am an overgrown Disney fan myself so I probably enjoyed it as much as the kids!
Despite being an ice show the O2 wasn't cold, none of us wore our jackets. The length of the show seemed just right too (about an hour and a half long). We had a good view from where we were seated 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: Worlds Of Fantasy? If you haven't seen 100 Years Of Magic then you will really enjoy Worlds Of Fantasy. If you have seen 100 Years Of Magic then you should probably give this a miss as you'll probably be disappointed. If you're a big Toy Story fan then you will enjoy this show. I should imagine that all children under 10 would enjoy Worlds Of Fantasy and most adults too, so I'd be happy to recommend it.