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September 3, 2016

Review: ‘Disney on Ice Presents Follow Your Heart’

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Young Dory the tang fish made a splash and “Inside Out” ’s character Riley Anderson overcame her angst Friday night at the Amway Center in Orlando. The two characters debuted during Feld Entertainment’s newest Disney On Ice production, “Follow Your Heart,” which is kicking off its tour with six shows in The City Beautiful.

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The musical ice skating show opened with Riley, her hockey teammates and their cheer squad, which is a departure from the tradition of Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse getting the festivities started. Don’t worry, though, the Disney hosts still bookend the evening with an early appearance and a starring role in the finale. And they bring Goofy and Donald along for the fun. Only Pluto is missing from the Fab 5!

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Feld Entertainment is known for including a large number of Disney characters in its productions – clearly so the shows will appeal to a wide audience. Given that, you might think that the presentation of certain characters would become formulaic. After all, there are about eight productions on tour at any given time. Not so. I have been to several Disney on Ice shows over the years – from the time my children were toddlers to now when they are a tween and a teen – and I am still amazed at the new ways Feld finds to present the classic Disney stories.

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Although the choreography and costumes certainly are the main draws for a Disney on Ice show, the productions make good use of movable sets, special effects and unique props to keep audiences entertained. “Follow Your Heart” emphasizes aerial stunts with The Little Mermaid doing acrobatics while dangling on a rope from the ceiling, and Rapunzel and Flynn Rider flying through the air on yellow silks (reminiscent of Cirque du Soleil) that represent her long locks. Changing patterns and colors of lights on the ice – and over sections of the audience in the arena -- help set the mood of each Disney Princess story. Pyrotechnics are used creatively, too, and not just to punctuate the finale.

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I don’t want to give too much away, but the “Fantasia” act with Sorcerer Mickey and the magic brooms just might have been my favorite part of the entire show.

Every Disney on Ice production has a brief intermission (15 to 20 minutes) after the first hour. There is plenty of Disney merchandise to peruse during this time, or kids can have their faces painted or their photos taken with special backdrops. If the concession stand takes precedence during intermission, all of these booths are open before and after the show, as well.

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“Follow Your Heart” resumes with a retelling of this summer’s hit, “Finding Dory,” through several numbers. In one, a towering Hank the septopus makes an appearance and interacts with Dory, who is cleverly placed in a tank on the ice. The video screen shows scenes from the Disney-Pixar movie as well as images to reinforce the life-size tank scene playing out.

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The next act features Woody, Jessie, Buzz Lightyear and many of the toys from the “Toy Story” movies. The audience is invited to get up and dance when the characters teach everyone the moves to a hoe-down.

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Finally, the last half hour is dedicated to “Frozen.” Parents of older children who have experienced the story since it came out three years ago may feel the franchise has reached its saturation point. But let me tell you that isn’t true for everyone: The younger audience members and even their parents were singing along loudly to all of the “Frozen” songs.

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Regardless of how you feel about “Frozen,” you most likely will appreciate the beauty of how each number is designed. The sets are amazing, and the skating is mesmerizing with graceful moves, choreographed pairs and even a stunt thrown in for Elsa, Anna and Kristoff. Of course, everyone’s favorite snowman, Olaf, has his time to shine. Much of the “Frozen” segment has been adapted from the full production, “Disney on Ice Presents Frozen,” that debuted two years ago. If you haven’t seen it, prepare to be wowed.

Tickets still are available for the remaining showings of "Disney on Ice presents Follow Your Heart": 11 a.m., 3 p.m. 7 p.m. today (Sept. 3); and 1 and 5 p.m. Sunday (Sept. 4). Tickets range from $18 to $100 and can be purchased at the Amway Center box office or through Ticketmaster. Every audience member 2 years and older is required to have a ticket.

DISCLAIMER: I was a guest of Feld Entertainment at the first showing of "Disney on Ice Presents Follow Your Heart." This did not affect my review; my opinions are my own.



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July 5, 2016

Tickets on sale for new Disney on Ice 'Follow Your Heart' show with 'Finding Dory,' 'Inside Out' characters

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As has become tradition, this year’s new Disney on Ice show will make its debut in September in Orlando, and, for the first time, it will feature characters and popular scenes from “Finding Dory” and “Inside Out.” Tickets for “Disney on Ice presents Follow Your Heart” go on sale to the public at 10 a.m. July 8 through Ticketmaster, but pre-sale codes are available now. (Try "BUBBLES.")

According to the official description: “Just keep swimming with Dory and new pal Hank from Disney-Pixar’s “Finding Dory” as they set out to find her parents and discover the devotion of family. Cheer with Joy, Sadness, and the rest of the Emotions from Disney-Pixar’s “Inside Out” as they work together to boost Riley’s spirit and win the big hockey game.”

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Typically, Disney on Ice shows feature a large cast of characters in various vignettes to appeal to a spectrum of fans, and “Follow Your Heart” is no exception. The new production includes characters from “Frozen” and “Toy Story,” plus many Disney Princesses. In addition, Mickey and Minnie host the show. Here’s how Feld Entertainment describes the rest of the production:

“Venture to wintery Arendelle where Olaf and Kristoff help reunite royal sisters Anna and Elsa from Disney’s Frozen and learn love is the most powerful magic of all. See Cinderella, Rapunzel, Ariel and the Disney Princesses make their dreams possible through virtues of bravery, kindness and perseverance. And celebrate true friendship with Buzz Lightyear, Woody and the Toy Story gang. Make unforgettable memories with Mickey, Minnie and all your Disney friends when Disney On Ice presents Follow Your Heart skates into your hometown!”

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Disney on Ice productions often use small stages along the perimeter of the rink that allow characters to step up and interact with audience members, which thrills the children watching. The characters alternate locations, engaging different segments of viewers. My kids and I experienced this when we saw “Disney on Ice Presents Frozen.” You can read my review of that production here.

Florida residents and visitors will be among the first to see the new "Follow Your Heart" production. For years, Ellenton, Fla.-based Feld Entertainment has used Lakeland and Orlando as a starting point for new Disney on Ice productions, and this is true again this fall. From here, the production moves to Alabama, Miami and Atlanta.

"Disney on Ice presents Follow Your Heart" will be at Orlando's Amway Center for six performances: 7:30 p.m. Sept. 2; 11 a.m., 3 p.m. 7 p.m. Sept. 3; and 1 and 5 p.m. Sept. 4. Tickets are $18 to $100 and can be purchased at the Amway Center box office or through Ticketmaster. Every audience member 2 years and older is required to have a ticket.



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June 9, 2015

Disney on Ice revamps '100 Years of Magic' to include Frozen characters

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Feld Entertainment has announced it will be unveiling a new Disney on Ice production this fall – and, as is tradition, the national tour will kick off in Orlando. “100 Years of Magic” is coming to the Amway Center for six shows Sept. 4 to 6, and tickets can be purchased through a pre-sale now. (Code word: FREEZE)

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The initial announcement indicates that a variety of popular characters will be part of the show: “Be charmed by a cast of over 50, with Mouse-ter of Ceremonies Mickey Mouse, sweetheart Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy and Disney Princesses including Cinderella, Rapunzel, Ariel, Snow White and Tiana. Relive the magic of Disney’s “Frozen” with Anna, Elsa and the hilarious Olaf as they discover that true love is the greatest magic of all. Sing-along to over 30 unforgettable songs including “Let It Go,” “You’ve Got a Friend in Me,” and “Hakuna Matata.” Exciting moments from Disney-Pixar’s Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Disney’s The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and more will leave the whole family with memories to last a lifetime.”

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“100 Years of Magic” actually is a revamped version of the show that first debuted in 1999 as a celebration of what would have been Walt Disney’s birthday in 2001. The production, which was choreographed by Emmy Award winner Sarah Kawahara, has been overhauled several times since then to add new Disney characters.

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In 2014, Feld Entertainment brought the “Frozen” characters to its lineup with a production dedicated to retelling the wildly popular animated movie. The show is impressive with beautiful ice skating, amazing costumes, cool special effects and audience interaction. (You can read my full review here.) Now, the show’s stars – Elsa, Anna and Olaf – join the long-running production “100 Years of Magic,” which has a much broader look at Disney’s classic stories.

Disney on Ice continues its commitment to encouraging children to lead healthy lifestyles with Stonyfield YoKids Organic Yogurt as a sponsor and a Disney Magic of Healthy Living dance-along before each show.

Central Florida residents and visitors will be among the first to see the new “100 Years of Magic.” For years, Ellenton, Fla.-based Feld has used Lakeland and Orlando as a starting point for new Disney on Ice productions, and this tour is no exception. From here, the production moves to Virginia and Rhode Island.

Tickets go on sale to the public at 10 a.m. June 16 at the Amway Center box office or through Ticketmaster. Seats range from $25 to $100 plus fees per seat. “100 Years of Magic” is about two hours long, including an intermission.



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September 5, 2014

Review: Disney on Ice Presents Frozen

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"Frozen" fans are in for a cool treat with Feld Entertainment's newest Disney on Ice production. The show is making its worldwide debut in Orlando this weekend, and I was invited to preview it at the final dress rehearsal and media event.

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One of the hallmarks of all Disney on Ice shows is that no matter what the main story is, the production includes appearances by Mickey Mouse and Pals and the beloved Disney Princesses. To be sure, Feld knows its audiences. As much as my 9-year-old daughter loves "Frozen," she also was excited to see Ariel, her favorite princess. Mickey and Minnie Mouse host the retelling of the "Frozen" story. What do the classic Disney characters have to do with newcomers Elsa and Anna? A whole lot, it turns out, when the concept of true love is illustrated on ice.

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Speaking of characters, "Disney on Ice Presents Frozen" gives audiences their first look at some of the animated characters in real life. Perhaps the most exciting -- at least in my family -- was when Sven and Olaf each take the ice. The reindeer can be seen as a baby, with young Kristoff, and also as an adult pulling the sled. The show's creators even manage to illustrate the snowman's detachable parts. (Visitors to Disney Parks already have seen Elsa, Anna and adult Kristoff in parades or in person.) In addition, the secondary characters come to life in an impressive fashion. The trolls have elaborate costumes, and even Marshmallow, the giant monster, makes a commanding appearance.

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"Disney on Ice Presents Frozen" adapts the hit movie in a faithful depiction of the original. The audience is taken through the story, scene by scene. There are, of course, a few necessary changes that casual viewers may not even spot. My "Frozen" fans, though, were quick to tell me afterward that the "Love Is An Open Door" scene was out of order. They also pointed out that Anna tries to bribe Kristoff with carrot soup rather than bunches of carrots. These were amusing variances, though, and nothing that took away from the spectacular production. Friends who had never seen the movie -- gasp! -- had no trouble following this version of the popular story.

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The ice skating in this "Frozen" show is amazing, even without the story-telling. When Anna and Hans skate together, it's so beautifully choreographed that it is reminiscent of a pairs routine in a figure skating competition. It's impossible to look away from the graceful moves and tricks. Kristoff also surprises the audience with a skating stunt later in the show. We appreciated the skaters' use of small stages along the perimeter of the rink. When they stepped up (and out of the action), they were able to interact with audience members, which thrilled the kids. The characters alternate locations, engaging different segments of viewers.

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"Disney on Ice Presents Frozen" makes excellent use of props and special effects. One of the most effective is the set of uniquely shaped video screens anchored in the lighting equipment overhead. The screens, which can be seen from all sides of the arena, offer images that are like the changing sets on a stage. The creative use of ropes of lights makes viewers think they are seeing a running fountain on the ice and icicles in the air. Changing patterns and colors of lights on the ice also help set the mood. Who would have thought it could feel like summer in an ice rink during Olaf's big number? And if you think it's possible to have a Disney on Ice production without pyrotechnics, think again.

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"Disney on Ice Presents Frozen" has all the elements of a Broadway production and the appeal of a sing-along. (You'll even have the opportunity to belt out "Let It Go" more than once during the course of the show.) This show does not disappoint! If you have not purchased tickets for the sold-out shows this weekend in Orlando, you're in luck because additional seats have been released. You can purchase tickets at www.disneyonice.com. The production will tour nationally for most of 2015, and new dates continue to be added.

If you do attend a "Disney on Ice Presents Frozen," here is a look at some of the merchandise for sale. Audience members also can choose to have their faces painted to look like Frozen characters or participate in photo shoots, both for additional charges.

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DISCLAIMER: I was a guest of Feld Entertainment at the dress rehearsal of "Disney on Ice Presents Frozen." This did not affect my review; my opinions are my own.



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May 21, 2014

'Disney on Ice presents Frozen' to debut in Orlando in September

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From the beginning, its creators and movie critics said Disney's animated film "Frozen" was made for a large-scale, live production. Though some speculated Broadway would be first, it looks like Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, Sven and Olaf will take to the ice before the stage. Disney on Ice has just announced a new production for 2014 based on the movie "Frozen."

Feld Entertainment will launch its new show, "Disney on Ice presents Frozen" in Central Florida in September. Tickets go on sale to the public on June 3 through Ticketmaster, but pre-sale codes are available now. (Try "SPRING.")

Central Florida residents and visitors will be among the first to see the new "Frozen" adaptation. For years, Ellenton, Fla.-based Feld has used Lakeland and Orlando as a starting point for new Disney on Ice productions, and this tour is no exception. From here, the production moves to Rhode Island, Virginia and Tennessee.

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If you have "Frozen" fans at your house, you know the enchanting story of the royal sisters that centers on Elsa's spectacular powers. So, you can imagine that it will take some real Disney magic to recreate the forces that divide the sisters before love brings them back together. The New York Times reports that "patrons could expect a blizzard created by 20 snow machines, a stage inspired by a six-sided snowflake and towering video projection panels that, among other things, would simulate the movie's jagged North Mountains."

With such dynamic sets, the directors hope to recreate the emotional journey that the movie inspired in its audiences. In addition, they will rely on Frozen's popular music -- including the songs "Let it Go," "Do You Want to Build a Snowman?" and "Fixer Upper" -- to engage the viewers.

But, of course, the main attraction is the amazing performances by the professional skaters. I found it interesting that Patty Vincent, the director of "Frozen" on ice, told The New York Times that the Feld team worked closely with John Lasseter, chief creative officer at Walt Disney Animation Studios, and the film's directors and producers to choreograph the skating. Vincent was quoted as saying, "They helped us with Elsa's style of movement - balletic, vertical - and how it differs from Anna, who is more playful and horizontal."

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Typically, Disney on Ice shows feature a large cast of characters in various vignettes to appeal to a spectrum of fans, but "Disney on Ice presents Frozen" will mainly focus on the new hit. Still, viewers will briefly see Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse, who will introduce the show, and there will be special appearances by beloved Disney princesses and favorite characters from Disney/Pixar's "Toy Story" and "Finding Nemo" and Disney's "The Lion King."

"Disney on Ice presents Frozen" will be at Orlando's Amway Center for seven performances: 7:30 p.m. Sept. 5; 11 a.m., 3 p.m. 7 p.m. Sept. 6; and 11 a.m., 3 p.m., 6:30 p.m. Sept. 7. Tickets are $16 to $65 and can be purchased at the Amway Center box office or through Ticketmaster.

To find out about other Disney on Ice productions on tour, read my previous stories here and here.



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July 16, 2013

Disney on Ice: Princesses & Heroes tickets on sale for Orlando dates

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One of the longest-running and popular Disney On Ice productions, "Princesses & Heroes," is returning to Orlando in September, and tickets went on sale this weekend.

Feld Entertainment describes the show this way: "Join Ariel as she yearns to explore the world above the waves and Prince Eric breaks Ursula's slithering spell to reclaim his one true love. See Prince Philip defeat the evil Maleficent as she transforms herself into a fire-breathing dragon in a race against time to rescue Sleeping Beauty's Aurora. Be there to discover a whole new world with Jasmine and Aladdin. And, watch in awe as the dreams of Cinderella, Belle, Snow White, Rapunzel and Tiana all come true."

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It would appear that "Princesses & Heroes" has been slightly reworked since its inception in 2006 when my family saw it at Amway Arena. Back then, it was called "Princess Wishes: Princesses & Heroes." Rapuzel and Tiana were not part of the show because their animated movies had not yet hit the theaters, and they had not been named official Disney Princesses. Clearly, their overwhelming popularity has earned them roles in the production, replacing Mulan.

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In addition to beloved Disney characters, guests also can expect to see plenty of special effects -- from pyrotechnics when the dragon breathes fire to laser lighting to amazing acrobatics and tricks by the professional skaters.

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One of our favorite numbers was The Little Mermaid's "Under the Sea" because the upbeat song brings all of Ariel's friends out on the ice. Plus, a few lucky audience members were chosen to ride in a boat on the ice. (That might be a reason to splurge on the front-row seats!) And don't get up to go to the concession stand during Cinderella's story or you will miss her beautiful coach, which prompted "oohs" and "aahs" at our show.

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Mickey Mouse and Tinker Bell serve as presenters between the princess segments, creating seamless transitions. The production lasts about two hours and 15 minutes, which includes an intermission.

Disney On Ice: Princesses & Heroes takes place at Amway Center at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 13; 11 a.m., 3 and 7 p.m. Sept. 14; and 1 and 5 p.m. Sept. 14. Prices range from $8 to $55 plus fees per ticket, and everyone 2 years and older is required to have a ticket.

Looking for a discount? Audience members who sign up to be a preferred customer at DisneyOnIce.com can receive advance notice of tickets and exclusive offers.

January 3, 2013

Disney Live!: Mickey's Music Festival is coming to Florida cities in March

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The newest Disney Live! stage production, Mickey's Music Festival, returns to Florida in March, and some tickets already are on sale.

Mickey's Music Festival is an original story about -- what else? -- a music festival that features popular Disney songs remixed to rock, pop, reggae, hip-hop, jazz and country. More than 25 characters from "The Little Mermaid," "Aladdin" and Disney- Pixar's "Toy Story" join Mickey and his pals on stage for this performance.

On Saturday, March 2, the tour comes to the Tampa Bay Times Forum in Tampa, Florida, for one performance at 5:30 p.m. Tickets, which range from $15 to $50 plus service fees, go on sale to the general public at 10 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 18.

The production then travels across the state to Orlando, where Mickey's Music Festival will be performed the next day at the University of Central Florida Arena. There are two shows on Sunday, March 3 -- at 2:30 and 5:30 p.m. Those tickets are on sale now and also have the same price range. As of this publication, tickets still were available for floor seats. Children under the age of 1 year do not require a ticket, but they must sit on an adult's lap.

Looking for a discount? Audience members who sign up to be a preferred customer at DisneyLive.com can receive advance notice of tickets and exclusive offers.

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Mickey's Music Festival is a 90-minute production with a 15-minute intermission. Cameras and video-recording devices generally are allowed at this show as long as they do not interfere with other guests' viewing and the products are intended for personal use only.

Mickey's Music Festival debuted in 2010 in Spain, and the Feld Entertainment production has since toured the world. Feld Entertainment also produces the Disney on Ice shows, which also make an annual stop in Orlando, usually in September.

When my children were younger, we attended several Disney on Ice shows, but the stage production I remember best was one that spotlighted The Wiggles. We had excellent seats and my young son was completely mesmerized by the action. He sang every song and danced to many of them. When it came to an end, he clutched his gift bag and smiled the whole way home.

Here's a peek at what Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse have in store for upcoming audiences:


July 5, 2012

Disney On Ice brings new 'Rockin' Ever After' show to Orlando and Lakeland

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Disney On Ice is making its annual stop in Central Florida in September, and this time a new princess will be putting on her skates. Merida from Disney-Pixar's Brave joins other popular royalty in "Rockin' Ever After."

Feld Entertainment describes its latest show this way: "Jam to a Scottish jig as a group of royal contenders from the latest Disney-•Pixar film, Brave, competes for headstrong, sharp-shooting Merida, making her ice debut! Experience a show-stopping performance as Sebastian makes waves with Ariel. See a chorus of harmless hooligans from Tangled get a visit from the sassy and spirited Rapunzel and her charming ally Flynn. And, get your feet moving as the Beast and his enchanted entourage put on a spectacular show for Belle."

The show will be performed Aug. 31 and Sept. 1 in Lakeland at The Lakeland Center. Show times in Orlando at The Amway Center are 7:30 p.m. Sept. 7, 3:30 p.m. Sept. 8, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 8, 1 p.m. Sept. 9 and 5 p.m. Sept. 9.

Ticket prices range from $15 for balcony seats to $52 for front-row seats (taxes and fees not included). Pre-sales for returning customers are going on now, and tickets will go on sale to the general public on July 20 through Ticketmaster and the box office.

We took our kids to see a couple of Disney On Ice shows when they were younger, and we all really enjoyed the experiences. The producers and choreographers adeptly bring Disney stories to life, linking them together in one cohesive production. The sets are very realistic, too. In fact, one staple for many of the tours is Cinderella's carriage, which always prompts oohs and aahs from both the children and the adults.

The shows are designed to include audience participation, too. I'm certainly not talking about kids donning skates, though one show allowed a few lucky children to ride in a car of sorts on the ice. The performers do usually ask all the kids to help banish villains in different ways. For a show that included The Incredibles, children were given special red-and-black cuffs and asked to press a button on them at a key moment in the performance.

At the shows we attended, my children couldn't take their eyes off the performers because they didn't want to miss the next amazing skating stunt. In last year's "Dare to Dream" tour, the skaters even performed aerial acrobatics during the "Tangled" segment when Rapunzel lets down 2,000 feet of hair.

Disney On Ice stages about 1,200 performances annually in North America, and these shows truly offer kids a taste of the Disney magic.

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About Disney on Ice

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to A Mom and The Magic in the Disney on Ice category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Disney movie review is the previous category.

Disney online is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.