Review: Disney on Ice Presents Frozen
"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.
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.
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.
"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.
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.
"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.
"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.
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.