Thursday, October 10, 2013

"Let's Celebrate" with Disney on Ice!

I have two great joys in this life: holidays, and Disney. This weekend, the two met serendipitously in a delicious(ly nostalgic) fondue pot of magic, memories, and impressive artistic expression... though, in all fairness, it's better known as Disney on Ice: Let's Celebrate, and last Saturday, my roommate and I joined the party with Mickey and Pals! I've been fascinated by figure skating and ice dancing since I was a young'un (many thanks to my family's intense devotion to all things Olympic), so my devotion to Disney's frozen displays was only a natural transition! Disney's ice shows are a great way to get your Mickey-fix when you're miles away from the happiest (or most magical) place on earth!

Disney's current cavalcade of shows runs the gamut of the company's casts of characters; audiences can traverse the Scottish highlands with the arrow-loosing Merida in Rockin' Ever After, fly to Neverland with Peter and Wendy in Passport to Adventure, or save the day with the Incredibles in the very special  100 Years of Magic. However, this weekend's show at Charlotte's Time Warner Cable Area (location compromised! Abort! Abort!) was (as the name would indicate) all about the celebrations! From an Unbirthday party to a Brazilian carnivale, beloved characters twirled their way through a party for the record books!

Primed and prepped for a magical party!

The show began with bombast, bright lights, and everyone's favorite candelabra inviting the audience to "Be Our Guest". Lumière was quickly joined by a parade of his best pals... and then some! The exquisite amount of work that goes into every Disney on Ice production was in full force- the artistry, the precision, and- best of all- the magic out on the stage was undeniable. Every celebration imaginable was represented in the show (Guys, there was a luau), but two segments really shone through.

A little snippet of the villains' Halloween bash!

The first standout paid a homage to the spooky,  marvelously macabre holiday that's on everyone's mind- Halloween, of course! Hosted by none other than Jack Skellington, this party was filled to the brim with frightful fun, set against a breathtaking backdrop of giant spider webs and ornate iron gates that could have been lifted from any creepy, abandoned mansion in the country (there are a lot of those, right?). Mr. Skellington welcomed the audience with a medley of Nightmare Before Christmas tunes before beginning a full-on scare-fest with notorious villains in droves, culminating in a ghoulish get-together of epic proportions!

While I had hoped that this segment might pay homage to the lesser known spooky stories in the Disney canon, like The Legend of Sleepy Hollow- how cool would it be to see the Headless Horseman out on the ice?-, or contain a nod to everyone's favorite "swingin' wake" from the Disney parks, I was pleasantly surprised by how well-executed and impeccably put-together it was. The Nightmare Before Christmas connection was done in a way that both honored the original film, but allowed the incorporation of other notorious ne'er-do-wells in the Disney-verse. However, the elements of this haunting holiday that I found to be perfectly adapted for the show may have proven a bit too much for younger audience members (parents covering their little ones' eyes became a standard sight as the section gained intensity), but- in true Disney fashion- Mickey and his pals swooped in to banish all of the baddies and save the day!
If you squint reeeeally hard, there are some princesses in there!

On the completely opposite end of the Celebration Spectrum (patent pending), the next section traded tricks for tiaras in a Valentine's Day celebration fit for royalty! With a premise not unlike that of the Princess portion of Dream Along With Mickey at the Magic Kingdom, Cinderella's Fairy Godmother led the audience through a fantastical parade of royal pairs, all of them teaching Minnie Mouse what it means to be a true princess, find her prince, and- most importantly- find herself. I found myself gasping with every twist, twirl, and lift as nearly every princess imaginable skated a graceful pas de deux with her prince. It was especially fun to see some heroines that don't get as much merchandising love as, say, Cinderella (read: I about died when Tiana and Naveen showed up in their Mardi Gras best). By the end of this romantic revelry, I had all but melted into a pile of sentimental goo... and that is just  how I like it!

I truly could not pay a sufficient number of compliments to this show, or to the Disney on Ice franchise as a whole. Let's Celebrate delivered the kind of magic and unadulterated joy that audiences expect from a Disney production, with a little extra "oomph" to top it all off!

Have you ever been to a Disney on Ice show? What did you think of it? I think Disney's ice shows are one of the best ways to pick up a pinch of pixie dust when you can't get to the Parks!

Have a magical day!
-Becca :)

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