A level of excitement reaching fever pitch was almost tangible in the car a couple of weeks ago as my friend and I set out to see the latest Disney On Ice offering at Manchester’s Phones4U arena with our respective five and seven-year-old charges.
“100 Years Of Magic” promised the audience to “bring to life characters from 18 beloved Disney stories and experience a skating spectacular you’ll remember for life”. It was a promise that was definitely delivered upon, and with extra bells and whistles for good measure.
Choreographed by the Emmy award winning Sarah Kawahara, the show’s mission was to take audiences on “an unforgettable, imaginative journey down a memory lane of classic and new Disney stories” in a spectacular show specially created for the 100 year birthday celebrations.
From the moment the first lovable character skated on to the ice, we were enthralled and enchanted. The old favourites were rolled out one after another, starting with Mickey and Minnie, then characters from Mulan, The Lion King, Pinocchio, Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Toy Story and many, many more.
As professional and sleek as ever, the show was enhanced by elaborate sets and beautiful costumes, the attention to detail being totally as you would expect from a Disney production.
The memorable score which accompanied the show was, to most parents in the audience, as familiar as the best known nursery rhymes (I, for one, having lived with these songs as the soundtrack to daily life for the past three years).
Scenic moments throughout the show were thoughtfully and amazingly executed, with head designer David Potts, who has created scenery for Broadway shows and countless films, making the castle the central feature of the set as he felt it the one iconic Disney image that “transcends the years and becomes the show’s unifying theme”.
Throughout the show, the characters were borne on set via spectacular floats, and more than a 100 scenic elements pieced the production together, from the infamous whale from Pinocchio (36 ft long and 12 ft wide), to a parade of motorized floats representing Asia, Europe, Russia, and Central America in the “It’s A Small World” segment, including more than 33 intricate and detailed moving dolls.
Let’s not kid ourselves, at over £100 for an average family week night ticket, Disney’s annual ice extravaganza does not come cheap and before we had been to the show ourselves, I was sceptical this sugar coated Princess-fest could offer any kind of value for money (and that was aside from the merchandise fortune I foresaw spending on the way in).
I have got to say it was worth every penny – not just to see our little one’s eyes light up and enjoy every second of the show, but also for the sheer effort, time and thought that has gone into making every minute of this production one to remember for life.