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A parent's review: 'Disney On Ice: Frozen'

Photo: jeremy wong/flickr

Entering into the Showare Center for Frozen On Ice, my four-year-old daughter and I joined swarms of Elsas of all sizes and ethnicities carrying dolls, masks, cotton candy and light-up wands.  They were getting their Frozen face paint, adjusting their tiaras and waving their snowflake wands and motorized scepters — all for sale for astronomical prices in the corridor. Regardless, the magical excitement on their faces was priceless. First word of advice: let your child bring a bunch of their Frozen paraphernalia from home. This might help you not spend next month’s paycheck on more Frozen accessories.  Just to be clear, my daughter wore regular clothes, and carried nothing in her arms; I took one look at her face all lit up and fell under the Disney spell. Before I knew it I had spent $30 on cotton candy with an attached Olaf mask and a snow cone in a plastic Frozen chalice. 

Moving past the entrance, we found our seats. We were seated on the side close to the floor but toward the back of what would be the ice stage. The Frozen soundtrack played as people filtered into their seats. The set captured the beautiful Nordic folk feel of the movie: think simple hand-painted designs and wooden structures for the village. It was simple, lovely and, quite frankly, a nice break from the frenzy of sales in the corridor.

As the show began, a number of Disney actor-skaters came out sans costumes to warm up the crowd with singing and dancing. This moment could have been cut,  because in reality, most of the audience was there to see the characters – and, more importantly, meet Elsa. 

Following this, a host of Disney characters emerged, including Mickey and Minnie, Woody and Buzz Lightyear, the Nemo characters and a handful of princesses to introduce the show.  They explained there are many different types of “love” in a “love story,” and also helped to get the wiggles out of the tinier audience members.  While I liked the movement for smaller kids, as an adult, the introduction left me wondering, “When is this thing going to start?”  Then, I suddenly glanced sideways at my daughter, whose jaw was already dropped. My daughter waved, laughed, pointed, and twisted in keeping with the characters’ instructions – and loved every minute of it. Your child will too.

Once the show began, it basically followed the movie’s plot in sequence. For someone who had never seen Frozen, I think the plot of the show would have seemed extremely thin or hard to follow – similar to reading a novel and then watching the made-for-TV movie. For those of us that have acted out all the major parts with our children a million times, it was fine; the hundreds of Elsas in the building watching wide-eyed didn’t notice or care that a verse was shaved here or there.

The characters looked great, for the most part, although the wigs were a little shoddy.  The human costumes were beautiful and colorful, with simple craft designs. And then there was Sven. I love Sven in the movie. He’s a perfect wingman: smart, funny, and with great timing. In the ice show, he looked enormous and disproportionate, with his tongue sticking out the entire time. It was hard for me to get over.  But then there was Marshmallow, who was awesome! He was inflated like the familiar massive air-filled holiday yard art and was driven around on the ice chasing the characters away from Elsa’s castle, a definite highlight.

I think I was expecting ice skating “lite” and I suppose that for the pros, it might be that, but for me, who watches ice-skating every four years during the Olympics, it was great  — complete with backflips, synchronized axels and fast spins with splits and kicks.  Lots of “ooohs” and “ahhhs” were heard from the audience.

The song performances were pretty good.  In general, we were far enough away that the lip-syncing didn’t bother me.  The only song that I had issues with was “If You Want to Build a Snowman.” I think it was the partly positioning of our seats and partly the set. The bed that sat onstage was tall, and we were off to the side so we couldn’t see some of what was happening. However, one of the song’s verses was left out. Of all the songs to shave, it shouldn’t be that one, given the audience and their absolute adoration of the song.  

On the other hand, “In Summer” was a fantastic spectacle, complete with a kick line and beach party flair.  Then came “Let It Go.”  I found myself simultaneously underwhelmed by Elsa’s performance and emotionally overwhelmed as I listened to hundreds of little girls belting out the song at top Idina volume. Their voices filled the arena. It was a very sweet moment.

For my daughter it was a magical and beautiful event.  As I put her in the car after the performance, she started crying for no apparent reason (she is four, after all). When I asked her what was wrong, she said, through her sobs, “I don’t want it to be over. I want this night to happen all over again.” And, “I really wanted that light up snowflake wand and we forgot to get it!” I kissed her, closed her door and turned on “Let It Go” at top volume as we exited the parking lot.

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