Disney on Ice makes music, stories come alive for audience

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Disney on Ice came to Fort Wayne, Indiana for shows that lasted from March 1 to March 4. On March 3, 2018, the long-running show had three shows at the Allen County Memorial Coliseum. Disney on Ice continues to attract thousands of attendees. When adults might grow cynical about Disney’s ability to entertain, the kids showed that the company was doing everything right.

Disney on Ice – – briefly

The traveling show known as Disney on Ice started out as Walt Disney’s World on Ice in 1981. By 1998, the name changed to Disney on Ice, and the name remains intact 20 years later. The attraction of the show is the combination of ice skating, Disney characters, and music. The music is a combination of popular music and music from the various Disney shows and movies.

The show is produced by Field Entertainment’s Ice Follies and Holiday on Ice, through a partnership with the Walt Disney Company. Since 2008, the company has created a new show to tour the country every year.

Disney on Ice – – the experience

This year, the commercials made some little girls believe that every Disney princess would be represented on skates. That wasn’t accurate, and at the event, at least one young attendee wondered where the other princesses were. But that was the only complaint, that and the length of the event. For children who are completely taken in by the foggy effects, the light pyrotechnics that is more fireworks than actual replications of fire or true explosions, and the fake snow and all the rest of it, Disney on Ice was a consuming experience that couldn’t have been long enough in two hours. The show was divided into halves, with a 15-minute intermission.

The show began with an unseen announcer introducing Mickey Mouse and Minnie. The famous rodent skated onto the arena floor to the high-energy sound of Tony Basil’s “Mickey.” What sounded like recorded voices served as the voices of the characters, who then lip-synched their lines. In one of the first acts, before the “Little Mermaid” portion, a number of mermaids were set free upon the ice. Each wore a slightly different theme on her head. One had a starfish, one a seashell. The others were difficult to make out. When Ariel came out and performed not only dizzying skating routines but also spun on a suspended duo of ropes. The sheer number of turns made children “ooh and aah.” Ariel and the other mermaids posed and worked through choreography set to a cover version of Madonna’s “Vogue.” When they engaged in an all-out skate, “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.”

While the pop songs might have appealed to the adults in the audience, it was the theme of the ever-popular “Frozen” that proved to be overwhelmingly popular. Without prompting from the characters or their parents, as soon as the Elsa character began her song, children from different parts of the arena began to sing, loudly. They didn’t just sing the chorus, but the verses, too. In the dark, with the only light the pastel neon shifting over the ice rink, small, high voices began to sing each word. A little boy seated behind me shouted in an emotional voice. The children’s performance seemed to indicate that the song meant something to them. The song couldn’t have been better performed if they had practiced together. The result was rather awe-inspiring. Is this what the magic of Disney looks and sounds like now?

The effect of the show on children made adults forget, temporarily anyway, about the $20 programs and coloring books (that were sold together, but not physically packaged together), the $15 bags of cotton candy and similarly overpriced concessions. Oh, well. At least the sense of wonder was free.

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