It was always expected that Disney on Ice would bring an ice skating extravaganza every year but this year we will be treated to two different shows. In October, we will see the arrival of the new show “Worlds of Fantasy” but coming back for a re-run for the February half term in Birmingham was Disney on Ice: Disneyland Adventure. The show begins on a normal morning at the Disneyland Park and the gates open to welcome guests to the vibrant Main Street USA. We are welcomed by Cast Members, tourist and characters alike as they all sing and skate to a foot-tapping rendition of “Dancing in the Street”. One by one, the Fab Five are introduced to a rousing cheer for the half filled auditorium. The amount of noise made by such a small audience for the venue showed that this was going to be a magical afternoon.

As the story begins to unfold we discover that Mickey and the gang have always wanted to enjoy Disneyland just like ever other guests and decide that they will take the day off to tour the park just like everyone else. The good news, we can tag along too! It is from this point onwards that we are drawn in to classic attraction after classic attraction. Each one comes at your with the pace you expect for a Disney show and with the same enthusiasm and energy too. We begin in Adventureland and enjoy a rendition of the Enchanted Tiki Room before moving on to other greats including The Jungle Cruise, Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain and The Haunted Mansion. For those of you that are big Disney nerds the attention to detail is amazing. There are lines taken directly from the attractions themselves as well as some great, although subtle, moments when they parody themselves.

It is wonderful to see Feld Entertainment (the owners of Disney on Ice) carefully planning all of the details to make it as authentic as it can be away from the parks. Although their shows have always been good quality they have often been guilty of putting the skating spectacle in front of the family entertainment and storyline. In Disneyland Adventure, this is not the case. The first half of the show sets up everything that will unfold in the second half.

It is good to see The Incredibles getting a much larger role in the show. On Disney on Ice’s last tour, “100 Year’s of Magic”, the characters were horribly shoe horned in to the show and it seems the scene was taken directly from this tour. I have to say, it fits in to this show so much better as The Incredibles becomes the stars of the second half.

As Act 1 draws to a close and the Fab Five have enjoyed a whistle stop tour of the park, they prepare for the afternoon parade. It all starts well and characters galore parade across the ice until Maleficent appears and cast a spell resulting in both Donald and Minnie pricking their fingers on a spinning wheel and falling into a deep, deep sleep.

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The second act sees the Parr family—Bob, Helen, Violet, Dash and Jack-Jack—attempt to be a “normal” family as they enjoy Disney’s most popular theme park attractions and meet all Disney characters although it isn’t long before Mickey ropes them in to helping recover the missing Donald and Minnie. Well, they are The Incredibles after all! They agree to help by using their superpowers to defeat Maleficent and return the park to normal. It is here we see the show take a sinister twist with the dolls of it’s a small world turning on the family as well as the Pirates of the Caribbean placing Mickey, Pluto and Goofy in perilous danger. The writers use the transition of seaside pirate town to blazing inferno cleverly here. All that was missing was the shout of “We wants the Red Head!”

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As with every show there are always a good number of pros and cons. Disneyland Adventure includes a huge number of characters in one show. As many as I remember seeing in the past. Classic characters have been interwoven into attractions they don’t already exist in to add that family friendly element. We find Buzz Lightyear lurking in Space Mountain (after an impressive entrance may I add!) and Woody and Jessie helping to tame the runaway mine train of Big Thunder Mountain. There were also expansions on a theme with the Jungle Cruise using elements of the song “Never Smile at a Crocodile” and Alice taking centre stage for the Mad Hatter’s Tea Cup sequence.

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The first half of the show was fast paced and varied. The structure meant you never knew where you were going next until it actually happened. The past two shows Disney on Ice toured to the UK (100 Years of Magic and Princess Wishes) have a huge Princess presence. The shows, as we expected, were top quality but they both focused mainly on the Princesses or the opportunity for a Duet dance upon the Ice. It lacked story and therefore lacked what Disney does best. I am so pleased to see that this has story in abundance. I’m not saying that the storyline is complex of extensive. It is actually simple to follow it just seems to work. Because of that, it helps the show lift above the two I mentioned previously. It shows that, as the Imagineer’s always said, story matters.

There is one sequence I have yet to mention and that is the brilliantly creative Haunted Mansion. Done in a way that represented “family scary” without taking away the authenticity of the mansion, this sequence pleased and delighted. I must add here that it is my favourite attraction in the whole of Disney history so I may be a little biased but the whole thing from start to finish was mesmerizing. From the stretching portrait, the recreation of the Ghosts Hosts voice to the dance sequence. I wanted to stand and applaud for that bit alone.

Although the first half was pacey and full of high energy the 45 minutes flew by. It left us wondering just what attractions they were going to bring out in part 2. My question was answered in the first 10 minutes. Two. The second half of the show left the uniqueness of the first half behind. After we departed from Pirates of the Caribbean we could have left the park too, as there was very little reference to any of the attractions or their icons during most of the second half. Instead, we joined the Incredibles on their adventure rescuing the character we lost at the end of Act 1. Although it was still very enjoyable to watch I felt it lost a lot of the charm it had created in Act 1. The Disney attraction geek inside me got a little bored.

Having said all that, congratulation needs to be given to Feld Entertainment on being brave enough to create a whole new storyline never before seen in a Disney movie. I say Disney movie because with Maleficent as the evil leader and the other attractions coming to her aid I couldn’t help replaying the first Kingdom Keepers book in my head.

My biggest negative actually has nothing to do with the show itself but with what else comes with it. We all know that merchandise is a huge revenue stream for a show such as this but the prices of souvenirs were outrageous. It still amazes me that parents will spend £12 on a plastic sword and that popcorn in a plastic tub is really worth £7. A £9 programme, although well produced, is far more than you would pay in the West End and £9 for Candy Floss with an ear hat, well, the less the said about that the better!

This show has stood the test of time. Having last toured the UK in 2007, the show still seems as fresh as it was then. Unlike previous shows this appeals to the Disney movie fan, the Disney live show fan and, unlike most of the previous tours, the Disney theme park fan too. I can’t recommend the show highly enough. It is a great family trip out and well worth the price of admission.

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Disney on Ice is still touring the UK and the remaining dates and prices can be found below.

Liverpool Echo Arena
Wednesday 2nd March – Sunday 6th March 2011

Dates and times Front Row VIP 1st price 2nd Price
Wednesday 2nd March 7.00pm £ 35.00 £ 30.00 £ 16.00 £ 11.00
Thursday 3rd March 7.00pm £ 35.00 £ 30.00 £ 16.00 £ 11.00
Friday 4th March 7.00pm £ 35.00 £ 30.00 £ 16.00 £ 11.00
Saturday 5th March 11.00am £ 35.00 £ 30.00 £ 21.00 £ 18.00
Saturday 5th March 2.45pm £ 35.00 £ 30.00 £ 21.00 £ 18.00
Saturday 5th March 6.30pm £ 35.00 £ 30.00 £ 20.00 £ 16.00
Sunday 6th March 11.00am £ 35.00 £ 30.00 £ 21.00 £ 18.00
Sunday 6th March 2.45pm £ 35.00 £ 30.00 £ 21.00 £ 18.00
Sunday 6th March 6.30pm £ 35.00 £ 30.00 £ 20.00 £ 16.00

London Wembley Arena
Wednesday 9th March – Sunday 13th March 2011

Dates and times Front Row VIP 1st price 2nd Price
Wednesday 9th March 7.00pm £ 45.00 £ 38.00 £ 24.00 £ 16.00
Thursday 10th March 7.00pm £ 45.00 £ 38.00 £ 24.00 £ 16.00
Friday 11th March 7.00pm £ 45.00 £ 38.00 £ 24.00 £ 16.00
Saturday 12th March 11.00am £ 45.00 £ 38.00 £ 29.00 £ 25.00
Saturday 12th March 2.45pm £ 45.00 £ 38.00 £ 29.00 £ 25.00
Saturday 12th March 6.30pm £ 45.00 £ 38.00 £ 28.00 £ 23.00
Sunday 13th March 11.00am £ 45.00 £ 38.00 £ 29.00 £ 25.00
Sunday 13th March 2.45pm £ 45.00 £ 38.00 £ 29.00 £ 25.00
Sunday 13th March 6.30pm £ 45.00 £ 38.00 £ 28.00 £ 23.00

Aberdeen AECC 
Wednesday 16th March – Sunday 20th March 2011

Dates and times Front Row VIP 1st price 2nd Price
Wednesday 16th March 7.00pm £ 35.00 £ 30.00 £ 16.00 £ 11.00
Thursday 17th March 7.00pm £ 35.00 £ 30.00 £ 16.00 £ 11.00
Friday 18th March 7.00pm £ 35.00 £ 30.00 £ 16.00 £ 11.00
Saturday 19th March 11.00am £ 35.00 £ 30.00 £ 21.00 £ 18.00
Saturday 19th March 2.45pm £ 35.00 £30.00 £ 21.00 £ 18.00
Saturday 19th March 6.30pm £ 35.00 £ 30.00 £ 20.00 £ 16.00
Sunday 20th March 11.00am £ 35.00 £ 30.00 £ 21.00 £ 18.00
Sunday 20th March 2.45pm £ 35.00 £ 30.00 £ 21.00 £ 18.00
Sunday 20th March 6.30pm £ 35.00 £ 30.00 £ 20.00 £ 16.00

Motorpoint Arena – Sheffield
Friday 25th March – Sunday 27 March 2011

Dates and times Front Row VIP 1st price 2nd Price
Friday 25th March 7.00pm £ 35.00 £ 30.00 £ 16.00 £ 11.00
Saturday 26th March 11.00am £ 35.00 £ 30.00 £ 21.00 £ 18.00
Saturday 26th March 2.45pm £ 35.00 £ 30.00 £ 21.00 £ 18.00
Saturday 26th March 6.30pm £ 35.00 £ 30.00 £ 20.00 £ 16.00
Sunday 27th March 11.00am £ 35.00 £ 30.00 £ 21.00 £ 18.00
Sunday 27th March 2.45pm £ 35.00 £ 30.00 £ 21.00 £ 18.00
Sunday 27th March 6.30pm £ 35.00 £ 30.00 £ 20.00 £ 16.00