Disney on Ice: Dream Big – Review – Sheffield Arena
By Richard Jones, November 2018
The Walt Disney Company has been entertaining folks for 95 years now – just imagine the party that’s going to take place when the House of Mouse celebrates its 100th birthday in 2023.
So what is the secret to its enduring success? Down the years, there have been times when Disney looked in danger of falling behind other animation studios or, God forbid, going out of fashion.
However, like Pixar’s hopping desk lamp, Luxo Jr, it always seems to bounce back, and entertainment giant brings out a new film or venture that makes another generation of kids fall in love with its characters yet again.
In 2016, the studio released animated adventure Moana. Although it wasn’t quite the juggernaut success that Frozen was in 2013, the tale of the headstrong girl and the demigod Maui, captured the hearts of children and adults alike.
This current Disney On Ice tour, entitled ‘Dream Big’, is notable for featuring the triumphant debut of Moana. But having been to a fair few Disney On Ice shows down the years, I realise that it takes more than one leading character to keep the attention of thousands of kids for two hours.
Thankfully, the supporting cast for Moana and Maui on the rink in Sheffield was just as strong as it always has been. In previous tours, Disney On Ice has included sets from more male oriented tales such as Toy Story, Cars, Monsters Inc and The Incredibles. However, this more girly-orientated production was right up Evelyn and her friends’ alley.
“Courage and heart”
We arrived early for the show, and my daughter Evelyn and her friends Macey and Emily soon reacquainted themselves with old stagers Mickey and Minnie during the Fit To Dance segment. The three of them then sat transfixed as Tinkerbell introduced the show and a short celebration of Mickey and Minnie’s 90th Anniversary. Then, a procession of their favourite Disney characters skated onto the rink, telling eight inspiring short stories of courage and heart.
It began with a trip to Agrabah where we met Aladdin and Jasmine, before encounters with Belle from Beauty and the Beast, Rapunzel from Tangled, the aforementioned Moana and Maui, and The Little Mermaid herself, Ariel.
The enchanting adventures continued after the interval with Minnie and Mickey introducing villain Maleficent (in the form of a massive fire-breathing dragon), Aurora and Cinderella.
As in last year’s ‘Worlds of Enchantment’, the climax took place in Arendelle, where Anna, Elsa and Olaf appeared for in a dramatic re-telling of Frozen and the sisterly love that saved a kingdom.
Visually, Disney On Ice has really gone to town with ‘Dream Big’. There are cutting edge figure-skating, high-flying lifts, jumps and stunts, eye-catching costumes, stunning set designs, thrilling special effects and innovative lighting.
But despite all that, once again, it was the lovable cast of characters that the children and adults will never forget. With new seafaring characters Moana and Maui added to the enduring timeless tales, the creators of the show have pushed the boat out (literally).
They have Dreamed Big, and as Disney always seems to do, succeeded.