A whole new world… of ice.
Last week, my husband, toddler (plus favourite teddy bear) and myself braved the M25 to go and see the ice skating spectacle Disney on Ice, Worlds of Fantasy at Wembley Arena.
We weren’t sure if Olivia, our nearly 3-year-old, would sit still for the whole of the show but decided to risk it.
We were lucky enough to get front row seats and, when we got there, were surprised to find just how close to the ice rink we were. Both my hubby and I thought there’d be a barrier separating the audience from the skaters but there was no such thing. I think this ultimately helped to keep our little girl engaged with the show because there was nothing to obstruct her view.
Although our little girl is potty trained and rarely has accidents, I insisted that we needed to take a potty with us. My husband thought it highly embarrassing, especially as it seemed like we were the only people there carrying one around, but I was adamant that I wouldn’t let Olivia be caught short (let’s face it ladies, we all know how long those toilet queues can get). It’s definitely one of those things that I don’t want to be without at the moment and it turned out to be much needed while we were there.
Once we’d arrived at Wembley Arena, we slowly meandered through the crowd and around the many stalls in the foyer and made it to our seats.
I don’t think Olivia really knew what to make of it all, but as soon as Mickey and Minnie Mouse skated onto the ice, she was spellbound.
Mickey and Minnie, along with Donald Duck and Goofy, were our guides through the different ‘worlds of fantasy’ – Cars, The Little Mermaid, Tinkerbell and Toy Story. Each one, apart from Cars, told us a condensed version of the film (no mean feat!).
We saw 3 ‘worlds’ in the first half: Cars, The Little Mermaid and Tinkerbell.
Cars was first and involved the main cast of characters coming into the ice rink to try and fix Mickey and Minnie’s car. They ended up having a race (basically, a drive around the ice rink) and they were driving in circles so close to each other that I was certain it would end in a crash for some sort.
It didn’t though; the cars were controlled extremely well considering it was all done on ice.
I thought the cars were operated by remote control but my hubby assured me that he could see darkly dressed skaters inside each one, steering them from within.
Next came The Little Mermaid with all the great sing-a-long songs and fantastic skating by Ariel and Prince Eric. Olivia was captivated by this one; some of the characters came right up to our corner and bubbles starting falling from the ceiling during the Under the Sea song.
Then it was Tinkerbell’s turn. We’re not that familiar with this film so it was fairly new to us. It started with a fairy ‘flying’ above the rink – on wires obviously! – and again, there was great skating involved.
The first half was just about long enough; our little girl was starting to get a little bored towards the end so we were grateful for the opportunity to take her for a walk and have a toilet break.
The second half of the show was reserved exclusively for Toy Story 3. Olivia was so shy when Woody came out onto the ice that she hid behind her teddy bear, her eyes peaking out from above his old, worn head.
I wasn’t sure how they were going to tell this story, especially the interactions between Andy and his toys, but it was wonderful to watch.
What did we think of Disney on Ice?
All in all, I was blown away by the quality of the show. All voices sounded authentic – although surely they couldn’t have made Owen Wilson, Tom Hanks et al record the voices… could they?? – and the ice skaters were perfectly choreographed.
I really enjoyed how the skaters threw all their energy and enthusiasm into their roles, making it so much more enjoyable. It’s exactly what you would expect from a Disney production.
Were there any bad points? Not really, although I was surprised that more wasn’t made of Cars, particularly as the sequel came out this year.
Equally, with The Lion King back in cinemas, my husband thought part of the show might have been about that, to encourage people to go and see the film. I suppose the world of The Lion King isn’t really a ‘world of fantasy’ though and it’s also nice that they didn’t use the show to plug any new or recent film releases. It felt much more like we were enjoying the highlights of old favourites.
Would I recommend a Disney on Ice show based on this one? Yes, I sure would.
Tips for keeping a pre-schooler entertained during a live show.
If you’re thinking of taking a 2- or 3-year-old to a show like this, here are some tips based on what worked for me:
- Take their favourite toy (as long as it’s not too big!)
- Try and make sure their view isn’t blocked
- Talk to them throughout the show about what’s happening to try and keep them interested
- Take a potty in case of emergencies
- Take them for a walk when you can
- Occupy them with a drink and some treats
- Above all, be flexible!
No invitation was given to attend this event and no payment was received for this review. I simply wrote this review because I thought it might be useful for other families thinking about going. All views and opinions expressed are my own.