If there’s one thing Disney knows how to do, it’s make you feel like a kid all over again.
When my wife and I took our daughters to The Palace of Auburn Hills, home of the Detroit Pistons, last night to see Disney On Ice: Dare to Dream, we half expected to sit and watch our kids’ faces light up when they saw their favorite princess come skating out with one eye while watching the clock with the other. This was going to be one of those, “We’re only doing this for the kids” sort of thing, when in reality it turned out to be quite the opposite. Now that it’s over, I really wish it were Groundhog Day. I’m not ashamed to admit that we were so impressed we’d gladly go back to experience the show all over again – with or without kids.
The two plus hour show was just the right amount of time for the story of The Princess and the Frog, Cinderella, and of course, Tangled. And the much needed potty break in the middle gave the kids enough time to make it through the line and back to their seat before the second half kicked off. Well, at least one of my girls anyway. She said she didn’t need to pee during intermission, so my wife took our other daughter and started making her way up the stairs. Not more than 45-seconds later, she tells me she changed her mind and she does have to go now. Wife returns and is not so pleasantly surprised that she needs to make another visit to the little girls’ room as the show begins again. Remind me again why we potty train kids.
Back to the actual performances. The Frog Princesses’ dialog was reminiscent of Bane from The Dark Knight Rises in that it was almost indecipherable. Actions speak louder than words though (just ask Bruce Wayne) and the story progressed with a magical transformation from waitress to amphibian and back again. The kids jumped up and down in their seats and clapped their hands to the sounds of the Bayou.
Next up – Cinderella, man. I hated this movie growing up as a kid, probably mostly because my sister loved it. Nevertheless, I was impressed with the choreography, timing, and overall entertainment of this story. It was nice to have a little interaction between the actors and the audience as the Fairy Godmother claimed to have forgotten the magic words and asked the kids in attendance if they remembered what they were. Ask and ye shall receive – LOUDLY!
The main event of the evening was the story of Rapunzel. I’ve never seen so many kids simultaneously lose their minds. I imagine the reaction to seeing Disney’s newest superstar is the same as watching your team come from behind with a last-second miracle to win the Super Bowl. The Palace hasn’t been that loud since Chauncey Billups was in the lineup.
Tangled is in my Top 5 list of favorite Disney movies and for good reason. The comedy is timely, the songs are catchy, and the story is full of heart. The ice skating performers captured all three with impeccable choreography and death defying aerial acrobatics. No, not under the sea, Little Mermaid stuff. The up in the air, Cirque du Soleil stuff. You could ask a hundred kids who saw the show last night and they’d all tell you their favorite part was watching Rapunzel and Flynn Rider being caught up in the air whilst flying around the arena. And I thought I’d be bored. What was I thinking?
At the end of the night when the smoke had cleared and lights came back on, we made our way up the popcorn covered stairs. Looking down at my daughters’ faces it was clear to see that this would be a night not soon forgotten. I asked my little princesses if the show was cool and the said, “No, this is awesome!” I shared the sparkle in their eye, spring in their step, and the overflowing of excitement in their voice. If there’s one thing Disney does right, it’s making you feel like a kid all over again.
Check out the highlights below and click here for a list of local listings.