This year's show was Dare to Dream, featuring Tiana, Cinderella, and Rapunzel. It was basically just an abridged telling of each of their movies, linked together with scenes of the Fab Five (minus Pluto; maybe he's been demoted to dwarf-fabulous, ha ha ha). It started with The Princess and the Frog, so the Fab Five were in jazzy New Orleans costumes, and all the skaters came out and did a jazzy New Orleans number. I probably don't need to summarize the story, so suffice it to say that Tiana and Charlotte had a little talk to set up the story, and then Naveen came out and skated around with all his New Orleans friends (and he would always wave to the little girls in the audience when he got close to the edge of the ice). It was pretty cool, with jumps and things like you'd expect from figure skating, but the part where he and some other guys were "tap dancing" really just didn't work as well with ice skates. Or maybe it just seemed that way because we were so far in the back.
Then Dr. Facilier came out, and that guy was pretty awesome--the energy, and the posing. There's a picture of him in the program that's amazing. And then he turned Naveen into a puppet frog, and he stayed a puppet until he kissed Tiana, and then they were both people-in-suits frogs. The costumes, as expected, were amazing, and we really liked how they did the frog costumes--and all the other costumes. Ray was good, Mama Odie looked exactly like in the movie. It was pretty impressive. The spoonbill costumes were super awesome, and we wish the "Dig A Little Deeper" number had let them do some more fancy group skating than they did. I think they might have been to hung up on holding up their super cool costume wings.
It was really interesting to see how they abridged all the stories, and I'm not sure we agreed with all the choices, but since they were trying to fit three movies into less than two hours, we can understand. On the other hand, they could have saved time by not having Lewis at all, and then they would have maybe been able to fit a cool routine for "Goin' Down the Bayou" with all the fireflies. On the other hand, maybe after the spoonbills and some of the other crazy things they did, they didn't have any money in the budget for more firefly costumes. Firefly costumes do have to light up, after all. Anyway, despite that and the odd placement of "When I'm Human" (right after "Dig A Little Deeper"), we generally agreed that they did a good job abridging The Princess and the Frog, mainly because Tiana didn't have as much of a chance to be annoying, and she was forced to actually say out loud, "What I really need is Naveen," instead of telling her best friend Charlotte that it was wrong that Charlotte's dream should come true.
After they turned back and had a little finale, Mickey and friends came back out to say how much they liked it. We thought it was cute how Minnie was actually the one telling the stories, because the guy voicing Mickey is still very new (relative to the rest of the cast), so it was kind of like Minnie explaining to Mickey all the stuff he'd need to know. It was also fun how they tied each of the stories together, because it always (by which we mean "both times it happened") involved Goofy finding a significant prop. In this case, he found a glass slipper, and so they started telling the story of Cinderella.
The first part of the Cinderella bit was kind of hard to watch, because it was story story story, and didn't really have a balance between "let's move the story along" and "let's have an awesome skating number." It really made me think about the importance of different storytelling structures for different media. But then Cinderella transformed into her fancy ball gown, and they had these really fascinating horse costumes for drawing the coach, where it was one skater with a kind of wire frame shaped like a horse...It's kind of hard to describe, but it was really cool-looking. And then she went to the ball, and from there on it was done so well that we didn't mind so much about the first part.
The ball started with all the skaters coming out, and then they introduced the prince, who came out and did a skating solo. Then all the eligible maidens formed a line, and each one took a turn dancing with Prince Charming until Anastasia or Drizella would cut in (Anastasia literally jumped on him!), and inevitably end up falling on her rear on the ice. Then he'd go dance with the next eligible maiden. Until Cinderella showed up, and it was funny because she showed up in her full ball gown, but one very helpful or jealous eligible maiden came and helped remove or ripped off Cinderella's skirt so she could actually skate around. Then Cinderella and Prince Charming had a skating duet to "So This Is Love," which they had a new recording of (probably so the voices would match, since they obviously needed new people to do the adapted dialogue), and it was a Prince Charming solo that we wish the singer had warmed up for better. Then the clock struck midnight, and with not even a word of apology to Charming, Cinderella skated off in a zig-zaggy fashion to help the audience realize she was running away. And the prince was like, "I must find her!" and then it was time for intermission.
After the intermission, Prince Charming and the Grand Duke called for the royal guard to help them search for the missing maiden. It seems a rather inefficient way to search, because unless each one of them had a cast of the shoe with which to check the maidens' feet, really only one person could do the searching anyway. But they had a pretty fun group skate number, so, y'know. It's cool. So they searched, and they tried the slipper on a couple of little girls from the audience (so jealous). And then there was only one house left to search, and they tried the slipper on Anastasia and Drizella, and Athena was like, "They'll have a really hard time fitting it on over those skates." Then when Cinderella came out, and the slipper broke but she had the other one, then they put it on and suddenly one of her skates really was sparklier than the other! She even held her foot up so everyone could see she was wearing the slipper.
Then they had a little mini finale, and Mickey and Friends came out and were so happy for Cinderella, and Goofy was especially glad that she got to be a princess, with a crown and everything--like this crown over here! After chastising Goofy for picking up crowns that don't belong to him, they put the crown on a pedestal behind them and came to the front of the stage to discuss a wanted poster for Flynn Rider: Thief that had just dropped from the ceiling, and said we should all watch out for him. Meanwhile, he was in the back, dropping from the ceiling in his (successful) attempt to steal the crown! So then Minnie started telling us all about Rapunzel.
The best parts of the Rapunzel story were the "I've Got a Dream" sequence and the "When Will My Life Begin (Reprise (only it wasn't a reprise here because they didn't do the first one))" sequence. The first one was an amazing ensemble number that was a ton of fun. Only there was way too much to look at--over there, one guy's doing cartwheel's; on the table there's a guy doing a handstand; over there, there's a thug with a girl thug just draped over his head! What the heck! And the second one...oh my goodness the second one.
Okay, so to represent Rapunzel's long hair, since she obviously can't skate around with seventy feet of hair, they had a long piece of fabric draped from the lighting fixtures over the stage, in two parts. There was the one part that just circled above the stage, and the other part that hung from a hook...and Rapunzel and Flynn used it to do aerial ballet. It wasn't super complex aerial ballet, but it was still pretty amazing to watch her grab the ends of the fabric and start skating around in circles with the cloth flowing all pretty behind her, until she suddenly lifts off the ice! It was amazing! And she and Flynn did a few stunts like that. There was one where he took the "hair," and wrapped it around just so, and then she got up and sat on his arm, and they went around in the air like that. Oh man, it was so great.
The adaptation of Tangled was a little strange because they wanted to save "See the Light" for the mini-finale. So Gothel shows up and sings "Mother Knows Best (Reprise (and it really was a reprise this time))," and suddenly Rapunzel is sitting in the tower again (which you know because the mysterious cloaked stage ninjas (they really had mysterious cloaks; it was kind of awesome) have put all the tower furniture back on the stage), and Gothel's like, "See, it never happened." And Rapunzel was talking to Pascal (who is red now, which is awesome) about how it wasn't a total bust--she got to see the outside world, see the floating lanterns... And we were like, "Hey! We didn't get to see the floating lanterns!" And we realized that they were probably saving that scene for the mini-finale, but sometimes non-linear narrative can be annoying. But anyway, the skater who played Flynn was really awesome, because when he came to save Rapunzel and got stabbed in the back, he always acted like it was his back that got stabbed (unlike in the movie, where suddenly the injury has magically transferred to the front of his body (or maybe it was just the blood, because he got stabbed in the side, and his clothes have a strange absorbent property that causes liquid to move up instead of down...yeah, let's go with that)). And then when he cut Rapunzel's hair, all the fabric hanging from the ceiling dropped! It was a really cool effect. And then, since there wasn't quite enough fog, we saw Mother Gothel take off her cloak and drop it before jumping down the trapdoor to her stage death.
Then we finally got to see "See the Light," and they had a girl from the audience help them send up the first lantern, and we were like, "Aww, that's cute (jealous)." And then! Rapunzel hugged her, and we were like, "Yeah, that makes sense (jealous)." And then Flynn hugged her, and we were like, "!!!! JEALOUS!!!!" It's interesting how much I think I like Flynn, even though I'm well aware of the fact that I like Rapunzel much better as a character, and in fact I occasionally find Flynn to be just a little annoying.
Finally, they had the grand finale, and the odd structure that had been at the back of the stage the whole time opened up and it had two staircases, with skating pairs standing all along them, and on the left one, there was a skater whose dress looked very much like Belle's (only paler), and one whose dress looked like Sleeping Beauty's (only white), and one who was wearing clothes with a very Chinese flavor to them. I thought, "They're missing somebody..." and Athena thought, "I don't see any red hair!!" But Mickey said they had some special guests to help celebrate the return of the Lost Princess (Rapunzel, whose hair had magically grown back to long and blonde), and Belle and her prince (who once again was not a beast; this is one reason we love Disney on Ice) skated out, followed by Snow White and her prince, and I was like, "Oh yeah! Snow White!" Sometimes I fail. And each of the princesses (except Pocahontas, and of course Eillonwy and Kida, but not even Disney cares about them) skate out with her prince, and they had a big number to "Something That I Want" from the end credits to Tangled.
It was really great, because they were all wearing white and gold, and there was one part where they did a kind of promenade thing, and each couple skated down the promenade, dancing to the music, but in their own style. So for example, Aladdin and Jasmine held their arms up in a kind of fake belly dancing style, and Eric and Ariel did the Swim. I guess they didn't know what they could do for a Chinese dance style, because Shang picked Mulan up and they did a fancy ice skating thing. (At least Athena seems to remember it being Shang and Mulan...and I don't remember at all. There was just so much to watch!!!)
And, to quote Princess Jasmine, "It's all so magical♪" We were very happy at the end. I wish a DVD of the grand finale came with the program. We did buy a program (but before the show, because we already knew we wanted one), and it came with a kind of jazzy New Orleans hat...I think it was a fedora...only made of sparkly purple plastic...and it also came with a cloth flower like the one that gave Rapunzel her powers. I also bought a flag, because they were selling ones that looked like the one Rapunzel bought in her movie. It makes me happy.
Today I'm thankful for getting to see another great Disney on Ice show, programs with pretty pictures (there's one of Rapunzel and Flynn like in the touching scene at the movie's climax, and we're like, "Hey! That's not how it happened in the show! ...But thank you!"), sparkly finales, aerial ballet, and having definite plans for chocolate fondue.