As the lights in the arena dim, thousands of little voices squeal in delight.
Next to me, my four-year-old is shouting louder than any of them. This is all she’s talked about for the last week, and finally – after picking out the perfect Disney dress (Ariel, of course), watching countless YouTube trailers, and stocking up on chocolate and a flashing wand to wave around - we’re in our seats, and the magic is about to begin.
Mickey and Minnie are the first to take to the ice and be greeted by their ecstatic little fans. For the next two hours the adorable pair introduce fairytale after fairytale – from classics like Sleeping Beauty and Aladdin, to the more recent blockbusters of Frozen and Moana – in a sea of lights, music, costumes and song. We gasp as real flames lick the ice as Moana battles Te Fiti, the goddess of fire, and there are even a few tears as Prince Philip takes on the evil Maleficent, but all is forgiven as Elsa transforms into an ice queen before our eyes in the fantastic re-telling of Frozen, and by the time the arena is transported ‘Under The Sea’ with Ariel, Sebastian and co, Imogen is dancing in delight in the aisle.
Disney On Ice presents ‘Dream Big’ is a brand new production, from Feld Entertainment, assembling a collection of inspiring stories connected by a cast of characters with a desire to explore the depths, heights and horizons of their dreams. Alongside Moana and demigod Maui are eight tales of courage and heart, including Frozen, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and Tangled.
Courage leads the way for Disney’s most daring heroines, in this brand-new ice skating spectacular, as its audience travel to the kingdom of Arendelle with everybody’s favourite sisters, jump into amazing adventures with Aladdin in the marketplace of Agrabah, and find the inner strength that comes from kindness and determination with Belle, Aurora and Cinderella.
“It was absolutely fantastic show from start to finish, filled with amazing skating, glitzy costumes and even fireworks!” reveals Sheffield mum Sarah Wiley, who along with husband Lee took their daughter Ella to the arena’s Sunday morning performance.
“I loved seeing the Disney magic through Ella’s eyes, especially her little face when her favourite Moana took to the ice. She was straight onto her feet dancing along to her current favourite Disney songs.
“I personally loved it when it was Ariel’s turn and relived my childhood singing along to all the classics from The Little Mermaid.
“Whatever your age the show is perfect for everyone and you can’t help but love Disney. We even had a few tears from Ella at the end because she didn’t want leave.”
Executive vice president and producer, Nicole Feld, said: “Having both a daughter and son at home, I knew it was important to present a variety of Disney stories as well as show the connection between these stories and illustrate how a journey can unfold in many ways.
“Our greatest wish for our guests is that they will be inspired by these tales of bravery and see that anything is possible if you follow your dreams. Many of the stories we’re presenting – like Cinderella and The Little Mermaid - have been around for generations and stand the test of time. Others, like Moana and Frozen, inspire a new generation of young girls through self-reliance and a belief in themselves.”
I remain in awe of the way Disney brings magic to the ice, bringing fantasies to life, and allowing even the adults in the audience to believe in the magic fairytales again, just for a little while…