We surprised my nieces with a trip to Disney on Ice: Princesses and Heroes at Wembley Arena this past weekend (their mum didn’t reveal where they were going until almost ‘curtain up’).
I was extremely grateful to the show’s PRs for arranging extra tickets so I could invite the ladies, as although Jed was excited about seeing Mickey on skates, my 6-year-old was decidedly ho hum beforehand.
‘I don’t like princesses,’ Ezra said. I promised lots of heroic action and tricks on ice skates but he was still lukewarm.
To be honest, I was somewhat grumbly myself after being hit by a barrage of merchandising before we entered the skating arena and having to pay hamburger prices for a box of not very fresh popcorn.
But then we took our seats, Tinkerbell glided out and sprinkled her fairy dust and I was a little girl again, caught up in the magic of Disney’s songs and stories unfolding before our eyes.
Any parent who’s attended a show aimed at little ones knows that close to 90% of your enjoyment comes from watching your kids’ faces. By the interval, I could tell Ezra was digging it even though he was trying to play it cool.
My 3-year-old was all about his idols, Mickey and Minnie, who came out several times to introduce each tale. When Goofy showed up, Jed was just one big grin.
And my nieces? Totally spellbound.
There were cheers when Aladdin’s genie popped out, boos for the sea-witch from the Little Mermaid and gasps for the dragon that breathed real fire onto the ice.
So far, so panto? Perhaps, but Disney kicks things up several notches with spectacular choreography, costumes and set design. And nothing beats the sight of iconic characters like Belle, Cinderella and the Seven Dwarves spinning their stuff.
The big show-stopping numbers included ‘Be our Guest’ with dancing candlestick and cutlery and ‘Under the Sea’ with skating mermaids, sea creatures and a cascade of bubbles from ceiling to floor.
After the grand finale and a sad-lipped Jed waving goodbye to Mickey and friends, the kids started competing over who enjoyed the show more.
‘I actually quite like princesses,’ Ezra said. Prince Charming, eat your heart out.
On our way out, the cousins had a blast playing in Arena Square.
Who needs a £14 glow wand when you can dance beside coloured fountains under the stars for free?
Visit the Disney on Ice: Princesses and Heroes web site for further details of their UK tour