by MIKE CHAIKEN
You could call it the fidget scale.
When I attend a family show, like I did when I went to “Disney on Ice presents Dream Big” on Saturday at the XL Center in Hartford, I keep an eye on the audience around me. I look at the grandparents. I look at the parents. And I look at the kids.
As I watch the show, not only do I figure out whether or not I’m entertained by the show, I try to see how it grabs the attention of everyone around me.
Are the parents checking their cellphones? Are they texting their friends or family?
Are the kids bouncing around in their seat? Are they tugging the shirt sleeve of their mommy to take them to the bathroom or to get them another snow cone… or to go home?
None of that was happening. All eyes Saturday were on the ice as the stories of Disney’s favorite princesses… Jasmine, Belle, Ariel, Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Snow White Tinker Bell, Tiana… and, most importantly for the audience, Elsa and Anna—were brought to life.
The evening flows in a series of segments that showcases the princesses and their heroes throughout the night.
The show was amazingly even-paced. There really were no slow spots and the creative team structured the segments in a way that kept the audience engaged.
There was plenty of beautiful skating. There were a lot of special effects. (I especially enjoyed the dragon used in the “Sleeping Beauty” segment.) There were colorful creative costumes (“Ursula” from “The Little Mermaid” was especially ingenious). There were plenty of laughs. There were plenty of great songs from the Disney catalogue.
There were plenty of moments that evoked the kid in everyone—no matter their age.
The Disney on Ice people also were smart enough to dedicate a good portion of the second half of the show to the royal sisters of “Frozen.”
Given the number of Elsa costumes and Olaf hats in the audience, it was clear “Frozen” was the big draw for the afternoon. And everyone involved in bringing Arendelle to the ice delivered. The cast did a fabulous job of bringing the animated film to life. And the skating to the moving music from the movie was enough to keep your attention.
In terms of the fidget factor, “Disney on Ice presents Dream Big” was a hit.
And from a personal point of view, the afternoon watching the Disney characters hit the ice was delightful.