Australia’s winter staple is back and better than ever! Disney On Ice has returned for their new show ‘100 Years of Wonder’ to celebrate Disney’s 100th anniversary. Admittedly, I’ve been to my fair share of Disney on Ice shows and this by far exceeds all of them. Feld Entertainment have really outdone themselves, essentially reinventing the concept.
For this year’s Disney on Ice, hosted by Isabella Newhuis and Benjamin Toedte otherwise known as ‘Isabella & Benji’, together with Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and Goofy, we are taken on an adventure through the Disney universe, journeying to some of our favourite worlds. At the same time, we are collectively on a mission to rescue poor Tinkerbell who had her wand stolen and has been locked in a lantern by Captain Hook’s pirates from Peter Pan.
The only way to save her? Solve the clues by collecting magical items to fill the magic metre! From Aladdin’s lamp, the magic rose from Beauty and the Beast, to even Miguel’s guitar in Coco. Every little thing led to a new segment which exceeded the one before. It was magical, immersive, exciting, and inspired beaming smiles of all ages across the venue.
The main backdrop this time wasn’t a castle. Instead, it was a backdrop that mostly consisted of a giant screen which used projection to set the scene for each performance. And who needs a castle when the setting can include concept art and even scenes from the movies? Not just the backdrop, but even the ice that the performers skated on had projection. This is something I have never seen at Disney on Ice before, and using this technology in their shows has only brought Disney on Ice to a whole new level.
After an opening number which consisted of trampoline tricks and an introduction to ‘Mickey’s Crew’, we are then taken on our adventure. First up on the magic sphere was Beauty and the Beast. We meet Belle (Leocadia Lellig) in her blue in white village dress, gliding into the scene who was quickly joined by an enchanted talking antique wooden clock and golden candelabra, also known as Cogsworth and Lumière.
Sure enough, we’re entertained by a rousing performance of ‘Be Our Guest’, complete with dancing giant cutlery and serviettes. The most extraordinary part? The aerial acrobatics consisting of 7 people including Belle twirling from the ceiling. While I have seen my fair share of aerial acrobatics, I’ve honestly never seen anything like this and it is something that needs to be seen to be believed!
Next, we’re reunited with our favourite characters from Toy Story consisting of Rex, Ham, Bo Peep, Jessie, Woody, and Buzz Lightyear. The team requested the help of Sarge and his tiny green soldiers to remove a ball (naturally in the design of Pixar’s iconic ball) from a certain spot in order for the toys to get back into their toy box before Andy comes back.
The Toy Story segment was extremely entertaining and surprisingly very funny. Hearing the cheers of delight from the audience seeing the ice stage fill with an army of green toy soldiers was adorable. It was also super fun to watch them try to fulfill their mission while running amuck.
One of my favourite Disney films over the past few years has been Moana and while I have already seen Disney on Ice include the character in past productions, those performances have not been as impressive as this one. Seeing Moana glide on her boat and being met with a giant magical stingray, much like the movie, made for a heartwarming moment that even had me a little bit teary! Maui joining Moana to perform ‘You’re Welcome’ also had the entire ice-stage transformed into a massive close-up of Maui’s magical and moving tattoos!
During Moana’s segment conclusion, the ice was made to look like a moving ocean thanks to the power of projection, which became even more breathtaking when it changed and the ground appeared to split, making a perfect path for Moana to restore the heart of Te Fiti. This was stunning and had me wondering why we’ve never seen projection used at a Disney on Ice show before. It also ignited my desire to re-watch the movie.
The final segment before interval was none other than Pixar’s Coco. But not before an impromptu performance by a lucky audience member who was temporarily bestowed Miguel’s guitar by Isabella & Benji. I was completely jealous of this audience member as I would have loved to have held that guitar!
Coco’s segment displayed the cast in gorgeous Mexican cultural styled outfits with a modern twist, UV lighting helped to make them glow. There were even two sway pole aerialists which swung about above some of audience and this was both impressive and mesmerising.
After a short recess, we were ready to continue our mission. Upon a treasure chest and in full view in the middle of the ice rink sat a gold lamp. Touching this lamp would reveal none other than Genie, which after joined by Aladdin himself, lead into a performance of ‘You Ain’t Never Had a Friend Like Me’. This followed with an incredible on-ice dance duet by Aladdin and Jasmine (Will Ott and Adriene Ott, respectively) which had the pair performing various difficult and impressive tricks on the ice, making patrons, including myself, jaw drop in awe.
With every section becoming more and more impressive and outdoing the last, I had wondered how any segment would outdo Aladdin. However, I was impressed yet again beyond expectation. If Sebastian performing ‘Under the Sea’ with colourful sea creatures wasn’t enough to floor you, seeing Matthew Young and Rachael Dobson’s Eric and Ariel doing aerial (pun intended), in a very romantic and visually impressive almost ‘sky-dance’ routine would have been enough to leave you speechless.
Last but not least, Frozen was the perfect finale with Kristoff, Anna, Olaf, and of course, Elsa! Having the ice workers from Frozen perform ‘The Frozen Heart’ just like the movie was such a delight to witness. Seeing them move in unison while cutting up the ice was great so great to watch and reminded me of why I loved the movie so much. Its music is catchy yet powerful in its own way, and so were the performances in this production. And don’t worry, they don’t really cut up the ice!
While ‘Let It Go’ by Elsa (Marina Bolam) was great, inspiring little fans to sing along to the song, it looked fantastic too with the help of projection displaying snowflakes which appeared whenever Elsa would wave around her hands. Although, it was the ice workers scene that really made the Frozen section exciting for everyone. The cast slide down from high places to jump over obstacles in giant leaps and somersaults which surprised and thoroughly impressed the entire crowd.
With the best talent that money can buy, ice-dancing, ice-skating tricks, smoke machines, fireworks, aerial acrobatics, projection, fun audience participation, and even bubbles, Disney on Ice: 100 Years of Wonder is the by far best Disney on Ice production I have ever seen. Trust me, I’ve been attending since I was a kid!
Seeing adults and children alike just as excited as each other was the greatest gift of all. You don’t have to be a kid (or have one) to attend and enjoy this stunning piece of Disney magic. Disney on Ice is the perfect event to attend either with your family, group of friends, or even your significant other, making for a sweet and romantic night. It’s not just a show, it’s an all-out celebration for these stories and characters that we’ve all we’ve grown up with. This is a wonderful production that can be enjoyed by generations.
In short, Disney on Ice: 100 Years of Wonder is a must-see phenomenal experience is the best Disney on Ice I have seen yet. My only criticism is that I found it a tad too short because I wanted more. I, like many, were having so much fun and didn’t want it to end! One more segment wouldn’t have hurt, but hopefully next time it’s a little bit longer. But I guess, if you really wanted to, you could always go more than once.
Disney On Ice: 100 Years of Wonder is now playing at Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena until July 2. It then heads to Brisbane, Sydney, and Newcastle as part of its Australian Leg.
For more information and ticketing, please visit:
Photography supplied by Feld Entertainment.