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Why we loved Disney On Ice Disneyland Adventure

Featuring seriously jazzy marauding monkeys, an eerily beautiful haunted mansion and a deliciously evil Baddie, Disney On Ice Disneyland Adventure is a real treat for the whole family.

The story

Disneyland Adventure begins with Mickey and his friends wanting to experience Disneyland for themselves – after all, they’re always busy with the parades and don’t get to see the attractions that all the children are raving about.

Enter Maleficent, better known from Disney’s 1959 animation Sleeping Beauty, and one of our favourite Baddies of all time. As Mickey Mouse, Daisy, Goofy and their friends dart about the ice exploring the parks, she is busy hatching an evil plan. She swoops onto the ice in her flowing cloak and horns, abducts Minnie Mouse and Donald Duck and puts them into a deep sleep, from which only “true love’s kiss” can awaken them.

Mickey Mouse and Friends in Disney on Ice Disneyland Adventure
Mickey Mouse and Friends in Disney on Ice Disneyland Adventure

Mickey and his friends call upon The Incredibles to help, and so ensues an exciting adventure through It’s a Small World, Pirates of the Caribbean, and finally a battle with Maleficent to rescue Minnie and Donald.

Our top picks from the show

Our favourite scene by far was in the Haunted Mansion, where the undead dance in the dark and ghosts float by overhead. The beautiful, graceful choreography in this scene gives a real sense of otherworldliness.

The Pirates of the Caribbean costumes were gorgeous, and we really loved the rousing music. Shame Johnny Depp doesn’t make an appearance!

With the light effects and bursts of fireworks, the final scene is stunning and a perfect end to the show.

You’ll also love…

Baloo - Disney on Ice Disneyland Adventure
Baloo and the monkeys from Jungle Book

The marauding monkeys dancing around the ruins to the King of the Swingers.
The music in this scene is a bit different to the movie, and we were hoping for an appearance from King Louie, but the choreography for this scene was excellent. Who would have thought that monkeys could look nimble and lithe even on skates?

Donald Duck getting himself into trouble over his confusion about animatronics.
He leaps out of one of the rides to do battle with an animatronic crocodile, and thinking he has just saved everyone’s life is told off for not keeping his arms and legs safely within the ride. Simple, funny, and pitched just right.

Buzz Lightyear in Disney on Ice Disneyland Adventure
Buzz Lightyear arrives in Tomorrow Land

Buzz Lightyear’s arrival in TomorrowLand in a shower of sparks.
Very exciting, and you’ll love his big, powerful moves.

The runaway train scene where Jessie the Cowgirl makes an appearance.
This scene is a big hit with the kids, especially the little girls who seem genuinely taken by this super smiley, spunky character.

The arrival of The Incredibles
Mr Incredible is simply hilarious strutting around in his padded suit, somehow Mrs Incredible (Elastigirl) manages to actually look stretchy on figure skates, and the ultra-quick spins by Dash are just the thing.

Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty in Disney on Ice Disneyland AdventureWhy we smiled as the parents booed

Use of the Sleeping Beauty storyline using Disneyland as a backdrop is quite a clever trick. Not only does it bring cohesiveness to the show and a little flavour for Disneyland attractions, but it also creates some suspense and gets the audience involved. The kids in the audience shouted out to Mickey to tell him about Minnie’s abduction, and enjoyed helping in the final battle by ‘controlling’ the direction of the army by pointing left and right.

Being one of the first Disney villains that most of us encountered as children, the evil Maleficent is the perfect baddie for this show. With those horns, she’s frightening, fascinating and instantly recogniseable, and in a flash we’re completely involved in the story. So much so, in fact, that the parents actually booed when Maleficent arrived on the scene! Brilliant.

Isn’t it just a musical on ice?

In the first couple of scenes, it feels like the ice is incidental, and you could just be watching a normal stage show. As the monkeys take to the ice, however, the speed and smoothness of their movements adds another dimension that simple isn’t possible on a classic stage. Similarly it’s the figure skating spins that give The Incredibles their .. er.. Incredibleness.

The ice skating doesn’t detract from the story at all; it succeeds in adding grace, elegance and energy to the show.

What we thought overall

As an adult watching the show, and as a fan of figure skating, I couldn’t help but notice the occasional mistake and missed jump, and the slightly bored expressions on some of the performers faces. I also noticed, however, how quickly and professionally the skaters recovered from unintentional spills. I was also impressed by the smooth transition between scenes and the journey from lighthearted and cheery to menacing, to rousing, and straight up to a happy ending.

As a parent, I was really taken by how captivated the children were throughout the show. Four year old Mads watched the entire show not on her chair but alternately standing up, wide eyed with amazement, and crouched down on the floor peering between spectators shoulders at the various Baddies. She has been talking excitedly about the show ever since to friends, neighbours and random passers-by, and has taken to demonstrating her Salchow at every opportunity.

A definite winner. Don’t miss it!

Don’t forget to visit the Disney On Ice website for more details, skate-tastic videos, an online maze game (our record is 14 seconds), and some free wallpaper to download for your family computer. If you’re feeling inspired to check out Disneyland for yourself, make sure you also have a look at our Seven Quick Tips for Visiting Disneyland Paris with Under Fives, special offers for Disneyland Paris holidays, and take a peek at the free Disneyland Paris iPhone app too.

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Many thanks to Halpern PR for providing the tickets to make this review possible. I attended the afternoon performance on Sunday March 13th at London’s Wembley Arena with my 4 year old daughter, and my review is based on my personal experience and observations.

Written by Janis P.

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