Last year I took my daughter to see the Disney On Ice tour as a special treat for filling up her sticker reward chart and we had an amazing time. When I heard about this years tour that was coming to Liverpool I immediately knew that I had to get tickets - even more so when I realised the show was based upon the Disney Princesses which my daughter is just completely obsessed with! As the timing of the show coincided with the television show Dancing On Ice ending (I ended up missing the final!!) it seemed perfect that we go to the final show of the tour.
The nearest venue to us was Liverpool Echo Arena which is about a forty five minute drive away and the show was to start at 6.30pm so it meant that we could have a day in Liverpool before the show began. In hindsight I should have booked an earlier show as the clocks went forward that day so I knew my little girl would be feeling tired by the evening. The tickets are set at various prices and this is dependant on where in the arena you are to be seated. I managed to get some amazing seats, just six rows from the front and slightly off centre so I expected quite a high price but they cost £21 per ticket plus a £3 booking fee (which unfortunately is per ticket and possibly would be better per card transaction in my opinion!). Children under two years old are free.
The day of the show finally arrived - which seemed like forever as the tickets were booked in January - and it was the weekend that we were enjoying the heat wave so we set off just after dinner so we could spend the afternoon looking around Albert Dock and Liverpool One. There is a very large multi storey car park just next to the Echo Arena so there was plenty of spaces available and due to the show there was a set price of £5.00 for parking for the full day. We had a lovely afternoon around Liverpool, and as my little girl was dresses as Princess Aurora (Sleeping Beauty) we were stopped many times by locals who wanted to admire her dress. The sights around Liverpool were lovely with lots of little Princesses walking round with their families.
After we had our tea we went to the Arena, making sure we arrived just after they opened the doors as remembering last years battle to purchase merchandise I didn't want a repeat of that especially as I was on my own with my daughter this year! As we entered the Arena, we went straight to one of the merchandise stands and thankfully it wasn't too busy so we were able to have a proper look at things for sale. As expected, the prices were extremely high but unfortunately there wasn't a very good range of items. Examples of things to buy were t-shirts, soft toys, Princess dolls, plastic Mickey and Minnie Mouse characters and there were some light up toys (like the kind you see at Blackpool Illuminations to buy) which were a whopping £14.00!! My little girl chose a Minnie Mouse teddy which was priced at £20.00 and this was before we even got to the food stand! All week long she had been asking could she buy a tub of popcorn again like she did last year so I agreed and then she wanted an ice drink which was like a block of ice with a bit of flavour in, priced at £8.00 (ridiculous much?!). Finally, we purchased a programme which was another ten pounds to pay so all in all it was a very expensive do!
Cameras are allowed during the show and you are even permitted to use a video camera providing it is for your own use. I did see quite a few people videoing the show and had I had a video camera I possibly would have done too as it would be something you can watch over and over again.
As we were shown to our seats we were amazed at how fantastic the view was, we were so close in comparison to last year and that just made my little girl even more excited! The atmosphere was just brilliant, you could feel the excitement just bursting out of the children (and adults!) and when the countdown from 15 minutes to start time began it felt like the roof was going to blow off!
The show this year doesn't really follow a story as last years tour did, though it does follow each of the Disney Princesses wishes:
"Enter a world of wonder where heroes and hearts prevail. Join Ariel as she yearns to explore the world above the waves and Prince Eric break Ursula's slithering spell to reclaim his one true love. See Prince Phillip defeat the evil Maleficent as she transforms herself into a fire-breathing dragon in a race against time to rescue Sleeping Beauty's Aurora. Be there to discover a whole new world with Jasmine and Aladdin. And watch in awe as the dreams of Cinderella, Belle, Snow White and Tiana all come true. High flying jumps, daring acrobatics, breathtaking skating and lovable Disney friends are just a wish away! There's even a special appearance by Disney's newest Princess Rapunzel!"
The show begins with Tinkerbell - who makes lots of little appearances throughout the show - along with Mickey and Minnie Mouse talking about the Disney Princesses and their wishes, and how each little girl is a Princess inside. Then the show really begins.....
First up we have Aladdin and Princess Jasmine - we are told the story of Aladdin in very short form and Jasmine's wish to get out of the palace and meet her "Prince". This section of the show features around a market place and features the songs "A Whole New World" and "One Jump Ahead" My little girl was absolutely amazed at the voices of the characters as she couldn't believe they were the same as in the movies (the characters lip sync throughout the whole show!). Abu, Aladdin's monkey friend is just a puppet but it was my little girls favourite part of the Aladdin set! When the Genie appeared the Arena erupted and the children were just so excited when the song "Friend Like Me" started up.
Next up comes Snow White who is sitting on a wishing well just wishing for her Prince to come. The songs featured are !I'm Wishing" and "One Song". This is followed by a lovely dance with the Prince before the seven dwarves come out singing Hi Ho! I have to say I absolutely adored the dwarves and they were possibly my favourite part of the whole show.
After Snow White we meet Belle who is wishing that there was more to life, when out comes a giant Lumiere (the candlestick) and we have a big production of "Be Our Guest" which features lots of dancing cutlery and the like. This is the only Princess who doesn't wish for her Prince but the arrangement is fantastic.
Next we meet Prince Eric from the Little Mermaid who along with a group of pirates put on a fantastic and energetic show before Ariel and her sisters come along. This is the longest part of the show featuring one Princess and it tells the story of Ariel wishing to be a human so she can be with Eric. Ursula the sea witch and Ariels friends Flounder and Sebastien are just brilliant and my little girl absolutely loved it! The "Under The Sea" song and performance was amazing, especially when all the different kinds of fish came out, there was just so much to look at. Other songs in this section are "Fathoms Below", "Kiss The Girl" and "Part Of Your World".
The next Princess is one of the newer Princesses and that is Tiana from Princess and the Frog. Out of the whole show this is the only time people seemed to lose interest as it was just twp of the songs from the movie and there were no fancy characters, just Tiana and her Prince dancing along. "Down In New Orleans" and "Dig A Little Deeper" are featured here.
Next up is Sleeping Beauty who is under the spell of the evil Malifacent and it is down to the Prince to save her. The three fairies from the movie help the Prince to escape his chains and then he has to defeat Malifacent who turns into a fire breathing dragon. The fire across the ice looked absolutely amazing though it did worry some of the children that were sat around us!! When Princess Aurora is saved by the Prince they perform a lovely dance to "Once Upon A Dream" which calms the audience again.
The Royal Ball is next and before Cinderella arrives we meet the ugly step sisters Drizella and Anastasia who try and put on their best dancing shoes to impress the Prince but it turns out to be a great comedy part of the show and has the children in fits of laughter, especially when they keep falling over!! Finally Cinderella appears in her golden carriage and they have their special dance. "A Dream Is A Wish" and "So This Is Love" are the songs from the movie.
Finally, the newest Princess on the scene Rapunzel appears with Flynn Rider. This is when my daughter was literally falling out of her seat as Rapunzel is now her favourite Princess and she had been so desperate to see her. They dance to "I See The Light" and then they are off. I was really disappointed in how short their appearance was, especially as it seemed that most of the little girls there were looking forward to it due to the cheer that went up when they appeared!
The end of the show is a parade of all the Princesses and Heroes and Tinkerbell is in the centre of the rink in the golden carriage which raises really high and spins slowly round so everyone in the arena can get a good look at her.
What can I say about the show other than it was absolutely amazing? From the very first minute to the last it was fantastic, packed with stories, tricks and amazing dancing from every single character. As we had been last year I did have an idea how the show would go with the staging and lighting but I did wonder how they would make it into a story - turns out they didn't need to at all. Each Princess tells her own story and though that may seem somewhat "bitty" it flowed fantastically and the enjoyment from everyone was just plain to see.
The show lasts for two hours which I personally think is a good amount of time, especially for the money. However, I did make a mistake in choosing an evening show as my little girl was really flagging in parts. I think a child of any age could have enjoyed this show as there wasn't a story to follow, just simple mini stories to enjoy and brilliant characters to see.
My favourite parts of the show have to be the seven dwarves who were ace and the pirate scene as that was so energetic with some huge tricks in there that couldn't help make you gasp in places. I loved the large Flounder, Sebastien and Ursula and my little girl just adored the appearance from Rapunzel at the end. The only downside to the show was that her appearance was just too short and it would have been nice to have seen Pascale or Max (from the film) accompany them in their performance.
I can't really say much more about Disney On Ice Princesses and Heroes, it really has to be one of the best shows I have ever seen and seeing my daughter enjoy it so much made it even more fantastic.