Disney on Ice (Part 2)

Dear Jasper and Kestrel,

Our night at Disney on Ice kept getting better. The hockey arena, which I had expected to be cold, was very comfortable and friendly. The show was introduced by the Big Four: Mickey, Minnie, Donald Duck, and Goofy. Belle’s journey into the Beast’s castle was well-told, with a fine dance number performed by flatware and candlesticks.

Old time Disney Guys

This was when I realized that my camera was not catching any nuances of the characters. The bright spotlight turned the beautiful costumes into shiny bits moving about on the ice… this was disappointing, as so much of the delight of telling about the show is showing the show. I also realized that videos were more successful… but I can’t yet insert video into this blog. Blog fail, again. Sorry.

There was confusion in my story-telling soul as the show continued, because the writers had felt the need to frame the showcase of Disney characters as a re-telling of the story of another Disney character, Riley from Inside Out. True, this allowed all the different costumes and colors to make sense, but was also jarring… whatever fantasy world each character would take us to, we were pulled back into the very UN-fantasy world of feelings….Joy, Sadness, Fear, and Anger… the least nuanced, most obvious, and, truthfully, most irritating characters of all.

From Inside Out

That said, I went along for the ride and was not disappointed. The combination of beautiful lighting and costumes, expert skating, great sound quality and classic stories carried me on a wave of Disney joy. Maleficent and her mirror from Snow White showed us good projection techniques. Ariel and Prince Eric did some amazing high-rope tricks, leading me to think “An Aerial Ariel”?

Jasmin and Aladdin satisfied my need for Olympic skating skills with all sorts of lifts, skips, and flips. Then Rapunzel and Flynn Rider raised the bar. A 60 foot long scarf, representing Rapunzel’s hair, dangled from the ceiling and the two skaters grabbed hold and flew, swirled, and counterbalanced each other in a terrifyingly beautiful routine. As we were still catching our breath, intermission was upon us.

Vendors wandered the aisles, selling plastic, light-up spinny toys starting at $15 and ranging to $30. We still didn’t feel the need. Luckily, the Sharks’ Zamboni provided a distraction.

Sharks Zamboni

The second half started with a long re-telling of Finding Dory. The costumes weren’t as successful as some, making the skaters look like fish-human hybrids in a weird way. Also, Hank the octopus seemed to be an oversized, remote-controlled Roomba, with little movement or character. I don’t know how I would have done it better, but it didn’t magic me.

Hank the Octopus


Then came what all the little princesses had been waiting for: Frozen! The story was shortened to focus on the relationship of Anna and Elsa, with enough Olaf for pathos and Hans and Eric for romance.


frozen castle on ceiling.jpgThe final number featured a self-driving bridge and an ice castle that unfolded from the ceiling. “Let it Go” rang through the arena as Elsa skated her heart out around the rink and up the staircase, nearly touching the crystal lights dangling from the ceiling. Hundreds of little girls and their mothers sang along. We were riveted.



Grandma Judy


Disney on Ice (Part 1)

Dear Jasper and Kestrel,

Last night Auntie Olga, Cousin Liza and I had such an adventure. We drove all the way to San Jose for dinner and a show! The dinner was at Bluefin Sushi, a very pretty and delicious Japanese restaurant. We had the sushi sampler and Liza ate all of her California Roll. Liza’s glass of apple juice came with lots of ice, which she hates, so Olga fished it out …with chopsticks! The idea of having too much ice on our way to and show on ice gave us the giggles. I opted for hot tea, which felt very good on my Friday-afternoon-teacher-tired throat.

blue fin sushi
Inside Blue Fin Sushi, San Jose

The GPS in Auntie Olga’s phone had found the restaurant, so we let it guide us to the parking lot, as well. There were only about 15 minutes until the show started, so the lot was almost full. We got Liza into her full Princess Elsa finery in and beside the car…pink and blue winter boots, sparkly dress over her school clothes, and a long blonde braid. We joined the flow of tiny princesses and their (mostly female) guardians and headed down the sidewalk.

Liza Olga Ice
Olga and Liza

The lobby at the top of the impressive staircase was packed with people, souvenir booths, photo booths, and snack stands.

Liza and I at the base of the Shark Tank’s steps

We didn’t need any of it, so we high-tailed it to our seats. Having just come UP a long flight of steps, it made sense that we would go DOWN another, into the ice arena used by the San Jose Sharks hockey team and known as The Shark Tank. This evening it was less shark and much more princess…. magical lighting, mysterious sets tucked up on the high ceiling waiting their turn, and hundreds of spinning, sparkling, flashing lights on toys held by children.

The Shark Tank with added Magic

I was amazed at how a hockey arena could be filled with light, lightness and color. Lights under the ice, moving light effects and music turned what is usually a noisy, collision-filled space with Disney magic.

I have been a Disney fan most of my life. The Disneyland Park opened when I was one, and I can’t count the number of times I have visited. I think I have seen every Disney movie at least once, and I can sing a frightening number of songs by heart.

Seeing this show reminded me of why I love Disney. The stories are about following your dreams, taking risks, and realizing your heart’s desire. True, in the 1950s the dream was finding your Prince Charming and holding on forever, but the stories have grown. They now encompass dreams of devotion to family, personal empowerment, literacy over ignorance, and embracing one’s different-ness. Mulan, Merida, Belle and Elsa are my heroes. And they were all on the ice in San Jose.

I will tell you more about the show tomorrow!


Grandma Judy