At this point, I think it’s fair to say we’re seasoned vets when it comes to Disney on Ice. Yeah, we’ve been to our share of shows.
If you’ve never been or are curious about specific touring shows, be sure to check out our reviews of Treasure Trove, World of Fantasy, and 100 Years of Magic. They should give you a good idea of what to expect.
But we’re here today to talk about the brand-new show, Follow Your Heart, which actually breaks the Disney on Ice mold in a few key respects. Although I didn’t learn this until after the fact, it still explains quite a bit: this show was written by Shea Fontana, who is a veteran of several Disney animated series and is currently head writer for the DC Super Hero Girls franchise.
In other words, it comes with a fair bit of impressive star talent behind the scenes, which should be getting more publicity than it is.
Most Disney on Ice shows are “emceed,” to a certain extent, by the classic Mickey Mouse characters. Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and Goofy come out at the beginning and between segments to introduce the different sets. Follow Your Heart broke that rule and immediately made the whole evening feel fresh.
The emotions from Inside Out are our guides through the evening, and the show starts out with Riley, some cheerleaders, and a hockey game. In a general sense, we’re watching Riley overcome a case of the nerves and find the self-confidence she needs to help lead her team, the Fog Horns, to victory.
Each musical segment (and Disney film) that follows ties in, ostensibly, to one of the emotions that Riley is feeling. The Inside Out characters are our narrators through these interstitial segments. The classic Mickey gang show up, for sure, but they’re not our guides.
The first half consists of segments dedicated to Beauty and the Beast, the Sorcerer’s Apprentice from Fantasia, and a compilation segment with eight princesses in quick succession.
The Fantasia segment makes ingenious use of black lights to make the broomsticks glow and be extra creepy. Unless I’m mistaken, this was the first use of black lights that we’ve seen. And the princess parade, though thankfully short, also has some surprises.
The whole concept of Disney on Ice is the “on ice” part. Rarely do the performers actually leave the ice. However, Follow Your Heart makes a slight Cirque du Soleil detour as both Ariel and Rapunzel take to the air and show off some aerial acrobatics.
Three nice surprises in just the first act? Color me impressed.
The second half continues the Pixar love with a longer segment that quickly tells the story of Finding Dory and a far-too-brief Toy Story-inspired number. My kids were eagerly anticipating the Finding Dory part of the evening, and it didn’t disappoint. The costumes are bit off the wall, but really, how can you do Pixar wrong?
The show ends with the inevitable run through Frozen, which we’ve seen at every Disney on Ice show. Of course a majority of the kids in attendance screamed like Bieber had arrived once Elsa started singing, but as both my kids and I are well past the Frozen saturation point, we would’ve preferred something else to close out the show.
Still, we get what we get. And Disney on Ice, as always, delivers an entertaining performance.
Would I recommend Follow Your Heart? If you’ve got kids who enjoy this type of thing, then absolutely. Like all Disney on Ice shows, it’s extremely well produced and sports some great theatrics, costumes, and special effects.
The show is currently on tour with dates coming up all over the east coast and midwest. Get more information and tickets here.
(Disclosure: I am a Feld Family Ambassador. As part of this program, I received complimentary tickets to Disney on Ice. All opinions remain my own.)