Ok I'll admit trying to keep a secret from a 4 year old isn't as easy as it seems.
The fact that the secret meant getting in the car and driving for 40 minutes which is far too long for said 4 year old to be in a car without knowing where she is going makes it even harder (cue tears and tantrums if she doesn't have a clue where she's going). So we started out by telling her we were going for wellies, yes wellies! Well, when you live in Scotland with gale force winds and torrential downpours the norm for autumn, then wellies are a must for any 4 year old to splash in puddles and make a 2 minute run to the car a 15 minute drenching.
So she happily plodded out to the car and clambered in. She did get a bit confused when only one sister and her brother got in after her. "Is daddy coming?" "Erm, no, he has to stay home" "Why?" "Erm.....he needs to be home for when your big sister gets back" "Oh. okay." Phew! I hadn't even started the car and the questions were starting! Thank goodness my eldest was going to the cinema and said 4 year old hadn't clicked about her having a key!!So off we drove. There weren't many questions asked, which surprised me, just the usual "Is it far?" "Are we there?" "When will we get there" "Why have we stopped" (got to love the M8 on a Saturday afternoon). When we arrived we had an argument over which car park to park in, with all three children demanding a different colour! Yes even the 12 year old was demanding we go to her choice! I had to follow the signs to the specific Arena car park, which was green, much to the pleasure of my gloating 9 year old son!
Now the problem with this carpark was that we had to walk through the store that we were going to be "buying wellies" so a bit of quick thinking had me telling the little girl pulling me in the direction of the escalator that I had to go and see about something first. Fortunately she swallowed that one!
So we headed to the Box Office to collect our tickets. Naturally there was a merchandise stall right outside it which had her yelling "Mickey and Minnie" and me saying "Oh yes, so it is" while hoping that she wasn't going to question why we were there. Got in the queue for the Box Office and she looked up at me. "We'll go and get your wellies in a minute okay?" "Yaaaaaay" was her reply, so secret still safe!!
Mickey and Minnie
Once we got our tickets I looked down at her and said "How about we go and see Mickey & Minnie first?" and I swear I have never seen a child's eyes go so wide with excitement, not even Santa could do get that look on her face!!
Once we were in the foyer of The Braehead Arena, naturally people
were everywhere trying to sell stuff, but they weren't in your face or anything, they were pleasant and smiling, just like you expect from Disney staff! They had badges attached to them stating the price of whatever they were selling, which I thought was a fab idea as it meant the poor person wasn't repeating themselves every 5 seconds. But I must admit Â£7 for a bucket of popcorn is a bit excessive, even if the bucket does have Nemo on it! Needless to say we, or should I say I, avoided the candy floss and iced/slushy drinks people!
So armed with our popcorn (and after a quick trip to the toilet, a must with any small child) we headed into the main arena. Bit of a hike to get to our seats, but I think we had one of the best views, so it was worth it. We were seated looking head on to the ice rink. We had a perfect view of the castle where there were three entrances where the skaters would come from. We had timed it perfectly as we had only been seated for a couple of minutes when a voice boomed over the tannoy "The show will start in five minutes" which meant I didn't
have a restless little one staring impatiently at an empty ice rink for very long! The same voice boomed out "The show will start in three minutes", nothing like getting a crowd of kids going! Then the lights went down and the magic began.
First out on the ice were Mickey & Minnie, naturally, closely followed by Donald Duck on an out of control ice resurfacer.
Aladdin and the Lamp
Minnie found a lamp and you just knew Aladdin would be up next. The trio left the ice (leaving the ice resurfacer) and sure enough Aladdin appears with Abu at the top of the castle. He climbs down onto the ice, finds the lamp and suddenly the ice resurfacer opens up, cue lots of dry ice (or whatever they used!) and a slight squeal from beside me told me a scared 4 year old had shut her eyes, but a quick "Wait and see who it is" soon had her sitting back up with wide eyes. Genie appears and there are cheers. Soon there are around 20 other genies on the ice doing a spectacular dance routine. Unfortunately I noticed one Genie skating off with what looked like a twisted ankle or something, not that that spoiled anything. These were professional skaters who carried on regardless. I'm not sure if anyone else noticed there was a skater missing (although it was obvious in some routines later in the show where there was an obvious gap).
Cue very excited 4 year old claiming "I thought it would be people
dressed up, but it's not!!" Ahhh the magic of Disney! Skating fish appeared with bubbles floating down from above for that under the sea feeling and "I didn't know fish could skate" (said through a mouthful of popcorn I may add) had me realising just how magic Disney really is.
The biggest cheer of the show just had to be for three certain toys belonging to a little boy called Andy. Woody, Buzz & Jessie stole the show. Their routine might not have been the most spectacular (that had to go to the prince & princesses with their lifts and spins) but watching every face around me light up. kids and adults alike, proved that these toys will be around for a very long time!
I won't spoil it by telling you who all came out and what they did, you'll just have to go and see for yourself. But watch out for the Lion King, Pinnochio and Mulan.
At the end all the characters came out and skated around (even that was a well rehearsed routine with sections of characters breaking off and skating in circles etc.) They went to the edges of the rink and shook hands with kids & adults alike (even the Arena stewards were getting pats on the head) and posed for photos. They all left the ice leaving Mickey and Minnie to say their final goodbyes and then we watched the most famous mice in the world disappear into the castle.
The show lasted for around two hours (with interval) and I must admit to being in complete awe of these skaters. The routines were as magical as you would expect and the dialogue all came from the movies, so I'll admit to finding myself speaking along with half the characters! The songs had everyone singing along and clapping was a must. At one point everyone was on their feet marching, adults became kids again, it truly was a fantastic show and everything going on in the outside world was forgotten. For two hours we were all 4 years old, we were all watching the magic of Disney come to life and it was amazing.
I have a feeling Disney on Ice is going to be an annual thing for at least me and a very happy little girl.
PS: Jaidyn did get her wellies by the way!
Review by Yvonne Holland and Family September 2010