That can’t be, I later thought, considering I once had the majority of the princess movies on VHS and recently began rebuilding my collection on DVD as more of the classics are re-released. I also had just spent the last two hours reviving favorite childhood memories by watching the “Disney on Ice Presents Princess Classics” show. I spent many happy times dressing up in big Victorian-style dresses, using merely my imagination to transform them into Ariel’s wedding dress or Belle’s ballroom gown.
But upon arriving at Lawlor on Friday night, all such memories were put to shame when I saw that the costumes for today’s modern “princesses” have become much more extravagant. Just watching from the “Will Call” line for my tickets, little Belles and Snow Whites had nearly exact replicas of the original animated garb with an unparalleled cuteness factor.
Disney on Ice puts on an impressive display of ice skating talent set to mostly condensed versions of the princess stories. Brief dialogue and mostly snippets from a song or two from “Aladdin,” “Mulan,” “Sleeping Beauty” and others are modified (die-hard Disney fans will notice some of the original clips were incorporated while others were recreated) and choreographed nicely for professional skaters who know how to entertain with graceful spins, spirals and Lutzes. The sheer athleticism was amazing to watch – but put that to classic songs like “Under the Sea” or “Ali Ababwa” and it’s hard to resist tapping your toes.
The backdrops, changing right before your eyes without you ever being aware of it, were elegant. A two-story, three-sided castle featured Jasmine’s palace, the Beast’s French castle and Cinderella’s Prince Charming’s royal domicile. Movable props and a flying carpet all added to the enchantment. The pyrotechnics also provided several “wow” moments from adults and kids, making it satisfying to see Ursula meet her demise.
But particularly eye-catching were the costumes that glimmered in the lights and color-coordinated for each theme in Mulan’s brief China stint and fluorescent sea anemone skaters for “The Little Mermaid.”
The second act of the show played out “Cinderella” nearly in its entirety. I was told by one of the skaters I interviewed last week that its heroine is the most popular of the princesses, though I was inclined to believe it was the easiest to coordinate in terms of logistics. Nevertheless, it was still satisfying to see stepsisters Anastasia and Drisella fail miserably and make complete fools of themselves in front of the Prince and watch Cinderella capture the Prince’s heart.
I think, ultimately, one of my favorite elements of “Princess Classics” is the environment it created at Lawlor. I’ve seen several concerts and shows in the area and this, by far, was not only kid-friendly but adults found appeal in it as well, singing along with familiar tunes and taking photos of their kids who were being fitted for a glass slipper in the search for Cinderella. It makes for a great “happily ever after” for those who still believe in Disney magic.