July 21, 2024
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July 21, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

‘Disney on Ice’ Brings Magic to the Tri-State Area

Zack by the Disney on Ice stage. (Credit: Zachary Greenberg)

In my opinion, there is no better place to go on vacation than to Disney World. Astonishingly (even to myself), I have visited the “House of Mouse” in Florida 28 times and the original Disneyland in California three times. I could even write a series of articles akin to David Roher’s “Ironman” sagas, but I won’t (yet).

Unfortunately, many of The Link’s readers, including me, don’t live in warm-weather states, and we are in the tri-state area, a few hours’ flight away from Disney. So it’s good to know that once or twice a year, the magic of Disney is brought to New Jersey and New York with the extraordinary show, “Disney on Ice.” Last year, after our annual pilgrimage to Disney, I brought my wife, Ahuva, to the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey to view this spectacle and watch our favorite Disney characters come to life. This year, “Disney on Ice” will be performing from November 1-5 at the Prudential Center, from November 9-12 at the Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall in a show called “Magic in the Stars,” and even later from January 11-15 at the Prudential Center for a repeat performance, and finally from January 18-21 at the Barclays Center in a show called “Find Your Hero.”

In mid-January last year, Ahuva and I went to the show “Into the Magic.” While the gist is similar for each show (different Disney characters performing hit songs while figure skating), each show has a different theme and schedule of characters who are featured. After finding parking near the Prudential Center, Ahuva and I began walking toward the stadium and were immediately surprised by how many vendors were outside selling light-up toys for people to hold during the show. I must admit, however, when thousands of them lit up throughout the stadium during the show, they were dazzling! Our seats were around 20 rows from the ice on the left side.

Zack and Ahuva enjoying the show. (Credit: ZG)

The show began with a pre-show featuring the king and queen of Disney, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, alongside Goofy and several backup performers performing a few tricks and introducing what the show would be about. Each of the subsequent acts was a short 15-20-minute version of several classic Disney movie hits, including costumed performers, incredible giant props, and beautiful renditions of the films’ hit songs.

Then the real performance began, a reenactment of the story of “Beauty and the Beast” (1991). Gaston and LeFou began by giving their rendition of one of my favorite Disney songs, “Gaston,” in which the egotistical Gaston sings praises about himself. Later on, the gigantic castle where The Beast lived, was rolled onto the ice. The classic song “Be Our Guest” was performed as dozens of skaters in food and utensil costumes came out and coordinated skating dances. It looked like a whirlwind of colors as these skaters danced by in synchronized form. My favorite part of the act occurred after Gaston and The Beast fought in the castle, when somehow after a one-second delay caused by a smoke screen, The Beast was transformed into his human prince form. I was watching it carefully, but still have no clue how Disney pulled that off so quickly right before our eyes.

Next up was the recent Pixar blockbuster, “Coco” (2017). For those unfamiliar, “Coco” is a Mexican-themed film that takes place in the “Land of the Dead” where the main character, Miguel, accidently gets sent after stealing the guitar of a famous mariachi singer. It’s a real tear-jerker of a film, and one in which “Disney on Ice” masterfully brings to life (get it?) the “Land of the Dead,” replete with skeleton mariachi bands performing hit songs from the film.

Olaf and Anna on the ice. (Credit: ZG)

To conclude the first half of the show, the film “Tangled” (2010) was featured. Maximus, the horse of the hero (although originally quasi-villain) Flynn Rider, was controlled by two skaters, one in the front and one in the back, each wearing half of the horse’s costume, and skating in sync to move the horse. Rapunzel’s tall tower, from which Flynn helped rescue her, was brought onto the ice, and later, together, they sang their hit duet “I See the Light,” a song that always brings a tear to my eye because its melody and lyrics are so inspiring.

Following “Tangled,” there was a 15-minute intermission in which Ahuva and I refilled our drinks and walked around the stadium a little. The second half of the show told the story of two of Disney’s most famous princess films: “Cinderella” (1950) and “Frozen” (2013). My favorite part in “Cinderella” was the ballroom scene where dozens of figure skaters danced elegantly to ballroom music followed by Cinderella and Prince Charming dancing in the spotlight. The “Frozen” segment was hysterical because Olaf, a talking snowman, is one of the funniest characters in Disney history. and every scene featuring him is absolute comedy gold, especially his ballad “In Summer.”

For the final act of the show, surprisingly, since it’s a more underrated Disney movie, “Moana” (2016) was performed. This act was by far the longest (close to around 30 minutes), allowing the show to go much more in-depth than it did for the other films. It was truly fantastic to witness the scene with the giant crab Tamatoa, which was skillfully operated by multiple performers to allow it to gracefully glide across the ice.

As the grand finale of the show, Mickey and his friends returned to the ice, with Mickey himself orchestrating a breathtaking display of fireworks and sparks that left the audience in absolute awe.

As an adult, I had a great time at “Disney on Ice.” It was a wonderful way to cap off our family trip to Disney with one last bit of Disney fun. It is certainly geared much more towards a younger audience, and I would estimate that at least 50% of the people in attendance were under the age of 10. Still, Disney rarely fails to deliver high-quality products, with this being no exception.

If you have children in your family and have never taken them to this show, I strongly recommend going. It’s relatively local (especially compared to flying out of state) and it’s an affordable, yet highly entertaining show to attend. I wouldn’t return every year (as I try to do to the real Disney World), but I think seeing the show once every five years or so is in the cards for me.

Mickey Mouse and the gang. (Credit: ZG)

Admission: Starting at $20 a person

Dates: November 1-5 at the Prudential Center, November 9-12 at the Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall, January 11-15 at the Prudential Center again, and January 18-21 at the Barclays Center

Address: 25 Lafayette St, Newark, NJ 07102

Website: Ticketmaster

Unique Feature: Magic of Disney brought to the tri-state area for an epic performance!

Zachary Greenberg is a consultant at Semler Brossy and the TABC track coach. Zack recently ran up the Empire State Building stair challenge in less than 20 minutes! He also recently watched the incredible new Broadway show “Back to the Future: The Musical.” If you have any recommendations of fun places for him to cover, email [email protected].

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