By Tiffany Markmanbusiness writer, trainer, mom to a wonderful smartypants and actor’s wife. Follow her on twitter.

 Disney on Ice remains a spectacle of the size, style and quality that your kids don’t get to see every day. And I’m pleased to confirm that this year’s offering, although simpler in many respects to its predecessors, is no different.

Disney On Ice presents Magical Ice Festival

Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy are present, in sparkly costumes and with a sweet-if-flimsy pretext for hosting the event: a talent show.

I’ve always found their narrative to be a bit hackneyed and drawn-out, so I appreciated this year’s rapid cutting to the chase so that the set, costumes, lighting, princesses and skating could take over and dominate.

Another noticeable change this year is the number of individual vignettes; down from a standard six or even eight to only four this year: The Little Mermaid, Rapunzel, Beauty and the Beast, and Frozen (with a disco-style ensemble number at the start and finish, like a neon warm-up, and a clowning-but-popular-with-the-kids appearance from the two step-sisters).

The up-side of limiting the ‘stories’ to four is that each gets its turn, and the audience – particularly its younger members – has the time to really look, see, point, enthuse, exclaim and enjoy. There’s welcome room to spot the details.

My major highlights

  • The lighting and costumes during Ariel’s scenes are a joy to behold. Look out, also, for the jaw-dropping aerial trick when she ‘grows’ her legs.
  • The thugs from the pub (and Maximus the disgruntled horse) absolutely steal the show during the Rapunzel sequence and the lanterns are nicely (if a bit stingily) executed.
  • I was un-wowed by Beauty and Beast – at first. But ‘Be Our Guest’ was so cleverly and whimsically costumed as to take my breath away.
  • The big favourite, Frozen, didn’t disappoint. Lovely costumes. Great set pieces. A giant Sven. A snow machine! Stunning costumes and awesome dancing to ‘In Summer’.
  • This year, there’s a nice, quick, un-pretentious finale, which may be because so many families traditionally flee just before this point.

And yet, a couple of things about Disney on Ice haven’t changed at all over the years. For starters, there was much joyful singing in the rows behind and in front of me. The crowd was thrilled, as it always is. And the princes’ wigs remain, by and large, an utter travesty. All in all, the same tasty treat.

A shout out to the Ticketpro Dome for its crowd control and traffic management this year. We were inside in five minutes; en route home in ten.

Details & bookings

The show runs for 2 hours, which includes a 20-minute intermission.

Tickets are available from Computicket.

  • Johannesburg: Sat 22 June – Sun 30 June @ Ticketpro Dome
  • Durban: Wed 3 July – Sun 7 July @ Durban’s ICC Arena
  • Cape Town: Wed 10 July – Sun 14 July @ GrandWest

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