After Thursday night's opening performance of Disney on Ice at the U.S. Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids, my 3 year old now thinks that monkeys and lions can skate. But, I guess that's the point. The touring production, which continues today through Sunday (2/21 to 23), at the arena is Disney's Passport to Adventure show. It includes shortened versions of four Disney tales: "The Lion King," "Little Mermaid," "Lilo and Stitch" and "Peter Pan" all told with dubbed audio by an ensemble cast of dozens of figure skaters. The details:
  • Disney on Ice: Passport to Adventure
  • 7 p.m. Friday (2/21), 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday (2/22) and 1 p.m. Sunday (2/23)
  • U.S. Cellular Center, 370 First Ave. NE, Cedar Rapids
  • Tickets: $14 to $48
The two-hour show, which includes an intermission about two-thirds of the way through, ends with the story of Peter, Tinkerbell and the three Darling children. As Peter is flying above the ice rink, he entreats the audience to never let go of that piece of themselves that still believes in make believe. Peter and the rest of the cast certainly sold the young audience members -- my 3 and 6 six year old included. It didn't hurt that the show's aerials didn't just include toe loops and Salchows. Skaters and disbelief were both suspended in the air throughout the "Peter Pan" tale.
The show opened with Mickey, Minnie and crew ready for a safari. The ensemble of Disney characters acted as emcees, easing the transition from one vignette to another. First, we traveled to Africa, home of Simba, Nala, Rafiki, Timon, Pumba and monkeys. It was the skating monkeys and lions that wowed the 3 year old. My daughter and I were more impressed by Pumba. I still haven't figured out whether it was two skaters or one inside the four-legged costume. Either way, credit is due for managing to make a lumbering waarthog glide across the ice with the rest of the cast as they skated to the show's favorite tunes "I Just can't Wait to be King," "Hakuna Matata" and "Can you feel the love tonight?" "The Little Mermaid" hit the movie's high notes too. It opened with "Daughters of Triton," followed quickly by "Part of Your World" and "Under the Sea." More than "The Lion King," "The Little Mermaid" used the two story set at the end of the ice by placing Prince Eric in his ship, high above the sea (read: ice). There were any number of starfish, seahorses, fish and other sea creatures on the ice, but it was the 20-foot tall Ursula that wowed the kids, even more so when Prince Eric defeated and deflated the evil sea witch. "Lilo and Stitch" was the show's slow point. The least known of the show's four stories, it's also never been a favorite of mine. Luckily my children had just seen it for the first time recently, otherwise they might have been as bored as I was. The pace picked up considerably after the well-timed intermission. "Peter Pan" -- with pirate ships and swashbuckling, pixie dust and lots of Lost Boys -- literally flew by. Not that any parent underestimates the power of Disney, but it's shows like this that remind us that Disney is a billion dollar dream making machine for a reason. Passport to Adventure ended with a bang in form of fireworks and the a rink full of characters singing "M-I-C-K-E-Y." Magical world of Disney, indeed.