Sunday, March 2, 2008

princess-palooza, on the rocks

Some time ago I saw an ad on the side of a bus for a Disney Princesses on Ice show to be in town in the near future and that future arrived today. After seeing the ad I told John I wanted to get some tickets and his response was, "Am I being punished? Do I have to go?" I bought the tickets about a month ago with the plan that John could be spared the experience and so today was very much anticipated by most, but not all of our household. I was mostly ambivalent about it. I knew something like this had great potential for being extremely nauseating, but I knew the girls would love it.

They are obsessed with everything princess-ish and I'm not sure how this all came about. They never saw the movies Snow White or Cinderella until a couple of weeks ago. They saw The Little Mermaid sometime last year for the first time, and Aladdin much more recently. They met all of the princesses at Disneyworld last november but they were hooked on them far, far before their grand introduction. It's a mysterious, powerful, and hopefully temporary, attraction.

As we neared the arena (the inside almost unrecognizable as the place I've seen professional hockey countless times) we saw the mobs of little girls and their parents walking in. A sizable number of the girls were dressed up as princesses themselves. One large SUV near mine in the parking lot had their destination, this show, written on their back and side windows in white marker in the way other some people write "Just Married" on their cars. It was truly bizarre. All of it.

We were joined by Erin's friend, Mary, from her school and her mom. Each pair of kids got a giant tub of popcorn to share and they settled in for the show. I noticed that there were some little boys in the audience too. I'd say it was 90/10 girls to boys and the all the boys I observed had sisters. There were some fathers in the audience too, though in the minority they were in no obvious distress, which I reported to John when we got home. "Yeah, but how many of them WANTED to be there?" he wondered.

I was impressed by the scenery--it was pretty elaborate but it didn't photograph well at all. I do have a few decent shots of the skaters out of the many I took. Many things, though easily seen by us, just weren't lighted enough to show up well in a photo. And the night scene setting didn't work because of the action, so in that mode everything came out totally blurry. I'm not enough of a photographer to know what else I might have done.

Once things got started the girls were absolutely spellbound. The only parts of Erin or Allison that moved were their eyelids (occasionally), their jaws, and their hands going from popcorn buckets to mouth and back again in a constant, smooth, motion. Kate, speechless for a change and easily the most engrossed of all of them, even gave up on snacking once the show started. About 10 minutes into it she emerged briefly from her stupor in order to turn to me and say, "Oh, Mama--this is just amazing!"

Mickey and Minnie Mouse and Tinkerbell and Goofy were all there and came out in between skits to talk about the previous story and talk up the next one.

In short we heard songs and bits of the stories from each of the movies that feature one of the princesses. The costumes were great, the skating was fantastic, the special effects were much better than expected. At one point a gigantic dragon emerged onto the ice to go after some prince or another (I really don't know the stories very well) and then as he retreated he breathed fire which ignited a large area of ice for a minute or so. It was pretty cool. None of those pictures came out of course.

And perhaps the most impressive aspect of the day--Erin and Mary polished off that entire tub of popcorn in about half an hour and with Kate paralyzed with fascination the entire time, Allison finished her bucket almost entirely by herself.

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