Mickey and Minnie glide to center ice holding hands, each carrying a suitcase with the other hand. Donald, Daisy and Goofy follow closely behind. Disney’s first couple is about to go on vacation and their friends are along for the ride. Their first stop—Africa and a visit with Simba, Nala, Timon, Pumbaa and the rest of The Lion King gang.
This is how the surprisingly satisfying Disney on Ice presentation of Mickey & Minnie’s Magical Journey begins. For the last 30 years, many of Disney’s favorite characters and most endearing stories have skated around the world, first as part of Walt Disney’s World on Ice, now Disney on Ice. At any given time, Disney on Ice mounts as many as eight different productions throughout the world. Now in its 15th straight year, Mickey & Minnie’s Magical Journey is the franchise’s longest running show.
What makes Magical Journey, and all Disney on Ice productions, so enjoyable is the energy that seems to just explode from every scene. The speed and athleticism of the skaters makes the pacing fast and the tempo upbeat. In Magical Journey, the pace is punctuated with show-stopping special effects. Several of the characters in the show are “flown” high above the ice surface, through the action and above the audience. When familiar Disney movie music and some rock ‘n’ roll classics are added to the high-impact action, the production has the energy and feel of a concert.
The arena is transformed, not just inside on the ice, but in the lobby and concourse areas, as well. Souvenir Stands become mini-Disney Stores where skate-wearing Disney character items may be purchased. You can even have your picture taken with life-size Mickey and Minnie figures and their over-size luggage.
My daughters grew up with yearly visits to Disney on Ice productions. The tour makes its annual visit to Buffalo in late January or early February when the weather here is particularly miserable. For us, then, the annual tour stop meant a dose of Mickey and Disney magic when we needed it most. It wasn’t Disney World, but it was close enough.
Not surprisingly, Mickey and Minnie’s Magical Journey does not end in Africa. The gang then goes under the sea with Ariel and Sebastian and a host of skating mermaids, mermen, and assorted fish for a tribute to The Little Mermaid. Hawaii is the group’s next destination as they celebrate Lilo & Stitch. They arrive, in fact, just in time to see Stitch begin disrupting the lives of Lilo and Nani. Finally, for a review of Peter Pan, they travel to London and join the Darling children on their adventure to Neverland where they help Peter triumph in his battle with the evil Captain Hook. Everyone returns “home” safely, of course, and the production ends in an all-out celebration where the lights are bright, the music is loud, and the emotion is high.
The Disney on Ice franchise has its own place on the Disney.com website and a listing of the current touring productions, tour stops and dates may be found there.
One thing about Mickey & Minnie’s Magical Journey still bothers me, though: who is taking care of Pluto while everyone is on vacation?
Contributed by: John Marchese (NDD#172) John is the DDL Media Relations Blogger.