Daddy on Ice - A Father's Review of "Disney on Ice: Princess Classics"

Turns out Violet was dressed up too (a short, pink furry number with a long, pink cape), and when we arrived there were plenty of other princesses in attendance. Try to imagine Rocky Horror Picture Show for 4-year-olds.

The first half of the show was a medley of sorts – highlights from the stories of Aladdin, Sleeping Beauty, Little Mermaid (with blacklights providing an undersea “glow”), Beauty and the Beast, Mulan and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs – with appearances by all the lovable characters, Abu the monkey, the Genie, Ursula the Sea Witch, The Magic Mirror (again with a nice touch of blacklight) and of course The Dwarfs. A huge castle was perched at one end of the ice and went through various set changes, providing a backdrop for each story along with free-standing set pieces that seemed to appear out of nowhere in the crowd (I kept trying to catch someone placing them, but never could).

There was a lot to look at, and it seemed to move fast, but a lot of story was crammed into what felt like a good hour. As the show culminated in all the princesses on the ice, paired up with their respective princes (Philip, Eric, Ali/Aladdin, Adam/The Beast) for their climactic kisses, Alchemy started to show some concern.

“Where is Cinderella?” she asked.

Oh boy. I honestly didn’t know since I hadn’t purchased the $40 program, and tried to think on my feet.

“Maybe she was late to the party and they wouldn’t let her in,” I replied.

She didn’t seem to like that answer, having gotten gussied up like Cinderella and all. I can only imagine she felt something similar to all those Guns and Roses fans when Axl wouldn’t leave his hotel room to come down and play the show. Just then, the announcer boomed again, “Ladies and gentlemen, we’re going to take a short break and we’ll be back with the princess you’ve all been waiting for. We hope you enjoyed the first half of the show!” Thank God.

Shannon and I looked at each other and both mouthed, “Half?”


During intermission, I pondered the laughable caricature of the male/female dynamic that runs through the Disney princess stories, but also took notice of all the little black girls in the crowd. They were having a great time – no, strike that, they were in rapture. Every girl there was a princess for the night – the most beautiful, loved and revered girl in the land. But there was still a lot of talk about being “Snow White” and being the “fairest” and all that. I began to wonder what exactly has taken Disney so damn long to debut an African princess. Over the years, we’ve gotten Pocahantas and Mulan, and I’m sure there was a female lead in that Prince of Egypt movie, but the first black princess we get is really slated to be “Tiana,” the girl in The Princess and the Frog (set in New Orleans)? I guess it’s a start.

If we can cull the fairytales of Dutch and German cultures for such basic fables as Snow White and Sleeping Beauty and recast the story of Pocahontas and John Smith into something that is viewable by children under 13, then I think we can come up with some pretty amazing adaptations of African folklore.

The second half of the show was dedicated to the story of Cinderella – complete with pyrotechnics, a pumpkin that turned into a full-sized carriage, an ugly stepmother, two ugly stepsisters and one glass slipper. The prince even made the rounds to the toddlers in the front row, trying to fit the slipper onto their tiny feet. When Alchemy saw this, she bolted upright, pulled at her Velcro sandal, stuck her blue-stockinged foot in the air and yelled, “Try mine! Try mine!”

In the end, Cinderella got her man, and the night was a grand, glitzy success. Counting all the princes and princesses and the dancers at the ball, this was a huge cast, and until that point I thought for sure that some of them had played more than one role. This was not the case, as the entire cast (including Tinkerbell, Mickey, Minnie and Goofy) came out for one more elaborate all-skate finale. The fairy Godmother waved her wand and with the assistance of plenty of sparks and flashpots, all was right with the world and all the couples lived happily ever after.

We left the Forum around 10 p.m. and, of course, Alchemy fell asleep in the car on the way home. As I tucked her in, I was careful not to disturb her, as she inevitably dreamt a backdrop of swirling colors and clashing cultures and of ultimately fighting off poisoned apples and giant female octopi to one day find her own Prince Charming.

Follow Joran on Twitter @joranslane

*BONUS PRINT-OUT: A “Princess Classics” coloring page, courtesy of Hispania News.

If you had asked me four years ago whether I’d ever be ringside at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa for a Disney on Ice show (let alone one named “Princess Classics”) I’d have laughed out loud. But last night, there I was, holding my breath in an arena full of 3 – 5 year old girls, waiting for the show to begin.

“Ladies and Gentlemen,” boomed a deep voice over the P.A. as Tinkerbell skated onto the ice, setting the stage for a full night of magic by twirling a glitter-loaded wand above her head. Then, Mickey and Minnie Mouse appeared from behind the castle gates to a perfectly timed musical opening, and that’s when the real screaming began.

It was a last minute invitation (our friend Shannon had an extra ticket), but unfortunately my wife Jen had to work and couldn’t take our daughter Alchemy to the show. I, conveniently enough, had no plans whatsoever. Shannon’s daughter Violet “really wanted Alchemy to go” and Jen assured me that she would “have Alchemy’s clothes laid out for me” when I got home. This sounded easy enough. Then, Shannon promised to drive. Even better! How could I say no to an easy “cool dad” opportunity? When I arrived home, however, I discovered my first clue to what the night had in store. Laid out on the dining room table – alongside a juice box and a bag of snacks – was a flowing, blue Cinderella dress and a silver tiara.

“Shit,” I thought, “I’ve got to dress her up like a princess?”

Scroll to read more Local Arts articles


Join Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.