For over twenty years, Newcastle’s Utilita Arena has been home to one particularly magical show, bringing to life some of childhood’s most iconic characters and stories.
Disney On Ice, which began almost 40 years ago, features the full ensemble of Disney’s greatest films, and has been entertaining children and their families alike with incredible choreography, innovative, explosive set design and the very best of icy acrobatics all that time.
With such an impressive history, it’s only right that Luxe should delve in and explore.
Disney On Ice made its international debut in Japan way back in 1987, with a show titled Happy Birthday Donald. It wasn’t until 1998 – a year before the first run of the show in Newcastle – that the name was changed to Disney On Ice.
The first set of shows in Newcastle ran from 5 – 10 October, 1999, at which point the Utilita Arena was known as the Telewest Arena.
A new version of the show debuts almost every year, bringing new characters, films and songs to the ice – in 2001, the release of Toy Story prompted the creation of a show featuring Buzz, Woody and the rest of the gang, choreographed by Olympic Gold medalist Robin Cousins and featuring an ensemble cast led by Eddie Gornick and Alexandr Klimkin.
In 2003, the show came back as Disney On Ice presents 100 Years of Magic, a special tour created to commemorate Walt Disney’s 100th anniversary.
Included were more than 60 of Disney’s most beloved characters, and never-before-seen performances of some of Disney’s biggest movies, including Mulan and A Bug’s Life, as well as numbers from The Mickey Mouse Club television show and It’s a Small World, Disneyland’s popular theme park ride.
The show visited seven cities across the UK and performed to over half a million people in under two months, utilizing the talents of over 100 cast and crew.
Other shows have celebrated The Incredibles (2007), Finding Nemo (2008) and Disney Princesses (2009).
In 2011, the action-packed ice spectacular presented Worlds of Fantasy, bringing audiences on an odyssey through some of Disney’s most magical inventive lands, including the auto-racing terrain of Cars, Triton’s underwater kingdom from the Little Mermaid, Andy’s bedroom from Toy Story, and Pixie Hollow, for a presentation of fairy magic from Tinker Bell herself.
Featuring two separate design teams, one specifically bringing Andy’s toys to life in the Toy Story segment. World of Fantasy presented a perfect meld of Disney’s modern classic with their timeless tales.
In 2016, a show based on the Oscar-winning Frozen was debuted, and it was so popular that producers had to add additional performances following huge public demand.
The then-General Manager of the then-Metro Radio Arena said: “Frozen, is without doubt, the fastest selling Disney On Ice show in the history of the Metro Radio Arena. This is the first time that audiences in the UK will see the entire Frozen story showcased by Disney on ice, and the fact that we have now added two extra shows indicates its tremendous appeal.”
In Disney On Ice presents Frozen, Minnie and Mickey Mouse took audiences through the magical land of Arendelle, introducing them once again to sisters Anna and Elsa. Featuring not only the beloved characters from Frozen, but those from Toy Stoy, Finding Nemo and The Lion King too, the show was brought to life with a special array of special effects, including a projections canopy to light the ice with Elsa’s power.
Of course, a show running for twenty years is bound to hit trouble at some point. The show’s run in 2020 was cancelled, like so many things, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, which forced the UK into a protracted lockdown and ruined any hope of large gatherings for months.
Fortunately, Disney On Ice is set to return in December 2021 with a brand new show. This year, audiences will discover what it truly means to be a hero as Mickey, Minnie and friends from around the Disney Kingdom come together to take audiences on a journey of adventure and discovery.
This production includes appearances from Moana, who will embark on an action-packed voyage with mighty Maui; Anna, Elsa, and Olaf, singing “Let It Go” and “In Summer”; and Belle and the Beast’s enchanted objects performing a dazzling spectacle inviting us to “Be Our Guest”.
Set to be yet another example of the innovation and magic that are the trademarks of Disney and Disney on Ice, tickets are available now – and with a history like this, you know you don’t want to miss out.