Dispatch, Disney World: The 'Frozen' experience


Managing Editor Rebecca Tobin this month spent three days at Walt Disney World, checking out the Polynesian Village Resort and the four parks. Her second report follows. Click to read Rebecca's first dispatch.

My daughter, nearly 5 years old, is not what I'd call "Frozen" obsessed, although she was Elsa for Halloween last year.

And she owns a plush Olaf, and a plush Sven, and a few coloring books, and the movie DVD, and a small ice castle, and a few books, and a "Frozen" themed kite, and she knows all the words to "Let it Go."

OK, ok. Fine! "Frozen" was going to be a big part of this Disney trip, and I planned accordingly.

First, the "Frozen" merchandise. You can buy it at any Disney store, but it's more fun to shop at the store at Norway in Epcot's World Showcase. This is where we bought our "Frozen" MagicBandits, charms that pop into the MagicBand holes. They were pretty cute.

Epcot's Norway will be the 2016 location for a re-created Arendelle, which will be where future meet-and-greets will take place (it replaces the Maelstrom ride, which shut down last year).

Second: Reserving FastPasses for an Elsa and Anna meet-and-greet. This is a must for anybody who has a child who wants to meet the famous sisters, or a must for any parent who needs photo evidence of their child meeting the famous sisters. I would say this was a good use of a FastPass.

Each child meets each character separately, and each character had a personality to reflect their onscreen persona. Elsa was friendly but reserved, and Anna bubbling over about Olaf this and Olaf that. It was sweet. To make use of the 45-second window of time our daughter had with the sisters, I gave her a few talking points: "Tell Elsa you dressed like her for Halloween!" "Show Anna the Olaf on your MagicBand."

Third, the "For the First Time in Forever: A 'Frozen' Sing-Along Celebration" at Disney's Hollywood Studios. We went to the 6 p.m. showing on a Sunday night and also used a FastPass, but it wasn't necessary since the Premier Theater didn't completely fill.

The premise is this: Two of Arendelle's "historians" retell (i.e. bumble through) the story, condensing it to 30 minutes and getting some things hysterically wrong. For example, when Kristoff appears onstage, the female historian gasped and shouted out "Justin Bieber!" and then proceeds to get his name wrong several times. My daughter thought this was hilarious. Some of the humor was for the kids, and some was for the adults.

And during the points in the story where a song was appropriate, the movie with subtitles would be shown on big screens and the whole theater would sing, for example, "Do You Want to Build a Snowman?"

When we got to "Let It Go," the male historian exclaimed: "Dads, this is for you!" (NB: As part of a pre-arranged parental bargain, I agreed to take the kid to the Sing-Along Celebration while Dad went alone to the "Star Tours" 3-D simulator.)

Notwithstanding her familiarity with "Frozen," it took my daughter a few songs to loosen up. She joined in on "Let it Go," but when we got to "In Summer," Olaf's big musical number, she was out of her seat and singing in the aisle.

Queen Elsa herself took the stage at the end, eliciting applause from the audience and bows and fluttering from the humble historians. Then there was a high-energy reprise of "Let It Go," where lights flashed, "snow" fell on the audience and several hundred young voices were raised in song and several hundred limbs gestured and several hundred parents smiled and sang.

"Let the storm rage ooonnnnnnnn."

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