I had three tickets to the charity gala of “Disney on Ice presents Live Your Dreams” and I knew exactly who I wanted to bring along—my two nephews Azi, age 7, and Fin, who’s almost 2.
But people thought I was crazy.
Was I really going to watch “Disney on Ice” with kids that young? Can I—the hapless, childless aunt—handle them alone with no backup babysitters? Everybody—from my mother and my driver to my friends and coworkers—expressed their doubts.
But my Mickey Mouse-shaped heart and I were determined. The boys and I were going to have a magical time. I would make sure of it.
So, last Saturday, I headed to SM Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena, carrying Fin and holding on to Azi, my tote bag full of supplies: wet wipes, tissues, a blanket (it’s “Disney on Ice”—the kids might get cold!), lollipops for bribing a screaming toddler, and two powerbanks in case I needed my last resort—distraction via alphabet videos on YouTube.
But it turned out that all I needed were the wet wipes for our cotton candy-sticky fingers.
Our first solo outing was a success. I didn’t need to call the kids’ grandparents (who were eating nearby) to come rescue us.
Here are my tips for parents, grandparents, aunts or uncles planning to bring their favorite kids to the show.
Dos and don’ts
The early bird gets the bear. Winnie the Pooh and Tigger kick things off for guests who get to MOA Arena early, so don’t be late.
Kids over 12 months need their own tickets and they get their own seats. Not that they’d use them. Fin, who is 23 months, spent almost the entire show on my lap except for the 30 seconds he wanted to try sitting on his own.
Bring cash. Our first stop inside the venue was the BDO ATM on the second floor because I was out of cash and I knew we’d need it to buy goodies from the vendors inside. Trying to get money from the ATM while carrying a toddler and a packed tote bag and having a conversation with a 7-year-old about the lost continent of Zealandia is a juggling act I’ve never experienced before.
Load up on snacks before grabbing your seats. There’s plenty to choose from at MOA Arena, everything from Auntie Anne’s pretzels to shawarma from Turk’s. We got pizza slices from Yellow Cab, fries, popcorn and cotton candy (the cotton comes with a Mickey crown or a chicken or pig hat).
There are also vendors roaming inside, but you’ll have more choices if you buy before going in.
Don’t forget the drinks. It was a total face-palm moment when I realized we had forgotten to buy water. (And I couldn’t even face-palm because my hands were busy holding Fin and the box of popcorn.)
At one point, Fin started reaching out for the drinks of the people in front of us. I was ready to go out again and get some, but Azi didn’t want to miss any part of the show. Thankfully, the kids got to drink water during intermission and they had plenty to last them for the rest of the show.
Use the intermission as your chance to buy whatever else you need, run to the bathroom, stretch your legs and give kids who are getting restless a little break. But I have faith in the show’s ability to keep children captivated. Fin is almost 2 years old but he watched the entire show without getting antsy.
“Disney on Ice presents Live Your Dreams” celebrates Disney’s heroes, so you’ll get a bit of Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy, plus adventures with Beauty, the Beast and his castle staff (“Beauty and the Beast), Cinderella (“Cinderella”), Rapunzel and Flynn Rider (“Tangled”), Miguel (“Coco”), Anna and Elsa (“Frozen”), and Moana and Maui (“Moana”). It’s a good idea for kids to watch the Disney films before heading to the show, so they’ll be familiar with the characters when they go.
The show offers chances for audience interaction for the kids seated in front. If you want your children to get the chance to participate in the show, get front-row tickets. Kids are chosen at random, but here’s a tip: we spotted kids dressed in Mickey Mouse shirts and as Disney Princesses being picked.
Get ready to rock it to “Let It Go.” Seriously, Elsa’s song hasn’t lost its power. The “Frozen” segment was definitely one of the most magical moments of the show and not just because of the snowfall. Azi said he loved the “Moana” and “Frozen” bits the most. Fin was absolutely riveted by Olaf.
Kids of different ages enjoy the show in different ways. For Fin, it was a visual spectacle. Lights! Colors! So many characters! He clapped and laughed and waved at them.
For Azi, it was the chance to relive stories he had enjoyed in the films. He compared each part of the show to the movies they’re based on. (He also kept looking for Sven, the reindeer from “Frozen.”) He sang along to the songs (Moana’s “How Far I’ll Go” especially) and had fun identifying which country each story takes place in. (He’s obsessed with geography.)
And for their old aunt, the show was a new way to experience Disney magic—through the eyes of my nephews, which were aglow with wonder.
“Disney on Ice” has been held annually at MOA Arena since 2016. Each year, it spreads joy to different beneficiaries during the charity gala. This year’s beneficiaries included Child Haus, Santisima Trinidad Orphanage, SOS Children’s Village, Aeta Community, Street Kids from Tondo and Payatas as well as other communities supported by SM and its partners.
“Disney On Ice presents Live Your Dreams,” produced by Feld Entertainment, runs at MOA Arena till Jan. 5, 2020. Tickets start at P190 and are available through SM Ticket Outlets and www.smtickets.com.