Disney magic dazzles at Leeds Arena

Gliding, sliding hot-rods, an ice skating T-rex and an appearance from the main mouse himself can only mean one thing – Disney On Ice was in town.

On Wednesday I joined hoardes of wannabe Disney princesses, excitable Toy Story fans and their families at Leeds First Direct Arena for an evening of pure Disney magic.

Disney On Ice brings much-loved characters and films to life with an impressive troupe of ice skaters, creative sets and toe-tapping music.

The Worlds of Fantasy show featured Cars, The Little Mermaid and Toy Story 3 – as well as appearances from Tinkerbell and the other fairies and, of course, Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and Donald Duck.

What really stood out about the show was the creativity of Feld Entertainment in translating such iconic stories and fantasy worlds into an ice skating, theatrical performance without over egging the pudding.

When you first see Slinky Dog, Rex and Hamm sliding about on ice skates, you raise an eyebrow – but the show paid perfect tribute to Toy Story 3 and the dance elements rarely felt forced or out of place.

And the bright colours of the Little Mermaid tribute, complete with skating fish and, of course, Sebastian the Crab, used bubble machines to great effect to transform the ice rink into the ocean floor.

The atmosphere was electric from start to finish, and it’s always a delight to see so many youngsters overwhelmed with joy at seeing their cartoon heroes come to life.

And the cast were happy to interact with the audience, waving and clowning around at the sides of the rink when they were not the centre of attention.

But, I must stress, Disney On Ice is not just for kids – the professionalism and skill of the ice skaters and the creativity of the production guarantees a top night out for all the family, from two to 82!

My three-year-old niece Holly was enthralled, wearing her Belle dress and waving a flashing star-shaped wand like a child possessed – and I spent the evening marvelling at the skill of the cast members as they performed tightly choreographed routines, impressive lifts and added an unexpected new dimension to classic childhood stories.

Call me a big kid, but I found myself grinning from start to finish. Superb.

Samantha Robinson