The Disney Wonder was the second ship in Disney’s fleet of cruise ships. Disney keeps its ships updated with regular visits to dry-dock for refurbishments. The latest visit for the Wonder in November of 2016 resulted in some fairly major upgrades to the ships spaces, and the addition of a new Frozen stage musical.
The Disney Blog was recently invited to board the ship for a tour and a viewing of the Frozen musical. The story is told through both puppets, creative use of technology, and the classic Disney story telling.
“We’re so excited to bring ‘Frozen, A Musical Spectacular’ to the stage of the Walt Disney Theatre on the Disney Wonder,” said Jim Urry, Vice President, Entertainment, Disney Cruise Line. “The production is going to delight each one of our guests because it’s a story for absolutely everyone in the family.”
The puppets were definitely audience favorites and came from the workshop of the very talented Michael Curry. Also noticeable were the projection design by Aaron Rhyne and lighting design by Rui Rita. The show was directed by Sheryl Kaller and there was some creative costume design by Paloma Young.
If you’ve never been on the Disney Wonder you may be shocked to find a huge 977-seat Broadway caliber theatre inside the ship, but the Walt Disney Theater is the perfect setting for the show.
As far as the choreography by Josh Prince, both “In Summer” and “Fixer Upper” were show stopping production numbers. “Love is an Open Door” was also creatively staged. But my favorite number was “Do you want to build a snowman” where the creative use of puppets for young Anna and Elsa pushed the talents and abilities of the performers.
We weren’t allowed to take video, but Disney did a live-stream that included a sneak peek of the play and how it was produced in between looks at other parts of the Disney Wonder post-refurb (Jump to 9:24 for start of live-stream):
The show wraps up in just under an hour, which is long for a Disney stage show, but definitely short for a Broadway Musical. Those bits that were cut from the movie for this version were hardly missed, the version that’s heading to Broadway will no doubt find itself putting some of those bits back in, and adding more.
Those who have visited Disneyland recently are also familiar with a Frozen stage musical at the Disney California Adventure gate. It was developed separately from this version and the Broadway version. That makes three completely different stage productions for the same movie. Let’s hope that Frozen-mania is still there by the time it opens on Broadway (and the sequel comes to theaters).
If you’re planning a trip aboard one of Disney’s Cruise ships, I’m not sure the Frozen Musical is enough to favor the mid-sized Wonder over one of the larger Dream class ships, but it’s certainly a wonderful production that belongs among the best of Disney’s theme park productions.
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