If you hadn't heard, Disneyland California has a new stage production, FROZEN, located at the Hyperion Theater in Hollywood Land.
The show opened on May 27th and I was lucky enough to be one of the first to see the new attraction, which turned out to be, shall we say, an experience that I wouldn't mind letting go (GASP!!).
VISITOR TIP: The Frozen show OFFERS a FastPass – GET IT!!
First things first: do yourself a favor and get a FASTPASS located to the left of the Hyperion Theater. The best time to get it is right when the park opens because they will all be claimed VERY quickly. Currently there are 4 scheduled showtimes per day (NOTE: as the show is still fairly new, showtimes are subject to cancellations).
Don't be like me and stand in the standby line for 2 hours — it's TORTUROUS!! All you'll end up doing is hating yourself while breathing in the collective aroma of every sweaty person around you (which turned out to be a viscous blend of sour armpits and hardened ketchup).
As you may have guessed, my seat was in the top bleachers (or as Infrared would say: ALL THE WAY UP!!). It's still a nice view up there if you're a big fan of... Ariel (hehe, get it? DARN, I need a podcast...)
The first thing I noticed was the projection animation on the stage — it encompassed not just part of the stage, but the entire stage and then some, bleeding off the sides and onto the walls. At first I found it to be commendable and exciting, but that feeling faded fast once I realized how dependent the production was on that feature.
Speaking of dependency, another aspect of the show that felt overused was the circular rotating floor. At times it allowed for some very neat transitions and juxtapositions, but over time the effect wore off much like my sunscreen did in that 2-hour standby line (︶︹︺)
Not to be a meanie head, but the most interesting moments in the show were the goof-up's. Because the production isn't well-oiled yet, it was understandable to see an imperfect performance.
- In the performance of "Let It Go": some fumbled lyrics in the early part of the song, and the synchronization of light effects was a bit off at times
- There were two major cases of mechanical malfunctions (short delays w/ dimmed lights included), one of which was played-off amazingly with improvisation by Kristoff when some characters were stranded in mid-air suspended on wires
One part that the show absolutely nailed was the wolves chase sequence. The seamless marriage of projection animation and the on-set interaction was spot-on, very well done.
I'm all for cool effects and stage efficiency, but the movement of the Frozen show felt static compared to the previous Hyperion installment, Aladdin, which ran for 13 years.
In Aladdin, there were so many moving parts — it was beautifully choreographed chaos!! Genie's comedic performance was arguably the best part of the entire production and who could forget the magic caaarpeeet riiiiide!! A WHOLE NEW WO-- sorry, got carried away there...
In Frozen, there is no clear comedic lead, thus some jokes noticeably fell through. Though there is an opportunity for Kristoff, my vote would go to the lovable Olaf to have a bigger comedic role — I think he could be the "Genie" of this new show.
All in all, it's difficult for me to say that I'll definitely be going back to watch the show again. Much of that opinion is because I love Aladdin so much more than I like Frozen. A side dish to that feeling is my admiration & awe for practical effects, which was minimal in and around the lands of Arendelle.
Buuut... if I got a FASTPASS, would I watch the show again? Sure, I wouldn't mind airing out my toes in an air conditioned theater while reminiscing about "Friend Like Me".
If you have kids who love the Frozen franchise, this is definitely something they'll enjoy (just make sure to get that effing FASTPASS).