Minnie and Mickey open up the "Disney on Ice" show at the Cumberland County Civic Center in Portland on Wednesday, Feb.6, 2013.
PORTLAND – The newest edition of "Disney on Ice" opened a five-day run at the Cumberland County Civic Center Wednesday night with a two-hour show that doubled as a history lesson on Disney characters, from Mickey Mouse and Tinker Bell to Buzz Lightyear and Lightning McQueen.
The show -- "Disney on Ice Presents Worlds of Fantasy" -- will be at the civic center through Sunday.
It's a very kid-friendly show, with no scary parts and a focus on gentler Disney heroes like Ariel, Tinker Bell and the dolls and action figures from "Toy Story 3." But there are enough skating show theatrics -- jumps, spins, and a nifty death spiral by Ken and Barbie -- to keep fans of all ages interested.
Mickey Mouse and his pals introduced the show, followed by nearly full-sized cars decorated as characters from the "Cars" movies, motoring around the ice. The first act also included several numbers based on the film "The Little Mermaid" and several numbers from "Tinker Bell." The sequences based on "The Little Mermaid" began with a dozen or more skaters in blue body suits gliding over the ice carrying giant "waves" of fabric over their heads. Combined with gently shifting blue lights, the effect was a pretty convincing ocean atmosphere.
Ariel skated to the song "Part of Your World" and was joined by other sea creatures for "Under the Sea." When she needs handsome Eric to kiss her to break an evil spell, you could hear little girls in the audience singing along softly to "Kiss the Girl."
The "Tinker Bell" sequences made dramatic use of characters suspended from the rafters, flying over the ice. Queen Clarion, queen of the fairies, made a particularly impressive flying entrance, with a sparkly white gown so bright you almost couldn't look at it. Tinker Bell and her fairy friends were skating in clouds of fairy dust, and Tink herself did some high flying above the ice.
In one impressive piece of choreography, Tinker Bell speedily skated away from an army of prickly and slightly mischievous thistles. It looked like chaos -- as it was supposed to.
The show's second act focused on numbers based on "Toy Story 3." Iconic dolls Ken and Barbie skated to "Dream Weaver," and a highlight was watching Ken change multiple times into multiple fashion ensembles, showing Barbie just how "groovy" his fashion sense is. This trick required multiple Kens; as one went behind the curtain to change, an apparent clone of Ken quickly came out dressed in another outfit.
Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head provided some unintended humor because their eyes and other parts fell off sometimes, forcing other skaters to refasten them.
Skaters portraying green plastic soldiers helped usher in the finale by dancing in a very un-military fashion to "Move It Like This" by Baha Men.
Ray Routhier can be contacted at 791-6454 or at: