Behind the DISNEY ON ICE Magic: Making the (Set) Pieces Fall in its Perfect Place

Every year, hordes of Filipino families make the beeline to the Smart Araneta Coliseum to watch the latest Disney on Ice show. This year, from December 25 to January 3, 2012, expect the lines to get even longer because Disney on Ice presents “Princesses and Heroes”, a beautiful show that recreates defining moments when eight Disney princesses’ wishes are fulfilled with the help of their devoted princes. Ariel, Cinderella, Belle, Jasmine, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel and Tiana enter a world where heroes and hearts prevail.

But beyond the awesome and precise skating, the adventure of this ice-spectacle is magnified many times over because of the equally jaw-dropping sets.

In a conversation with production designer, Robert Little, he revealed that Filipino audiences should expect the unexpected! Little says, “My hope is that as they experience each of the characters’ wishes, they would be surprised and delighted with the enchanting variety of stories and the seeing all their favorite characters. The show’s fast and exciting pace will also impress them as we move from story to story.”

To achieve this, Little revealed that the character Tinker Bell was crucial because most of the set pieces were influenced by the magic of Disney’s favorite fairy. “On a trail of pixie dust, the set pieces must literally come to life and have certain elements to fit each princess story. In the Aladdin scene for instance, Tinker Bell cause the bazaar and the marketplace to magically appear on the ice.”

Little said that his hands-down favorite set piece was the waterfall. “We had this early idea on about wishes and the types of places where you would be compelled to make wishes. We hit upon the waterfall. The enchanting idea worked especially well for Ariel, Sleeping Beauty and Snow White. However, it was quite challenging because we had to find a way to make the waterfall a cascading, multi-level piece, while containing the water off the ice to prevent melting.”

Other pieces that Little is very proud of are Cinderella’s carriage and the dragon, “Cinderella’s carriage is very much like a beautiful Tiffany or Faberge egg. At the end of the show, the carriage rises up and becomes a magnificent gold shimmering ball.” Little said that in Sleeping Beauty, he wanted to recreate all the excitement, romance and drama in the scene where Prince Phillip battles a dragon to get to Princess Aurora, “We made the fire-breathing dragon six meters long and there is a thrilling surprise in store for the audience at the end.”

Little said that designing the set for Disney on Ice was thrilling and as well as challenging simply because there were many classic stories to tell. He had to find a way to combine these stories through scenery that would be flexible yet magically effective. Little said that designing this set is actually the realization of childhood dream. “My one wish growing up was to be in entertainment, making models of magical places that I’d never been to. Disney on Ice has made that dream come true because I became a creator of these magical places, “Little said. Indeed, even among the people behind the scenes, dreams do come true in Disney.

These and more exciting “ice-specatular” numbers are in store for Filipino audiences who will troop over to the Smart Araneta Coliseum for Disney on Ice presents Princesses and Heroes. Tickets are available via TicketNet Online or call 911-5555.

Disney on Ice presents Princesses and Heroes is a holiday presentation from the Araneta Center, Smart Araneta Coliseum and Lactum. Official transport partners are Philippine Airlines and H&M Transport. Official TV partner is ABS-CBN. Other media partners are the Manila Bulletin, Philippine Daily Inquirer, and Summit Media. Official Residence is Holiday Inn.