Princesses rule in the latest Disney on Ice presentation, “Rockin’ Ever After,” playing the TD Garden through Feb. 24. The title is a little bit of a misnomer though, because what Disney on Ice does best is combine the heart of some of its favorite films with elegant and athletic figure skating.
The films chosen for this go-round include “The Little Mermaid,” “Tangled,” “Beauty and the Beast” and a snippet from “Brave.” As always, the show opens with Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and Goofy warming up the crowd, and they open with an odd, celebrity-style interview with Pinocchio, followed by a brief appearance by Cinderella’s stepsisters Mickey says is part of a “gala-palooza.” The quartet then skate out of the way as Sebastian, that clever crab from “The Little Mermaid,” leads a bevy of mermaids in a medley of ’80s rock songs (parents will recognize Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”).
Ariel soon arrives and we are treated to a condensed version of the story told through “Part of Your World,” “Under the Sea,” and “Kiss the Girl,” with a stop, of course, at Ursula’s undersea lair. What’s striking about this section are Cynthia Nordstrom’s stunning costumes, which feature lovely leg pieces that move like fish fins as the skaters glide, extraordinarily detailed seahorse, sting ray, jelly fish costumes, and glow-in-the-dark orange for the starfish, who lie down on the ice for an angel-making routine my 6-year-old and 8-year-old companions adored.
The highlight of “The Little Mermaid” sequence is Ariel’s transformation to a human, which is enacted with a skater performing an aerial acrobatics routine. Watching the skater twirl and flip on a rope high above the ice, and then land and skate away is quite an experience.
Next up is Rapunzel and a quick run-through of the essentials, including “I’ve Got a Dream” (an impressively hilarious reenactment of this production number), “Mother Knows Best,” and “When Will My Life Begin,” featuring some exquisite pairs skating by Rapunzel and Flynn Rider.
The second act opens with scenes from “Brave,” featuring the independent-minded Merida. While the appearance of the triplets (performers skating in barrels with the character costume on top) and the reenactment of the archery contest both look great, neither one is quite able to tell the story, so Mickey appears with a storybook to fill in the gaps.
The best is saved for last, and the scenes from “Beauty and the Beast” tell the story, offer some insight into the characters, and provide some eye-popping production values, all while combining classic pairs and individual skating routines with delicious costume details. “Rockin’ Ever After” is perfect for the 4- to 10-year-old set, many of whom come dressed in costume. The true critics for the show were the girls who accompanied me. Watching not only their faces, but the excitement with which they followed along during a flag-waving routine during “Tangled,” and a kick line in “Beauty and the Beast,” made this worth the price of admission.