With the new Disney Dream cruise ship now sailing the Caribbean seas, guests aboard are being treated to shows that bring classic Disney animated scenes to life on the stage.
Inside the Dream’s magnificent two-story Walt Disney Theatre, a talented Disney cast performs a number of live shows on each voyage that not only feature many of the fans’ favorite Disney characters and tunes from decades of history, but also include a few rarities not often seen live. During the Dream’s Christening Cruise, I watched two of the ship’s many shows – an updated version of the seven-year-old Disney Cruise Line staple, “The Golden Mickeys,” featuring timeless Disney classic scenes and songs, as well as “Believe,” an all-new show that wraps surprisingly-chosen tunes in an original story.
Each show involves what essentially amounts to a live montage of Disney songs strung together by an ongoing plot, but that’s where the similarities between the two end.
“The Golden Mickeys” stage show on the Disney Dream
“The Golden Mickeys” first premiered in 2003 aboard the Disney Wonder cruise ship and has since been performed on the Disney Magic as well as at Hong Kong Disneyland and Tokyo Disneyland. Now it is a part of the entertainment line-up on the new Disney Dream, filled with highly entertaining and impressive talent. This is no ordinary cruise ship show, as the dancers and singers found on the stage give, as is always the case with Disney, the highest quality of performances.
The show’s premise is that guests are attending a Hollywood awards show, similar in style to the Academy Awards, Golden Globes. It all begins with big-name celebrity arrivals, but in this case the photographers are locked on guests entering the theater, as everyone who attends “The Golden Mickeys” is a star.
I was even personally pulled in front of the camera and “interviewed” about my favorite parts of the Dream. It’s a nice touch. Thanks to Marcy Massura, who happened to be passing by at the time, for snapping a photo of me during my shining moment in the spotlight:
The Walt Disney Theatre itself is about as grand as any Disney guest would expect, featuring ornate decorations and a large balcony.
Among the “awards show” theme, familiar scenes from classic Disney films are recreated on stage. These scenes not only sound great, featuring talented singers, but also look stunning, enhanced by clever uses of set pieces, scrims and projections to achieve the look of the films they are representing.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is the show’s first jump into the movie world:
101 Dalmatians features an exuberant, perhaps too over-the-top, performance by Cruella DeVil:
New to the Disney Dream version of “The Golden Mickeys” is a particularly dazzling sequence from Disney’s newest hit animated film, Tangled. The scene features the Oscar-nominated song “I See The Light,” beginning with Rapunzel singing from a balcony, representing her tower home:
Mid-song, Flynn Ryder appears on stage, climbing into a familiar boat from the film, and is quickly joined by Rapunzel as they sail out into the sparkling lantern scene from the film:
Lanterns float up behind and in front of the pair before they release one of their own to conclude the scene:
Listen to a clip of “I See The Light” from “The Golden Mickeys”:
The hour-long show features many more familiar scenes that include The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Mulan, Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, Toy Story, and Tarzan, during which several females around me became audibly excited at the presence of the shirtless (and nearly pants-less) muscle-bound performer playing the role of the ape man.
Anyone who is a fan of any Disney animated film won’t want to miss “The Golden Mickeys” on board, especially if Tangled is a recent favorite.
More photos from the “The Golden Mickeys” show on the Disney Dream:
“Believe” stage show on the Disney Dream
On the surface, “Believe” is a similar show to “The Golden Mickeys.” At the beginning, a story and new characters are introduced, and these characters then take the audience through a series of scenes from Disney animated films. But “Believe” has plenty of uniqueness in that it tends to stick to less commonly-heard songs. Where “The Golden Mickeys” has “Under the Sea,” “You’ve Got a Friend in Me,” and “Cruella DeVil,” prominently-featured songs in “Believe” include “Step in Time,” “Bare Necessities,” and “Gonna Take You There,” among others. If you don’t recognize all the songs, don’t worry, as they’re pulled from the slightly more obscure songbook from Disney classic films.
It all begins with a gardner worrying about his new species of flower as his daughter, Sophia, celebrates her birthday with excitement about a new magic wand she has received:
The dad promises Sophia that they’ll spend some birthday time together later, but at the moment he needs to prepare his special new flower for presenting to a flower society – or something. Sophia insists that magic and a bit of pixie dust will help her father’s flower while he assures her that magic is not real and only science will do the job. The duo then erupt into song, singing what is presumably titled “What Makes the Garden Grow,” as they repeat that line many times throughout the 3-minute number.
The song and characters are a bit tough to take in at the top of the show, as they’re not within the usual Disney world that’s so familiar to the watching audience. Sophia’s voice, intentionally childlike and high-pitched, borders on shrill at times, and the father’s performance and characterization is quite reminiscent of Barry Bostwick’s Brad in “Rocky Horror.” It’s not until roughly 7 minutes into the show that anything Disney shows up.
But once the Disney begins, it begins in full force, with the introduction of the always-over-the-top-in-a-good-way Genie from Aladdin:
To assure the father that he is really an all-powerful Genie and not just a prank, he breaks into the obligatory “Friend Like Me” number:
But this is not the Aladdin musical at the Disney California Adventure theme park. The all-amusing Genie takes the father on a journey through magical Disney scenes, only occasionally firing jokes at contemporary non-Disney topics (like Madonna’s newfound not-so-British accent). As the show progresses, the Genie conjures up characters and scenes not often seen on stage, beginning with Merlin from The Sword in the Stone:
Mary Poppins follows by flying in via umbrella, but after an abridged version of “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” she’s joined by Bert and other chimney sweeps for a dance-filled performance of the film’s less famous song, “Step in Time”:
The audience is later treated to a unique performance of “Bare Necessities” by a walking, talking, and blinking Baloo:
But the highlight of “Believe,” for me, is the sequence from The Princess and the Frog. The film may have been Disney’s return to traditional hand-drawn animation, but this live-action scene is filled with energetic performers and toe-tapping jazz:
Even Princess Tiana’s friend Charlotte makes an appearance:
Listen to a clip from the show:
Of course, a show about Disney magic called “Believe” wouldn’t be complete without a few Disney Princesses:
By the show’s conclusion, the characters – and the audience – believe in Disney magic, as it has been created in a stage performance fit for Broadway, but currently enjoyed in the Caribbean.
More photos from the new “Believe” show on the Disney Dream: