Heroes, princesses, classic characters, and cartoon animals… they’re all part of the magical world of Disney, and when their stories come to life on the ice, they put a new spin on beloved tales. Each winter and spring, Disney on Ice brings its traveling shows to the Washington, DC, area. These ice-skating spectaculars bring a classic or modern Disney story (and often more than one in each production) to new life in a show that blends the athleticism and grace of ice skating with the dazzling lights, sounds, and special effects of a professional live production.
As much of a tradition as a Disney on Ice show is for local families — some attend each year, and even each show — we know that many of our readers still have never been to one. If you are seeing a Disney on Ice show for the first time soon (the next one is Disney on Ice presents Frozen in February 2018), here are some tips for you. We base our tips on personal experience after attending more than 10 Disney on Ice shows over the years at two local venues.
- Consider the time. Most of these shows are about two hours long. While they do have an intermission, it can still be a long time for little kids to sit still. Of course, most will be so enthralled by seeing their beloved characters perform, and hearing familiar songs from the movies and shows, that the time will pass quickly. Still, keep in mind the time when attending with a toddler or young child, especially if going to an evening show after a long day. In other words, consider giving them a nap before the show. You also could have them wear comfy flannel pajamas to make it easier to get to bed as soon as the show is over.
- Don’t expect a full story. With the exception of shows focused on one Disney tale (such as Frozen) most Disney on Ice productions feature multiple storylines. As such, you will get a condensed version of the story or just snippets. You also won’t necessarily see all the characters of a story, though you definitely will see the main ones for each tale.
- Wear your Disney costumes! It’s fun to see young kids dressed up in their Disney princess, hero, or other costumes. Even just waring Mickey ears or themed T-shirts (and adults should get in on the fun, too!) adds a bit more fun.
- Bring money for concessions and decide on a budget for each child before you head out. Disney on Ice shows feature plenty of merchandise for sale, from light-up wands to dolls. These typically will cost a bit more than what you would pay at a store but we have found the prices to be reasonable for many items. What gets expensive (as is common with any arena show) are the special concessions such as frosty drinks and popcorn bags that have some sort of toy or hat attached to them. Photo opportunities with characters (which often are not costumed people but backgrounds or props) can be pricey.
- Consider attending Disney on Ice as a group. Make it a fun day out by planning to attend with neighborhood or school friends. Sometimes Girl Scout Troops in the area arrange group outings, too.
Tips for attending at Capital One Arena:
- Capital One Arena (formerly Verizon Center) in Washington, DC, is a large venue, so you will be walking more and it will take longer to get out at the end of the show. Keep this in mind when planning time for bathroom breaks or getting food.
- Parking is not free, and although there are several garages within a very short distance to the arena (including some right across from it), these can be pricey (expect to pay $15-20). Conveniently, though, you also have the option of taking the Metro, which has a stop right at the arena.
Tips for attending at EagleBank Arena:
- For Disney on Ice shows at EagleBank Arena (formerly the Patriot Center) at George Mason University (GMU) in Fairfax, Virginia, parking is much easier. Here, parking is free and it’s all on surface lots so it’s easier to get out when the show is over.
- GMU is in the suburbs, so there are not as many restaurants nearby as there are at Capital One Arena. Still, right across from the school there are some options, from cheap, fast-food places to a few nice sit-down restaurants. Nearby Fairfax City, just a few miles down the road, has plenty more options.
Do you have any tips of your own you’d like to share with readers? Leave a comment below!
Photo by Disney on Ice and used with permission
Disclosure: This site participates in the Feld Family Ambassador program and in exchange for our time and efforts to promote this show we receive complimentary tickets for our use and to give away, and special invitations to exclusive events. The opinions expressed in this post are those of the individual author.