These productions are incredible. The costumes, sets, lighting, and effects compliment highly skilled athletes who do things on skates that defy physics. Seriously, I watch them do some of this stuff and I can't figure out how it's even possible. I watched this guy lift a girl up over his head and hold her with one hand while balancing on one skate before flipping her down his back onto her own skates. And the spinning. The spinning, y'all. In immaculate costumes, some of which are...let's call them cumbersome. I couldn't do this stuff on dry land. These folks are doing it on top of razor blades. I'm pretty sure Mom would want me to do that about as much as she wants me to run with scissors or wear dirty underwear (not at all, in case you're wondering...even in Arkansas).
They've even imported some crazy circus acts these days. At one point Ariel came out and grabbed onto a rope, after which they lifted her up and spun her around in the air...like 25 feet in the air. I don't know how she held on to that rope, but if she had let it go (did you see what I did there? foreshadowing), she would have most likely wound up somewhere in the upper deck if not in low orbit. And Rapunzel? She and Flynn grabbed this yellow fabric (it's supposed to be her hair, but you can't fool me) and started doing these bizarre acrobatics with it. Pretty soon, they too wound up flying through the air in broad circles. How is that even possible?
Momentum is weird.
By half time (you might call it intermission, but the first half had a hockey theme to it, so I call it half time), all the insanity had made me thirsty, so I went and bought some very expensive ice at a concession stand. No lie, it was $15 per cup of ice (flavored with sugary water that turned Wesley's teeth dark blue). I also picked up some cotton candy for Lucy, a great deal because it came with a Dory hat. Look! I found Dory! Still looking for Nemo...
And the music, ah the music. If Disney knows nothing else, they know how to write a song that will get stuck in your head:
Actually that one wasn't in the Disney on Ice show this time, because even Feld Entertainment hasn't figured out how to make animatronic dolls ice skate..
By the way, and this has nothing to do with this article at all, 1000 points to anyone who identifies, in the video above, the character that is playing in the wrong galdurn key. 1,000,000 points if you can make sure that character is removed from the ride (and the soundtrack) before next time my family goes to Disney. [Editor's note: I've actually identified the culprit, and I have a picture of that little punk. I'd take care of him myself if I could accept the lifetime ban from Disney theme parks, but that's just too high a price to pay...kindof like the tickets to the park.] But seriously, folks. You can't convince me that Disney staff haven't ridden this thing and heard that awful racket. Why won't they do something about it?!
Anyway, the music. The songs are catchy, and I like them. They'll play a signature song from one of the movies while the princess and her accompanying prince dance together on the ice (or above it, as the case apparently may be). Then they skate away. We had Rapunzel and Tiana and Jasmine and Ariel and Mulan and Belle and Snow White--all with the songs that made them great.
And then it happened. The entire gathered masses at Philips Arena lost their collective sanity as the music began. It. Was. Time. For. Frozen.
Most Disney music is at least pretty good (with the exception of the piper in the small world ride, of course). But this music has captivated our collective souls. As soon as the opening bars of the main theme started, the entire crowd erupted...and then the crowd started doing the unthinkable: they started singing together. We did the snowman song. We did the open door song. But those were just the warmups.
I wish you could have heard what happened when THE SONG started. You know the one, just as I did. And you know the words too. Just admit it. Let. It. Go. It was pandelerium when the first notes sounded. When the words began, I realized many in the crowd had been holding out on us. At that moment, I'm convinced everyone in the entire crowd except for my in-laws were singing at the top of their lungs right along with it.
I know you can't focus on this article right now because you're singing the song in your head, so let me help you with that (I know you don't need the words, but they're there just in case...):
I found myself wondering why this song in particular has such broad appeal. Kids love it. Parents love it. More than any other song in recent memory. It's everywhere. Why was a whole room of people singing louder than the sound system in Philips (seriously...it was that loud)? I think there are a few reasons.
First, it's singable. It moves mostly in steps, and it's repetitive. The words don't go buy too fast to pick up. This makes it accessible to kids and parents alike.
Second, it's catchy. Kindof like the Pandemic Blues. It has a nice beat to it that gives it a lot of power--it's oddly satisfying to sing in a way I can't fully explain.
But mostly, at least for the adults, I don't think it's the tune or the beat. I think it's the lyrics.
All her life, Elsa has been imprisoned by expectation. She's been told she cannot allow people to see her gifts. She cannot flourish. She cannot thrive. She must conceal and not feel. This has led her to a lonely and purposeless existence. As this song unfolds, Elsa is finally able to embrace fully who she is. Her secret has been revealed, and she is free to be nothing and nobody other than who she is.
All of us (some more than others, perhaps) know what it is to feel imprisoned by expectation. We are parents. We are spouses. We are employees or employers or both. People rely on us. The weight of responsibility requires that, at least to some extent, we conceal and not feel. Maybe we aren't as bound as Elsa was, but somewhere inside I suspect all of us wonder what life would be like if we shunned all expectation and responsibility, unleashing the full power of who we are. And so, in that moment, as Elsa crescendos through "well now they know," we feel the abandon and release right along with her. The music comes from a place deep within us, a place we may not even have known existed: "Let it go!"
Honestly it brings a lump to my throat every time. I'm not even kidding.
Elsa's call echoes a much older call on our lives. In a religious world created around confining law, Christ called for authenticity. He called us to look to the Divine within ourselves and be not the good girls and boys we always have to be but rather rebels bound only by Love. We will all do that differently, of course, as our gifts vary widely (Paul speaks to that later in his letter to the Corinthians). What would our world look like if we abandoned legalistic faith and instead Let. Love. Go? I would argue that if you were singing along, or even if you weren't, at least a little part of you wants to find out too.
Good news! You have the power to love. It has been inside since you were created in the image of God. It is inborn. You cannot escape it. And there has never been a better time than right now to let it go.