Show Spotlight: Freeze The Night! A Family Dance Party

“I’m never going back – the past is in the past!”

Ice Breakers freezing the night.

Ice Breakers freezing the night.

Today we look at the last of the three “Frozen Fun” entertainment presentations this winter season at Disney California Adventure – Freeze The Night! A Family Dance Party. And once again, I’m not a big fan of this particular attempt to push more Frozen into the park – except for one very special moment…

What is Freeze The Night! A Family Dance Party?

DJ Chill – chillin’ out!

DJ Chill – chillin’ out!

Billed as a Frozen-themed nighttime family event, Freeze the Night strives to provide evening musical entertainment for all ages utilizing a DJ, a dance crew and some hosts leading the crowd in line dances (and occasionally breaking into song).

Other activities here include watching carvers creating ice sculptures and a photo op with a towering puppet version of Elsa’s ice castle guardian, Marshmallow. The second stage at the far end of the area by the former arcade has been removed and this location now provides interactive light games on the pavement for the kids to play.

This production has temporarily replaced the Mad T Party – a show with a major fan following due to its very popular live band playing pop and rock music throughout the evening in a concert-like club-style experience – though still safe, controlled and fun. But Freeze the Night doesn’t feature a band and feels more like attending someone’s big winter wedding than going out to a club.

In terms of attractions, it really is more a successor to the summer afternoon experience that ran for a few years nearby in Stage 17 – Dancing with Disney Characters – which featured cast members and characters and a DJ encouraging kids to dance while their parents watched or every once in a while joined in. It’s also comparable to the Walt Disney World Resort’s Magic Kingdom character dance parties held in Tomorrowland. However, both of those events offer characters for the kids to dance with, which Freeze the Night does not. And both of those events do not include selling alcohol, which Freeze the Night does.

This leads to Freeze the Night being a very strange combination of a nighttime dance party serving alcohol for adults in club-style locations mixed with a family event trying to entertain children late into the cold winter evenings with Radio Disney-type music and tying this into other “Frozen Fun” offerings such as meeting Olaf or participating in a movie sing-along. This is the show’s fatal flaw and why many passersby leave not long after arriving: Freeze the Night tries awkwardly and haphazardly to cater to two totally different audiences and therefore pleases neither for very long.

Who are the performers?

CeCe and the Ice Breakers dance crew.

CeCe and the Ice Breakers dance crew.

The hosts for the show are CeCe and Farren. They try to keep the audience upbeat and involved and act as instructors for some of the line dances.

Once or twice each evening (depending on the schedule – though usually at 8pm and sometimes 10pm), CeCe breaks into a rendition of “Let It Go”. This is the BEST moment of the night. This girl did an amazing job with the incredibly vocally-challenging musical number when I saw it and once again made me feel the magic of Frozen, Disney and THAT SONG. Sadly, nothing else at the event compared to this all-too-brief live performance that all ages seemed to enjoy.

I do also want to note that CeCe’s outfit is absolutely adorable – she looks like a little snow princess. But everyone else on stage oddly looks like they stepped out of a J Crew ad for some reason? I don’t quite follow the theming idea here.

The hosts are joined by DJ Chill who keeps things cool with a selection of pop and Disney music, and the Ice Breakers dance crew who periodically join the DJ and hosts on stage to do Stomp-style dance routines.

Sculpting the ice.

Sculpting the ice.

There are also ice sculptors who carve blocks of ice into shapes like Olaf the snowman (iceman?).  People seem to like watching them, so it would be an obvious fit to incorporate them into the next Christmas-time celebration at Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree in Disneyland, like the pumpkin carvers who are there in the fall. Assuming the Jamboree is not repurposed by then…

When and where can I find it? 

Expected to close May 15 with the official end of “Frozen Fun” at Disney California Adventure, Freeze the Night runs nightly in the Hollywood Backlot area of Hollywood Land – its setup simply utilizes a thematic overlay of the Mad T Party location.

Event hours depend on the time of park closing each night – check your daily Entertainment Times Guide for the schedule.

Why spotlight it?

Marshmallow is not happy!

Marshmallow is not happy!

Seeing Freeze the Night really illustrates the difference between how an evening dance party at the park can be so very successful and beloved (i.e. ElecTRONica or Mad T Party which is happily returning May 22nd) vs. taking some similar elements yet missing out on the magic.

Freeze the Night was a quick effort to add more Frozen–themed entertainment for the guests, but in this case, the concept and execution simply did not work – except for that beautiful live song performance once or twice a night.

So I will say a happy farewell to Freeze the Night when it melts away in May to make way for a steaming hot cup of Mad T! But truthfully, a big part of me still wishes we could have some of ElecTRONica back too. Even if it is just Flynn’s Arcade…

Have you attended Freeze the Night? Do you wish the cold would last or will you be happy for the Frozen thaw?

Update 4/12/15: Disneyland has posted on their park website that tonight will be the last night for this show – so if you want to check it out, get going!

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