Disney on Ice presents World of Enchantment in Birmingham

The little girls had their best Elsa and Anna costumes on. The little boys couldn’t decide whether to buy a plastic sword or a cuddly version of Lightning McQueen, it could only mean one thing – Disney on Ice was back in Birmingham, at the city’s Barclaycard Arena. And, once again, it was a show that was high on Disney charm and magic with much-loved characters and crowd pleasing songs giving the audience a lovely night to remember.

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The show started with a set piece from Toy Story 3, as Andy is putting away his childish things before he embarks on a new adventure at college. The toys end up at a daycare centre that seems to be the answer to their prayers, but in fact the centre is like a prison, ruled with an iron paw by a cute looking bear called Lots-o-Huggin, who may smell of strawberries, but is actually rotten to the core.

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This segment is lovely due to the appearance of all the toys that are known and loved in Toy Story. The site of Hamm and Rex, along with the Potato heads on the ice is such a magical sight, and each character gets very loud cheers.  Woody and Buzz are always popular of course, and I do think this is a segment that works well with slightly older children in the audience.

Next up was that perennial favourite ‘The Little Mermaid’. This section soars due to the songs, who couldn’t be seduced by ‘Kiss the Girl’ and ‘Under the Sea’? Ursula is a rather scary baddie who may be a little frightening to very young children, but in general she is only on the ice for a short period of time and is quickly defeated. This is a very pretty section due to the beautiful colours of the costumes, a real visual treat.

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The ‘Cars’ montage is a really exciting episode on the ice as it isn’t featured in live shows that often. This section is great, fast and furious for the school milk generation, and it really was awesome to see so many of the cars characters on the ice at one time. It also tied in nicely with Mickey and Minnie Mouse, who just happen to have left their car on the ice.  With the exception of Frozen, which followed, I think this was the most popular sequence.

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The show ends with Frozen, which still has the capacity to raise the roof. The songs are already classics, with everyone singing along – quite a moment which still brings a lump to my throat. Anna and Elsa along with Olaf still totally enchant, and ‘Let it Go’ will never sound better than when song from the ice. One minor note was that Sven the reindeer was missing this time around, maybe this is because it is coming up to his busy time of year…

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If you or your youngsters are a fan of Disney, this is a show that will not disappoint, the songs, the costumes, the quality of the skating, it is never less that lovely.

Birmingham – Barclaycard Arena from 21st October – 1st November 2015. Click here for ticket information.

Disney On Ice presents Worlds of Enchantment

October sees the return of all our familiar Disney favourites to the Barclaycard Arena, Birmingham. This time around Disney On Ice presents Worlds of Enchantment,  a Feld Entertainment ice spectacular featuring four classic, fun-filled Disney stories. Following on from Easter’s shows which introduced ice fans to Anna and Elsa from the smash hit show Frozen, the ladies from Arendelle are returning and promise, once again, to raise the roof with a wealth of wonderful songs and the funniest snowman in showbiz.

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Worlds of Enchantment will be presented by those evergreen favourites Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy. They will provide the links between some of Disney’s most famous and cherished movie characters who are featuring in wonderful set pieces;- Ariel from ‘The Little Mermaid’, Woody and Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story 3, and, in a move that is sure to cause major excitement amongst both girls and boys, Lightening McQueen and Tow Mater from Cars.

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The life-sized Disney/Pixar’s Cars characters,Lightning McQueen, Tow Mater and the crew will come to life as the Barclaycard Arena is turned in to Radiator Springs.  Featuring state-of- the-art, custom animatronics, their eyes and mouths move with every twist and turn on the frozen highway.

“Worlds of Enchantment connects classic and new Disney stories,” says Producer Kenneth Feld. “Audiences will be blown away in Radiator Springs when they encounter the unforgettable crew of animated cars, built to scale and live on ice. They will see their all- time favorites like The Little Mermaid and Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story 3 and discover a story full of action, magic and unforgettable characters with ‘Frozen’.

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Disney On Ice presents Worlds of Enchantment is at the Barclaycard Arena, Birmingham from Tuesday 21st October until Sunday 1st November 2015. For ticket information and show times, visit the website http://www.barclaycardarena.co.uk/whats-on/disney-on-ice

 

 

 

The Sainsbury’s Indoor Grand Prix – Just record breaking!

Saturday 21st February 2015 will be a date that will forever be embedded in my memory. It is the day I attended my first, proper athletics event, the Sainsbury’s Indoor GP at Birmingham’s Barclaycard Arena. It was a day I enjoyed wonderful hospitality whilst marveling at the pace and prowess of the likes of Kim Collins, Greg Rutherford and Nigel Levine. And it is the day I cheered, shook and literally screamed myself hoarse as the legendary Mo Farah broke the world record in the men’s 2 mile race. It was an unbelievable day.

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Joe has been interested in Athletics since the Olympics in 2012. He became fairly obsessed with Mo Farah especially, and did the Mo-bot every time he saw him, on television, in newspapers, he even pointed him out on billboards. So the invitation to the Sainsbury’s Indoor Grand Prix was greatly appreciated and something to get very excited about. We arrived at the Barclaycard Arena early, as we were invited to have a special lunch in the VIP area. This proved to be gorgeous, with lots of variety (including a braised beef stroganoff which was just delicious.) There was a frisson of excitement when Matthew Hudson Smith appeared – smiling, chatting and posing for photographs ahead of collecting a very special award as British Athletics Young Athlete of the Year. Then it was time for the main event.

Matthew Hudson Smith collects his award from Jason Gardner

Matthew Hudson Smith collects his award from Jason Gardner

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We were seated in the showdeck, which offered amazing views across the indoor arena. It was also the perfect place for seeing an off duty athlete, with Jason Gardner and Christine Ohuruogu both enjoying the action. There was a great mixture of track and field events happening – there is literally always something happening at these events, which was also being screened live on the BBC. The first really exciting moment came in the long jump, when Greg Rutherford appeared to enormous cheers. His first jumps were the only ones to go further than 8 metres, and he broke his personal best twice. It looked like he was going to win it comfortably, but then Chinese star Gao Xinglong jumped an enormous 8.12, this pushed Greg back into 2nd place and left him needing a huge jump to win. But how could we ever doubt Greg, his final jump of 8.17 was fabulous and lifted the whole crowd ecstatically to their feet. It was a great pointer to how the afternoon would go.

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Grabbing a shameless selfie with Christine Ohrugurhu

Grabbing a shameless selfie with Christine Ohuruogu

A fabulous female pole vault was slightly tarred when Britain’s Sally Peake had to retire, but no-one could question the exhilarating final contest between the eventual winner, Greece’s Nikoleta Kyriakopoulou and the Brazilian Fabiana Murer. Another real crowd pleaser was the men’s 400m which was won by Nigel Levine, with a time of 46.43. More British wins from the likes of Jenny Meadows, Seren Bundy-Davies and the awe-inspiring Katarina Johnson Thompson all added to this being a very special afternoon for British Athletics. And all this was before Mo had even entered the arena.

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The 2 mile final was the final race of the afternoon, but before this, there was the drama of the 60 metres final. The always exciting Kim Collins was the expected winner, as you would expect from the fastest man in the world this year. But the tension levels were raised with unbelievable tension with two false starts that led to the disqualification of two of the field. On the third start, Collins won comfortably with a time of 6.50.

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And then it was time for Mo. The minute he was spotted on the track for the warm-up the atmosphere just sizzled with excitement and anticipation for what was about to happen. Mo was cool, waving to the fans as he did a warm-up lap, and everyone was buzzing with what was about to happen (there was no ifs about it, Mo WAS going to break the record.) To say he smashed it would be an understatement, the 2nd mile was recorded as 3.59.5 – a sub 4 minute mile – something else I cannot actually believe I was there to see. It was one of the most memorable things I have ever seen, and Joe was totally ecstatic to see his hero in the flesh, performing so brilliantly. The absolute perfect end to a wonderful afternoon.

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Mo Farah Shearman

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Our afternoon wasn’t quite over though. We were invited to a Q&A session with a host of athletes including Robbie Grabarz, Martin Rooney and the fabulous Jo Pavey were all answering questions in the VIP lounge to a packed audience. We couldn’t stay for the whole session – Joe was becoming tired, and I was feeling rather ill with the flu that put me in bed for all of Sunday, but loved the moment when Martin Rooney was called to the floor and Joe stood right in front of him and clapped – super cute and totally spontaneous.

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We had the most wonderful day – the Sainsbury’s Indoor GP is a really exhilarating family experience. I can’t wait to go again.

*With thanks to Sainsbury’s and the Fast Track Agency for the invitation and all-round fabulous day. Sainsbury’s are a proud partner of British Athletics and are committed to using sport to inspire healthy lifestyles for all.

Family Fever