Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The First Weekend In October

This past Sunday morning, Warren County, Kentucky residents woke up to temperatures in the 30s and frost on the ground for the first time this autumn. Needless to say this weekend was cool. At times it was even "Frozen." Let me explain. 

On Friday James & Brandi celebrated their 5 year wedding anniversary. It's hard to believe it's been that long since this picture was taken in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. 

But then again so much has happened since then it's hard to believe it's only been 5 years. I mean that in a good way.

Saturday the 4th was centerpiece of the "cool" weekend. James, Brandi, Aria, Paula, and me all drove to Nashville for what would prove to be one of the most memorable family outings of the year. The five of us drove to the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville to see "Disney On Ice."

As I posted in my September 23 post, which was all about my granddaughter, Aria is fascinated by anything and everything that has to do with Frozen. 

When it was brought to my attention that the Disney On Ice version of the story was coming to Nashville the first weekend of October, I knew that Aria would really enjoy seeing it. As an early Christmas present Paula and I decided that we would take her and her "momma" & "daddy" to see the show. 

So around noon this past Saturday we headed down I-65 south toward Nashville.  Paula and Aria enjoyed the ride playing on the IPad. 

Before the show, "Nana" decided to get our granddaughter a few souvenirs. Although there was a lot to choose from Aria pointed out exactly what she wanted. 

 Our seats were in section 115 Row LL. I thought they may be a bit too close to the backstage area and that all we'd see is the back of the skaters and performers. But one look around after we were seated and all I could say was "Hakuna Matada". This was our view. 

As we waited for the show to start Aria sat on Brandi's lap playing with the Anna & Elsa dolls that her Nana got her. I took the opportunity to snap this group photo. 

The show started at 2:30. With a snow cone in a special Frozen cup and an Olaf spoon, Aria was ready. 

The lights went down and a couple of skaters came out to (pardon the pun) warm up the crowd. They led everyone in, what they called, the snowman dance. Once they were through the first exciting moment of the afternoon happened. 

The appearance of Mickey Mouse, Goofy, Donald Duck, and, Aria's favorite, Minnie Mouse. 

The four of them told the audience they were about to see a great love story. They brought out some other Disney characters from their many animated classics, who represented the many different types of love.

After a song and dance number they all said "goodbye" and "Frozen" began. 

Here are a couple of links to You Tube videos featuring the show. One of them has the highlights and the other is a POV video obviously shot by an amateur. But it has almost the entire show including a good bit of the preshow.

 Disney On Ice: Frozen Highlights Video

Disney On Ice: Frozen POV video

The show was pretty much a retelling of the story of Frozen. However there was no mention of the king and queen or their demise. 

The skaters were all wonderful and the choreography and moves were very entertaining. Overall the staging was very well done. The snow machines which were on for a lot of the show. The snow was my favorite effect. 

My least favorite was the snow monster known as "Marshmellow". He was nothing more than an over sized inflatable. Watching him slowly "come to life" reminded me of flipping the switch on one of those self-inflating decorations you put on your front lawn at Christmas time. 

I expected more. All I can think of is perhaps anything more elaborate might have been too expensive or been difficult to transport and maintain. But judging from the reaction of the crowd the effect did it's job. 

I was also a bit underwhelmed by the conservative production of the marquee ballad "Let It Go." Given all that goes on with the animation during the song in the movie, I expected something more extravagant; especially because it was the number that ended the first half of the show. 

But I must add that the song is so popular that Elsa could have just stood in the middle of the ice and performed the song under a single spotlight and it would still have been a hit. 

It was the only song in the show that you could actually hear all the little girls singing along. It was very cute to hear all those young voices in unison. 

The second act featured the appearance of Olaf and the previously discussed Marshmellow. 

I liked the production number that the trolls do called "He's A Fixer Upper." 

Of course all's well that ends well and the show ends with the return of the entire Frozen cast as well as Mickey and all his friends to say "good-bye". 

Aria had a great time. Every time I glanced over at her she was looking around with wonder, amazement, or just smiling. At times she even pointed at the rink saying "Elsa". 

Before I end this section about our Disney On Ice experience, I have to express one more observation about this event. 

As anyone who hasn't been living under a rock for the last year knows Disney has taken full advantage of the manic popularity of Frozen. They have saturated the market with merchandise, introduced it into their theme parks and added it to their hit TV network program. "Disney On Ice" is part of the mania as well. 

Field Entertainment is the company that developed and produces the touring ice version of Frozen. I don't know how they split the profits with Disney but I do know that there's a lot to divide. The Disney On Ice Frozen tour is a cash cow. Let me do a totally hypothetical illustration to give you an idea of just how much "milk" is flowing in. 

From what I've learned there was at least 18,000 other people who attended the show with us on Saturday afternoon. For this example let's say they were all in families of 5, like us. Based on our experience they probably spent $300 on tickets to get in the door and a total of $200 souvenirs, food, snacks while at the arena. That means that the total amount of money spent by 3600 families at that event was approximately $1.8 million. 

Bridgstone Arena hosted 3 shows on that Saturday so the total amount spent on "Disney On Ice" that day was $5.4 million. If the profit margin (you can thank the TV show "Shark Tank" for teaching me that term) is 50% that's  $2.7 million in the coffers for just one day of the tour. There's your cash cow. To me that's absolutely amazing. 

Now back to the events of the day. 

After the show we headed to the Opry Mills mall for a trip to the Lego store. I had something to return. While we were there, James and Brandi let me pick out something as belated birthday gift. I'll share with you what I chose later in another post. 

We went to TGIFriday's in the food court for dinner and then came home. It was a long, eventful but very fun day. It will forever be frozen in my memory.  

The next day, Sunday, was James' 26th birthday. To celebrate He and Brandi went back down to Nashville to the football game at LG Stadium. The Titans were playing the Cleveland Browns. It turned out to be a memorable game. But unfortunately because the Titans lost after they blew the biggest lead in the team's history. 

We had the privilege of having Aria at our house for the day. Spending time at Nana and Papa's house really makes her smile. 

We have a bunch of toys for her and a small table and chairs set that we put up on our living room. 

Throughout the day our granddaughter played with: a dry erase board and markers, her Barrel Of Monkeys set, her Mickey Mouse and Frozen Memory card games, Lego Duplo and Mega blocks, the coins from her Minnie bank, Silly Putty and her pink toy ukulele. 

She also took full advantage of the electronics at our house as well. She played games with her Nana on the IPad, watched cartoons thru Netflix on our TV. 

While watching a Disney Sing-A-Long DVD in our bedroom with Nana she played a little game of "Where did Aria go?" with me. 

My favorite part of the day was when my little sweetheart and I took a short trip to the Crossroads IGA to pick up groceries and some other things I needed. Of course she came back with a little treat of her own. Here she is eating her M&Ms on our couch. 

 At 2 1/2 years old she's always on the go. She just kept going from one thing to another all day long. Spending the day with her was a bit challenging but I loved it. Paula and I took turns playing with her. 

I know she had a good time with us but this visit was the longest she's ever spent at our house. So at 7 o'clock when her parents came in the door she was more than ready to go home. 

Once they were gone and we cleaned up the toys, the end of our cool first weekend of October came to an end. Well, at least as far as being with James, Brandi and Aria was concerned. 

Paula had the next two days off on vacation. So for us the weekend would continue. We ended up doing something on Monday that we hadn't done in a while. I'll write more about that later on this blog. 


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