This is a review of the new Frozen Musical at Disney California Adventure, which I think is officially called “Frozen – Live at the Hyperion,” but I’ve also seen it referred to as “Frozen Live” in other news stories and on signs/billboards. The show replaces the Aladdin musical which ran in the same theater for a whopping 13 years, as well as spawned a Disney cruise ship show and Broadway production. Aladdin was a fan favorite and huge crowd pleaser, so many were curious to see the Frozen show would be a worthy replacement. The new show is directed by Liesl Tommy, whose previous production on Broadway was “Eclipsed.” I’m a dumb and uncultured Disney blogger, so I have no idea what that show is, but a Google search tells me it’s very popular with critics and audiences.
A huge change from Aladdin is Frozen’s use of projection effects, there’s a ton of them. There are projections everywhere, including on the walls of the stage, the curtains that surround half the theater, the floor, and even sometimes the actors themselves. Thankfully the use of all that technology never gets in the way, it complements the story. Some of the show’s most impressive moments are when projections show movement from one area to another. There’s one instance which starts off near the castle in Arendelle, but then flies up to a snow-covered mountain. I got a similar sensation as when riding Soarin’ Over California; it looks that good. The downside to the use of all the projections is the lack of physical props and sets. With the exception of Elsa’s ice stairs, a few doors, and some other smaller objects, almost everything else projected on to screens or shown on a huge LCD screen that is used as the backdrop of the stage.
All those earworm songs you know and love from the multi-platinum movie soundtrack are in the new Frozen musical. Of course all of the songs sound great thanks to the incredibly talented cast. Even if you’ve sick to death of “Let it Go,” you’ll appreciate the show-stopping way it’s presented in the show. A huge frosty staircase appears from the back of the stage and then rotates and swings over the audience as Elsa is climbing up it and singing. While that is happening, swirling snow and wind effects fill the entire theater. It’s all very impressive.
Frozen – Live at the Hyperion clocks in at just over 55 minutes, which means you need to be ready to dedicate a good chunk of your day to see it. Currently there are only three showings per a day. FASTPASS tickets are distributed first come, first served, and we expect them to sell out quickly every morning for at least the rest of the year (they lasted about 1 hour today). There is a stand-by line available, but you are not guaranteed entry if you wait in this line. I heard that only 3000 people daily (all day, not each show) will be admitted from it. FastPass ticket holders are allowed to line up 1 hour before the show they obtained a ticket for.
Overall Frozen is a very enjoyable show that looks great visually and is a worthy successor to the previous Aladdin show. Even if you’ve watched the movie DVD 1000 times, I consider the musical a must-see thanks to its dazzling effects and wonderful cast. Have you seen Frozen – Live at the Hyperion? What did you think of the show? Do you recommend it to other people? Let me know in the comments below.
Update: We now have a video of a full performance of the Frozen musical available on our YouTube channel: