Disney On Ice – Dare To Dream

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Disney On Ice – Dare TO Dream

Disney on ice is apparently a rather common ice experience often known to everyone not living in Edmonton.  For some reason it seems to go almost everywhere but Edmonton, instead making it’s temporary home in Calgary for my viewing pleasure, although not ease.  I would have remained completely ignorant were it not for the grace of Jamie’s aunty, and unfortunate illness for her, that we received the tickets to the show.  Making a mini road trip and night over with family we were able to take in the show.  Curious as to what to expect, but also not wanting to ruin anything, we did a quick google to see what to expect.  Even then, it seemed but the briefest of glimpses as to what was really in store for us.  Arriving at our destination we were greeted by a lone woman at a podium offering programs at a cost.  Not expecting them to be free, but also not expecting them to be an arm and a leg we were a bit shocked when the program came with a $25 price tag and a flattened flower as consolation.  None the less, it was not about to get us down on the brink of our grand adventure.  Funnelling down the hallways and corralled through the gates we trickled past tables and booths lined with trays and trays of snow cones housed in  special Disney character cups, stacks of cotton candy with paper crowns with the princesses and foam Pascal (Chameleon from Tangled) hats for the boys, or you know, whatever floats your boat.  Non-sugar rush booths hosted toys, wands, figurines and jewelry, all naturally overflowing with all things Frozen.

As we made our way to our seats the whole situation is reminiscent to watching your old favourites as an adult after many years, or visiting long forgotten locations from your childhood; not quite how you had pictured it and always on a smaller scale.  The stadium/rink set up was scaled back to allow a sparse variation of VIP seating, practically on the ice, along with a large curtained area housing the backdrop props.  Despite it’s scaled back look, it gave off an air of intimacy rather than that of insignificance and disappointment.  A possible courtesy to parents with little ones turned out to be a convenient and pleasant announcement for me informing that the show would begin in 3 minutes.  An odd integer of timing, but start in 3 minutes they did.  This is a pleasant change to the monotoned announcement of a show about to begin with a miscellaneous and seemingly endless delay looming over the atmosphere.

The show began with Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy introducing the show and each act, as well as the grand finale.  Each act was broken into three stories to feature a specific princess.  A bit to my dismay, there were only going to be four main princesses, none of which were Belle.

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Act one began with a quick retelling of Tatiana from The Princess and The Frog.  The modern princess encroaching on this stubborn old Disney classic that I am, but none the less she brought her upbeat tunes from New Orleans to help set the stage and get the excitement going.

Act two included Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.  The skaters wore large dwarf costumes and still managed to maintain their graceful strides, and even had a very cool talking mirror.

Act three retold the story of Cinderella and her mouse friends, their adventure to the ball equip with full pumpkin carriage and royal ball.

There was a brief intermission that allowed for necessary bathroom breaks and re-sugaring of children and bribery to sit still while giving into demands for more high priced goods.  Once again thankful for the accurate and on time announcements.

Act four which had the most focus was the story of Tangled, Rapunzel for those not on par with the layman’s of the Disney world.  Again, perhaps not a classic, but very much a sight to see.  Rapunzel’s scene came with flowing yellow fabric that circled above the rink and hung down to the ice.  Seemingly to be a mere decoration, the fabric became a spectacle with Rapunzel and Flynn Ryder soaring through the air with only the fabric wrapped around their arms and bodies to keep them from falling.

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The final act which pleased all tastes in princesses included a royal finale of dancing and waving from all princess and their princes, yes even Belle and Beast.

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Almost as quickly as the show had started, it seemed to be over with many wanting more.  As for the cherry on top of the wonderful evening was a surprise snow cone from Jamie waiting for me housed in a Rapunzel tankard.  I blended in with all the other children leaving the arena with blue teeth and tongue and stained and sticky fingers.

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As most good things they must come to an end and we must talk business.  You have heard all the good so lets get down to the nitty gritty of it all.

Ticket prices – Thankfully came at no cost, again thanks to Jamie’s aunty and unfortunate for her, but I do believe the standard ticket cost was around $70 which is not a small fee when it involves many little ones plus mom and dad.

Programs – as mentioned came with a price tag of $25, although not mandatory but I am a collector of unnecessary trinkets and memories.

Toys and merchandise – thankfully I steered clear of these tables with miniature people scrubbing and crying for more.  The average princess wand or toy coming in at the $25 mark.

Food and drink – The stadium offered the usual pop, popcorn and hot dogs at the concession, but did you really think your child would want your $3 fountain pop when they could get a snow cone for $15 or a lemonade in a Disney sippy cup for $10?

Just when you thought you had dodged them all, ushering your child passed the tables still fully stocked with snow cones, cotton candy, and toys, they had people standing around selling coloring books for $5.

Considering that the arena was on a smaller scale, but still housed a fair number of people and children, let us break down this magical evening to that of a single child.

Ticket $70, Program $25, Snow cone $15, Popcorn $5, Cotton Candy – $10, washed down with a lemonade $10, a princess wand for $25, assuming you did not give into the merchandise table, but get roped into the colouring book at the end finishing you off for $5.  That is a grand (average) total per child of $165.

When doing the math it can be a rather staggering figure and a definite deterrent to seeing Disney On Ice yourself, but perhaps for a little light, magic and pixie dust, you may consider comparing that Disneyland would be $95 for the ticket, $443 for the flight per child, not to mention the cost of tickets, flights, food and merchandise for the whole family on top of your $259 per night stay at your Disneyland hotel.  With that being said… Who is up for a trip to Disneyland?

Disney On Ice – Dare To Dream is a fun experience for the whole family, no matter how young or how old, and the cost could be significantly reduced by deal watching for Disney and being a stern and frugal parent.

I hope you enjoyed this little recap of Disney On Ice and hope you consider catching one of the shows in the future.

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Smash Buger

Picture Courtesy of Smash Burgers website

Picture Courtesy of Smash Burgers website

When it comes to burgers, it is hard to find a place that makes a great burger (or so I’ve been told).  Everyone always has their favourites, but there is also your favourite during your current mood.  What may be good for a Saturday afternoon, may not be your favourite during those hangover glooms.  With medical things in my past it was easier to avoid hamburgers entirely, and go with the completely safe option, but not always flavourful, chicken, but the amount of effort that goes into a chicken is minuscule compared to that of the sacred burger.

I experienced Smash Burger today completely by chance.  With some time to kill before a haircut, we wondered over with two options at hand.  A healthy sandwich shop where we have been before and enjoyed, or trying something new and checking out Smash Burger.  Walking into the place I suppose we were a bit confused as the cash registers had screens on the front and at the moment there was more work going on in the back than the front, so we automatically assumed it was a self serve touch screen.  For fear of looking like complete idiots we decided to hang back and put all our efforts into studying the menu as if there would be an exam afterwards.  Thankfully someone appeared at the register, and with our burger choices selected, began to place our orders.  The place boasted their main item of burgers, but also a selection of shakes.  As much as I was craving a shake, I took the smart choice and decided on the safe Dad’s cream soda.  While drifting off I was completely oblivious to the interaction going on between Jamie and the Smash Burger employee and nearly missed out on ordering fries.  Now this may be the part of the story where I lose you.  Of course I wanted fries, who doesn’t?  Are fries not a mandatory side to any burger meal?  Apparently not.  You must actually add to your order that you would like fries to make it a combo of burger, drink and fries.  Perhaps this is something that has become the norm in the burger world for years, but I have been so out of the scene that I have become a hopeless foreigner.  Note to self, bring Burger dialect translation book or app on next excursion.

Our meals were brought to our tables quickly and I must admit that I was excited.

With my excitement I placed the burger top on top of the rest of the burger and gave it the mandatory squash before remembering to take a picture and ruining the initial display.  My burger choice was the Buffalo and Blue Cheese burger.  Frank’s hot sauce, real blue cheese crumbles, lettuce, tomato & mayo on an egg bun.  Not that I have any clue what the difference between an egg bun and a regular bun is.  The ingredients and process as to how the place makes the burger is essential, but the most notable differentiation to any restaurant is the way they make their fries.  As you can see the fries are very thin stringy fries, which makes them easier to cook and have that perfect crunch.  Sure, a mound of large fries is great, but nothing is worse than having raw or too much potato innards in your fries.  While on the topic of what sets restaurants apart is also their gravy.  Jamie and I opted for the gravy, which was completely unnecessary given how small the fries were, forcing you to strategically grab a handful and dunk, or choose the savoury “I will be here for hours” single dunk.

The first bite of my burger, which I’m sure you are all dying to hear about, was absolutely delicious.  It was juicy and done perfectly.  It was just the right size and since many hours have past between my burger experience and this post I can say I made is safely with zero complications.  The fries, although partially tedious due to their size, were fresh and had the right amount of crunch and salt with nothing negative to say about them.  The gravy, which was not necessary to save the meal, was a nice addition as their gravy was also done very well, which can be very hit or miss at some places.  Washing it all down with an old fashioned cream soda was the best touch to a great meal.

Now with the meal being over and all the wonderful things said about Smash Burger, let’s get down to business.

What did I not like about Smash Burger and what you need to know:

The burgers do not come with fries.  I repeat, the burger… does not… come with fries.  What the heck is up with that?  Prices may vary depending on your location, but might I add that my choice of burger, which sat under their signature collection was $8.49, and your telling me that is just for the burger alone and nothing else?

If you’re looking for a cheap date, you won’t be going to Smash Burger thats for sure.

To rate Smash Burger fairly and take in the whole experience, looking back I think I should have had a shake, but the cost again was a factor in this decision.  To add a shake to your burger, which does not come with fries, is an additional $5.49.  That milkshake better come with a few extra shakes to make it worth my while.

As an after thought I thought it would be a nice touch to take a picture of the receipt to show you all, but alas it was an after thought and Jamie did not get one, I can; however, tell you that the total of our quick unplanned lunch cost a total of $29.33.  That is $30 for two people to enjoy a burger and fries, with a splurge of gravy.  If we added the two shakes our meal would have cost around $40 just for the two of us to have burgers.

There may be something to alleviate the pain, as I saw these pamphlets on the tables.

Promotions and Specials, I should hope there are a handful of coupons available and not just advertisements to let me know what flavour of milkshake I am missing this month.

On the note of the pamphlets, do not take them out of the special metal hoop ring holder.  As I later found out it was impossible to get back in.  After giving up and placing it in the condiment caddy, rather ungracefully, I was able to watch a man at another table experiencing the same dilemma and coming to the same conclusion.

So I hope you enjoyed my first posting under my Events/Restaurants category and hope you stay tuned for any future postings.

In summary, Smash Burger makes one very delicious burger and fries, if you so choose to add those to your lonely meal of a single burger, but in the end comes with a price tag and the old adage, you get what you pay for.