The past couple of weeks we have been on a tour of Arendelle with two Frozen experiences over at Epcot. This week we complete our Frozen trilogy by hopping over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios! We’ve ridden aboard Frozen Ever After, come face to face with Anna & Elsa at the Royal Sommerhus, and now it’s time to show off your vocals with a Frozen sing-along celebration.
If your little riders are still singing Let it Go, Do You Want to Build a Snowman, and Love is an Open Door, then this is a show you don’t want to miss. Today we are going to tell you what to expect from the only sing-along show in Walt Disney World. Along the way, I’m going to give you a chance to sing-along to some of the music that you can find in the show. Before we do that though, let’s get started with our…
Know Before You Go Essential Facts
- The Sing Along is located in Disney’s Hollywood Studios
- There is no height requirement
- Fastpass + is available
- The fright factor is 0 out of 5
- Guests may remain in a wheelchair/ECV
- Assistive Listening, Handheld Captioning, and Video Captioning are available
- The show is 30 minutes long
- The show opened on July 5, 2014 in the Premier Theater. It has since moved to the Hyperion Theater.
Welcome to Arendelle! Now is the time to relive the famous story of two sisters, one ice harvester, a carrot loving reindeer, and a dashingly good looking bad guy that seems like the main love interest in the story until he’s not because he’s really the bad guy all along, although no one had a clue he was the bad guy until the very end. Oh, and there’s trolls that look like rocks and a snowman that loves summer. Whew, did you get all that? Well, if not, that’s fine because two Arendelle historians are about to tell you the whole story in just 30 minutes. To make this history lesson fun, it comes in the form of a sing-along! For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration is an interesting mix of live performers telling jokes and a karaoke style sing along to clips from the movie Frozen. Before we let the Arendelle historians take it away, let’s dive into the history of this show and see how it all came together.
As we know from our episodes on Frozen Ever After or the Royal Sommerhus, or just from being alive when the movie took the world by storm, in 2014 Frozen was surfing a wave of popularity that Disney wanted to ride all the way into the theme parks. The sisters were available for a make shift meet’n’greet and soon plans for the ride Frozen Ever After would be announced. However, Disney knew fans wanted more Frozen and they needed a way to deliver it quickly. So, they came up with the Frozen Summer Fun LIVE! at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
This summertime celebration brought Frozen into the park in a myriad of ways. The sisters welcomed guests into the park with a horse drawn sleigh ride down Hollywood Boulevard. The mini parade included a float with Kristoff and Olaf surrounded by skaters weaving their way back and forth down the street. The Royal Welcome was capped off by a stage performance of Let it Go. As the day went on, other performances could be found on the event stage including Olaf’s Summer Cool Down and the Coolest Summer Ever Dance Party. The animated short Frozen Fever was shown in the ABC Sound Studio and included a look behind the scenes into the making of the film. In addition to all of this entertainment, younger guests could visit the Ice Palace Boutique and choose from several packages to get made up to look like either Anna or Elsa. A day of Frozen offerings concluded with a Frozen Fireworks Spectacular. The finale shot off bursts of fireworks over the Chinese theater to the sound of the film’s music. If all that wasn’t enough for those with Frozen fever, there was also a sing-along show called For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration.
The Frozen Summer Fun LIVE! was originally scheduled to run from June to early September in 2014. Of course, like everything Frozen, the audience response was greater than anticipated. The summer event was extended through the end of September, and then brought back again for the summer of 2015. When the summer fun event returned the following year, the sing-along moved from the Premier Theater to the Hyperion Theater. In doing so, it actually ended the run of the American Idol Experience earlier than announced. One singing show was out and a newer, more relevant singing show moved in. The Hyperion Theater is actually about 100 seats smaller than the previous home of the Frozen sing-along, but it is much more centrally located making it easier to find. In its new home, the sing-along delighted Frozen Fans through the summer of 2015.
When the second season of The Frozen Summer Fun LIVE! came to an end, the sing-along kept right on humming. Thanks to the release of another extremely popular movie at the end of 2015 (I’m referring to Star Wars: The Force Awakens of course), the Frozen summer event did not return in 2016. While Star Wars took over all of the seasonal offerings and the fireworks show, the Frozen sing-along didn’t go anywhere. It had found a permanent home at the Hyperion Theater. The show is now performed 10 times a day during peak season, and is a candidate for Fastpass+. So, what is it that kept this show around when all of the other Frozen fun melted away? Is it still worth spending your precious Disney time on several years after the movie has come and gone?
Now, let’s talk about the show. Inside the theater you will find the stage covered with snow mounds, frosty trees, and icicles hanging from above. At the center of the stage is a giant screen where clips from the movie will be played. To help stitch these movie clips together, you are introduced to the two Arendelle Historians. These are live actors that serve as storytellers and comic relief.
The show begins by introducing you to Queen Elsa! Only one problem, she’s nowhere to be found. Instead, her sister Anna runs onto the stage and asks you if you have seen her sister. After Anna warms up the audience, she introduces the two historians and then excuses herself to look for Elsa. The historians tell some jokes, give each other a hard time, and then begin to tell the story of Anna & Elsa. A few minutes into the show the first movie clip begins to play along with the lyrics added to the bottom of the screen. Kids and adults are welcomed and encouraged to sing along to the familiar words.
The first two songs are Do You Want to Build a Snowman and For the First Time in Forever. In between each song the historians propel the story forward in their own humorous way. As Hans enters the story, it is comically clear the female historian finds him rather dreamy. Her male counterpart quickly points out he is the bad guy, but she seems to care more for his looks than his intentions. They have a debate over true love which leads to the next song and your next chance to sing along! Love is an Open Door is the next song up in the sing-along.
After this cute and cuddly song the story really picks up steam. Or is it ice in this case? Anyway, the mid point of the show lands on the song we have all heard about 1,000 times too many, Let it Go. Don’t worry, we aren’t going to sing along to that one, at least not yet. We still have more story to go. Turns out so do the Arendelle historians! Unfortunately, neither paid close enough attention in Arendelle history class and they get the story a little mixed up.
At this point Kristoff shows up and helps set them straight, quickly pointing out the part he plays in the story. Once he feels they are back on track he leaves the historians to finish the job without him. They move the story along and eventually get to my favorite character, Olaf! With the introduction of Olaf, it’s time to sing about that thing all snowmen love, summer!
The hot and the cold are both so intense, put them together it just makes sense! Ah, yes it does my frosty friend. Not only is Olaf my favorite character, that is my favorite song from the movie and the sing-along. It is also the song that signals our sing-along is coming to a close. With a lot of story to cover and very little time to do so the historians kick their storytelling into high gear. In rapid fire motion they take turns telling of Anna & Kristoff visiting the trolls, of Hans betraying Anna, of Kristoff racing across the frozen fjord, and finally of Olaf kissing Anna in an act of true love thus saving the day!
The audience applauds the whirlwind of storytelling and the happy ending of the story. Only one problem, that isn’t exactly the way it happened. As much as I would love for Olaf to be the hero at the end we all know it was Anna that saved Elsa in an act of true love. Fortunately, Elsa was listening in the distance and finally makes her appearance through a mist of frozen fog. She tells the audience it was actually her sister that saved her with the unselfish act. Elsa then welcomes the citizens of Hollywood Land (aka-the audience) and declares everyone an honorary citizen of Arendelle. The Royal Historians of Arendelle are thanked for their efforts in leading the sing-along. Finally, Elsa ends the show with a display of her magical powers. The theater comes to life as bursts of sparkling frozen fractals are displayed on the walls. Fog pours over the stage, the screen displays an ever growing structure of magical ice, and snow begins to fall from the ceiling. The grand finale gives the audience one more chance to sing-along to that famous song, you guessed it, Let it Go!
That is For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration. What began as part of a temporary summer of fun event has grown into a very popular fixture at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. If you enjoyed singing along to the songs in the podcast today, you will definitely have a blast at the live show. On the other hand, if this has been more Frozen music than you can bear, you might want to sit this one out.
For me, the secret ingredient to this show is the audience, especially the kids. This is the one place you can spot a four year old sitting on their Dad’s lap, both belting out the lyrics to Do You Want to Build a Snowman. There is no judgment inside the Frozen Sing-Along, only unbridled family fun. Just hearing several hundred small children sing the songs and quote the lines in the movie clips is kind of adorable. My favorite moment from the show during our last trip was watching my nephew James singing at the top of his lungs with a big ole’ grin on his face. Like most kids, he has seen the movie enough to even have the intricacies of the songs down. When Anna sings “It doesn’t have to be a snowman” through the keyhole of Elsa’s door, James puckered his lips to sound like the movie. That’s pretty darn cute. It’s moments like this that make this show enjoyable for the whole family. Kids and adults can both get into the songs, but just watching the kids as they sing is highly entertaining.
The other aspect that most adults appreciate with this show are the historians. While most of the jokes are completely corny and designed to get laughs from small children, other jokes will only be understood by the adults in the audience. Nothing bad, but some jokes are relevant to current media topics or pop culture. These are the jokes that can change with the show from one trip to the next. The script is 95% the same every time, but there are subtle changes in delivery or content that make each performance slightly unique. This can be both a strength and a weakness. How much you enjoy the show will depend to some extent on the quality of the performance delivered by the historians. That brings me to my one real criticism of the sing-along. The main characters from the film are not featured enough throughout the show.
Going back to the beginning of the show, Anna comes out to introduce her sister Elsa. Sadly, Elsa is nowhere to be found, Anna goes to find her, and the Arendelle historians take center stage. I believe this is designed to build anticipation of Elsa’s arrival at the end of the show, but for me the payoff is not worth the wait. Our nephew kept asking throughout the show, “Where is Elsa?” You get a couple of brief appearances by Anna and Kristoff in the middle, but no Elsa until the very end. I wouldn’t say this makes the show unworthy of your time, but it is good to know going in. The sing-along will be a fun 30 minutes of Frozen music and grand finale, but it won’t be the best way to see the Frozen characters. For that I would definitely recommend the Royal Sommerhus, or even Frozen Ever After over the sing-along.
Speaking of the Frozen trilogy in the parks, I would rate this third on my list. My wife is a big fan of the sing-along, but of course I love the ride! I also like the personal interaction of the character experience at Royal Sommerhus. That said, anyone that loves music and especially Frozen music, may enjoy this experience more than the other two. I do like the sing-along atmosphere and I would love to see it come into the parks in more. I think a Moana sing-along could be a lot of fun! Given the popularity of the Frozen sing-along, I think there is a good chance we will see others like this in the future. What do you think?
It has been a while since we had much feedback at the WDW Ride Guide and I miss hearing from you. If you have a minute stop by our Facebook page and leave a comment on this episode or send me a message. Our feedback e-mail is not active at this time so be sure to like our page at facebook.com/wdwrideguide. This is the best way to communicate with us and share your questions, comments, or suggestions. If there is something you would like us to cover on the podcast let me know. We will be heading back to the parks for a short trip later this month so now is the time to get your feedback in.
That will wrap up our Frozen fun for now. Thank you so much for tuning in today! I hope you will come back next week as we continue building our audio library of everything you can discover at Walt Disney World. Until then, wherever you are, I hope you are having a fabulous week! Thanks for listening and remember to make each day a ride worth taking!
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