Review: The Royal Sparkling Winter Waltz

Ash

The Royal Sparkling Winter Waltz: Enchanting Bubbly Fun or a Flat Fizz-less Bore?

Over the years the Royal Castle Stage has played host to several shows, some beloved, some not quite so much. In recent years the (very rarely actually) Starlit Princess Waltz has proven to be a popular number among Princess fans old and young alike (and as anyone who knows me knows, if it’s Princess, I stan – but I’ll try and remain as impartial as I can in this review). Needless to say, Waltz fans were overjoyed to hear that the show would be returning for Disney’s Enchanted Christmas season in 2019, replacing the popular Merry Stitchmas show of the 2017 and 2018. However, as the festive period approached, it became apparent that the Waltz would undergo some changes, in more than just name, for the season. Do the changes add renewed sparkle to the Waltz, or has its pop fallen flat – read on to find out!

The show gets underway with Rosie checking preparations on stage for the ball to celebrate the coming of winter. Notably absent is her assistant party-planner Louis, who’s late as always. Speaking of the stage, it’s undergone quite an overhaul since the Starlit Waltz. The ground has been painted to look like a ballroom floor, the giant blue and silver crown has been replaced by a glittery (if somewhat PVC plastic looking) crown made of snowflakes, and equally PVC-esque Christmas trees, composed of snowflakes of various colours, adorn the back of the stage. While the decorations are unlikely to win any set design awards, they do add a colourful bit of pop against the grey skies of winter.

It’s not long before Louis returns to the stage though, and in true Louis fashion it turns out he forgot to send the invitations to the Princesses inviting them to the winter ball. But, it seems he’s learned a thing or two from Rosie as he has a pouch of pixie dust on hand to help out, much to Rosie’s relief. Things aren’t all rosy (badum-tish) for Louis though, as Rosie leaves him in charge of giving gifts (the hand fans from the original Waltz) to each Princess – and it seems he still doesn’t know his princesses! While much of the humour of this little joke and nod to the original Waltz will be lost on non-French speakers, it acts as a setup for quite possible the cutest addition to the new version – a child taking part in the show! Just before each show, a child from the front row is selected to go up and stage and help Louis give the right fan to the right princess. Cute!

Now, the princesses themselves – well they’ve had a wardrobe change since the original Waltz and are now donning the winter variants of their dresses from the Festival of Pirates & Princesses. Now, those of you who know that Pirates & Princesses started out as a spring season are probably saying something along the lines of “spring outfits in and winter season!? Get it together DLP” – but like with everything on the stage, the colours of these dresses serve to give a bit of warmth. If you didn’t like the P&P dresses before, you’re still not going to like them now, but for diehard fans of that season it’s nice to see the dresses make a return.

With the stage set, the show returns to something more reminiscent of the original Waltz, with Rosie singing an introduction for each princess with follow-up by Louis. However, this is the point when the new version stumbles somewhat. There is an awkward pause between Cinderella being introduced and her collecting her fan (where previously Louis would ask the audience for help), Belle is still referred to as a masquerader even though this version has no masks, and some of Louis’s comments (such as those for Ariel and Tiana) have been cut. While the cut comments wouldn’t have made much sense in the new story, it’s still somewhat jarring that nothing was added to replace the cut lines.

At this point the princes appear wearing their usual princely attire, a bit of a stark contrast to the bright and colourful dresses of the princesses. Each prince dances with their respective princess, and while the choreograph is rather uniform across the couples there are enough little details to make the personality of each character come through. Once this is done, the couples line up in something almost resembling a guard of honour to welcome the entrance of Princess Aurora and Prince Phillip, who had been notably absent until now, but make a rather commanding entrance on the crown turntable. Some of the music has been trimmed down here though, and the transitions between musical sections aren’t always the cleanest.

From here the show moves into familiar territory with the royal couples waltzing along to the banger of a tune I See A Princess, which if you don’t end up singing out loud – you’re watching this show wrong! However, gone from the original is Prince Phillip & Princess Aurora’s epic twirl, but this has been replaced with individual bits of choreography for each couple ranging from the regal (Charming & Cinderella) through to the fun and playful (Tiana & Naveen), this change lets the personality of each couple be showcased and is a nice touch! Rosie and Louis even taken to the front of the stage at times to “belt” out the song.

With that, the show begins winding down as the royal couples all leave by exiting across the front of Royal Castle Stage, allowing guests at the front to get some brief face time with the couples. Rosie and Louis thank guests for watching the show before Louis invites Rosie to do the Waltz with him (often to much cheering from the audience). A final goodbye is said before Louis gets a kiss on the cheek from Rosie (again, often to much cheering), before the pair gleefully run off the stage. It’s nice to see the development of these two characters since the original Waltz, it adds a little depth for long-term fans of the show. 

What I ❤’ed

Development of Rosie and Louis as characters
New choreography
Involvement of a child to help Louis
Return of the Pirates & Princesses dresses
Inclusion of the castle lights into the finale

What I think is a bit 😬

Weird gaps due to cut lines and/or lyrics
Some awkward musical transitions
Stage decoration look a bit cheap
Not tying it into the revamped Mickey’s Magical Christmas Lights is a missed storytelling opportunity
The Royal Sparkling Winter Waltz builds on the foundations laid by the Starlit Princess Waltz, but not without some missteps. It is a bit odd that there really is nothing Christmassy about the show, and if the decorations were replaced and a couple of Rosie’s lines changed, this show could really just be used at any time of year. It definitely loses the festive fun that Merry Stitchmas provided. Given this is a show for the Christmas season, one does wonder why they didn’t opt to revamp the former Princess Christmas-themed show, Royal Christmas Wishes, instead. That being said, the Waltz still remains a solid entertainment offering with potential to develop even further if the kinks get ironed out.

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