6+ Tips for Going to Disney on Ice
I have five kids who I have taken to Disney on Ice since they were little. My 12-year-old daughter started going when she was 2 years old and it became a birthday tradition for her until she was about 5 because Disney on Ice is always in town around her birthday. That being said, I’m now a veteran of many Disney on Ice performances and have some survival tips to share. Want a successful,
meltdown-free less dramatic outing to Disney on Ice? Open your note-taking app, then keep reading (and don’t forget to download the free cheat sheet!).
This post was originally published in 2014 and was updated in 2023 after receiving complimentary tickets for review. This post contains affiliate links that (at no cost to you) allow me a small commission if your purchase anything.
One of my biggest tips for attending Disney on Ice is definitely when you go. Consider when your child typically goes to sleep for nap or bedtime. Are they OK if naps are pushed a bit or are naps at a certain time non-negotiable but pushing bedtime later would be OK? If your child normally goes to sleep at 6 or 7 p.m. then evening tickets for Disney on Ice might be pushing it. My younger kids (ages 1, 4, and 5) were really tired by intermission when we went for a Thursday night viewing of Disney on Ice so a daytime weekend performance would have been much better for their age.
If you’re in an area with several venue options around you, look over each carefully. Which venue has the best location? Which venue allows diaper bags and water bottles? Are any of the venues easier to get to? Is there a venue with better parking that you’re more familiar with? I went to a new-to-me venue for Disney on Ice this year so I searched for parking and bag policies on their website then clarified any conflicting or confusing information in local parent groups. This allowed me to attend Disney on Ice prepared for venue policies that prohibited bags/purses, water bottles, and cash use. I carried my credit cards in an RDIF blocking card sleeve (affiliate) and kept them in a zipped jacket pocket, and saved myself a huge headache by feeding the kids dinner and having water in the car for the ride to and from the event since I couldn’t bring water bottles in. There were a lot of families who had to go back to their cars to drop off their purses and other items after being turned away by the venue, which isn’t something you want to do when your kids are ready to go see the show.
Show up early
When the Disney on Ice information says to arrive at your venue 30 minutes to an hour early, listen. Plan to arrive at least 45 minutes before showtime to find a decent parking spot — especially if parking is in a parking garage and you don’t want to wait for all four floors of cars to leave before you can exit after the show. Bring a dinner, some snacks and a little activity for everyone to tailgate at the car and get ready for the big show so you’re not just waiting around.
Dress for success
You read that correctly. If you know that your child is going to complain later on about how itchy her princess dress is when she’s wearing it in a seated position for a long length of time, you’ll want to plan ahead. Offer other Disney outfits that may work instead of a princess dress or bring a spare outfit in your bag. Also, wear layers. The event isn’t that cold, but how cool or hot really depends on each person’s internal temp (bring a jacket just in case).
Bring “set up” souvenirs
Similar to Disneyland, you may need to bring some Disney character items purchased on Amazon —like this light-up snowflake wand (affiliate)— to prevent a meltdown emergency. I am not saying to give your child a gift so that they don’t flip, but about 85 percent or so of the kids leaving Disney on Ice see everything related to it and want it all so that they can take the experience home with them. Cue the tantrum because they’re up too late and overstimulated. This is where the surprise gift comes in and you make it to the car without having to de-glue the kiddo from the stranger selling Cars pennants or Tinker Bell flower hats. These little backup souvenirs work great as positive rewards.
Pre-game your food
No, I don’t mean drink an alcoholic beverage. You have kids now, so pre-gaming is all about the food — eat lunch or dinner before you go so everyone is full and happy. Also, be sure to pack a kids water and some snacks in your purse for the pre-intermission thirst that comes on right when it would be impossible to get out of the seat (and to save some money).
Choose one big expense
It’s fun to at least get something at Disney on Ice, but what it is will be up to you — nachos or cotton candy with a Cars hat? No matter which one you choose, it may just be close to $18, but think about which is a better value to you and your family (probably the one with the hat).
Skip the end or be prepared to wait
Leave just before the goodbye song at the end of the show to get ahead of the giant mob of families who begin filing to the stairs once the show ends. If you don’t want to leave so soon, enjoy the sit and hang out in the parking lot while the big line of cars leave (usually because some cars aren’t following the rule of let one in ahead).
Divert their attention
What’s the worst thing you could say immediately after Disney on Ice has ended? Well, there are a lot of them, but one is “OK, Em, let’s go home and get ready for bed now.” Everyone knows she’s going to sleep when she gets home (though she’ll probably fall asleep in the car first), but you don’t throw in her face that she’s leaving the world of fantasy and fun for brushing her teeth and going to bed. No, no, no. Instead, this is when you just say you need to go find your car and possibly bring out the surprise so you can divert from the fact that you’re walking away from the show and it’s cold and dark outside.
If you use these tips, please tag @navigatingparenthood on social media to tell us how it went! Have some tips to add? Share them in the comments below!
Hi so can I bring children’s water bottle and some snacks along
Hi, Melvin, check with your local venue about what is allowed. Water bottles and a few snacks used to be allowed at a lot of these events but policies have changed at a lot of the venues.
A one and a half year old can sit on lap and get in for free right?
Yes, under 2 is free, but 2 & up requires a ticket at these shows.
I’m taking my 6yr old for the first time Sunday and I have a question. Is there any meet and greet before or after the show or tickets that u can buy to meet the stars? I keep looking online and every ticket vender that’s selling tickets and I see nothing. There’s no meet & greet to get pictures with any of the stars?
Hi Justin! They don’t have a meet and greet with the stars before or after but do allow people to take pictures near the ice during intermission. If you sit close to the rink the characters interact with the kids and you can take pics then. There’s sometimes a paid photo you can get either with a cardboard cutout of one of the characters or a real character in the lobby.
Hello I will be taking my daughter on her first show. Just curious if they will let me take a small tote bag with waters and fruits. And lastly at these events do they serve alcohol,just so i dont loose my mind with crazy parents lol.
Hi Roberto! It really depends on the venue. When I’ve gone there hasn’t been alcohol for sale but some venues may have beer. Different venues are more strict than others about outside food as well. Security mainly looks for glass and such so I put little juice boxes/my daughter’s water bottle and some snacks in my purse under my wallet. A seperate lunch bag may not be let in.
I’m taking my daughter to see the show. We are both very excited…one question though. Can you take a camera along?
Hi, Petra! I’m sorry I didn’t see your comment sooner, this is a great question. You can definitely bring a camera, you just can’t use flash during the show.
Taking my little girl tomorrow for the noon show. Thanks for the tips! =)
So glad you liked them Tom, hope this post helped!
I need to take my girls to see it. Is every seat good? Thanks for the tips!!
Hi, Becky! It was fantastic. I’ve taken my daughter to the last 4 shows and there’s always something new. Some seats are better than others but you still get a view from all of them. I’ve sat on the sides and really like sitting more in the middle/front better. So glad you enjoyed reading the tips and hope they help!