Cirque du Soleil’s new show, Drawn to Life, is a not-to-be missed performance when visiting Walt Disney World. Held at the Cirque du Soleil Theater at Disney Springs, it is the first synergy between Cirque du Soleil, Walt Disney Animation Studios, and Walt Disney Imagineering. Even though it is inspired by Disney’s animated movie, an original score was written for the show.
Fifteen minutes before showtime, there is a fun pre-show. Four children are chosen from the audience and are integrated in the pre-show. It is a great experience, so be sure to be at the theater early!
Drawn to Life tells the story of Julie, a little girl who has lost her dad and discovers an unexpected gift: a sequence of unfinished drawings, left behind by her father. Julie decides to complete the unfinished drawings herself.
Led by a magic pencil and muses, Julie learns the principals of animation, the hard work required, and—most of all—the process of overcoming self-doubt.
Throughout the show, aerial acrobatics acts, for which Cirque du Soleil is known, are interwoven with Disney-inspired drawings, animated sketches, a breathtaking performance on a double wheel, puppetry, live music, fairies on unicycles, and much more.
Miss Hésitation, a giant wadded-up piece of paper with an eraser purse for added effect, is the villain of the show. She and her minions show up whenever Julie doubts herself. The minions, carrying wastebaskets filled with crumpled-up drawings, are a fascinating work of puppetry.
The most moving part of the show is when Julie imagines her parents dancing. Her dead father dances with her mom in a scene right of Beauty and the Beast. The “magie nouvelle” shown is one of ethereal beauty, flawless expression, and execution. You won’t want it to end.
In the end, Julie overcomes her doubts and finishes her dad’s animation. Even Miss Hésitation gives up as Julie treats her with compassion.
I was worried that the projection effects of the Disney animations would distract the audience from the show. My worry was unfounded, as the projections actually enhanced the show. Cirque du Soleil’s acrobatics, costumes, and choreography, mixed with Disney’s storytelling, create a love letter to Disney animation.
Tickets start at $85, and the 90-minute program is shown Tuesday through Saturday at 5:30 p.m and again at 8 p.m. Note that there is no intermission. This is the 50th show created by Cirque du Soleil, and we believe it will be showing at Disney Springs for a very long time. Last but not least, you can be assured that even the non-Disney fan in your family will love the show.
WHERE TO EAT
Prior to the show, or after you enjoy Drawn to Life, we recommend you enjoy Jaleo by Chef José Andrés. Jaleo serves traditional and contemporary Spanish cuisine, including authentic paellas cooked over a wood fire in the restaurant.
About the owner of the restaurant: José Andrés, a Noble Peace Prize nominee, established World Central Kitchen in 2010 as a means for feeding the many—using culinary training programs to empower communities and strengthen economies, as well as to provide food disaster relief in the wake of emergencies around the globe. Currently, he and his team are working to feed people in war-torn Ukraine.
For all there is to see and do at Walt Disney World, check out The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World 2022, or to plan your family’s trip to Orlando, pre-order The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids 2023 (Release date December 6, 2022).