by Annie McCourt-Makaron
First, let me say that the old saying, “there is no such thing as a small part,” totally applies to this musical! The action is nonstop as the characters, even the minor roles, are constantly moving during both Acts of Disney Junior Live; it was a true Pirate and Princess Adventure!
Act I begins with Sofia the First, her parents and siblings, and of course Bailywick the Butler – voiced by the amazing Tim Gunn– preparing for guests coming to the castle for a special ball. As the youngest, per tradition, Sofia must present each guest with a memorable one-of-a-kind gift. Hilarity ensues as Sofia uses her magic to prepare one over the top gift after another but none of them are perfect. Finally, after a surprise visit from none other than Cinderella, a little help from the teaching witches and several toe-tapping musical numbers, Sofia realizes that her voice is the gift she can share with everyone. The last number includes loads of magical bubbles, the entire cast and a costume change by Sofia that is not to be missed! Hint: have you ever seen a 20 foot tall ball gown? My six and eight year old Little Women were on the edges of their seats. Even my DH, Jack, said, “that was pretty cool.”
Act II was a foot-stomping jolly pirate adventure with Jake and the Neverland Pirates. There was even a, “Stomp,” style tap dance number with buckets and mops as props! The Little Women are not huge Jack fans, but the action on the, “boat,” kept them silent with eyes glued to the stage. There was real action from one end of the stage to the other and the lead actors and actresses made the show truly inter-active! To top it off, there was a surprise visit from Tinkerbell and Peter Pan! As my six year old exclaimed, “there is Tink and Pan– in real life!” Peter truly amazed with his acrobatic feats as he flipped from one side of the stage to the other! Captain Hook was just scary enough to keep the action exciting, but silly enough to not frighten the smaller audience members! He even battles some flying fish! Again, the last number in this Act includes some spectacular surprises!
There were surprises galore from the first notes of Doc McStuffin’s surprise appearance, through Sofia’s reign, then to the moment Jake and the Neverland Pirates found out that the real treasure is friendship! We even heard from the first couple of Disney, Mickey and Minnie!
The Sun National Center in Trenton is a clean and well organized arena and the staff are courteous and very helpful. The food is a little bit on the pricey side and there were not a lot of snack options; however, this happens in most large venues. If cost is important to you, I recommend eating before the show and maybe splurging on one of the more affordable options during the 15 minute intermission between the two Acts. Our family of four had two cheese-steaks, two fries and two bottles of water for $29! Yet, we later bought a huge funnel cake to split for only $5! Sun National Center does not allow any outside food (although we saw a few toddler cups and bottles,); so, plan accordingly.
There was parking available directly in front of the main entrance for only $10 and there was free parking at the overflow lot and on the side streets. The area is well-lit and there were traffic police on hand to cross pedestrians and help direct traffic.
Bottom line, the show was fabulous enough to entertain the Little Women, dear husband and myself for an hour and 30 minutes. With tickets starting at only $25 and an excellent venue, this is a very recommendable and affordable option for a super special family night out!