Category Archives: DC Events with Kids

What to do around the beltway with the kids

Disney on Ice Frozen: A Review

Last night we made our once annual trek across the river, through the woods and into Virginia to see Disney on Ice. Avid WM fans might recall I vowed to never do this again last year, and oh, probably the year before. But see, this time it was different.


This time it was different for one reason: FROZEN.Frozen_Ticketmasterimage

The geniuses at Disney on Ice knew they could hook even the most cynical, the most battle-torn from commuting to the Patriot Center on a weekday evening during rush hour, with that one special word: FROZEN.

They had me at FROZEN.

I didn’t even put up a fight. Until the time came to quickly feed my children, power through homework and race out the door to battle the traffic and hordes of Frozen fans piling into the Patriot Center. Then I was really second-guessing myself and my decision-making abilities.

But oh, trust me, in the end, it was worth it.

Usually the formula of the Disney on Ice shows is this: multiple acts, a range of different Disney movies, broad appeal to boys and girls. But not this time. They deviated completely from that magical formula and just gave us a pure FROZEN show.

And the audience was filled not only with mini-Anna’s, Elsa’s and Olafs, but the crowd erupted in a sing-along during Queen Elsa’s “Let It Go” performance. Even the coldest, most battle-torn-from-traffic heart, must have melted in the audience at that moment.

My eldest, never one to like change, relented that she still prefers the more traditional format of multiple story lines and many characters during the Disney on Ice shows but she also loved last night’s performance. My youngest sat mesmerized the entire time. Me and Mr. WM, we both gave it a huge thumbs up.

There’s one thing I give a huge thumbs-down too, the people who buy their kids those light up spinning things, and then let them raise their arms straight up and spin the thing through the entire performance. I counted, there were three of those people last night, two of them right in front of us.


Olaf and his entourage performing to "In Summer."

Olaf and his entourage performing to “In Summer.”

“In Summer” starring Olaf is a total fan-favorite chez moi. Accompanying Olaf on the ice last night were dancing butterflies, flowers and bumble bees. How great is that? Visually so creative and colorful.

Sven and his sled – absolutely spectacular, as were the trolls. Perhaps we are more ancillary character fans in my house?

I caution you, do not leave early to beat the crowds because the very end..the ultimate grande finale, brings Disney princesses, Nemo, Lion King friends and Toy Story characters onto the ice, for the final thrill.

For video captures of last night’s performance, you are welcome to check my Instagram feed @wiredmomma, I posted a few there. But really, my advice is take a break from pumpkin patches and soccer games this weekend and relax in the Patriot Center. The performance is just under 2 hours and there is an intermission. Also, a new show was added for Monday October 27 due to the popularity of the performances. For show times and prices, click here.

Disclosure: Feld Entertainment invited me and my family to attend the show as guests. My opinions here are all my own.

Summer Kids Theatre: The Big Friendly Giant Review

“Mommy, I am going to read The BFG next,” casually remarked my 8-year-old at the conclusion of Imagination Stage’s current stage production of Roald Dahl’s The BFG.

Could there be a better, more concise, or positive review of a play than those words? Especially coming from my not-overly-inclined-to-read-on-a-whim kid. It was music to my ears. One week later, she has officially cracked the book, further proving just how much she enjoyed the play.

The BFG (James Konicek) and Sophie (Megan Graves) celebrate friendship and bravery in THE BFG at Imagination Stage through August 10. Photo Credit: Imagination Stage

The BFG (James Konicek) and Sophie (Megan Graves) celebrate friendship and bravery in THE BFG at Imagination Stage through August 10. Photo Credit: Imagination Stage

We recently took a much-needed break from the sun and pool to head indoors for Imagination Stage’s new production, Roald Dahl’s The BFG (Big Friendly Giant). Full disclosure: We are avid Matilda fans here, including a whirlwind 24-hour trip to NYC over spring break to see it on Broadway, but we weren’t overly familiar with the BFG plot.

In fact, I don’t even think I read The BFG as a kid.

I know, I know. A disgrace.


For anyone else who might not know, the BFG  includes all the essential elements for kid theater-going success: farting jokes, enormous giants, a good-fighting-evil arc, a brave little girl and some explanation of where our dreams come from. In our house, my youngest shares a name with the show’s main character, Sophie, so we had that added perk. Also chez moi,  zapping bad dreams from heads before bed-time is a nightly ritual, so any chance to learn how these dreams get in our heads is a win-win for my girls.

The play opens with little Sophie’s cold and unloving orphan existence. While she’s looking out the window one sleepless night, she happens to spot a huge giant. According to Dahl, the master of exploring kid fears and imaginations, mean giants roam the globe when humans are sleeping, and do horrible things like eat children.


Honestly, some might consider the Dahl stories too dark and morbid but I love them. Just as the children

The mean giants of Giant Country plot their next move during The Witching Hour in THE BFG at Imagination Stage. Photo Credit: Imagination Stage

The mean giants of Giant Country plot their next move during The Witching Hour in THE BFG at Imagination Stage. Photo Credit: Imagination Stage

are revolting in Matilda but they rise above their adult oppressors and prevail, the same proves true in The BFG. In this case, Sophie happens to spot the one giant who doesn’t eat children, so while he snatches her from her own bedroom (hello possible nightmares and kidnapping fears), he is nice and caring and hides her from the mean children-eating giants in his giant-land.

At this point, you might be wondering the right age group for the play? My 5-year-old came along and she never once was scared or upset by the plot. The only challenge we faced with her was the length of the play, especially because it includes a short intermission. Anyone who follows my theater reviews knows I loathe intermission for kid plays.  I confess, I was disappointed they brought back the intermission for this play because Imagination Stage had eliminated it from the past few consecutive plays. Bottom line, Mr. WM and me both agreed that early Elementary through 6th grade is the ideal target for this one, my rising Kindergartener was questionable but it wasn’t inappropriate or outrageous to bring her along. She just understand it or appreciate it like her older sister did and it got to be a little long for her.

The Queen of England (Susan Lynskey) honors the BFG (James Konicek) for his courage in THE BFG at Imagination Stage. Photo Credit: Imagination Stage

The Queen of England (Susan Lynskey) honors the BFG (James Konicek) for his courage in THE BFG at Imagination Stage. Photo Credit: Imagination Stage

In the end, Sophie and the BFG plan to save the world’s children from the mean giants by concocting a clever plan to get inside the Queen of England’s head. Along the way, Dahl successfully mixes farting jokes with the ever-proper Queen while good wins over evil.

If the kids in your house are Dahl-lovers, I’d highly recommend this summer play. It’s a great chance to escape the heat and explore your little one’s imagination. From my perspective, there is no greater marker of a wonderful theater experience than a child actively seeking out the book after the show.

Catch The BFG now through August 10th. Tickets are on sale for $10 and can be purchased online.

Disclosure: Me and my family were guests of Imagination Stage but my opinions here are all my own.

DC Spring Theater: Don’t miss The Jungle Book

Kaa the beloved snake. Photo Credit: Mike Horan

Kaa the beloved snake. Photo Credit: Mike Horan

Just when I was beginning to think my oldest was starting to become “too old” for Adventure Theatre MTC, they knocked it out of the park, and proved me wrong with their current production “The Jungle Book.”

While the play is based on the book by Rudyard Kipling, I’m willing to guess many families are most familiar with the story thanks to the classic Disney movie. Bottom line, with this version of the story so commonly associated with The Jungle book, tackling this story is no small feat and Adventure Theatre succeeded. All the way to the production, I was thinking about the playful, whimsical Disney movie but in reality, Adventure Theatre MTC transformed Kipling’s tale into a serious, creative and compelling drama for older elementary-aged kids. Don’t get me wrong, my five-year-old was also taken with the show, but it was my 2nd grader and her friends, up to 4th grade, who were transfixed.

I watched the girls throughout the show because I know I’m writing the review but it’s really about the kids – and if the kids are reacting – or not reacting – that’s how I know what I’m going to write. Typically I find Adventure Theatre productions parallel the approach of a Pixar film; they are usually silly, whimsical and have jokes for adults and kids. Not this one. I hesitate to call “The Jungle Book” a drama but it almost really is a drama. It isn’t a silly, light tale.

The shirtless Mowgli and the silly monkeys. Photo Credit: Mike Horan

The shirtless Mowgli and the silly monkeys. Photo Credit: Mike Horan

Mowgli, the orphaned boy raised by wolves, has grown into an adolescent and his mentors, the friendly bear Baloo and the worrisome, anxious panther Bagheera, fret over how to help him survive the jungle and protect him from his greatest foe, Shere Khan, the Bengali tiger. Notably different from the movie, the wolf pack leader who rescued Mowgli and raised him, a female wolf, has a pivotal role in the play, demonstrating the strength and power of a female pack leader.

I kept waiting for the jokes and the pranks. And aside from the silly monkeys, they didn’t really come. The story follows the path to growing up, of forging your own path and learning from your mistakes, and facing your fears. It’s the Adventure Theatre all grown up. Seriously. My 5-year-old loved the costumes and the silly monkeys, she was taken with the snake and generally loved seeing all the animals but she did grow restless before the end of the 45-minute production.

But the older kids – they were absorbed into the story. Naturally they noted Mowgli wasn’t wearing a shirt (“Eww!”) because they’re little kids but that didn’t stop them from raving about the production once it was over. They talked about it all the way home from the show and the true test – were still talking about it the next day and the day after. Personally, I’d like to give props to the creative genius behind Shera Khan’s costume. If you plan to go, make a point to find the forks on the front of his costume. Who thought “hey, forks will complete the look of this menacing, evil, tiger?” Not just who thought that one up, but who successfully completed the costume with those forks? I was delighted when my eyes fell over that detail and several of my friends commented on the same thing after the show.



If that isn’t a reason to load your elementary school aged kids into the car and head to Adventure Theatre for some spring time arts & theater, I don’t what is. We are lucky to live here and have such access to the creative arts catered to our young kids and personally, I’m grateful to such places as Adventure Theatre MTC.

You can see “The Jungle Book” through May 25th, tickets are $19 and can be purchased online.

Disclosure: The Adventure Theatre invited me and my family to see the show the night before it opened. My opinions here are all my own.




Disney On Ice: 100 Years of Magic Review

Last night, as the threat of #Snochi loomed heavily over DC, me and the girls loaded into the car for our annual trip to the Verizon Center for the Disney on Ice performance.

Color Logo_D20Why did they schedule it on a snow night?”  my five-year-old asked indignantly.

“Yes, terrible planning on their part,” retorted my eight-year-old.

Far be it from me to point out the complexities of long-term planning for large-scale events, I reasoned. I settled on letting the poor planning of Feld Entertainment take the blame in the minds of my kids.

DisneyOnIceI worried for part of the afternoon about even venturing out for the evening – the vague storm start time of 7-10pm really wasn’t helpful. What if we stayed back and the snow didn’t start until 10pm, if at all? This is DC, of course. Being skeptical that it would amount to anything more than just rain – always reasonable.

Then again, this is DC. Shit can go south quickly.

#Commute-A-Geddon – who will ever forget that one? #NotMe

But when Disney on Ice is promised to two young kids – anxiety over inclement weather that hasn’t happened yet – ain’t gonna fly.

Aside from trashing the poor planning on scheduling the event on the evening of a snow storm, all that mattered to my kids on our way to the show, specifically for the one who was decked out in the Anna dress for the show, was this – would Frozen be incorporated into the show?

Spoiler alert – no. But here’s hoping it’s included next year.

Also, I let them have the false hope that it could be.

#SorryFeldEntertainment Again – with the mis-directed blame on their planning.


After genuinely having a great time at the media party before the opening night show, we headed down to our seats (while I obsessively tracked the storm updates from Capital Weather Gang. )

My friend noted that she and her kids have been having such a great time watching the Winter Olympics, so she appreciated the timing of the Disney on Ice show because the ice skating talent and difficulty was even more relevant and interesting to her daughter than it normally would be. A great point, I thought, as we’ve spent quite a bit of time specifically focusing on the ice skaters at the Olympics.

At last the show opened with a rink filled with dancing blue genies from Aladin, after being welcomed by Mickey and Minnie Mouse. I’m always a sucker when there’s a large group performance, a rink overflowing with dancing characters like blue genies,  over just the single prince and princess dance – so I was hooked from the start with the multiple genies. Next the show moved into Nemo and my youngest practically jumped out of her skin when one of her top three most favorite Disney characters – the somewhat obscure and little known but totally awesome shark – Bruce – from Finding Nemo made his way onto the ice. At that point, her day was complete.


There would be no Let It Go, no Frozen – but she had Bruce. All was right in the world.

Next the show moved into a scene from Beauty & The Beast and then a long, romantic montage of most of the princesses and their princes. It was a perfectly themed Valentines/lovebirds element for the show this weekend. Honestly, having all the princesses on the ice at the same time felt a bit like a finale number but it seemed too soon for the intermission, and sure enough, it wasn’t. Next we moved into Toy Story, led by the green soldiers. Everyone’s heart always feels warm and fuzzy when Woody sings “You’ve Got a Friend in Me.”Right?

In fact, we were having such a great time, for the first time in a few days, I’d actually completely forgotten about the threat of now-aptly named #Snochi. And then, then, came the finale before intermission.

Be still my heart. It was “It’s A Small World” concluded with the electric light parade. If Bruce the shark completes my youngest, It’s A Small World completes me.  Seriously. Swoon. Love. Can’t get enough of it.

After the set was over, the lights came on, and reality set in. What was the status of the storm? Unfortunately, it was clear the snow had not only started but was really sticking to the roads – so I had to make the tough choice to head home. Trust me. I was berated mercilessly for a while by my girls, especially my oldest who was skeptical of my executive decision, and I also didn’t want to leave. We absolutely love the Disney on Ice show at Verizon Center every February, it’s a true highlight for us, but well, getting home is also important.

My point – I can’t tell you about the second half of the show. What I can tell you is the first half is a ton of fun for boys and girls alike. Pretty much all of us have a five-day weekend – so why not head to Verizon Center for a fun family outing? There are still seven performances left. Here’s the details for the remaining performances this weekend:

Show Times:
·       Friday, Feb. 14 at 7:30 p.m.
·       Saturday, Feb. 15 at 10:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.
·       Sunday, Feb. 16 at 12:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.
·       Monday, Feb. 17 (President’s Day) at 12:30 p.m.

Ticket information: Tickets are $80 (Front Row)/ $55 (VIP)/ $30/ $20 (plus applicable service charges) and are available through all Ticketmaster outlets including the Verizon Center box office, online at

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

Disclosure: I was invited by Feld Entertainment to bring my family to see Disney on Ice. All my opinions here are my own.