Ice show, Halloween highlight 'Frozen' mania

Between now and next Sunday, you can expect to hear a lot of people singing, "Do you want to build a snowman?" and "Let it go!"

The ice show version of the Disney mega-hit "Frozen" is coming to Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore, with 12 performances starting Wednesday. And as Halloween arrives Friday, there may be a Princess Elsa or Anna — or 50 — on your doorstep for trick-or-treating; just try tracking down Elsa's signature blue gown this week at a costume shop.


"Everywhere I look, it's 'Frozen,' " says Val Mayer, a real estate agent and mother of three who will be traveling from Port Republic in Southern Maryland to Baltimore with extended family for the ice show. "It truly is crazy."

The Oscar-winning "Frozen" centers on the loving but troubled relationship between two princesses and has exploded into a pop-culture juggernaut. The movie, which opened in November 2013, has generated $1.27 billion in global revenue, making it the highest-grossing animated film in history. Nearly a year after its cinema debut, the ice show and Halloween have converged to fuel another round of "Frozen" mania in Baltimore.


"Frozen is the hottest theme this year," says Angela Deppe, owner of The Peppermint Pony, a Howard County-based party service that provides ponies, characters and face-painting. "It doesn't matter where we go, whenever we play, 'Let It Go' everyone stops and starts singing. It's contagious."

Area bakeries are making ice castles and sheet cakes to resemble Arendelle, the kingdom setting of "Frozen." Local crafters crochet yarn braids onto winter hats. Even a parody of "Do You Want to Build a Snowman?" created by a Mount Washington 12-year-old and her mother has become a YouTube sensation with more than 44,000 views.

"It's gotten bigger and bigger," says Kirsten Mackin, whose then-11-year-old, Sarah, filmed, edited and recorded the parody about Baltimore's seemingly never-ending 2013-2014 winter.

"People aren't bored with the story," says Jessica Brown, children's services coordinator for the Enoch Pratt Free Library. "Kids want to see it over and over."

The library has hosted "Frozen" singalongs, craft sessions and fairy-tale story times. Because the movie is based loosely on "The Snow Queen" by Hans Christian Andersen, staff is also helping children discover other literature with similar themes, Brown says.

"As long as the kids are happy," says Brown, "we're going to continue to feature 'Frozen' in our programming."

Disney on Ice is also filling the "Frozen" need. Opening night is sold out, and several shows were added at Royal Farms Arena (formerly the Baltimore Arena) because of high demand.

Katrina Smith, a social worker from Odenton, and her husband snapped up tickets in August. But their 6-year-old doesn't yet know she'll be going to the show Thursday night.


"It's going to be a surprise," says Smith. "I always wanted to be one of those cool parents who surprises their kid with a trip to Disney."

(While they opted to count down until their Disney vacation in the spring, Smith's husband did wait in line for five hours so their daughter could meet Elsa and Anna.)

"She's going to be so excited," says Smith. " 'Frozen' is one of the first movies she's really understood the plot of."

As with most "Frozen" fans, Smith finds the soundtrack a big part of the appeal. The movie won Academy Awards for best animated feature film and for best achievement in music for the song "Let it Go"

Taylor Fitch, who plays the role of Anna in the Disney on Ice production, says the audience won't be disappointed.

"You'll hear all of the songs from the movie," she said in an interview Wednesday. "It's so well done."


Fitch also thinks fans can relate to the characters, from Elsa concealing her fears to Anna feeling awkward.

"I love how real Anna is," says Fitch. "Her first scene is when she's just woken up. Her hair is all over the place. It's the first time you see that from a Disney princess."

Fitch sees a lot of audience members dressed as their favorite character — which probably is adding to the demand for costumes.

At Artistic Costumes and Dance Fashions, which turns its Towson warehouse into a Halloween shop during September and October, Elsa gowns sold out in the first two weeks. A second order also sold out, as did "Frozen" tiaras, wands and shoes. A few Anna dresses remain, says manager Susie Bethke.

The princesses are a natural choice for sisters, she says. (There is likely quite a bit of negotiating going on, as Elsa is the more popular dress, in part, because it's sparklier and requires a tiara and scepter.)

Party City has sold out of Elsa dresses at all area locations, including Catonsville and Columbia. Olaf is also hard to find.


Foreseeing the inevitable rush for costumes, Tim Sinz, a Howard County firefighter, bought his 4-year-old's Elsa gown back in September at Target.

"She's a fanatic," Sinz says of his daughter, whose entire bedroom, from bedspread to curtains to rug, is decked out in a "Frozen" theme.

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Sinz hypothesizes that some of the "Frozen" frenzy is being fueled by merchandise. "At first, 'Frozen' stuff was hard to come by," he says. "Now, it's everywhere."

The are "Frozen" cups, "Frozen" jewelry, "Frozen" playing cards, even "Frozen" fruit snacks.

Stacey Lounsbury, a law student from Perry Hall, starting crocheting Frozen-inspired hats this past summer, at her 9- and 5-year-old daughters' requests. (Her 12-year-old son wasn't so interested.) She sells the hats with yarn braids for $20 online. A snowman hat is in the works.

If the family wasn't going to be in Orlando, Fla., where the girls will get to mingle with Elsa and Anna at Disney World's Magic Kingdom, they'd definitely been at the Baltimore ice show, she says.


Lounsbury says she appreciates the appeal. "The message is a good one: family first," says Lounsbury. "It's not overly romantic. The graphics, the color-scheme are just terrific. And in this economy, it's a happy, feel-good story."

If you go

Disney on Ice: "Frozen" is presented at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday; 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Thursday; 10:30 a.m., 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Friday; and 11 a.m., 2:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Saturday and next Sunday at Royal Farms Arena, 201 W. Baltimore St. $20-$100.