A few weeks ago, I shared with you about the upcoming show, How to Train Your Dragon Live Spectacular! at the United Center. Charlie, my nephews (ages 10 and 8), and myself headed there yesterday to see what the show was all about.
The UC was essentially cut in half with a large draped curtain in the center. This provided the perfect backdrop for the stage. Before the start of the show, I had heard mixed reviews about whether the larger than life dragons were scary for the younger crowd. Knowing Charlie’s sensitivity to loud sounds and the possibility of getting scared, I told him that while it may be loud, it wasn’t bad and that it would be very fun! He repeated this while we eagerly waited for the show to start.
Center-stage, we had a perfect view of everything and the show began with a bang! My nephews were impressed by the life-like dragons (size, smoky breath, and real-life movements) and Charlie was entranced. He covered his ears a few times, but never wanted to leave his seat or even sit in my lap. He LOVED it!
My older nephew said that the backdrop when Hiccup runs on what looks like a pathway, reminded him of a video game – it was truly the perfect description. Children in that middle-age range will definitely love the special effects of the show.
Modeled after the movie, the show was the perfect mix of special effects, humor and lighting. We all talked about the dragons we loved most (Charlie loved Toothless of course) and the boys enjoyed Nightmare and Gronckle (the gas-passing dragon). I could not remember the actual movie, so my nephews were great at sharing with me what the show seemed to have changed from the original.
The entire show was interactive and really held the attention of the audience. With a brief intermission, the almost two-hour show was the perfect length for kids and I would highly recommend attending this show. Different than the traditional Disney princesses on ice, it’s a nice change of pace and offers something more boy-friendly.
And one of the funniest parts of the day? Arriving home to find that the movie was on TV!
Just a few thoughts & critiques:
Know your child before you go. Understand that the dragons *may* be loud and Red Death (the big evil dragon) may be slightly scary. Charlie is pretty sensitive, though, and he did great!
Over-priced goodies. As usual, the show also offered some significantly priced souvenir gifts. We ended up with a spinning light ($18), a Toothless waving light ($12) and a program ($20). The program, although pricy, was definitely the best value. Well-put together, beautiful pages and colors as well as background on the dragons, cast, and the makings of the show made this a great commemoration of the afternoon.
Camera Policy. I talked to quite a few people that also attended the show and it was evident that the camera policy for the United Center and the show was not at all consistent. After being told by two different gate attendants that my camera was too “professional” (Nikon DSLR) and that I had to check it, we walked in with just an iPhone. After finding our seats, I discovered that several families around us had cameras, DSLRs, and even video cameras (!!!). I was disappointed because we had great seats and I would have loved to capture quality photos! Several other friends complained that they also had to return their cameras to their cars only to discover inside that others had them there. It would be nice to know what the true policy is for something like this (and know that the attendants know it!)
You still have time to catch the show today!
Sunday, July 29 at 1:00 PM and 5:00 PM with free parking at official United Center parking lots for all performances.