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REVIEW: ‘Drawn to Life’ by Cirque Du Soleil Is A Work of Art for Lifelong Disney Fans at Walt Disney World

The new Cirque du Soleil production, “Drawn to Life,” debuted tonight at Disney Springs. The show replaces “La Nouba,” which closed at the end of 2017.

Overview

“Drawn to Life” is described as a “love letter to Disney animation.” The show is a first-ever collaboration among Cirque du Soleil, Walt Disney Animation Studios, and Walt Disney Imagineering. The show is a journey into a world where an animator’s desk becomes the stage and drawings come to life. “Drawn to Life” is a celebration of life told through Cirque du Soleil’s acrobatics. An original score was written for the show.

Price

Tickets start at $85 and top out at $185 and can be purchased on the Cirque du Soleil website. Many of the first shows are sold out or have extremely limited availability.

Location

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“Drawn to Life” takes place at the Cirque du Soleil Theater in the West End of Disney Springs.

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The opening night crowd was eager to see the show.

Performance Times

Currently, one show is performed each evening at 5:30 PM. Beginning December 10, an 8:30 PM show is added. The show is dark Sundays and Mondays. “Drawn to Life” will not be performed January 9 – 17, 2022.

Merchandise

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You can browse an extensive selection of “Drawn to Life” merchandise in the Cirque du Soleil store.

Lobby

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A swing photo opportunity is available in the lobby area.

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Hallways detail principles of animation. Here, “Aladdin” is used to demonstrate squash and stretch.

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Peter Pan shows how animators use anticipation.

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The third principle of animation is staging.

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Artwork from “Pinocchio” is near the fifth principle of animation.

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Animators make use of follow through and overlapping action.

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Pinocchio leads the way down the stairs.

Concessions

Both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverage options are available.

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The Ink Blot is served in a souvenir cup.

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Commemorative Pin

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Guests attending the premiere received a commemorative pin.

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The pin is shaped like a ticket.

Pre-show

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While the stage shape and seating area remain the same as with “La Nouba,” the stage is newly dressed.

The pre-show features a pillow that comes to life.

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Children become part of the act during the pre-show.

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Here, a colorful troupe of musicians play.

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Actor John Stamos spoke before curtain.

Show

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Photo: Cirque du Soleil

The “Drawn to Life” animators begin the show.

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Photo: Cirque du Soleil

Julie is the main character. Her father was a Disney animator.

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Photo: Cirque du Soleil

Julie is about to go on the adventure of a lifetime to try to complete an unfinished drawing.

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Photo: Cirque du Soleil
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Photo: Cirque du Soleil

After soaring through the air, Julie lands in the world of “Drawn to Life.”

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Photo: Cirque du Soleil

Mr. Pencil serves as Julie’s guide.

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Photo: Cirque du Soleil
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Photo: Cirque du Soleil
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Photo: Cirque du Soleil
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Photo: Cirque du Soleil

Acrobats perform with giant pencils as the animators and Julie watch.

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Photo: Cirque du Soleil

Of course, this story has a villain.

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Photo: Cirque du Soleil

Meet Miss Hésitation.

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Photo: Cirque du Soleil

Miss Hésitation wants us to throw away our dreams.

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Photo: Cirque du Soleil
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Photo: Cirque du Soleil

The grand finale features large swings.

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Photo: Cirque du Soleil
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Photo: Cirque du Soleil
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Photo: Cirque du Soleil

The entire “Drawn to Life” cast takes the stage after the finale.

Review

“Drawn to Life” is significantly better than “La Nouba,” but I may be biased as a Disney fan. Kudos to Cirque for sticking mostly to classic hand drawn animation, which brings an incredible warmth to the show. The simple story works well and the way acts are incorporated into the animation process is very thoughtful.

The most striking aspect is a rare feat for Walt Disney World: projection effects that enhance the story rather than detract and are actually going to introduce you to some uses of the technology most haven’t seen in public just yet. Moments where projected characters follow performers on stage are mesmerizing and full of charm.

As you expect from Cirque the performers are second to none. They are talented beyond belief.

If you are a lifelong Disney fan, you’ll find joy in the show. It is absolutely worth seeing at least once, so I’d clear time in your vacation schedule to see it.

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C H
C H
15 days ago

Fully agree! This show is the magic of Disney at its best. The emotional connection to the storyline, music, lighting, animation, acrobatics, and comedy are superb. This is a must do.

KennyVee
KennyVee
13 days ago

This is on my bucket list. The concept of the show amazed me (like you, I may be biased), but when you said “projection effects that enhance the story rather than detract” I was sold (I share your view of Disney’s absolute overuse of unnecessary projections — projecting on water screens makes sense in Fantasmic! and I’ve seen some amazing projection mapping, but Disney is just using buildings as movie screens that distract from fireworks or other things that stand up well on their own).

David
David
13 days ago

I can’t help feeling Disney should have got Cirque to help them design their new show for Epcot. We might then have ended up with something original rather than another Disney song mash-up.

Brian Szudarek
Brian Szudarek
12 days ago

This is my 21st different Cirque du Soleil show and I felt the show didn’t deliver that big WOW factor I have come to enjoy and anticipate from Cirque. The show is amazing, don’t get me wrong and I said WOW dozens of times seeing the show on opening night. After reflecting on the show afterwards, I can say I didn’t feel that big WOW factor I have experienced in other shows when seeing them for the first time. La Nouba was a great show (a show I have seen no less than 60 times with no exaggeration, over the… Read more »