The moment I climbed the stairs of the Cirque du Soleil Theater at Disney Springs my face lit up. This theater is iconic and it holds many memories. After four years in the dark, it is illuminated once again.
“Drawn to Life” is the new Cirque du Soleil show at Disney Springs. Just having a new Cirque show at Disney Springs is exciting and newsworthy. And yet this new show is unlike anything before.
For the first time, Disney and Cirque du Soleil collaborated to write and produce this show hand in hand. It’d be one thing if Disney simply gave Cirque du Soliel permission to use music and characters from Disney animated movies. Instead, their team merged with Cirque’s to write the show together.
Its tagline is “a love letter to the magic of Disney animation” and this is absolutely the case. With heartfelt touches not just to the characters, but also to the animators who pour their heart into their work, there’s lots to love about “Drawn to Life.”
The show opened in late 2021. In March 2023 new acts and enhancements add more excitement to the show. Keep reading for more about these enhancements and what it was like attending with my five-year-old son.
Important note, our team was invited by Disney to attend the Grand Opening Celebration, as well as when the new enhancements were made, therefore our attendance at the show was complimentary.
What is the right age for the new Cirque du Soleil show at Disney Springs?
This new show is more family-friendly than its predecessor, “La Nouba.” In fact, “Drawn to Life” is the most kid-centric show in Cirque du Soliel’s portfolio. And yet, there are certain factors that may not make it the right choice for your family.
Without giving too much away, the show revolves around a married couple and their young daughter. If your family is okay with similar themes like the ones in “Bambi,” “Dumbo,” or “Frozen,” then this new Cirque du Soleil may be suitable for your family.
Lots of Disney characters and music are incorporated into the show. And typical storylines and themes (loss, triumph, love) found in Disney animated movies are prevalent in “Drawn to Life.”
In short, my five-year-old son did great! This Disney Cirque du Soleil show enthralled him. But it did take some preparation on our part. I’ll explain more momentarily.
Although there are lots of Disney elements throughout the show, it is still a Cirque du Soleil experience. Many of the performance elements are abstract and highly creative. If your child (or children) has seen films like “Fantasia 2000” or the first 20 minutes of “Wall-E” then this show will most likely capture their attention.
And if not, they will still most likely enjoy the spectacle. The use of Disney characters throughout the show draws kids in and makes them feel more comfortable. With the new additions in March 2023 the show has even more pageantry to maintain everyone’s attention.
Every good story has conflict or tension. Naturally, there is a villain-like character in this show. While this character, and the tension they cause, is not as dramatic as many animated movies, it is still something to be aware of.
There is one segment devoted to this antagonist, and it lasts about 4 minutes. This segment includes acrobats and thunderstorm effects. I prepared our son before we arrived at the show that there would be a grumpy, silly character that might seem a little scary. We talked about laughing at the character instead, and that really helped.
Parenting pro-tip: We brought along hearing protection muffs for our young son to wear. He is used to wearing these at theme parks during loud experiences and we find it makes him much more comfortable during dramatic experiences.
In the end, this show is about love, family, belief in yourself, and overcoming loss. If your family is interested in experiencing such a show together, you will be enthralled by this experience.
Which seats are best?
There are plenty of seats around the theater, and you will select your exact seats when purchasing your tickets. Sitting in the back provides a panoramic view, and while most of the performances take place on stage, there is a lot of aerial action high above. Sitting very close to the stage gives excellent views of the performers, but some of the big picture can be lost.
There are complimentary booster seats for kids in the lobby. They are cushy, comfortable, and easy to get to. This will make it easier for your kids to see, and make them more comfortable.
Selecting seats near an aisle is a good idea in case you need to get up during the show. If you do get up during the show, be aware that you’ll be asked to wait just inside the entrance to the theater where you can watch the current segment. Once that segment is done the usher will let you know it is safe to return to your seats.
This can actually work out as a way to see the show from a different angle.
Parenting pro-tip: Encourage everyone to visit the restroom before the show starts to avoid any interruption during the actual performance.
New Additions to Drawn to Life
- A brand new act pays tribute to Disney’s animated forests – and the mysterious creatures that inhabit them – featuring a pair of Ethiopian artists performing acrobatic feats in which one lies on their back and uses their legs and feet to toss the other performer in the air (it’s astonishing!)
- New Aerial Hoop artists perform in the air during the “Dream of Colors” act, a tribute to the ink and paint animation artists, featuring dramatic colors “painted” by human trapeze artists on a suspended wheel
- A “flying” guitarist joining the Rhythmic Gymnastics act, soaring above the acrobats as they flip through the air during the first big act in the show
As someone who has seen the show twice before, these new additions make this Disney Cirque du Soleil show even more appealing to kids!
Drawn to Life Showtimes
Now through September 22, 2023, you can take advantage of special summer rates with tickets start at $59 for adults and $44 for children, plus tax and fees (normally $85-$149). The offer is available for select performances through September 30, 2023.
This is an extravagant night, though one that will be unforgettable. I addition the special summer rates, keep an eye out throughout the year for other Florida Resident rates on select seats!
Make it easy on your family and see a Sunday matinee! We saw a 1:30 pm show on a Sunday with our young son and it worked out perfectly. We had lunch beforehand. Doors to the theater opened right after 12:45 pm giving us time to buy a box of popcorn, take some photos, grab a booster seat, and get to our seats.
Sunday matinee showtimes are at 1:30 pm and 4:00 pm. This is the best option for families with young kids.
Showtimes on most nights are 5:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. As a mom myself, I cannot see how an 8:30 p.m. would work out well for most children. So it is my recommendation that you have an early, light dinner around 4:00 p.m. before attending the 5:30 p.m. show. Then you can enjoy a stroll and perhaps some dessert to cap off the outing. Doors typically open 45 minutes before showtime.
How to Plan a Family Night Out at Disney Springs and Cirque du Soleil
There are so many things to do at Disney Springs that are great for families. If you’re going to spend the money to see “Drawn to Life” together you’ll want to make the most of it, but you may want to make sure you don’t overdo it.
Parking at Disney Springs is free, and the Watermelon parking lot is the closest to the Cirque du Soleil theater. However, there are no row or space numbers in the Watermelon parking lot since it is surface parking. I find it can be confusing at the end of the night walking back to your car and not having an exact row number to use.
The Orange parking garage is fairly close by with clearly marked levels and rows. And if you are going to walk around Disney Springs before or after the show parking here may be better for you.
The Cirque du Soliel theater is located in the West Side area of Disney Springs. There are multiple restaurants, shops, and snack spots in this part of Disney Springs.
The closest places to eat to the Cirque du Soliel theater:
- House of Blues Orlando
- City Works Eatery and Pour House
- Jaleo by Chef José Andrés
- Splitsville at Disney Springs
Important Information about Cirque du Soliel’s “Drawn to Life”
- The show itself is 90 minutes, with no intermission.
- About 15 – 20 minutes before showtime there is a preshow to entertain the audience as they wait. There is some audience participation including kids from the audience.
- Beverages and snacks (popcorn, candy, pretzels) are available for purchase inside the theater
- All photography and videos are NOT permitted during the entire performance. All photos included in this article are from the preshow and curtain call, along with images provided by Disney Media Relations.
Fun Fact: One of the characters hails from the Tampa Bay area!
Ttevin Del Monte, who plays an owl in Drawn to Life, is from Sarasota and has performed in the show since it opened in November 2021. He is a 9th generation circus performer from his dad’s side all the way back to Italy, with 167 years of performers in his family. We got a chance to chat with Ttevin about his experience in the show and why it’s special performing so close to home.
TBPM: Tell us about your character.
TD: My character, well, I’m an owl. Our act and our characters are based on the 1937 short film called The Old Mill. It’s obviously it’s an old mill and there’s a storm that comes to bust through and makes the mill start going and there’s an owl sitting on the inside of the mill kind of getting rattled around in there and it learns how to get out of the way and move in on it. There are six of us and you see us all on stage at one time, but there are only four of us that work on the act. So, we kind of rotate through the six of us. It’s a very, very high-energy act for sure.
TBPM: What was your first time being on the Drawn to Life stage like?
TD: It’s such a big stage. We did an opening show, and we basically gave up a bunch of tickets to family and friends, and former cast members of the original show, which was La Nouba. We got to perform for a lot of them, which was really, really cool because it’s just the people you know. And then the next night we did the actual grand opening. With Cirque, everything is super theater, and they have a schedule of how things go. It’s a whole different ball game than traditional circus. So, it was hectic nerve-racking, and then super amazing at the same time.
TBPM: What do you think makes Drawn to Life so unique?
TD: The storyline behind it is super amazing. It’s dramatic and then super uplifting and then it brings you down to this really emotional point and then it brings you back up again with all this high energy and laughter. The acts, the performance, the performers, and the artistic part of it is super, super amazing. When it comes to Cirque Du Soliel, that’s their biggest thing – they’re known for putting on such amazing storylines and performances. With this show adding that big Disney part of it and seeing a lot of the storylines come to life is awesome.
TBPM: Being from Sarasota, how does it feel being part of such a huge show and still being close to home?
TD: That was one of the biggest reasons why I chose to do it and said yes, I want that contract. Now, my mom’s getting a little bit older and she’s retired and she stays at home and I’m two hours from her. Everyone lives down here so If I would have chosen a traveling show, I wouldn’t be anywhere near them. But now I get to have my mom close enough and I can see my family quite a bit more, which is nice. My mom has seen the show a few times and she doesn’t stop talking about it.
Don’t miss Ttevin and the rest of the Drawn to Life cast at Disney Springs!