Sneak peek at new 'Frozen' musical on Disney Wonder

By Allison Walker Torres, Entertainment Reporter/Anchor
Last Updated: Tuesday, February 14, 2017, 5:02 PM EST

No need to go to Broadway to search for a musical based on Disney's "Frozen." Instead, you could find it in the middle of the ocean en route to Castaway Cay.

  • New show on Disney Wonder cruise ship is themed after 'Frozen'
  • Actors interact with puppets in 'Frozen - A Musical Spectacular'
  • Disney Cruise Line also opened Tiana's Place restaurants aboard ships

Frozen - A Musical Spectacular is the newest show on board the Disney Wonder. Disney Cruise Line recently invited us on board to check it out in the Walt Disney Theatre.

"Never did I ever think I'd do it on stage," actor Alex Ward ("Kristoff") told us, referring to his two times he'd watched the movie in a theater.

Ward acts alongside Michael John Hughes for most of the hour-long performance. Hughes plays "Sven," requiring him to basically "wear" a life-size reindeer that he's also puppeteering. This is his first major role as a puppeteer.

"I really don't think about pushing buttons anymore," Hughes said, demonstrating how he creates Sven's expressions with his fingers. "It just becomes organic."

Speaking of puppets, Anna, Elsa and Kristoff also got to puppeteer younger, smaller versions of their characters toward the start of the show.

"The voice, everything is consistent to keep that story going," show producer Kelly Benton said.

Olaf, like Sven, is a puppet.

"When you have an incredible actor that is costumed just perfectly to get that comedic twist; to make that puppet just come to life, you find yourself looking at the puppet and looking at [the actor]," he said. "You want to take it all in."

FUN FACT: The puppeteer who designed Sven, Olaf and the trolls is Michael Curry. You may have also seen Curry's work in Disney’s Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, The Lion King.

The show also uses Broadway-caliber technology, including seven snow machines, 16 projectors, and — new for the ship — something called video tracking.

"Projectors can track a live moving image — a thing or a piece of scenery," Benton explained. "It can track it wherever it is on stage. So as opposed to you having to be right on your mark to be hit by a certain projection, if you're a foot off, it's still going to find you."

Meanwhile, Anna and Elsa aren't the only royalty aboard the ship. Disney Cruise Line has also debuted Tiana's Place, a restaurant inspired by "The Princess & The Frog" movie.

"You get to come [and get] taken back to the old golden era of Southern charm with blues, swing, jazz," said Daniel Cowan, who's one of the DCL food & beverage managers.

As you dine, Princess Tiana is hosting you in what feels like an old French Quarter dinner club. While you're noshing on Louisiana-style cuisine, a Mardi Gras parade snakes between the tables.

So wait: Do they have beignets?

"We have beignets!" Cowen smiled. "Tiana's famous beignets. They're beautiful."

Tiana’s Place is a main dining restaurant within the rotational dining experience on board all Disney ships. Each night, guests rotate to one of the three themed restaurants on board the ship.

To see where the Disney Wonder is going next, check out the official website.