- 13 July 2022
- Sam Taylor
- 4 min read
The team are back from Time To Shine and all the while we’re still finding glitter in our pockets we aren’t going to shut up about it! Read on to find out how it went and to understand the show-stopping performing arts school trip better.
Day 1. Bienvenue en France
We spent the first day checking in our groups as they arrived in dribs and drabs from all over the UK. It was great to see some familiar faces and some new ones too. Groups had a comfortable stay at Disney’s Hotel Santa Fe and Disney’s Hotel Cheyenne—a Wild West themed resort. Where else would it be acceptable to blast Jolene and Rhinestone Cowboy at 7AM? (Seriously). With today completely at their disposal, the families hit the parks for some fun and thrills.
Day 2. Rehearsal time
After fuelling up on breakfast, which is included in your stay, the groups made their way to the Disney Village Gaumont Cinema, a short walk from their hotels and situated just outside the park gates. Our Disney Performing Arts co-ordinator, Angela, greeted us to lead the Time To Shine pre-parade rehearsal alongside our very own Lucy and Leia. This is Leia’s third Time To Shine and she was a total pro at leading the dry run and energising the students.
Fun fact: Leia is an aerial performer at Chessington World of Adventures and Lucy was her singing teacher at dance school.
Think this pre-parade is a walk in the park? Sure, it’s fun beyond your imagination, but it’s important not to underestimate the task at hand. These kids have got to maintain the same level of energy for 45 minutes as they dance in front of tens of thousands of guests at one of the most famous attractions in Europe. They’re representing Disney and the standards are high. No pressure then...
Angela’s top tip? It’s all in the arms!
Aside from that Disney smile—which was in no short supply—Angela got the students to concentrate on keeping their movements sharp and their arms raised high. There’s no room for flailing here!
Another consideration was navigating the twists and turns in the pre-parade path—which, when you’re part of a five-person wide procession performing a choreographed routine, takes a little bit of practise. That being said, the groups had clearly been putting in the work back home, which meant they had more time to explore the parks with their families than planned.
Lights, camera, action
Over at the Videopolis Theatre, next to Hyperspace Mountain, hundreds of very excitable children waited backstage for their Time To Shine—a 20-minute performance months in the making in the most magical place on earth. First up and setting the bar extremely high was Pips Dance Academy. Phoenix Dance & Drama also brought the house down with an energetic routine set to Proud Mary.
Next up (and considerably smaller in stature!) was TDA Stars. What these pint-sized performers lacked in height, they made up for in sparkle with their shimmery streamer-covered costumes. It was great to see fellow dance schools in the audience cheering each other on. It’s a thought Disney Performing Arts co-ordinator Angela shared earlier in the day during rehearsal—although the groups arrive separately, when they are performing in the pre-parade, they are one. And that’s how the park guests see them.
As the proud parents waited in the wings to catch a glimpse of their superstars post-performance, rapturous applause broke out when finally they appeared—before running straight into their families’ arms. The palpable sense of pride and camaraderie was infectious and, unsurprisingly, many a tear was shed!
With their performances aced and bucket loads of energy to burn off, the families were once again free to explore the park and enjoy their holiday their way. Many chose to stick around until dark to see the spectacular Disney D-Light drone display celebrating the park’s 30th anniversary and the classic light show and fireworks. A truly magical way to round off a memorable day.
Day 3. Parade day
Some groups had already performed the day before, some had their performances just over an hour before the pre-parade. That’s showbiz baby! With a rallying cry from Angela and a pep talk from Lucy, the buzzing groups assembled for the Time To Shine pre-parade.
And just like that, they were off... Weaving their way through the park with smiles we’re pretty sure you could see from space (or at least Big Thunder Mountain) alongside friends old and new under the blazing sunshine in front of 1000s of park guests and beaming parents. What comes close to that, seriously?!
The groups had a final chance to get some more rides in and make the most of their multi-day park hopper tickets, included in the price, or chill out in Disney Village after a hectic day. Don’t forget this is a holiday, too.
The groups set off the following morning with memories to last a lifetime—and their sights set on their next Time To Shine!