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July 19th, 2012 by Stinkhead

Nasty breath

Tonight we took our (almost) five year old to the live arena spectacular How to Train Your Dragon LIVE. We had a blast! The special effects and the gymnastics mixed with the life-sized free-roaming animatronics was quite a sight. Click below for more pics, our reactions, and a code to get 25% off your ticket!

Don't eat me

Note, DSLR cameras were not permitted at our performance, so I did the best I could with my old point & shoot. Check your ticket/venue for details before you bring all your stuff!

This stage show follows the story of the 2010 Dreamworks animated picture How to Train Your Dragon. All your favorites are here in life-sized action. Human actors portray everyone from Hiccup to Astrid, and walk with, run from, and fly on larger-than-life animatronic dragons. One of the most impressive things is that the dragons are self contained. Save for a camouflaged base between their feet, the dragons walked, pounced, and even flew. Everything from their ears to their massive wings, twitched as if they were alive. It was really impressive when Hiccup jumped on top of Toothless and flew around the arena.

Dragon attacks the boat

It’s easy when watching all the action and spectacle to get caught up in the story and suspend disbelief. They seemlessly incorporated a massive projection over the entire floor and the wall at the end of the arena. It added a bit more than just ambiance, it provided enormous sets for the people and dragons to interact with. I also liked the artsy elements. They told part of the story with intricate shadow puppets, and in another portion had Hiccup suspended from the ceiling, “running” on the wall, providing a cool birds-eye view of him running up cliffs, through forests all the while dodging “fireballs.”


The production team certainly knew what they were doing as far as keeping you believing the dragons were really there. One of the little tricks that I really liked was whenever they needed to move a dragon out onto the stage in the dark while the spotlight was on the humans in the other portion of the arena, the legs moved as if it were really walking. It was like they were leading out a trained tiger that would keep quiet until their cue instead of dragging out a heap of rubber and ropes. The motions of each of the dragons was very lifelike and fluid. It’s not pre-programmed pistons and ropes, there’s definitely people involved, and so very believably, a soul.

Dragon showdown

We really enjoyed the performance and only had a few complaints. One was that there was a lot of dialogue. It didn’t drag on too long (drag-on haha) for me really, but sometimes I could tell my five year old was just tolerating the people-only segments to get back to the dragons. (Actually he’d say “when are the dragons coming back?) Those segments did feature acrobatics and cool effects however. Unfortunately our particular performance suffered some technical glitches during the big finale, but they kept the flow going alright in spite of it all. I feel it’s worth the money, and your 4-12 year old will have a blast. I think they older they are, the more they’ll get out of it, but it certainly wasn’t too loud or scary for our son.

If you’re thinking of going, enter the code MOM when checking out for 25% off the ticket price. C’mon, that’s an awesome deal. Check out the official site for when they’re coming to your city. Check out the rest of my pics below. Remember to check out your venue’s camera policy in advance.

[flickr-gallery mode=”photoset” photoset=”72157630660723092″]

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Posted in 5&up, Boys, Girls, kids, review, toddler | Comments Off on Review: How to Train Your Dragon LIVE!

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