Dancing With Disney Junior

by Lisa Stiglic, contributing writer

Disney California Adventure Park kicked off its Summer of Heroes promotion Memorial Day weekend filled with superhero feats and space adventures. And with it came plenty of dancing, but not just with Guardians of the Galaxy's Starlord in his Awesome Dance-off. Keeping a safe distance from the comic book "kapows" and "booms," Disney Junior—Live on Stage! has transformed into Disney Junior Dance Party.

A familiar location has a new marquis featuring an original show. Photo by Lisa Stiglic.

Taking a break from comic book saviors, I welcomed spending time with smaller guests and to "bust a move." My last visit inside Playhouse Disney, as it was called then, was a least a decade ago, when my daughter was into JoJo's Circus and Bear in the Big Blue House. Times have changed as I quickly had to update myself to the new cast starring in the dance party.

To the beat of the techno-music, our hosting DJ, appropriately named Dee Jay, enthusiastically greeted everyone to the Disney Junior Dance Party. She was full of energy and pumped up the crowd.

DJ Dee Jay getting her party-goers animated. Photo by Lisa Stiglic.

The premise of the show is to visit the Disney Junior cast lineup and invite them to the party. The characters are displayed on the large screen then the audience is encouraged, through dancing, to bring them to the party. Music continuously pounds throughout the show along with flashing light displays and vibrant energy. Then, with a few turns, twists and shouts, the animation becomes live-action.

Dee Jay's partner quickly joins her for the festivities and they soon get to work. First up is a call to Mickey and the Roadster Racers. It seems Mickey is in the middle of a race, but promises he'll be there with his friends as soon as he can.

Our party leaders cheer on Mickey and his racers. Photo by Lisa Stiglic.

Next up is a trip to Enchancia to entice a familiar princess to partake in the celebration.

Sofia the First dazzles and shimmies her way on stage. Photo by Lisa Stiglic.

Doc McStuffins follows on screen with her friend Chilly the Snowman. Doc transports herself to the party, but Chilly seems to be stuck on screen because it's too warm. No need to worry Chilly — Disney magic is on the way!

Doc and our deejays watch in wonder as it begins to snow inside the playhouse. Photo by Lisa Stiglic.

With a roar, our hosts hustle through the audience to encourage the next lineup of characters to come play — Disney Junior's The Lion Guard. Via satellite, our party hosts talk with Kion and his pals, one of whom decides to see what the celebration is all about.

Timon the meerkat wisecracks with the entertainers while on stage. Photo by Lisa Stiglic.

Once Timon leaves, our duo checks in with Mickey and his racers who still haven't made an appearance. The screen swipes to the drivers who have just entered an animated Disney California Adventure and are speeding to Hollywood Land. Hooray—they cross the finish line!

With much exuberance, Mickey and Minnie bring the dance party to its wild conclusion. Photo by Lisa Stiglic.

And, thus ends this high-energy, spectacular show for guests of all ages. Overall, the 20-minute presentation was crazy fun! Besides the stage action, the DJs interact with smaller visitors by taking a hand-held dance cam throughout the audience so kids can see themselves on the big screen.

Young dancers react to seeing themselves on the jumbo-tron. Photo by Lisa Stiglic.

The show is an exhilarating alternative to the action-packed adventure with the superheroes elsewhere in Hollywood Land. For families with little ones, this is a must stop to shake off some excess energy and maybe for parents to take a needed rest. Party-goers and their families can jam six different times throughout the day (see the entertainment guide for times) but line-up early to ensure a good seat inside. Once there, cast members will guide guests to sit on the floor starting near the stage and filling in the room. Additional benches have been added near the back for those (adults) needing a bit of support. I was told by a cast member that each party hosts about 300 people.

And, continuing the Disney synergy throughout the park, you might spy one of the party stars outside ready to meet-and-greet young guests.

Doc McStuffins pauses to sign autographs. Photo by Lisa Stiglic.

So, if you plan on visiting Disney California Adventure Park in the next few months, specifically for Summer of Heroes, bring your dancing shoes. There's a lot of twirling, spinning, and playing to be done.