Pluto, Donald Duck, Goofy and their leaders, Micky and Minnie, are squealing and skidding through strobes - jumps, rock'n'roll, pirouettes - then all of a sudden a crocodile is gnashing at Donald.

Meanwhile, Goofy's spelling out life lessons but we can't really hear them above the rustle of merchandise.

The retro characters skate through ruins and haunted castles - their dancing outshone by monkeys and ghosts - and meet Stitch, Baloo, Buzz Lightyear, the Mad Hatter, Alice, Cinderella, the Fairy Godmother and Snow White along the way.

Everyone is having a swell old time until the evil, smoke-shrouded Maleficent (from Sleeping Beauty) wreaks havoc at the Disneyland parade.

Disney on Ice's opening act is an apt snapshot of the empire, really - a mish-mash of fantasy spanning 80 years that continues to enchant children (and makes them really, really want their own bag of confectionery emblazoned with the face of their favourite character).

This is the first time Micky and Minnie Mouse have led a Disney show across an ice rink in New Zealand, though the princesses came skating through last year and another ensemble visited in 1995.

This time the Mice are exploring their Disneyland home, which allows them to forge tenuous links between the new and old characters that appear throughout the story.

Without giving away too much of the plot, Maleficent puts two central characters under a terrible spell that only their beloveds can break with a kiss.

Luckily the people at Disney had a superhero family to call on and The Incredibles come to the rescue.

My 3-year-old date raved about the princesses, especially Snow White, even though she appeared for only five minutes.

As for the chaperones in the audience, the synchronised dancing of the monkeys in the first act, the Pirates of the Caribbean Burning Down The House routine in the second, and the solo spins by heroes in underpants make the show. I'm with Goofy: their skating was incredible.