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A century of Disney magic sparkles in ice extravaganza

Disney On Ice: 100 Years of Magic
At: TD Banknorth Garden, yesterday afternoon. (Repeats today at 11:30, and 6:30; tomorrow at 11:30 and Tickets, $16.50-$71.50, are available at the TD Banknorth Garden box office and Ticketmaster.)

The touring juggernaut that is "Disney on Ice" is back in Boston this weekend with an elaborate new show, and prostrated parents desperate for an entertaining, if not inexpensive, diversion should enjoy it.

Called "100 Years of Magic," the production is described as a commemorative celebration, which means kids get a glimpse of all of their favorites, from Goofy to Mulan, Pinocchio to Pumbaa, during the two-hour show at the TD Banknorth Garden.

But bring your billfold. Parents who have paid up to $71.50 for a ticket will be called upon to pony up $12 for a program, and perhaps several more simoleons for Disney doodads such as light sabers, action figures, and snow cones. (Don't bother seeking refuge in your seat, the stuff is hawked in the aisles as well.)

Where does all of that money go? It's impossible to say, but as usual, "Disney on Ice" hasn't skimped on production costs. "100 Years of Magic," which seemingly has a cast of dozens, features a 36-foot-long whale -- Monstro from "Pinocchio" -- and no fewer than 147 different costumes, many of them decorated with rhinestones, sequins, and in the case of Dory from "Finding Nemo," sexually suggestive eyeballs.

The show is at its most engaging when the skaters are allowed to skate rather than run around in time to the over-amplified soundtrack. (The cast includes two local gals, Georgia Butler from Natick and Woburn's Alexandra Murphy.) Choreographer Sarah Kawahara gets particularly high marks for a romantic dance from "Beauty and the Beast," but otherwise the number of virtuoso skating routines is limited.

Instead, there are several large production numbers, including a politically correct showstopper called "Small World," which features skaters representing 18 countries alongside four motorized floats. The terrific number concludes the show's first act, which leaves the audience eager for more. Another crowd-pleaser is the gang of ghoulish, all-green Army men who introduce the "Toy Story" segment.

While the show successfully blends new and old Disney characters, there are some inexplicable absences, such as Sleeping Beauty and Snow White's Seven Dwarfs. (Snow White makes only a brief appearance during the show's prince-and-princess medley.) Likewise, "Cinderella" and "The Lion King" get short shrift while the lesser-known "Mulan" is the subject of a long dance sequence and narration.

All in all, the latest, lavish "Disney on Ice" production delivers on its promise of magic.

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