- 6920 Mannheim Road
- Rosemont, IL 60018
- (847) 635-6601
Like most girls her age, L is obsessed with Frozen. We’re not really sure how or when it happened. We watched the movie a few times and we didn’t think she was paying attention but she soaked in everything and over time, the whole Disney Princess thing became a reality in our house.
Last year, my parents really wanted to take L to see Disney on Ice at the Van Andel Arena. L didn’t really know anything about Disney at that point, but we went and she enjoyed the show. A few month ago, we found out Disney was putting together a Frozen on Ice show and the weekend it was in Chicago, was also the weekend of L’s 3rd birthday.
It didn’t take long for us to rally the grandparents and scoop up tickets to the Friday night performance. Instead of a birthday party this year, we just did Frozen on Ice and I think L had more fun with that than she would have with a party.
The show ran two weekends in Chicago. One at the United Center downtown and one at the Allstate Arena. Unfortunately, the weekend we could go was the weekend it was at the Allstate Arena.
The Allstate Arena is northwest of Chicago near O’Hare Airport in the suburb of Rosemont. The venue sits right off the Jane Adams Memorial Tollway (I-90) just to the west of where I-90 and I-294 meet. In theory, this should make it an easy venue to get to….in theory.
We left a little over an hour before we really needed to and damn good thing we did. Our friends at IDOT caused a huge mess just pass Toll Plaza 17. My father-in-law was driving L, J, and her mom while I was in another car with my parents and my aunt. We both have IPasses, but we ended up taking different routes. The exit we needed to get off on is only a 1/2 mile from the toll plaza. Traffic was at a standstill so instead of having to jump five lanes after getting through the iPass lanes, I headed in to the cash lanes which has an IPass lane. BAAAAAAAD move. My father-in-law was stuck in about 40 minutes of traffic (again to go a HALF MILE) while I was pushing an hour. IDOT had closed down a lane for future construction. Cars were just ignoring that, driving on the wrong side of the barrels plus using the shoulder. When they came to a sign that was blocking the road, they’d have to merge in to the lanes that were officially open then they’d jump back out and do the whole thing over again. The show started at 7:00. We pulled in at 6:50.
OK, so that’s not really the arenas fault. I agree, but their parking lot is. It sucks. I can’t even tell you how much it sucks. We used to go to WWF/E events at the Allstate Arena when I was in college. They would purposely parking us 3 or 4 cars deep. If you were in the middle, you were stuck. Luckily, they didn’t have to do that with this show since they only used half the arena. That didn’t help exiting the lot after the show though. It took us at least another hour just to get back on the highway. There is no rhyme or reason to exiting…just push your way through and be the biggest asshole you can possibly be.
My father-in-law waited for us near the north gate gate because he had the tickets. L, J, and my Mother-in-Law went in to find our seats. We rushed up to the gate and got through pretty quickly. The bag searches and ticket scans were moving at a pretty fast pace trying to get people in before the show started.
We entered on the north side, but it turned out our seats were on the south side, so we had to go all the way around the concourse…and they shut the short route down because it would have went backstage, so we had to take the long way around the arena to get to our seats.
The concourse area is actually pretty nice. It’s wide enough to move a lot of traffic and concession stands are kind of tucked out of the way. There were a lot of pop-up stands selling the Disney merchandise near the entries to the seating area, but even those didn’t cause too much of a problem with pre-show traffic flow.
Our seats were in the upper level of the arena, so once we got to the right section, we had to climb a couple flights of stairs to get up to where we needed to be. You go down to your seats from the entry way instead of up, so we had to walk back down the stairs to our seats in the second row where J, L, and MIL were already waiting for us.
On their way to the seats, L conned Momma and Nonna into a shaved ice and a bag of cotton candy. We knew going in we were probably going to end up with at least that. Between the two items, which also came with collectors items (the cup for the ice and a foam tiara from the cotton candy), they spent close to $30. At intermission, I headed back down and fought the crowd to get her a light princess wand which set me back another $30.
Like I remembered, the seats are small. I’m not a huge guy..I am a big guy though, and between my dad and father-in-law didn’t leave me much room. I gave up my armrests, but then my mother-in-law looked down and wondered why I looked so angry. I wasn’t angry. I just had nowhere to put my arms so I crossed them.
Even with all the negatives I’ve written about so far, the night was actually really great. L loved the show. She took turns sitting on grandma and grandpa’s laps and just stared at the skaters on the ice. The show is pretty much the movie. They shorten some sequences that would be too hard to pull off on an ice show, but if you’ve seen the movie, you know what’s going on. I watched most of it, but really, for the most part, I just watched my daughter watch it and her face light up every time Anna or Elsa came out.
If you haven’t guessed, Allstate Arena is not one of my favorite venues, but you know what, it doesn’t matter. They get the shows and it doesn’t matter how many times I’ve been angered by the getting in and getting out process, I still go back. Why? Because they get the shows. Will I got back? Of course I will because, again, it’s not the venue that matters, it’s what’s inside that venue and as long as performers are happy, they’re going keep booking there.