Is Cirque du Soleil & Disney Drawn To Life Struggling?

Sat at the very end of the West Side in Disney Springs, the white Cirque du Soleil tent-inspired building is a recognized landmark of the Disney Springs skyline. Its location offers Guests the opportunity to experience the world-famous Cirque du Soleil shows, right in the heart of Lake Buena Vista. Guests of Walt Disney World may choose to book tickets in advance of their Disney vacation or make last-minute plans when exploring Disney Springs.


Credit: Disney Tips

The new show certainly provides Guests with the chance to avoid the hot, humid evenings that Orlando can be known for. Its ideal location also offers the perfect opportunity for an evening away from the Disney Parks. Surrounded by incredible restaurants and retail stores, Guests are guaranteed a wonderful time.

La Nouba

La Nouba was the first show to take residence, and ran for almost 20 years, opening in December 1998, and shown for the final time on New Year’s Eve in 2017. Named after the French phrase ‘faire la nouba’, which means ‘to party, to live it up,’ the show told the story of two different cultures: the Cirques, who were identified by bright, fluorescent colors; and the Urbains, who wore dark, muted colors.


Credit: Cirque Du Soleil

The story followed a cleaning lady who aimed to woo a frog, believed to be a prince in disguise. She eventually managed to capture the frog and kissed him, to reveal a prince, leaving the show with a head full of dreams, and a happy ending.

The show wowed Guests with favorite acts, including:

  • Diabolos – four young Chinese performers demonstrated their incredible skills of juggling and tossing a wooden spool on a string whilst performing flips and tricks.
  • Cycles – an artist on a BMX and another on a mountain bike took part in a dance-off style performance, demonstrating their skills on two wheels.
  • Flying Trapeze – a team of synchronized aerialists swung in tandem and switched places on four pendulum-like swings, 53 feet above the stage.
  • Power Track – acrobats tumbled and flipped their way along a trampoline, dodging in and out of a building at one end.

Credit: Medium

Drawn to Life

The first collaboration between Walt Disney Imagineering, Walt Disney Animation Studios, and Cirque du Soleil, Drawn to Life opened on November 18, 2021, to coincide with the Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary. This followed a delay in the show’s opening due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is the second show to reside in the Cirque du Soleil theatre located in West Side, Disney Springs.

drawn to life

Credit: Disney

Written and directed by Michel Laprise, with Disney animation director Eric Goldberg as Artistic Director, Drawn to Life has a different story to that of La Nouba. It follows Julie, who is courageous and determined but has unfortunately lost her father. She discovers an unexpected gift from him, in the form of an unfinished animation piece. She embarks on a quest that is sprinkled with her Disney childhood memories, being guided by a surprising pencil. As the story progresses, she learns to imagine new possibilities and animate her future. 

It’s an entirely new experience offered to Guests that combines the incredible skills and talent of Cirque du Soleil performers with timeless Disney stories. This Cirque du Soleil show is a celebration of Disney animation and acrobatic performances to an original score, inspired by timeless Disney music. Tickets are currently available to book for Drawn to Life, with performances available on Tuesdays through Saturdays. Two performances are offered each day: an earlier showing at 5:30 p.m.; and a later showing at 8:00 p.m.

Not as successful as first anticipated?

General reviews of Cirque du Soleil Drawn to Life are mixed: Some Guests love it; whilst others feel that it doesn’t live up to its predecessor. The show’s TripAdvisor rating is a 3-dot, which reflects the mixed reviews that the Disney show has received. But there’s something else that indicates that the show is not as much of a hit with Walt Disney World Resort Guests.

As of May 26, Guests from the United Kingdom can take advantage of ‘The Magic Is Yours’ offer for 2023 Disney vacations. In addition to this package offering Guests discounted Disney theme park tickets, free Memory Maker, and dining and merchandise credits, each booking will also receive two free tickets to Drawn to Life. 


Credit: Disney

Whilst it’s unclear what level of tickets Guests will receive when booking their Disney vacation during the offer period, Guests could save up to $370 by receiving the free tickets. Of course, the offer appears to be carefully planned, as tickets are limited to two per booking. While this will work perfectly for parties of two, any Guests traveling with more than two people in their party, will have to purchase additional tickets to accommodate everyone.


Disney’s “Drawn to Life” (Credit: Disney)

Animated Evening Dining Package

The vacation package available to UK Guests also follows another strategy that the Walt Disney Company has employed to encourage Guests of the Walt Disney World Resort to attend Cirque du Soleil & Disney’s Drawn to Life show.

In April of this year, Disney announced the arrival of an ‘Animated Evening’ to Disney Springs. Guests with tickets to Drawn to Life are given the opportunity to dine in one of 13 restaurants at Disney Springs. For $45 per person, Guests can enjoy a prix-fixe menu in restaurants such as Enzo’s Hideaway; Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant; Splitsville Luxury Lanes; and House of Blues Restaurant & Bar. Guests taking advantage of this deal must make their advance dining reservation at least two and a half hours before or two hours after their ticketed showtime. 

Each of the 13 Disney restaurants taking part in the Animated Evening Dining Package offers Guests an appetizer, entree, and dessert, in addition to a cocktail or non-alcoholic beverage of their choice.


Credit: Disney

What are your thoughts on Drawn to Life? Did you love it? Or are you yet to see the show? Like with any Disney experience, it’s likely that it’s a must-see at least once, but whether you return for a second helping is a personal choice. One thing is for sure though – the offer of receiving two free tickets to see the show is likely to help entice a fair few British Guests into booking their next trip to Walt Disney World in 2023.

About Victoria Mills

Victoria is a Disney-loving, tea-drinking, Math teacher from Liverpool, England. Her motto is 'work hard, Disney harder'! Having taken part in the Disney College Program back in 2010, Victoria's love and appreciation for Walt Disney World only grew, and it's the place where she feels most herself - it's home!