The last thing you might expect to find at Walt Disney World is a little bit of Las Vegas, but these two seemingly opposites come together on one tiny corner of Orlando. Now, before you get too excited, I'm not talking about slot machines or giant billboards of scantily clad burlesque dancers, although some would argue that's exactly the kind of excitement Disney really needs. What you will find, however, is the high flying show La Nouba at Downtown Disney from none other than Cirque du Soleil.
After a few years of not-so-subtle hints from MJ, I finally decided to take her to see La Nouba while visiting Disney last weekend. Unfortunately, the discounts which are often open to Florida residents or Disney annual pass-holders were not available, but after a bit of searching I eventually found a deal on tickets to La Nouba from GetYourGuide. Which is good considering her birthday and Valentine's fall in the same week, and I'm not allowed under any circumstances to combine gifts - a rule that was established well before we were married.
Unlike the Cirque du Soleil shows in Las Vegas which are all set within mega-resorts, La Nouba takes place in a beautiful stand alone theater that resembles a circus tent with a modern twist. We arrived to the show early, hoping to find some of the giant mixed drinks we discovered at The Beatles Love at The Mirage. While they didn't serve Captain & Coke by the half-gallon, there was a full assortment of wine, beer, and cocktails available, which really came in handy when the clowns came out to entertain the crowd before the show.
I hate clowns.
La Nouba translates to The Party in French, and that's exactly what takes place on stage during the 90 minute show. Perhaps what struck me the most during the performance was the wide range of acrobatics and stunts used throughout the presentation. One minute there's a guy flying through the air on a silk curtain, and the next a team of BMX bikers are on stage performing tricks straight out of the X-Games. In true Cirque du Soleil fashion, however, it all comes together flawlessly and leads to many jaw dropping moments.
|That's one brave clown.|
Credit - Cirque du Soleil
Hands down the highlight of the show takes place about midway through, when four little girls - who look no older than 12 years old - put on an unbelievable routine with diabolos. How they manage to toss and juggle these spindle shaped blocks without dropping a single one is nothing short of amazing, and it was no surprise that their curtain call earned the loudest applause at the end of the night.
|They deserve their own show....|
Credit - Cirque du Soleil
A word on seats... Our tickets were in Category 2, which is the middle level of seating at La Nouba. While it's easy to assume that Category 1 - which are front and center - are the best seats in the house, I was actually glad we were located a little higher up. There is so much happening during the show at once that it is virtually impossible to see it all, especially if you aren't high enough to have a full panorama of the stage. My suggestion is to book the lesser expensive Category 2 seats and use the savings for some post-show dessert over at Wolfgang Puck's.
What the performers for Cirque du Soleil do on a daily basis borders on the superhuman, although that may not mean as much coming from a guy that is prone to running into doors. Not that I ever had a doubt, but the experience at La Nouba proved to be worth every penny, and is easily the best nightlife attraction to be found at Walt Disney World. It just goes to show you that a little bit of Vegas can make the best of things even better.
If you go...
- Stop by Gloria Estefan's Bongos Cuban Cafe for Palomilla Steak & Sangria.
- Leave the kids home unless you want a really expensive night.
- There is no intermission so regulate your beverage intake accordingly.
Special thanks to GetYourGuide for providing our tickets to Cirque du Soleil. As always, all opinions and pontifications are my own.