The National Harbor is quickly becoming the holiday’s destination of choice for families these days. For several years now, their Ice! extravaganza, with ice carvings done by talented artisans from China, have drawn crowds (this year it’s A Charlie Brown Christmas theme), and of late they’ve added a Santa’s Village worthy of the name, as well as their new addition in the atrium, Cirque Dreams.
Cirque Dreams, not affiliated with Cirque Du Soleil, might not match the feats of the famous company: however, glorious costumes and multitalented performers delight with a host of circus skills. The stage in the Gaylord Atrium is small, yet a colorful and bespangled child’s bedroom is represented, and a partial flying setup is present for two airborne performers.
The show imagines what a child might dream of before Christmas: a bejeweled Pierrot and Pierrette open the show, while the toys literally come to life. It’s a short show, just a half hour, yet just the right amount of time for even the smallest of the small to enjoy themselves without getting overwhelmed.
And it’s lightening quick, too, with virtually no lag time between acts: a plus when so much more in the National Harbor is calling your name. There’s a grand juggler who starts the show: balancing on three round wheels, he tosses one-two-three- five teacups to balance on his head- along with their saucers- and a potted plant!
closes January 1, 2019
Details and tickets
He’s followed by a spectacularly muscled gentleman in blue candy cane tights, who does a combination rings act and airborne acrobatics; just seeing him fly out over the audience was a delight, and the amount of sheer strength it takes to perform some of those feats is mightily impressive.
There’s a good deal more- a funny bit with a volunteer from the audience and a snowman, a one-man trapeze act, and a lithe fellow who quite literally turns himself into knots for our amusement- but I don’t want to give too much away.
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It’s a mini circus on a mini stage, but bright and colorful and fun, and just walking around the Gaylord is enough to put you in a holiday mood.
My only real worry is this: though Cirque Dreams is free daily during its run, it’s first-come, first served, and guaranteed seats are $19.99. Any family of four could spend a pretty penny if they wish to take in all the holiday delights at the Gaylord. Once you’ve paid for parking ($23), the Ice Show featuring Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang ($17 to $32), Santa pictures (starts at $25); ice skating ($16.99 for the smallest of ice rinks), a five-minute ride aboard the Potomac Express Mini Train ($4.99), the Carousel, ($4.99), Mrs Claus’ Christmas Traditions (storytelling and milk and cookies, $12.99), the Merry Snoopy Christmas Scavenger Hunt ($9.99), and the Gingerbread Decorating Corner (kits start at $30.00).
Nevertheless, Cirque Dreams alone would make for a fine jaunt out for the little ones. Get in line early to see the show for free, feed the kids before you go, and whisk them away before they even get an inkling that there’s a Build-A-Bear factory nearby.