The Cirque Du Soleil show La Nouba has been at Downtown Disney for 15 years now. It marked its anniversary this month with a special appearance by some Disney friends, as you can see in the video accompanying this article. The video will also give you a flavor of what to expect if you go to the show.
La Nouba is housed in its very own custom-built theater, styled to resemble a circus tent, on the west side of Downtown Disney. Having been there for a decade and a half, is it worth seeing the show if you've never experienced it before? Is it worth going back if you saw it a few years ago? The answer to both questions is a resounding yes!
In honor of the anniversary, I had the chance to see La Nouba for myself. I'd seen it twice before but hadn't been back for several years, so I was anxious to update my opinion. I've always been a Cirque du Soleil fan and have seen several of the touring shows, in addition to La Nouba. Could the show hold my attention and, more importantly, would the 90 minute performance keep the attention of its audience, which generally includes lots of kids since this is, after all, Walt Disney World?
I arrived at the theater early to be sure I'd see the pre-show, which involved clowns stacking colorful boxes. Another good reason to aim for an early arrival is that if you get there late, you'll probably have to wait to be seated. There's always a chance you'll have trouble finding a parking spot, or your bus will be delayed. Many parts of the show use the aisles, so if you arrive after show time, you'll be held in the lobby until a part when the aisles are clear and you can safely get to your seat.
La Nouba brings together a variety of circus acts, like high wire walkers, trapeze artists, and acrobats, along with a high energy score performed by a live singer and band. Live music is always a big draw for me as it's getting so rare these days.
There's a high level of detail that goes into the staging, and often there's so much going on that you'll miss a little side act when you're looking at the main performers. That's the big reason I recommend seeing it again, even if you've been there in the past. Depending on where you look during each act, you'll see a different show every time.
Other acts include the diablos (spools flung around and caught on strings), juggling, a balancing act, trampoline performers, and daredevils on bikes, During the bike act, it was just as much fun watching the first few rows of the audience as it was the performers. The bikes got so close, and stopped so suddenly, that the people sitting up front seemed convinced they'd soon have a bike int their laps!
Even though the show is 90 minutes long, without an intermission, everyone in the audience was rapt with attention. Kids loves the constant motion and color, and adults were amazed at the feats of skill and daring. It was over before I knew it!
It's hard to pick my favorite act because I enjoyed each and every one. I always love the diablos, but I'm also a sucker for traditional circus acts like the high wire and trapezes, and the acrobats and cyclists had me entranced too. Basically I can't pick because it's like comparing apples to oranges. The acts are very different, and each has its own charms.
You can buy tickets at the box office, but I recommend purchasing them in advance to be sure they're available for your date of choice. You can get to Downtown Disney from any of the resort's hotels, or simply drive over if you're a local. Parking is free, although it gets a bit messy with the Downtown Disney construction, so if you've driving, I recommend seeing the earliest show. The crowd grows as the evening wears on.
Jump to this article for a peek inside the La Nouba gift shop.