Cirque Shanghai Year of the Dragon

Cirque Shanghai Year of the Dragon – website

Location: Pepsi Skyline Stage at Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave, Chicago

Phone: 800-745-3000 (to purchase tickets)

Hours: The show runs May 24 – September 3.
Sunday 2:00pm, 4:00pm
Wednesday 2:00pm, 6:00pm, 8:00pm
Thursday 2:00pm, 8:00pm
Friday 2:00pm, 7:00pm, 9:00pm
Saturday 2:00pm, 6:00pm, 8:00pm

Additional shows:
Sunday, May 27 at 8 pm
Monday, May 28 at 2 pm and 4 pm
Tuesday, July 3 at 2 pm, 6 pm and 8 pm
Sunday, September 2 at 8 pm
Monday, September 3 at 2 pm and 4 pm

The show is approximately 75 minutes long. Navy Pier has fireworks on Wednesday nights at 9:30 pm and Saturday nights at 10:15 pm.

Admission:  $15.50-$29.50
There are fees & taxes on each ticket, ranging from $8.26 to $10.68 making tickets $34.44-$40.18.

Parking: Navy Pier has a large attached parking garage. Parking is a flat fee: $21 Monday-Thursday & $25 Friday-Sunday.

Bathrooms: There are large public bathrooms with changing tables. The sinks were difficult for Cooper to reach.

Nursing: There is no designated nursing area.

Handicapped/stroller accessibility: Navy Pier is handicapped and stroller accessible. I would probably not bring a stroller to the show; there are lots of stairs.

Food: There is a food counter offering popcorn, pretzels, and other foods and snacks, and beverages, including pop, juice, water, alcohol, and coffee. I thought the prices were pretty reasonablea little high, but not more than I would expect at a show like this. They offered fresh fruit ($1 each).

We paid: We visited on a Wednesday night. I received 4 complementary tickets and parking, but the normal cost (2 adults, 2 kids) would have been $127.88 with Ticketmaster fees, plus $21 for parking. (We had the good seats; Dexter is actually young enough that he would be free, but then he’d have to sit on our lap without his own seat.) We also purchased a coffee and fruit for about $5.

Our experience:

We arrived at the show a bit early and they weren’t seating people yet. The Pepsi Skyline Stage area has a large outdoor patio with seating and a food counter, so we ordered a coffee and two bananas before the show and sat at a table. Cooper was very anxious to get to our seats; I think he was afraid the show was going to start without us, but we had to keep explaining to him that they weren’t even letting people sit yet.

The Pepsi Skyline Stage is a canopied, open-air theater. It was unseasonably cold on the night we went, but we were dressed for the weather and the sides of the tent blocked the wind.

The show started with performers running through the aisles to the stage with a giant dragon so they had the boys’ attention right away. The show is about 75 minutes long with no intermission and it did a very good job of keeping our attention. They move from one amazing performance to another. Cooper was a little nervous during the Group Chair Stack and for good reason – I couldn’t believe how high the stack of chairs was; the girls were attached to safety wires, but never slipped at all from what I could see.

I laughed when I saw the Slack Wire performance on the program list because I know it’s become trendy since the Super Bowl half-time show, but it was really very impressive and I enjoyed it a lot.

About 20 minutes into the show Dexter decided he could perform like the people on stage and said, “Daddy, I can do that!” and started flipping around into different poses in (& out of) his seat, but we were able to settle him down (mostly) to watch the show, but he was very inspired.

The performances really were amazing and I found myself asking the same three questions I had during the show last year: What are they going to do now? How did they come up with this idea? and Am I about to watch someone die? It was very entertaining and the boys, John, and I all really enjoyed it.

We were lucky to be at a Wednesday night performance and when the show ended we took the kids to the bathroom and as we were leaving the Navy Pier fireworks were starting. Although we couldn’t see them from the Pepsi Skyline Stage area, we stepped just outside of the entrance to it and had a great view. As we went to the car afterwards and changed the kids into pajamas Cooper couldn’t stop talking about how great the show was and how pretty the fireworks were, and he even said it was his favorite summer day.

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