It’s Disney On Ice time again, with shows this weekend at Tampa’s Amalie Arena Thursday through Sunday, an annual event for my kids and me. Put on by Palmetto's Feld Entertainment, the show is a two-hour long skating and musical extravaganza, one of the most famous and popular ice shows on earth, running for nearly four decades. Last year, I took my two kids and two of their friends for that year’s themed Frozen show. I had to sing “Let It Go!” at the top of my lungs with my daughter and 15,000 other little girls as we accompanied a skating version of Elsa. This year’s theme is “100 Years of Disney Magic.”
One of the featured skaters this year is Florida’s own Marina McCourt, a Russian-born Apollo Beach native who plays Belle from Beauty and the Beast and other characters. The production will showcase more than 50 Disney icons, from Mickey and Minnie to most of the well-known princesses. More than 30 Disney songs will be performed, including “You’ve Got A Friend in Me” and “Hakuna Matata.” Due to raising kids, I know the words to all of them.
I’ve been a big Feld Entertainment fan ever since I went to my first Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus as a kid. Now that the elephants have been retired to Feld’s 200-acre Center for Elephant Conservation ranch near Polk City, I feel even better about supporting this family-friendly outdoor entertainment giant. In its travels this year, Feld’s various productions--including Ringling Bros., Monster Jam’s monster truck events, the Marvel Universe LIVE! superhero show and Disney On Ice--logged 21,927,380 miles all over the world. For perspective, it only takes 239,000 miles to get to the moon.
Feld Entertainment is based right here in Manatee County and my kids go to school with the children of Feld employees, many of whom are new arrivals to our area as Feld has recently consolidated its operations from Virginia and elsewhere. Kenneth Feld has made Sarasota his home and he’s recently turned the reins of the company over to his youngest daughter, Juliette, who also lives here. The Felds are important sponsors of many nonprofits in our area and have continued a nearly century-long tradition of the circus and outdoor entertainment events being based in Sarasota since the time of the original Ringlings.
If you're interested in attending, coupons for Disney On Ice can be found on packages of Stonyfield yogurt. I love the show and enjoy the outing that it is with my kids. Again, this year I’ll find it really ironic that Amalie Arena will be decked out for the NHL playoffs, with the Lightning in contention for the Stanley Cup. Busy with kids, there’s no way I could make it to a playoff game. But I will be in Amalie at playoff-time nonetheless, except I’ll be singing songs with my kids, rewarding them for another well-done year at school. If you are a dad and I see you there singing “Tale As Old As Time,” I won’t tell anyone, I promise. We can keep that between you and me, our little secret that we like singing Disney songs as much as our kids do.