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Disney on Ice to generate cool reception with ‘Mickey’s Search Party’

By Kari Kenner herald Correspondent - | Mar 3, 2020
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Elsa from "Frozen" appears in "Disney on Ice Presents Mickey's Search Party."

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Moana is featured during a scene of "Disney on Ice Presents Mickey's Search Party." The skating production will present eight shows at Vivint Smart Home Arena from Thursday through Sunday.

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Coco appearns during a scene of "Disney on Ice Presents Mickey's Search Party." The skating production will present eight shows at Vivint Smart Home Arena from Thursday through Sunday.

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A boy rubs Aladdin's lamp during "Disney on Ice Presents Mickey's Search Party." 

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Coco skates across the ice in "Disney on Ice Presents Mickey's Search Party." The skating production will be at Vivint Smart Home Arena from Thursday through Sunday.

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A cast of characters from "Disney on Ice Presents Mickey's Search Party." The skating production will present eight shows at Vivint Smart Home Arena from Thursday through Sunday.

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Performers do an aerial routing during "Disney on Ice Presents Mickey's Search Party." The skating production will appear at Vivint Smart Home Arena from Thursday through Sunday.

Though Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City regularly serves as home to the Utah Jazz, hosting basketball games is far from the only thing the flexible venue is capable of. Other March engagements include tour stops for Post Malone, Celine Dion and JoJo Siwa, not to mention a literally icy reception set for this week as the arena freezes over and “Disney on Ice Presents Mickey’s Search Party” skates into town.

Skating along with it is Disney on Ice veteran Joel Farris of Colorado Springs, who has spent the last six years performing over 2,000 shows with the touring company, ever since graduating high school.

According to Farris, skating runs in the family, so joining up with Disney on Ice was in the cards for his future for quite awhile before it happened.

“My mother was a coach so I was pretty much already skating most of my life,” Farris said in a recent phone interview. “My grandfather skated, and everyone on my mom’s side. My sister also performs with Disney on Ice on a different show and my cousin also … so that’s two different family members in the company.”

Farris was quick to note that the travel is one of the highlights of working with the company, with Japan, England and various parts of Europe making the list for his favorite places to visit so far. Though the positives of traveling also come with the reality that only around one month a year is spent at home.

“It is challenging but also very rewarding,” Farris said. “It makes you appreciate home more.”

During his six years skating with Disney on Ice, Farris said he spent four with “Frozen,” including time playing young Kristoff before joining “Mickey’s Search Party” two years ago in a variety of ensemble roles with some character work as well.

“The show is just amazing; it has so many acrobatic elements to it and so many different things to learn involved with skating,” Farris said. “There are some amazing special effects as well.”

Those effects also include extreme skating, which Farris described as “basically like a skate park on the ice,” with ramp jumping, a teeter board and tumble tracks.

“There are so many good elements in the show, along with amazing special effects,” he said.

Part of what sets “Mickey’s Search Party” apart from other Disney on Ice features is it’s the first time that Disney and Pixar’s “Coco” has made a full performance debut.

The show features a quest with Disney’s favorite icon Mickey Mouse and his friends as they follow Captain Hook’s treasure map in search of clues that will lead them to Tinker Bell after Hook attempts to steal her magic.

The journey includes a look at the mystical Land of the Dead with Miguel in “Coco,” a trip through the frosted land of Arendelle with Elsa and Anna from “Frozen” and a daring voyage in “Moana” as she bravely faces off against the fiery Te Ka, with other Disney favorites including characters from “Beauty and the Beast,” “The Little Mermaid,” “Aladdin,” “Toy Story” and “Peter Pan” also coming to the ice to join in the search party and magical Disney celebration.

“This show is quite different from the average Disney on Ice show,” Farris said of the production. “It was specially put together with acro elements to kind of bring a brand new feeling into this show, and it is absolutely amazing.”

As to his hope for audiences who come to the Salt Lake run, Farris said he wants them to sit back and enjoy the magic.

“Just have a blast!” he said. “This show’s all about fun and that’s the way I’d describe it. In the story, Tinkerbell is being chased by the pirates and we have to get the magic through each story. It’s a fairly simple story, but it’s really, really fun and has a lot of comedy along with all the acro elements.”

Farris said guests can expect a hearty dose of all their favorite Disney characters with some solid audience interaction moving the story along.

When he’s not on the ice, Farris said he’s looking forward to his second visit to Salt Lake.

“Salt Lake’s a beautiful city,” he said. “I’ll probably go skiing at Park City again. That’s really what I remember most.”

Though life on the road can be difficult, there’s something special about the magic Disney can bring.

“It’s really exciting, really fun and tiring at times,” Farris said. “But it’s a very rewarding job at the same time. You get to entertain people and do what you love, and that’s the point of it, I think.”


What: Favorite Disney characters from shows such as “Moana” and “Coco” hit the ice in this skating spectacular.

Where: Vivint Smart Home Arena, 301 S. Temple in Salt Lake City

When: Thursday-Sunday at 7 p.m., with additional performances Saturday and Sunday at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Cost: Tickets starting at $17 with select opening night tickets priced starting at $10.

Info: vivintarena.com/events/707, disneyonice.com

Mickey’s Search Party by the numbers

3-4: The number of loads of laundry per day to keep costumes in tip-top shape.

10-12: How many hours it takes to set up the production in each city.

12: The total number of projectors used in each production, with two high-powered media playback servers.

15: The number of trucks it takes to transport the production, with four buses to transport cast, crew and staff.

Under 30: The number of seconds for the fastest costume change in the show.

36: Height in feet of the tallest point on the set.

50+: Sound effects added live to the show.

100: Speaker enclosures with 42 channels on the sound console and 200,000 watts of power for the sound system.

Over 100: The number of artisans who worked on the show’s costumes, with 2-3 fittings required for each new costume.

173: The approximate number of costumes in the show, with thousands of yards of fabric used to create them, and hundreds of thousands of Swarovski crystals set by hand into them to add color and detail.

221: The total number of lighting fixtures, with 185 movable lights, 76 light tracking packs and 14 cameras used for light tracking packs.

689: The total number of gobos, or special lighting patterns used in the show, with 13 per fixture.

1,000: The weight, in pounds of the largest prop in the show.

6,720: Feet of network cable, or 1.2 miles, used to power the show’s effects, with 75 feet of projector power cable and a mile of audio cable.

12,000: The total weight of the entire set, in pounds.

31,000: Lumens per projector. For perspective, imagine an average classroom projector having 2,000 Lumens. It would take about 186 to offer the same amount of power to transport guests into the Disney stories being presented.


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