If you and your little ones have been to "Disney On Ice" so many times that the news of the show coming to town inspires collective family yawns, it might be worth your while to take a closer look at the latest installment.
"Rockin’ Ever After" skates into South Florida – Friday through Sunday at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, and Wednesday through March 30 at downtown Miami’s AmericanAirlines Arena - with an all-new live production and a tighter focus. This time around, only four Disney favorites will be presented: "The Little Mermaid," "Beauty and the Beast," "Tangled" and "Brave," featuring the on-ice debut of the feisty, sharp-shooting Princess Merida.
The show, described as a "rockin’ remix of royalty," features the lovable "Little Mermaid" characters Sebastian the crab and Ariel making waves; a group of Scottish royal contenders vying for the hand of Merida; the harmless hooligans from "Tangled" creating musical mayhem with Rapunzel and Flynn; and Belle, the Beast and his enchanted entourage taking center stage.
"It’s a "Disney On Ice" show that’s a more hip and young, upbeat experience on four Disney classics," says Jessica Koller, 24, who has been part of the ensemble cast for six years.
And like much of the cast, she’s been a fan since childhood.
"I was definitely a Disney girl growing up," she says. "I think I went to the Disney theme park at least once a year, and I had my little autograph book, and my princess dress-up clothes. I was obsessed with the Little Mermaid. It came out the year I was born, so I kind of grew up watching that and "Beauty and the Beast," and I think I know all the songs from those equally."
Koller experienced – and is still experiencing - her own fairy-tale romance on the job, as she’s engaged to fellow skater Dan Jones, 28, who has been with the company for 10 years.
"I met her in Glasgow – we opened "Finding Nemo" in Scotland," he says. "She joined the tour with us there, and we pretty much hung out and have been together ever since."
Jones was also a Disney fan growing up.
"It was always more of a family thing, so even though I was older at the time, I really liked all the shows that came out," he says. "My favorite character was probably the Beast in "Beauty and the Beast" – he’s big and scary, and I guess he’s the most relatable character."
Jones says life is easier on the road now that he and Koller are a couple.
"It’s just transitioned so well, and it’s great to have someone with you on tour," he says. "Traveling is the best thing, because we’re only allowed to have two bags, and if we have communal stuff, I’ll take one thing and she’ll take another thing, which allows us to have a better variety of appliances on tour."