Professional skater Chad Westgate, a two-time top-10 finisher in Canadian Nationals, is an ice expert.
He's been skating with Disney On Ice for nearly 10 years, often as the role of Prince Charming, and now considers the performance arenas where he is in the spotlight as his "home away from home."
"Many of the places where our tour performs are the same arenas in these cities used by the National Hockey League, so the ice is perfect," said Westgate, who hails from Toronto and is excited about his visit to Chicago this month.
"This week's arrival in Chicago marks the third time I've been to the Windy City with Disney on Ice and I know the ice stage arenas are fantastic.
Westgate, in his guise as Prince Charming, is one of the stars of "Let's Celebrate!," which showcases favorite Disney characters in a salute to the holidays everyone of every age looks forward to each year.
The show opened Wednesday and continues through Sunday at Allstate Arena in Rosemont and then continues Jan. 29 until Feb. 9 at Chicago's United Center.
This icy entertainment offering clocks in at just under two hours and is billed as "one colossal party on ice, with all your favorite Disney friends."
Mickey Mouse and his friends, like Westgate's Prince Charming, the smiling fellow who found the glass slipper of Cinderalla, star in fantastic skating routines to pay tribute to "a winter wonderland, a Halloween haunt and other magical medley of holidays, celebrations and festivals from around the globe."
Westgate said favorite Disney songs, an original storyline, brilliant costumes and high energy action help audiences celebrating some of the world's most popular events without ever leaving Chicago. The whirlwind tour includes stops in Brazil for a Carnival parade, Hawaii for a luau with Lilo and Stitch, and Japan for the Sakura cherry blossom festival, along with invitations to a frightfully festive Halloween party with Jack Skellington and his Disney Villain friends, and a lavish Valentine’s Day Ball with the Disney Princesses.
"Disney On Ice presents Let's Celebrate! gives families a reason to celebrate no matter what time of year it is," Producer Kenneth Feld said.
"This uplifting and unforgettable spectacle showcases different celebrations around the globe, and families will walk away remembering to celebrate the everyday joys and successes in their lives."
From twisting and fire-twirling Hawaiian luau dancers to the zombie-like movements of the ghoulish groupies in the Halloween segment, choreographer Cindy Stuart brings high-energy and a unique style to each performance number.
Audiences get a taste of New Orleans in a Mardi Gras performance that is packed with upbeat jazz-influenced choreography and music. In the Valentine's Day segment, seven extraordinary pairs of Disney Princesses and Princes skate to contemporary remixes of classic songs from each princess’ story and then come together for a large number to "That's How You Know" from Walt Disney Pictures "Enchanted." In a Very Merry UnBirthday Party, a fast-paced skating frenzy ensues as the characters toss around the Mad Hatter's hat. Then a uniquely choreographed precision skating number follows with Sorcerer Mickey bringing 15 skaters in broom costumes to life and sweeping across the ice in a synchronized formation.
"Audiences are going to love this colossal celebration," Producer Nicole Feld said.
"We take the most exciting holidays and special events and pack them into one monumental show. You can travel the world in style and experience all the fun and excitement with your favorite Disney characters."
As for how Westage captures the royal identity of his Prince Charming, he said "lots of smiling" is important.
"It's amazing what a smile can do not only for yourself, but for others too," he said.
Tickets for Chicago-area performances of "Disney On Ice presents Let's Celebrate!" are available at the Allstate Arena and United Center box offices, all Ticketmaster locations, on the web at ticketmaster.com, and by phone at (800) 745-3000. All seats, excluding VIP and Front Row, are $12. Parking for all performances of Disney On Ice are free.