Disney casts its spell | Ken Longworth

WISH GRANTED: Australian Nicholas Fernandez, once an ensemble cast member, is now leading man Aladdin, alongside Princess Jasmine.
WISH GRANTED: Australian Nicholas Fernandez, once an ensemble cast member, is now leading man Aladdin, alongside Princess Jasmine.

THE skating spectacular Disney on Ice: 100 Years of Magic celebrates the achievements of Walt Disney, who began putting together attention-grabbing cartoon images in 1912, when he was just 11.

Within a few years, he was working in the film industry and established his own film studio, making short animated films.

His subsequent introduction of the popular character Mickey Mouse in 1928 led him to produce feature films, beginning with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937.

The Disney company has now produced 56 animated feature films, with two more soon to be released.

Disney on Ice: 100 Years of Magic, which has been touring the world since 2012, includes story elements from 14 of the films, with 55 of their characters and more than 30 of the songs.

It is now moving around Australia, with eight performances scheduled for Newcastle Entertainment Centre from July 13 to 15.

The cast includes a renowned Australian skater, Nicholas Fernandez. Fernandez, who began ice skating at age seven, represented Australia in several international competitions through to 2012.

In that year, he put together a YouTube video which showed his skating skills and sent it to Feld Entertainment, the company that produces the Disney on Ice shows. That led to him becoming an ensemble member of Disney on Ice: 100 Years of Magic. At the end of his first year he took on the role of Aladdin, one of the show’s main characters.

Aladdin is seen frequently, including interacting with a team of blue genies and their officious leader. And he gets to be alongside the story’s Princess Jasmine when most of the Disney princesses parade around the arena, accompanied by the princes they have captivated.

Fernandez notes that Aladdin and Jasmine, in a segment from the film Aladdin, do side-by-side jumps and spins, and he lifts her at one point. And his interactions with the genie leader have him doing triple jumps, a jump over the genie who’s gliding low across and ice, and a cartwheel with him.

Other Disney animated films with episodes in 100 Years of Magic include Pinocchio, Beauty and the Beast, Finding Nemo, Mulan, Tangled and The Lion King, with Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy helping the action to move brightly along. Among the background songs are When You Wish Upon a Star, It’s a Small World, Hakuna Matata, Beyond the Sea and Let It Go.    

The Newcastle Entertainment Centre shows are at 3pm and 7pm on July 13, and 10am, 1.30pm and 5.30pm on July 14 and 15. Ticket prices are $32 to $96. Bookings: 4921 2112 or Ticketek.