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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014

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Taylor Blair (far right) is a Madison native and has been touring with "Disney on Ice" for two years.
Taylor Blair (far right) is a Madison native and has been touring with "Disney on Ice" for two years.

Wisconsin native makes homecoming with "Disney on Ice"

Most kids’ post-high school plans involve a summer job working in fast food, followed by a freshman year of late nights and dorm life.

Madison native Taylor Blair, now 19, took a slightly different route. His post-graduation life also involves plenty of working, late nights and cramped living space, but not in the way you would think. An accomplished ice-skater since the age of seven, Blair auditioned for Feld Entertainment’s Disney on Ice right out of high school, and he’s spent the last two years touring the world one rink at a time as Buzz Lightyear in the popular family show.

"We travel all around the U.S.," he told OnMilwaukee.com. "The last two years have been a domestic tour, but this summer we went to South America, Brazil, Argentina and Chile. I love the travel.

"We mostly take buses (to performances) but sometimes we fly. Life on the road poses some unique challenges – living out of two suitcases for a whole year. We live in hotels, so you kind of miss things from home."

"Disney on Ice: 100 Years of Magic" comes to the U.S. Cellular Arena Thursday for a four-day Milwaukee stint, allowing Blair’s family some rare face time.

"They love the show," he said. "They’ve seen it, like, 15 times. They like to come whenever I’m nearby, but that doesn’t happen that often. They’re just happy that I get to do what I love and make money while doing it."

Playing Buzz Lightyear means some tricky footwork and an interesting costume.

"I have this big jet pack on – at first it was a little challenging, but you get used to it. The costumes are really cool," he said. "In the ‘Small World’ segment where we have people representing countries, there are little mirrors hand-sewn onto the costumes – over 50,000."

The "100 Years of Magic" production is the largest of all the touring Disney on Ice shows and features 47 skaters performing numbers from throughout the franchise’s history.

"It’s a great show," said Blair. "It’s a variety show. It just has so many characters, so many different stories, from back in the day – Pinocchio and Snow White – all the way up through Disney Pixar, ‘Toy Story,’ ‘The Incredibles.’ It appeals to all ages, boys, girls - everyone will love it. It’s a really good show."

"Disney on Ice: 100 Years of Magic" runs through Sunday, Feb. 17 at the U.S. Cellular Arena. For more information, visit uscellulararena.org.

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