Most kidsâ€™ 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 Entertainmentâ€™s Disney on Ice right out of high school, and heâ€™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 â€“ 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 Blairâ€™s family some rare face time.
"They love the show," he said. "Theyâ€™ve seen it, like, 15 times. They like to come whenever Iâ€™m nearby, but that doesnâ€™t happen that often. Theyâ€™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 â€“ at first it was a little challenging, but you get used to it. The costumes are really cool," he said. "In the â€˜Small Worldâ€™ segment where we have people representing countries, there are little mirrors hand-sewn onto the costumes â€“ 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 franchiseâ€™s history.
"Itâ€™s a great show," said Blair. "Itâ€™s a variety show. It just has so many characters, so many different stories, from back in the day â€“ Pinocchio and Snow White â€“ all the way up through Disney Pixar, â€˜Toy Story,â€™ â€˜The Incredibles.â€™ It appeals to all ages, boys, girls - everyone will love it. Itâ€™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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