terry charles | behind the stage | march 2017
Were you one of the many people who came to the Resch Center last month for the biggest show of the season? If you have a child in the age range of 2 – 12 years old there's a good chance you either came to “Disney On Ice presents Passport to Adventure" or you at least thought about it. Disney On Ice comes every year in early to mid-February and every year it is arguably the biggest live entertainment spectacular to come to Northeastern Wisconsin, not including sporting events.
The magic of Disney and Disney On Ice typically draws 35,000 – 40,000 people to the Resch Center during a five-day, eight-performance engagement. Fans come as far away as Wausau to the west, Sheboygan to the south and upper Michigan to the north. The economic impact for the Green Bay area is probably overlooked, but I can tell you stores, restaurants and other shops that I've talked to recently saw a large influx of customers they hadn't seen before, during the five days the ice show was here.
Other than the crowds it attracts, the show itself is very large and travels with probably 60-70 people. Those skaters and crewmembers occupy a hotel for six nights because they usually arrive on a Sunday night or Monday from Milwaukee, which is typically the tour stop right before the Resch Center. The traveling ice tour is also looking for things to do, stores to shop at and gyms to work out at during their stay. We also employee hundreds of part-time workers that need to fill many shifts during the ice show run. All of those things combined have a great impact on the local economy.
Now a bit of background on Disney On Ice. Most people think it is Disney that is here putting on the ice show. Actually, a company called Feld Entertainment produces the show. Feld is the same company that owns and produces Monster Jam, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus and Marvel Universe Live. No other company produces more live shows around the world than Feld does.
Feld, however, does not own Disney On Ice. It pays a license fee to Disney for the rights to use the Disney characters. Feld makes the storylines fit the ice rink with the approval of Disney. In fact, just about everything Feld does with the ice shows must meet the approval of Disney. As you can imagine, Mickey Mouse and all of the other successful Disney characters make up a brand that is very valuable and must be protected.
Disney is very strict on how and when its characters are used. This year, Feld also introduced a new dress code policy for all of its shows. In essence, it says customers who are 14 years of age or older may not wear a full costume to the show. Again, it's all about protecting the brand.
The next time you see the Disney On Ice trucks roll into town, and there are many of them, just know that they are part of a well-oiled machine. Many cogs have to turn to move the tour from city to city and country to country. Several members of its cast or crew are from foreign countries. That means someone at corporate has to be on top of work VISAs and things like that. Every facet of show promotion and planned media coverage is gone over with a fine-tooth comb to make sure it meets the Disney guidelines. Make no mistake about it, Mickey and his friends are MVPs and they always mean big business for the Resch Center and the Green Bay area economy!
Terry Charles is public relations manager for Green Bay-based PMI Entertainment Group. He's all about media relations, publicity and social media for the Resch Center Complex, Meyer Theatre, Green Bay Gamblers Hockey and other events produced by PMI. When not at work, please don't hit him with your car as he runs and bikes around the Green Bay area. You can follow him on Twitter at @TCCharles.