Janelle Cogley, 26, is a master of disguise. She works nine months out of the year traveling across the world--from the U.S. to El Salvador, Malaysia, Czech Republic, Portugal, Venezuela, Singapore, Australia, you name it--dressed sometimes as a pirate, other times as a sea creature or a genetically modified critter. The entire time, she is on ice skates and accompanied by such VIPs as Arielle, Peter Pan, Simba, and Mr. and Ms. Mouse.
Cogley is a performer in the ensemble theater for Disney on Ice: Mickey & Minnie's Magical Journey, the international show that is headed to Louisville's KFC Yum! Center September 14-18. The show opens in Chicago and has several U.S. stops, then tours the globe spreading the magic of Disney.
"The best part about this job is the traveling. I've seen the whole world--Asia, South America, Canada, and all over the states. We travel like a big family by busses or planes 8-9 months a year. I love seeing people's faces and bringing joy while performing. I've skated my whole life and love performing," Cogley said about her career with Disney on Ice. "Not everyone can say they get dressed up like a different character in full costume and travel the globe for a living--it's always interesting."
Skating for Disney on Ice is a family affair as Cogley's two brothers before her also worked for the show. The family grew up in Erie, Pennsylvania where ice skating is fairly common and she began ice skating at the age of 7. Cogley has received a Senior Gold in Freestyle and Moves and has worked for the show since 2004 playing such roles as Arielle's sister in The Little Mermaid, a pirate in Peter Pan, and an animonster in Lilo and Stich.
"I grew up watching Disney movies and visited Disney World, now I'm part of it. The show is great--there truly is something for everyone in the show. Boys will love the giant, real-life pirate ship in the Peter Pan section--expect a lot of excitement and crazy pirates. The girls will love--and my favorite part--is The Little Mermaid section. It has lots of beautiful costumes; bubbles come from the ceiling. That was my favorite story as a child and bringing it to life is cool," Cogley said.
Wait a minute, bubbles come from the ceiling?
"We'll call that Disney magic…" Cogley said.
Cogley practices countless hours, working hard to keep her body warm and agile, and sometimes performs up to three, 105 minute shows each day taking a couple days off in-between to recover. She says it is all worth it though.
"The show is great. Bring your family and friends--everyone will enjoy it. It is exciting and beautiful. I've seen people's faces all over the world, all different ages, light up and love the show."
Tickets are now on sale for Disney on Ice: Mickey & Minnie's Magical Journey . Ages 2 and up need a ticket ranging from $12.00-50.00. This is sure to be a magical experience as the inside of the Yum! Center not only transforms itself into a giant ice-skating rink, but takes the audience from the seas in Peter Pan, to the African savannah in The Lion King, then underwater in The Little Mermaid, and finally, to Hawaii in Lilo and Stich. Now that is some Disney Magic.
To watch a preview of the show, click here .
Photo courtesy flickster.com