Disney magic glides into Green Bay
A peek into a professional skater’s life on the ice
By Rachel Sankey
At just 31, Rachael Macaulay has spent the last 25 years of her life ice skating, 10 of those years as a Disney on Ice performer.
Macaulay grew up in Prince Edward Island, Canada, and said she knew from a young age she wanted to be an ice skater.
At age six, Macaulay said she, “…had two close friends who were skating and I just really wanted to jump on the ice with them, but it was the end of the season, so I wasn’t allowed.”
“So, I guess my mom always tells this famous story about how I was crying and crying, and I was never a crier, but she just knew she had to put me in the next year, and I was happy as a clam,” she said.
Since hitting the ice, Macaulay said she has competed at two Canada Games, won provincials 10 times and has also passed all the tests available through Skate Canada, the country’s governing body for figure skating.
Macaulay said she was always a fan of Disney, adding that her family had all the VHS (Video Home System) tapes growing up. Though, she said she never imagined she would play a princess on the ice.
Macaulay performs as Moana on Disney on Ice’s Into the Magic Tour. She has also performed as Anna from Frozen, part of the ensemble and more.
“I just love playing (Moana) because she’s so strong,” she said. “And that’s kind of like my skating style. I’m not really like a balletic skater. I love to run around on the ice, and I love the acting aspect of her. That character is special to me.”
She said she also appreciates how Moana’s story is about family instead of finding a man, much like many of the classic Disney movies.
Macaulay said her favorite part about performing with Disney on Ice is when the kids in the audience are singing along to the songs and know every word, especially after many families have been stuck at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
When COVID hit, Disney on Ice went on hiatus, and like many other people, Macaulay said she went home. Instead of hitting the ice, she said she started coaching until it was time for Disney on Ice to return.
“It was incredible,” Macaulay said. “It was a little bit cathartic, because I was coaching at the home club that I skated in. So I was with my old coaches and they were still teaching me.”
When Disney on Ice was ready to get back on the road, Macaulay said she was ecstatic.
“I was missing it so much,” she said.
Disney on Ice, Macaulay said, provided her with the opportunity to travel all around the world, learn how to live out of a suitcase and make new connections. She said it’s also how she met her husband, whom she got to know early on during her time with Disney. Of the 10 years she’s been with the skating troupe, Macaulay said meeting her husband has to be her greatest memory.
Macaulay said she works with a small group of people who’ve become like family. She added that the greatest challenge of being on the road is dealing with jealousy and other issues that get thrown into the mix of living on the road for extended periods of time. On the flip side, Macaulay said the greatest reward that comes with being a part of Disney on Ice is meeting so many new people all over the world, and making friends for life.
When the time comes for her to retire from the show, Macaulay said that she would like to return to coaching.
Disney on Ice: Into the Magic is coming to the Resch Center starting Thursday, Feb. 24. Into the Magic focuses on the Heroes and Heroines.
Rachel Sankey is the Arts and Entertainment Reporter for Green Bay City Pages. She can be reached via email at [email protected]