Disney on Ice hosts skating clinic for Special Olympics Kansas athletes

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WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Special Olympics Kansas athletes had the opportunity to skate with some special guest stars from Disney on Ice on Wednesday.

During the skating clinic, athletes learned firsthand about skating and the show from Disney on Ice performers.

“It is so amazing. It brings so much joy to us because we love what we do, and sharing it with people like kids and adults. It just warms our hearts and makes us enjoy what we do even more,” said Mia Saunders, who plays Tinkerbell and Snow White.

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“They’ve been so welcoming, they came up to us right away, and introduced themselves. They were curious about Jack, wanted to know more. They supported him right away. Very enthusiastic about his ability and it’s been a pleasure to get to know them. I feel like they’ve really taken time with us which is the most important thing. It’s been a great support,” said Jessica Durbin, whose son has moderate autism and is mostly non-verbal.

Jack loves “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.”

“He’s naturally a very active kid, so when we saw the opportunity for ice skating, we definitely took it. Because he loves Disney, he lives off of ‘Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.’ We’ve watched every episode 1,000 times. So it was the perfect fit,” said Durbin. “He can see people who work with Disney on Ice and know Mickey Mouse personally. And also, of course, just be able to try something new like ice skating.”

Durbin said that community involvement can be difficult to find, so she’s appreciative that her son had this opportunity.

“A big shout out to Special Olympics. We really appreciate these opportunities, and we don’t take them for granted,” she said. “It’s very difficult to find community involvement, and so it’s difficult to find the birthday parties, it’s more difficult to find the camps and the clubs and the social opportunities for him. So, to have a time where he can go, he can meet others with similarities to himself.”

These athletes have also been invited to attend the opening night performance of Disney on Ice – Magic in the Stars in Wichita on Thursday, March 21, as well as a private meet and greet before the show.

“We have a VIP experience that’s at the start of our show where it’s an interactive experience with skaters. Kids get to meet our characters, like Elsa, Anna and some of our ‘Encanto’ characters. And then they’re gonna come watch the show, enjoy and have so much fun,” said Saunders.

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Disney on Ice is a series of touring shows featuring Disney and Pixar characters performing stories while ice skating.

“Having this element shows that Disney’s for everybody. Skating is a sport done by everybody, no matter your age, what you do, your ethnicity. Everyone can do it. It’s a big incorporation of everybody, and it brings everyone together. It shows our love of our sport; you get to see our favorite Disney characters, you get to sing and have fun. It’s just bringing elements of love, passion, and you just love what you do,” said Saunders.

Magic in the Stars runs from Thursday through Sunday at Intrust Bank Arena. To learn more, click here. To buy tickets, click here.

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