It’s just about every little girl’s dream to grow up and one day become a princess. And for Apple Valley’s Katie Lingen, she’s just about as close as you can get.
Lingen plays the coveted role of Snow White in “Disney On Ice: Treasure Trove” and although she’s not an official princess, she said being a Disney princess is certainly a dream come true.
Before she and her seven dwarfs get ready to hit the Xcel Energy Center stage, she took some time out of her hectic schedule to talk about her big homecoming.
Q: So you grew up in Apple Valley and began skating at age 4? What made you first pick up your first pair of skates?
A: Well I lived next to a little girl that was just a little bit older than I was and she wanted to start taking skating lessons and I wanted to do it so I could still hang out with her. I wanted to be just like her. I told my mom I wanted to take lessons and she signed me up and I just fell in love with it.
Q: What were your experiences like growing up and learning to skate in Minnesota?
A: Well it’s pretty natural to learn how to skate in Minnesota — you’re going to either learn how to figure skate or learn to play hockey, right? So it was one or the other for me. My brother played hockey. I wanted to, but I took to figure skating. It was really fun and it was easy because there were so many rinks and so many great coaches around. So I competed for many years until I grew up and decided I wanted to do it for a living.
Q: How did you make that leap to turn your passion into a career? And get into Disney On Ice?
A: Actually my coach at the time was the one who suggested it and encouraged it to me and said that I had a natural ability for performing and that maybe I would enjoy shows. So when Disney came through town, I went and auditioned. I just fell in love with the whole idea of it. I joined and have been doing it ever since.
Q: Obviously, Disney is a big part of a lot of people’s childhoods. What was your first memory of a Disney movie?
A: Well I’ve always grown up with Disney movies, I’m definitely a Disney kid. So to be able to go to a show and watch these characters come to life, skating, it was a very unique experience and very neat. I just remember watching the show the first time, before I got to go in it, and I just remember thinking, ‘Wow, I get to be a part of this.’ It’s so magical. You just get lost in it. You forget that there’s reality, you forget that there’s anything going on, you just get caught up in the skating. It’s characters that you’ve grown up with and I get to be a part of that. It was a very overwhelming feeling but it was really great and really cool.
Q: So when you’re on the ice and you’re in character and get to see the faces of the kids in the audience who are just in awe, what is that like for you?
A: It is, I don’t even know how to put words to it, honestly. It is so overwhelming, it’s amazing to be out there, to be in this character, to look in this audience at these little girls who are dressed as Snow White, their favorite character. We do this apple scene where I ask the audience, ‘Should I eat this apple?’ And the audience and the little girls respond and are just like, ‘No, Snow White, no!’ It’s so cool. Like wow, I’m bringing this to them. It’s just so fun.
Q: I suppose there really isn’t one, but what would a typical day be like on tour for you?
A: You’re right, there really isn’t a typical day. Everyday’s different, we’re in a different city, a different town, a different country. Sometimes we get to go sightseeing, sometimes we do extra shows. But it’s kind of cool because you wake up and look outside and it’s like, ‘OK, where am I? What am I going to do today?’
Q: What’s it like working everyday with seven dwarfs?
A: I do have a couple of scenes with the seven dwarfs and actually that’s my favorite part because the seven dwarfs are by far everybody’s favorite. They come out and they get the loudest audience reaction. They’re just so fun and exciting and lively. So to be out there with them is kind of a cool experience because they are absolutely the most iconic part of Snow White.
Q: You’ll be coming home to perform at the Xcel on Dec. 8. What will it be like performing in front of family and friends at that show?
A: I’m so excited. There’s nothing better than playing your hometown and having family and friends come watch you skate, especially in one of the buildings that you grew up watching performances in. I’m really looking forward to it. I can’t wait actually. I haven’t been home in a long time and they haven’t gotten to see me skate so it’s going to be pretty cool. I’m going to have a lot of people there.
“Disney On Ice: Treasure Trove” starts Dec. 8 and runs until Dec. 11 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. Tickets range from $16 to $65. For more information or to buy tickets, click here.