For Rick Papineau, coming up with outrageous ideas for Disney is an exciting way to make a living.
The vice president of scenic elements for Feld Entertainment is the creative mind behind the animatronics for the Disney on Ice show, which opens Oct. 29 at the Toyota Center in Kennewick.
Worlds of Fantasy is a two-hour ice skating spectacular that features Disney characters from Cars, Tinker Bell, The Lion King and The Little Mermaid.
"Our biggest challenge with this show was creating the cars," Papineau said in a phone interview with the Herald this week. "Especially when trying to combine the animatronics with antics on ice."
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The audience will see how well Papineau's challenges paid off when it gets a glimpse of Lightning McQueen.
McQueen is a red hot race car from the movie Cars. The ice skating version is slightly shorter than a standard race car but weighs more -- about 1,800 pounds, Papineau said.
"McQueen was a lot of fun to create," he said. "He jumps up and down, his eyes blink and his mouth moves."
And he can travel pretty fast.
"McQueen can go 40 mph on the street if we'd let him," he said. "He can do a cool power slide on the ice and has a great personality."
Leave it to Disney to bring a cartoon to life. "What makes these cars so special is the unique engineering that went into building them," Papineau said. "We spent almost 2,000 hours on each car developing the systems that make them perform."
He says the long hours are worth it.
"I attended the opening night of this show and just as many dads got excited about McQueen as the kids," he said.
The show takes the audience on a mystical journey to Pixie Hollow where you'll meet Tinker Bell and her fairy friends. Then you'll race through Radiator Springs with McQueen, trek across the African desert with Simba and finally dive under the sea for an adventure with Ariel and Sebastian.
Papineau said he gets his creative inspiration in all sorts of ways. Most notably in the middle of the night.
"I'll wake up at night with an idea and jump on it the next morning," he said.
Papineau's a firm believer that ideas should be stretched to the limit whenever possible. In other words, if you can imagine it, it's possible; Disney on Ice Worlds of Fantasy proves it.