Two couples with Augusta ties will be among the contestants of a Disney+ competition show that premieres Friday.
Best in Snow sees teams compete to carve Disney characters into blocks of snow.
The show’s “Hakuna Matata” crew includes Augusta couple Que and Emmanuel Butler and their close friends, another married couple, Charm Love and Ron Way, who are from Augusta but live in Atlanta.
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Try something new
“I cleaned out freezers,” Way said of his snow carving experience. “That’s about the closest I got.”
But publicist Jillian Santoro explained that Disney was just looking for some enthusiastic individuals with some experience in the arts who wanted to try a new art form.
Through their work as a duo/band called “EQue”, the Butlers came into contact with a casting agent a few years ago. Growing up as part of a Disney show, they jumped at the opportunity.
“I’m a Gemini, so I’m a jack of all trades,” said Emmanuel Butler. “And another thing is that I cut hair, so I took up that job as well. So I’m like, ‘OK, it’s kind of an art. I just have to translate it somehow.’”
“We’re both creative minds,” Que Butler said. “I like doing little mommy things. As for ice cream, no experience but we were confident.”
They brought in Love and Way, who are also entertainers, and they had a very specific goal.
“We wanted to bring the fun,” Love said. “They knew full well that Ron and Charm would make sure we weren’t freezing out there, at least. We would have some fun too.”
The four watched YouTube videos to prepare as best they could, but that was all they could do until they were flown to Colorado. They were in for a spooky surprise.
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“It was so damn cold”
“As soon as we got off the plane, my husband needed oxygen right away,” Love said. “It was so damn cold, we can’t even explain it to you!”
Another shock was what they experienced, how the show was made.
“It was incredible on the production side,” said Emmanuel Butler. “When you get on set it’s just so beautiful. It kind of puts you in a wonderland, kind of a dream state.”
“We’re no strangers to the camera, but it’s a whole different aspect when you add Disney,” said Que Butler.
Everything was Next Level, even behind the scenes.
“Disney is just a family,” Love said. “You feel like family from day one,” he recalled of a moment when the butlers almost didn’t make it to the show because there was no one around to babysit their kids. “But Disney even sorted that out with no hiccups and no issues. You have only had our best interests in mind from the start.”
Showtime and Snowtime
Each team was paired with a couple of professional carvers who helped them turn a 10-foot, 20-ton block of snow into a Disney character. Although the carvers were very skilled and helpful, this was no small feat.
“I’m about to do a bodybuilding contest,” Que Butler said. “Well, what I put my body through in the gym is crazy, but what you put your body through when you’re out in the snow and you’re freezing… it was crazy.”
But Best in Snow wasn’t just about carving, it was about recreating that legendary Disney show magic with the help of performances from Kermit the Frog, DCappella and their host, Emmy-nominated actor and Broadway singer Tituss Burgess , bring to. who left a lasting mark on entertainers.
“He was so flamboyant. He was all Disney; loved it,” said Que Butler. “We were impressed.”
“I feel like Tituss was one of those actors where if you have a question, you can come and ask it,” Way said. “You have some actors like ‘Hey, I’m here to work’ … but he was approachable. You could talk to him.”
appreciation of their creation
The team couldn’t reveal what they carved, but they described the moment when, after several days of work and preparation and tearing apart that block of ice, they were able to step back and contemplate their creation.
“When you step down, you’re still in shock and you’re like, ‘We just did that?'” Way said.
“We did it as a family,” Que Butler said. “Doing it with people you love, enjoying that moment was everything, and stepping back and really saying, ‘Wow, we made that!’ It was unreal.”
Best in Snow is available on Disney+ starting Friday.