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Disney World announces 'American Idol' attraction

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Published: February 7, 2008 at 4:32 PM

Well, I suppose this was inevitable....

Walt Disney World announced today that it will bring an "American Idol" attraction to Disney's Hollywood Studios, in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. The show will put park guests in competition with each other for... a front of the line shot at an "American Idol" regional audition.

American Idol at Disney's Hollywood Studios
Image courtesy Disney

From Disney's press release:

[The] experience will include an audition process, open to all who register, where guests perform “live” in front of a Disney’s Hollywood Studios producer to be cast in a theme park show. After backstage preparation -- working with a vocal coach, hair and make-up -- it’s lights up and showtime in front of a “live” audience and a panel of judges.

Guest performers with the highest votes will compete in an end-of-day Grand Finale show at Walt Disney World, and the winner of the Grand Finale show will receive a guaranteed reservation for a future regional stadium audition -- to ensure no waiting in long lines.

The show will debut at Disney's Hollywood Studios in late 2008.

Readers' Opinions

From J. Dana on February 7, 2008 at 5:20 PM
What's most interesting is that this attraction will be driving business to (and getting promotion from) the FOX network instead of Disney's own ABC. I mean, the Mouse is so overprotective and so inwardly-focused when it comes to generating content, it's really pretty significant that they'd agree to something that drives business to something which they recieve absolutely no money from. However, getting commercial time on the biggest show on TV isn't a bad thing...okay, let's put money on how fast it will be before a similar attraction is built for ABC's Dancing With The Stars.
From Danny Melillo on February 7, 2008 at 7:40 PM
I don't know if I like this too much. LOST would've been a better replacement IMO. AI is a little too far past it's prime.
From Diane Graebner on February 7, 2008 at 7:58 PM
And Lost hasn't run its course? I see Lost coming to an end pretty shortly, and even if it DOES go on for awhile longer, it is eventually going to have a distinctive end. Using AI gives Disney the opportunity to create a fairly open-ended and timeless attraction. Even when AI has run its course, people will still line up to see themselves on TV or at least simulate that. It's the "I can do that better than those guys on TV" phenomenum coupled with most everyone's need for 15 minutes of fame. This attraction gives them the flexibility to couple with a very popular and recognizable (and marketable) show for now, then remove that show if necessary to create a more generic, Disneyesque audition and performance attraction. And as has been mentioned, that could be dance, talent, or even going back to a screentest type attraction (similar to that theatre's original attraction) using current shows and films. For now, it serves two purposes for a studio park that has "show business" as it's theme - adding both television and music to the mix. Both those areas have been somewhat lacking lately, and this is a great way to incorporate them.
From Robert Niles on February 7, 2008 at 8:17 PM
Um, hasn't Disney had a "Lost" attraction for years?

It's called the parking lot.

/rimshot

(Thank you very much! I'll be here all week! Try the veal!)

From Bruce Lane on February 7, 2008 at 11:14 PM
I don't know whether to laugh myself silly or cringe in horror.

I find myself, at this moment, recalling a nice quotable line from Don Bluth's excellent animated film "The Secret of NIMH." More specifically, a line spoken by Elizabeth Hartman, who was the voice actress for Mrs. Brisby...

"Oh please, dear God, no...!"

From Mitchell Botwin on February 8, 2008 at 5:14 AM
If will be interesting to see if Idol will increase park attendance. With locations around the park where you can audition, this will allow disney to set up a flow in the park to move guests to all locations and control the flow by setting the times interspaced between other shows.
From Karin S on February 8, 2008 at 5:58 AM
Thank goodness my annual passes expired!
From Iris Hernandez on February 8, 2008 at 8:10 AM
This must be a divine sign that i really need to Audition for American Idol next season. My friends and family have been begging me to go. I guess winning it at hollywood studios would be a lot better than waiting all day in those horrendous lines. Well, wish me luck when i do go.
From Robert OGrosky on February 8, 2008 at 11:28 AM
This is a awful idea, juts like the show!!!!

I would never waste my time going to this, but hopefully some people will and reduce the time I have to wait to go on my favorites!!

From Joshua Counsil on February 8, 2008 at 1:36 PM
This is a big move for Disney. And I have to say - although I'm not a fan of AI, props to Disney for taking suck a gutsy move.

First, as mentioned above, this is a non-Disney show. It's not hyping a Disney product. That's incredible. There has got to be something under-the-table here that we are missing.

I was always wondering why the Studios never capitalized on the Who's Line Is It Anyways? popularity. It's risky, yes, because it's uncontrolled. But since interactivity is the new thing, I guess they're going for it, but with a newer, more popular show. So props again.

Oh, and props to Rob on the rimshot.

From Gareth H on February 8, 2008 at 1:40 PM
Maybe the could give incorporate an option to slap Seacreat into it.
Lets face it, he doesn't do much in the audtition shows except stand there (I;m sure he's standing, but he is a wee thing so you never know), grin and act like a tool. Every know and then getting into the action by questions the result of the panel.!!

Gareth Out!

From Russell Meyer on February 8, 2008 at 4:40 PM
WOW!!! I think people are selling short how HUGE this is. American Idol is one of the biggest television brands around. Not only that the other corporate tie-ins (Ford, Coke, etc...) will allow this production support itself. Also, Disney will be able to get this attraction in by the end of this year, while the franchise is still hot, NOT two years from now, when a franchise could have lost some of its steam (Harry Potter).
From Melissa Faulkner on February 9, 2008 at 10:15 PM
Robert, excellent. I'll have to catch your next show and I don't like veal. Hows the chicken? :)

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