Written by Jimmy D. Lee
Published: November 5, 2005 at 10:43 PM
Over the past decade, this event has become one of Disney's premiere events. Disney-owned ABC is scheduled to bring in more than 35 of its daytime soap stars for the specific purpose of fan interaction and appreciation, and I can tell you from personal experience that the interaction claim is completely legitimate. Celebrities from the Emmy-award winning shows All My Children, One Life To Live, and General Hospital will participate in interviews, autograph sessions, celebrity motorcades, and game shows, all as their enthusiastic fans cheer, scream, holla', shout and root them on.
This event is not for the faint of heart, or sensitive of hearing, as I personally found out six years ago when I attended my first Super Soap fest. Although mostly a guilty pleasure, I admit I'm a longtime fan of the ABC Soaps. I've been watching since before elementary school and I even remember when Erica Kane, of All My Children fame, was married to her first husband Jeff Martin (she has had 7 husbands in 10 marriages over 30 years) and Luke and Laura were pulling in higher ratings on General Hospital than even the most popular evening dramas of the 1970s. I grew up in a household where my Mother, Aunts, and Grandmother spoke about these characters as if they were real people that we all knew, and this event now gives families like mine the chance to come out and actually see and speak to the actors whose characters have helped to shape American pop culture for more than 50 years.
One of the better features of this event is that there is no extra admission charge beyond that of a single park ticket. The regular one-day, one- park price of $53.75 covers all of the special ABC shows and autograph sessions, as well as the other rides, shows and attractions at Disney/MGM. Be aware though; attendance for this event rivals that of Thanksgiving and Christmas and the park closes after maximum capacity has been reached, so get there early. This has been the case for all nine of the previous years and the 10th Anniversary celebration will more than likely be no different.
For returning guests, there is something new this year just in time to alleviate the long autograph lines of the past. FastPass will be implemented for the first time for autograph sessions. Yours truly waited in line one year for over three hours, on my second sojourn to Super Soap Fest for an autograph and photo-op with Susan Lucci, a.k.a. Erica Kane.
FastPass stations will be set up in three distribution areas; All My Children will be at the end of the Streets of America, One Life To Live at Star Tours, and General Hospital at Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular. There is a strict one-ticket, one-autograph policy. Once all of the tickets have been distributed, then standby tickets will be distributed, but there are NO guarantees on standbys. Then, once you have your FastPass you just return to the autograph location, at the specified time. For a complete schedule of show times go to http://abc.go.com/daytime/supersoap/wdw/index.html.
Here's a bit of advice for those attending Super Soap Weekend for the first time. Get a map of the park and compare it to the schedule, then make these locations your first destination because these autograph sessions are POPULAR! Here is a link to the official event map with all of the details.
Speaking of the numerous special shows and events, this year Disney and ABC are definitely getting their money's worth from their talent. In addition to the "On Location Autograph Sessions," there are many other chances throughout the day to see your favorite soap stars up close and personal and get "to know" them off the set.
"Wide World of Soaps Live!" happens throughout the day at the ABC-TV Theater, and gives the fans the inside scoop on what's happening with the storylines and characters from their favorite shows. This interview style presentation highlights the personal side of the stars lives and offers the audience the chance to ask personal questions, completely unscripted. I give this one a PG rating.
"Casting Call" gives aspiring soap stars the opportunity to compete for a walk -n role in either New York or Los Angeles. Hosted by the constantly shirtless Cameron Mathison, from All My Children, this show, also at the ABC-TV Theater, puts contestants in a dramatic scene with some of ABC's most popular stars and at the end of the two days, one winner will be chosen for their big break.
"Who Wants To Be A Millionaire Super Soap Special Edition" is my own personal favorite. I was a contestant on this show in 2002, and although I lost, it was crazy fun. The show will be hosted for the fifth year in a row by Walt Willey, Jackson on All My Children, and is one of the most popular attractions of the weekend. There are six shows daily and you can get your advance ticket on Mickey Ave. near the ABC-TV Theater.
"Soap Central" is worth checking out, especially if you like TV memorabilia. Located near the front of the park in the ABC commissary, you can buy props, clothes, and accessories that were used during the taping of your favorite shows. Over the years, I have purchased martini glasses from Dorian Lord's mansion on One Life To Live, a pen used by the über villain of All My Children, Adam Chandler, and gloves, shirts, and belts that were worn on various shows. All price points are represented here, and they make great conversation pieces too. There is some great stuff here at really reasonable prices. I highly recommend a few minutes spent here, browsing if nothing else.
"Celebrity Motorcades and Star Conversations" is a throwback to old Hollywood glamour, as your favorite stars are paraded in antique cars up Hollywood Blvd. At the end of the parade route at the Sorcerer's Hat Stage, they participate in a conversation style, celebrity interview and pose for photographs. This setup is a bit impersonal, though, and the noise level along the parade route can be deafening, making it all but impossible to hear the interviews on the stage. However, if you are a people watcher like I am, you will find it fascinating to see women, and a few men, of all age ranges literally screaming at the top of their lungs, reminiscent of Elvis and Beatles fans in the past. I have personally witnessed some of the funniest moments at this event, during these motorcades, with middle aged women throwing bras, panties, and phone numbers at the actors.
Closing out the festivities each evening, and following the Grand Motorcade, is the "Colgate Total Street Jam" This is a musical showcase and street party, with scheduled appearances by Kassie DePaiva, Jacob Young, Bobby Eakes, Scott Clifton, Kathy Brier, and Rene Goldsberry. In the past I have also seen many of the other actors just hanging around and watching their coworkers from the sidelines. Because so many of the soap actors are also experienced Broadway performers, this is an excellent opportunity to see some first rate performances.
Lastly, if this is till not enough for you, I have another inside tip for our readers. In the evenings, Friday and Saturday, many of these stars can be found in the various night clubs and restaurants around the property. Pleasure Island's dance palace, Mannequins attracts the younger New York and Hollywood set, while the nicer restaurants and lounges in the resorts attract the over thirty crowd. Most of the celebrities stay at the Boardwalk Hotel and The Yacht and Beach Club. A-List celebrities like Susan Lucci stay at the Grand Floridian. Also don't forget that many of the stars have kids of their own, so while your in line at Space Mountain or waiting for the monorail at Epcot, keep an eye open, the person right next to you might just be someone with a split personality that is impersonating their twin, all while planning a wedding for their illegitimate son who doesn't know that his mother is actually his father who is the half brother of his fiancée.
Good times my friends, and fond memories too. Enjoy!