‘American Idol’ coming to Disney World
Starry-eyed singers who dream of being discovered — like Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Hudson or Clay Aiken — will have a chance when a new “American Idol” attraction opens in February at Walt Disney World in Orlando.
Or, if singing on stage doesn’t appeal, visitors to the theme park’s new attraction can make like Simon Cowell or Paula Abdul by taking on the role of judge in the live, interactive competition.
The attraction, scheduled to open Feb. 12 at a time when attendance and revenues are down at the Orlando theme park, was announced today in a joint statement by Disney Parks and Resorts and producers/creators of the phenomenally popular “American Idol” TV show, Fremantle Media Licensing and 19 Entertainment.
Like the TV show, Disney’s “American Idol Experience” attraction will include a nerve-racking audition process in which eligible park-goers will perform in front of a Disney producer for a chance to be cast in a show at the theme park — and a possible shot at eventually competing in the real TV show.
“One of the most remarkable elements about ‘American Idol’ is that for a brief moment each week, we can provide TV viewers the opportunity to imagine life as America’s next superstar,” said Simon Fuller, CEO of 19 Entertainment. “Disney’s new attraction perfectly captures what we at ‘American Idol’ feel is the heart and soul of this brand, real people getting a shot to make their dream a reality.”
The attraction will be located in the Hollywood Studios section of Disney World. Parkgoers who are deemed to have “star quality” during a screening process — and after working with a vocal coach, hair stylist and make-up artist backstage — will perform on Disney’s “American Idol Experience” stage set before a live audience and a panel of judges.
Those with the highest votes will compete in an end-of-day grand finale show at Disney World; the winner of the grand finale show will receive a guaranteed reservation for a future regional stadium audition for the “American Idol” TV show.
“Millions of people have imagined themselves standing on the ‘American Idol’ stage,” said Jay Rasulo, chairman of Disney Parks and Resorts. “We’re excited that we will be bringing this dream to life every day at Walt Disney World.”