Walt Disney World Resort has announced plans to create a high-energy "American Idol" attraction bringing the popular musical audition themed show to Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park. The attraction will take over the space of the former ABC Theater and construction is already well under way. Guests will be able to experience the challenge of auditioning, the rush of performing on stage in competition, or the thrill of judging the performances in a live interactive entertainment setting with all the glitz and glamor of the distinctive "American Idol" set. No word if they’ll have Ryan Seacrest as an audio-animatronic, but then again, how could you tell. (Just kidding Ryan.)
The attraction will have a competition element to it as well. With each eligible "Grand Finale" park guest who wins the daily competition qualifying for a guaranteed slot for regional auditions for the "American Idol" TV show. Eligible being the keyword there. I think "American Idol" has pretty strict rules on who they’ll consider for the show. However, I am seeing some ‘groupie’ potential too.
"American Idol" appears to be taking the slot vacated by "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" when "Toy Story Mania" construction started. One major difference, WWTBAM was at least a Disney property. I wonder if they’ll be giving out pins and other awards along the way. The attraction is scheduled to open in late 2008.
Executed well, this will be a popular addition to Hollywood Studios. What other Reality TV would you like to be able to participate in at Disney’s Hollywood Studios? How about Iron Chef America?
A larger version of the concept art is on Flickr. The full press release and a cute but cheesy video released with the press release is below the cut:
‘American Idol’ is “Going to Disney World!”
Disney Parks to create attraction based on the television and pop culture phenomenon
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (Feb. 7, 2008) — Walt Disney Parks and
Resorts will create an "American Idol" attraction that will bring the television and pop culture phenomenon to life at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, it was jointly announced today by Jay Rasulo, chairman of Disney Parks and Resorts; Simon Fuller, CEO of 19
Entertainment; and Keith Hindle, executive vice president of
The attraction, slated to debut in late 2008, will be located at
Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park and will follow the model of the high-energy show. Disney guests will be able to experience the
challenge of auditioning, the rush of performing on stage in
competition, or the thrill of judging the performances in a live
interactive entertainment setting with all the glitz and glamour of the
distinctive "American Idol" set.
That 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
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.
But when it comes down to the television show auditions, everyone is
"Millions of people have imagined themselves standing on the ‘American Idol’ stage," said Rasulo. "We’re excited that we will be bringing this dream to life every day at Walt Disney World."
Added Fuller, "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. 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."
"This partnership," noted Hindle, "brings the number one show on
television, watched in over 100 countries, to the number one theme park
destination in the world. It’s a perfect combination and opportunity to
offer everyone a taste of the ‘American Idol’ experience."
The coming "American Idol" attraction will reflect the best and
brightest of the TV show, giving starry-eyed park guests a chance to
become a star on the attraction’s stage. It joins an all-star lineup at
Disney’s Hollywood Studios, a celebration of today’s Hollywood in
movies, television, music and theater. Among the new adventures
debuting in 2008 is the just-opened "Playhouse Disney-Live on Stage!"
plus coming attractions "Block Party Bash," an interactive and moving
Disney-Pixar spectacle filling the theme park streets; and Toy Story
Mania! immersing guests in a 3-D interactive ride-through video game
starring popular Disney-Pixar "Toy Story" characters.
About 19 Entertainment
Simon Fuller’s 19 Entertainment (of CKX, Inc., a publicly traded company listed on the NASDAQ National Market®
under the ticker symbol "CKXE") is recognized as a leading creator,
provider and promoter of globally successful music-based entertainment,
or "entertainment brands." The company has attracted a unique
collection of expertise in people who work together to integrate and
leverage activity across television, film, touring, merchandising,
music publishing, recording, artist / writer and producer management,
sponsorship and promotion. Simon Fuller is the most successful British
music manager of all time having sold over 116 million CDs in North
America alone, and is known as the creator of "American Idol," the most
valuable TV format in the world with an estimated value in excess of
$2.5 billion. For further information, visit www.americanidol.com.
About FremantleMedia Enterprises & FremantleMedia
FremantleMedia Enterprises is the content exploitation arm of
FremantleMedia, offering a one-stop-shop for all Licensing,
Distribution and Home Entertainment. It is a division of
FremantleMedia, one of the largest international creators and producers
of entertainment brands in the world with leading prime time drama,
serial drama, entertainment and factual entertainment programming in
over 40 countries worldwide. FremantleMedia is a subsidiary of RTL
Group, Europe’s largest television and radio broadcast company, which
is 90% owned by Bertelsmann AG, an integrated media and entertainment
company that commands leading positions in the world’s media markets.
For further information, visit www.fremantlemedia.com.
About FremantleMedia North America
FremantleMedia North America (FMNA) is the U.S. production division
of global media giant FremantleMedia. Based in Burbank, California,
FMNA produces entertaining and innovative television programs for
network, cable and syndicated platforms, including the Emmy-nominated
musical/reality phenomenon "American Idol" (FOX), "The Next Great
American Band" (FOX), "America’s Got Talent" (NBC), "American Inventor"
(ABC), "Thank God You’re Here" (NBC), "The Janice Dickinson Modeling
Agency" (Oxygen), "Property Ladder" (TLC), "Family Feud" (syndicated),
"Temptation" (syndicated), "Million Dollar Password" (CBS), and the
longest-running game show in television history, "The Price Is Right"
About Walt Disney Parks and Resorts
Walt Disney Parks and Resorts are where dreams come true. Disney features a collection of five of the world’s leading family vacation
destinations. In addition, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts includes the
world-class Disney Cruise Line; the Disney Vacation Club; Adventures by
Disney, a guided group vacation experience to some of the world’s most
popular destinations; the ESPN Zone dining and entertainment centers;
the World of Disney stores; and Walt Disney Imagineering, which creates
and designs all Disney parks, resorts and attractions.
Isn’t Disney latching onto yet another aging franchise after the boat has already sailed? Admittedly, American Idol has proven to have more staying power than Who Wants to Be A Millionaire? and it’s still a ratings juggernaut, but that juggernaut has slowed considerably, with viewership down by double digit percentages since last year.
More problematic is: what happens if the crowd boos? Laughs? The point-and-laugh spectacle of concentrated awfulness that is the driving force behind the first part of the show is all fun and games when you’re separated by a TV set, but what happens when the guest falters tremendously onstage despite what I imagine to be Disney’s careful screening process? The charity that comes with Disney magic only extends so far, as you may have noticed whenever someone comes before their fastpass time or when Mickey has to take a break from photos for 5 minutes.
All that said, given Disney’s description, I have absolutely no idea how this thing works. It’s all been well thought out but barely explained in the article above, so I am probably jumping to conclusions. Still, I won’t be throwing myself to the mercy of the crowd any time soon.
Give us Barabbas!
If FremantleMedia teamed up with Disney to do, like, The Price Is Right, that would be awesome for the many of us who can’t make it down to the actual show.
But American Idol?
While the show is big, I can’t help but think up many “What If” situations
Big one to me is the fact that they’re having regular old park guests PREFORM ON STAGE for other park guests.
With someone on stage that Disney has not fully screened for, preforming live, is both a challenge and a worry, as who knows what will happen…
still, I can’t wait to see how it all runs down…
What about us “slightly above the age limit” people? I missed the audition by two weeks when it was less than two hours from my house. I turned 29 on July 2 and the auditions were on July 15 or 16, don’t quite remember. So, now I am 31 with two kids, thyroid cancer behind me (which was scary for my voice too) and now I got all excited reading this about Disney and they cut it off at 28 too. Why is 28 the magic number? People tell me I look 24. Shouldn’t that count for something. I can see some half balding, or grey haired 50-year-old (no offense to anyone) not appealing to the ‘young’ American public the same way Taylor Hicks did not have such a good connection, but what about us ’30 somethings’ that are just stuck somewhere in between. I would like to produce a show for those of us who are in this age bracket. No, not singing oldies or ‘songs from the 80’s’ but regular old pop music. I listen to Kanye West with the rest of ’em and I don’t plan to stop anytime soon. Even have my own stuff from Corbin Bleu. So, what do all of you think? I guess I just hate to have to go to bars to sing ‘karaoke’ to do the thing that I love to do most. I don’t think I could win American Idol, but I would die for the chance to sing for Disney. That has always been a dream of mine.
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