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American Idol Experience
American Idol Experience


February 14, 2009


Walt Disney Imagineering

The American Idol Experience is a theme park attraction at Disney's Hollywood Studios at the Walt Disney World Resort. Inspired by the popular American television series American Idol, the attraction invites park guests to audition in front of live audiences who will vote for their favorite singers.


The attraction was announced on February 7, 2008, although specifics were not made public at that time. American Idol season six winner Jordin Sparks unveiled its official name and projected opening date during the American Idol season seven finale on May 21, 2008.

Disney licensed the show's logos and set design from American Idol's production companies, 19 Entertainment and FremantleMedia. The attraction is located in the "Superstar Television Theater" (formerly the "ABC TV Theater"), which originally was home to Superstar Television, one of the first attractions to open at the park in 1989. The show took place of Doug Live!, which ran from 1999 to 2001.

The attraction's grand opening took place on February 14, 2009, with occasional preview performances in the weeks leading up to the official opening. A press event just prior to the official opening featured many "Idol" celebrities, including all seven winners, numerous finalists, host Ryan Seacrest, judge Paula Abdul, and American Idol creator Simon Fuller.

The American Idol Experience has been promoted by winners of the American Idol from Season Seven onwards by appearing in commercials and announcing "I'm going to Disney World!".

Show Description[]

Park guests age 14 and older audition before a Disney "casting director" who judges singers based on their ability to sing and perform in front of an audience. As with the auditions for the television show, initial auditions are a cappella. Selected singers advance to a second round for an audition with a "producer," where they select from a song list provided by the producers which includes pop, country, rock, Latin, R&B, and Disney songs, and then audition again, this time with pre-recorded music. To ensure that guests hear a wider variety of songs, singers may only select songs that have not previously been chosen that day. Those who pass the second audition will be scheduled into one of the preliminary shows each operating day.

The attraction features a number of preliminary shows each day, with one finale show in the evening. At each preliminary show, guests perform before a live audience inside the attraction's main theater, designed to resemble the television show's stage. Using electronic keypads at their seats, the audience votes for their favorite singer, who will return for the final show of the day.

The last show of each operating day features the winners of that day's preliminary shows. Again, the live audience votes for the performer they like the best. During the show, the audience is prompted to encourage the contestants and heckle the judges. Each day's final winner receives a "Dream Ticket" that will allow him or her to bypass the queue at one of the regional American Idol auditions for the television show, provided he or she meets the show's age and residency requirements. If the winner is not eligible, he or she will be allowed a "one-time" transfer of the "Dream Ticket" to another person, or can save the ticket until the age limit is met.


As of May 2010, one "Dream Ticket" winner, Aaron Kelly, had advanced to the American Idol finals. Kelly finished fifth in the 2010 season. Another winner includes Nolan Sotillo, who sang "What Hurts the Most" by Rascal Flatts. Sotillo is notable for starring in Disney's PROM. A previous 'Dream Ticket" winner from South Africa, Mark Haze, advanced to the top 15 in the South African format show of Idols.

Sources & External Links[]