(Feb. 12, 2009) — LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – All seven “American Idol” winners and dozens more finalists gathered Thursday night at the Walt Disney World Resort for the world premiere of a groundbreaking attraction that includes all the thrills and suspense that have made “American Idol” into a television and pop culture phenomenon.
“The American Idol Experience” at Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park captures the energy and excitement of the TV series with some park guests auditioning to take the spotlight onstage while other guests cheer them on from the audience, voting for their favorite singer with instant results.
For tonight’s grand opening, “American Idol” winners, finalists and celebrities who have performed on the actual “American Idol” set in California came to see the twirling neon signs and multi-layered backdrop of “The American Idol Experience.” The 1000-seat venue is the most technologically advanced theater found at Walt Disney World Resort, created by Walt Disney Imagineering and the Hollywood set designer who designed the actual TV show set for “American Idol.”
“The American Idol Experience” includes an audition process open to Disney’s Hollywood Studios guests 14 and older (audition slots are limited and interested guests are encouraged to arrive early). These guests perform live in front of a Disney’s Hollywood Studios casting director for the opportunity to be cast in one of the preliminary theme park shows that same day.
If shown to have that special “star quality” during the multi-step audition process, it’s on to performance training, hair and make-up. Then, the lights come up and it’s showtime for the singers as they try to impress an audience of theme park guests, plus a panel of three expert judges. Fellow park guests will be able to enjoy the performances just like at a live television taping. Then, audience members vote for their favorite performance using the armrest touchpads, with their votes tallied to determine the top singer.
Performers with the highest votes during the preliminary shows will return for a high-energy, grand finale show that same evening. After their encore performances, the big moment arrives. It’s a super-charged, eye-popping scene as audience votes are tallied, the other performers drop off, music builds and the spotlight shines down, amid a blizzard of confetti, on the day’s top singer.
The American Idol Experience was developed by Walt Disney Imagineering in conjunction with FremantleMedia Enterprises (FME) and 19 TV Ltd and based on the smash-hit television show “American Idol” – produced by 19 TV Ltd. and FremantleMedia North America (FMNA).