Archive for the ‘The American Idol Experience’ Category

Theme Park Headlines – They’re Going to Disney World, Part Two

February 23, 2009

Over two dozen ‘American Idol’ celebrities gathered at Disney’s Hollywood Studios last week for an amazing world premiere event.

By Blake

Originally posted February 22, 2009.

I can honestly say I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to attend a Walt Disney World press event more than I did on Thursday, February 12, 2009 as I watched live from my computer as over two dozen American Idol celebrities made their way down the blue carpet at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. What was the occasion? The world premiere of the American Idol Experience, a new attraction that gives Walt Disney World guests the opportunity to be in the spotlight and go through a pretend American Idol audition.

The attraction’s recent history can be read in a BlakeOnline article from a few weeks ago, but it ultimately led up to extravagant press event and after party that took place at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on February 12.

First, both season 7 winner David Cook and season 7 runner-up David Archuleta appeared on Good Morning America to promote the American Idol Experience along with GMA meteorologist Sam Champion, who even pointed out a Hidden Mickey on the attraction’s stage. David Archuleta toured viewers through part of the process of the new attraction, featuring a short group performance of “Life is a Highway” with him and several Walt Disney World guests. David Cook was shown performing a tidbit of his song “Heroes,” while his main, full-blown performance of “Declaration” had to end unexpectedly due to audio glitches. In the meantime, Diane Sawyer and Chris Cuomo improvised and told audiences that David Cook would be back soon, but since his performance was close to the end of the show, he unfortunately did not get to finish his performance.

Minnie Mouse and David Cook.

Later on in the day, preparations began to go into full swing to await the press event that would occur in the late afternoon. A long blue carpet was stretched out onto Hollywood Blvd., much like the lengthy red carpet at Disneyland’s Pirates of the Caribbean world premiere events.

Reports say that guests began to line up along the street around noon for the 4:30 parade that featured over two dozen American Idol celebrities. Donald, Chip, and Dale were among the many people viewing the parade, holding up posters provided by Disney with phrases such as “Sup Dawg,” “We’re Nuts About Bo,” and others. The attendees of the event included American Idol creator Simon Fuller, host Ryan Seacrest, judge Paula Abdul, season 1 winner Kelly Clarkson, season 1 runner-up Justin Guarini, season 2 winner Ruben Studdard, season 2 contestant Kimberly Locke, season 2 contestant Josh Gracin, season 3 winner Fantasia Barrino, season 3 runner-up Diana DeGarmo, season 4 winner Carrie Underwood, season 4 runner-up Bo Bice, season 5 winner Taylor Hicks, season 5 contestant Mandisa, season 5 contestant Bucky Covington, season 5 contestant Ace Young, season 6 winner Jordin Sparks, season 6 contestant Melinda Doolittle, season 6 contestant LaKisha Jones, season 6 contestant Phil Stacey, season 6 contestant Sanjaya Malakar, season 6 contestant Chris Sligh, season 7 winner David Cook, season 7 runner-up David Archuleta, season 7 contestant Syesha Mercado, season 7 contestant Jason Castro, season 7 contestant Brooke White, season 7 contestant Carly Smithson, and season 7 contestant Michael Johns. Phew!

Goofy, Mickey Mouse, American Idol host Ryan Seacrest, and Minnie Mouse.
Carrie Underwood in the parade during the American Idol Experience opening press event.

After the parade, the celebrities made their way further down the blue carpet for a hoopla of interviews. This part of the event was broadcast live via webcam to http://www.wdwnews.com/, much in the same way that the Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest red carpet event was broadcast in 2006. Although the webcam didn’t really show individual interviews, it did show the overall scene of the event for over an hour. It was very exciting to watch from my computer the anticipation leading up to the celebrities’ arrivals, and then the mania that followed each time a new celebrity arrived. Mickey, Minnie, and Goofy were dressed in their best and greeted each arrival, while Pluto and Grumpy were in the VIP section, Pluto holding up a sign that said “Yo Dawg” and Grumpy holding one that read “Simon is my idol but I always agree with Paul Abdul.”

Ruben Studdard at the American Idol Experience.

Once the interviews were over and the webcam stopped broadcasting, it was time for the world premiere of the American Idol Experience! The premiere featured a regular show as it would be performed any other day, with several park guests performing and one being named the day’s winner. However, much more than just a regular show also took place. Ryan Seacrest hosted the rest of the world premiere which featured a speech by Paula Abdul, a performance by David Cook of his song “Light On,” a performance by Carrie Underwood of her song “All American Girl,” and a duet by both David Cook and Carrie Underwood of “You Can Go Your Own Way” by Fleetwood Mac. Unfortunately, the duet is not available on iTunes or for purchase anywhere. Lastly, all seven previous American Idol winners came on stage (for the first time ever together in the same place) to each receive a very special American Idol award that was presented to them by the TV show’s creator Simon Fuller and will be presented to each future American Idol winner at each season’s finale.

All seven previous American Idol winners with their special awards, given to them by American Idol creator Simon Fuller. From left: season two’s Ruben Studdard, season one’s Kelly Clarkson, season three’s Fantasia Barrino, season seven’s David Cook, season four’s Carrie Underwood, season five’s Taylor Hicks, and season six’s Jordin Sparks.
After the world premiere, all of the American Idol celebrities took a “class picture” along with Mickey Mouse in front of the American Idol Experience, and then went to the after party! Some of them were even seen riding Rock n’ Roller Coaster.

Mickey Mouse, along with 28 American Idol celebrities including all seven winners, in front of the American Idol Experience at Walt Disney World.
It was certainly an incredible night and, even though I didn’t attend, I’m very grateful that Disney provided the great coverage that they had by setting the webcam up so that viewers wouldn’t miss a minute of the exciting event. If you missed the webcam coverage or you’d like the see more pictures and videos of the event, you can go to the following links:

StitchKingdom.com’s YouTube page for full videos of the entire webcam broadcast.

Orlando Attractions Magazine’s YouTube page for videos of the entire world premiere, including performances by David Cook and Carrie Underwood, and blue carpet interviews.

AllEars.net for pictures of the parade and the blue carpet.

Laughing Place.com for pictures and videos of the parade and world premiere, including performances by David Cook and Carrie Underwood, and pictures of the blue carpet.

MousePlanet.com for pictures of the blue carpet and the world premiere.

StudiosCentral.com for pictures of the blue carpet and the world premiere.

DIS Unplugged for pictures of the parade.

Additionally, WDWNews.com has a great compilation of press releases as well as a look at American Idol celebrities visiting Walt Disney World in the years past, plus a great slideshow of the entire press event, as seen below in the post before this one. If you look at it in full-screen mode, the pictures look excellent. All of the images are (C) Disney.

The world premiere of the American Idol Experience was an event that Disney seemed to work very hard to make happen, and their efforts certainly paid off from what I’ve seen. The attraction officially opened two days later on February 14, and a short look of the world premiere was featured on February 18th’s episode of American Idol. The spectacular event is one that I’m glad I got to see live, even if it was a portion via webcam. It was one event that will not easily be forgotten among Disney fans or American Idol fans.

By Blake; posted February 22, 2009. All images (C) Disney.

If you missed it, check out part one of this article!

Theme Park Headlines – They’re Going to Disney World

February 12, 2009


America’s favorite television show and the #1 theme park destination in the world meet in the American Idol Experience, the newest attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Over two dozen ‘American Idol’ celebrities will be appearing at the park to open the new attraction.

By Blake

Originally posted February 11, 2009.

American Idol fans have been enjoying the last few weeks. The show recently began its eighth season on Fox and has been entertaining families with its first round of auditions, followed by the infamous “Hollywood week.” The top 36 contestants will be announced next and then it’s on to the live performances, which means the first opportunity this season for viewers to vote for their favorites.

Although that’s certainly exciting, today I’m excited for another reason, though it still involves American Idol. This weekend, the American Idol Experience officially opens at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World in Florida. It’s an anticipated attraction that lets Walt Disney World guests see what it’s like to audition for American Idol.

The attraction was first announced in February 2008 as an unnamed American Idol-themed show that would let guests go through a pretend American Idol audition process. The attraction is part of a park-wide revamp at Disney’s Hollywood Studios that includes debuting new attractions, updating already-established attractions, and significant re-theming to the park.

Concept art for the American Idol Experience. The look of the outside of the attraction has been slightly scaled down since the concept art was created.
On May 21, 2008 Jordin Sparks appeared in a commercial on the season seven finale of American Idol to give some more details about the anticipatory attraction. It was then that the attraction’s name was announced as the American Idol Experience. Sparks appeared in the commercial on none other than the balcony of Cinderella Castle.

Jordin Sparks on the balcony of Cinderella Castle, appearing in a commerical for the American Idol Experience.
In June 2008, several season seven American Idol contestants (including David Cook, David Archuleta, Syesha Mercado, Jason Castro, and more) taped some promotional footage for the attraction that is speculated to be part of the show itself. They shared some of their American Idol stories as well as their Disney memories. Brooke White even drew an excellent sketch of Mickey Mouse, who she had learned to draw when she had wanted to become a Disney animator when she was younger.

Brooke White draws Mickey Mouse while sharing her Disney memories.
During the American Idol summer 2008 tour, a one-page promotion for the American Idol Experience was featured in the concert’s program. Additionally, the aforementioned commercial featuring Jordin Sparks was played during the concert’s intermission.

Throughout the fall of 2008, not much information or news was heard about concerning the attraction, other than the construction of the show building, Superstar Television Theater (recently renamed from ABC Theater, where Doug Live was performed several years back). American Idol decorations are abundant outside the theater, and the inside has been constructed to look like the stage from the TV show’s top twelve round.

The outside of the American Idol Experience in Walt Disney World.
In December 2008, promotion and advertising began to pick up for the attraction as its opening date of early 2009 drew nearer. Both David Cook and David Archuleta made appearances on the Walt Disney World Christmas Day Parade. Cook performed “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” while Archuleta appeared at Disney’s Hollywood Studios to give a look into the new attraction as well as give a summary of the other happenings in the park.

David Cook performs in the Walt Disney World Christmas Day Parade 2008.
David Archuleta tapes a segment for the Walt Disney World Christmas Day Parade 2008.
Additionally, in mid-January 2009, Ryan Seacrest appeared at Disney’s Hollywood Studios for reasons currently unknown to me, though I’d guess it would be to film some footage for the attraction. He also posed for some promotional images.

Ryan Seacrest in mid-January 2009 in front of the American Idol Experience at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World.
Also in mid-January, sneak previews of the attraction began to get underway at the park, featuring several showtimes throughout the day and a daily grand finale taking place at the end of each day. Audience members vote for the winner, and each winner receives a “Dream Ticket,” letting them skip the lines at a real American Idol audition process.

A daily finale takes place at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
The attraction officially opens to the public on Saturday, February 14, 2009. Additionally, a very exciting press event will take place at Hollywood Studios on Thursday, February 12, 2009 for the opening of the attraction! David Cook, David Archuleta, Jason Castro, and over 25 American Idol celebrities will be appearing in a parade down Hollywood Boulevard at 4:30pm. If you’re like me and won’t be able to attend the very exciting parade, you can catch live coverage of the event over at StudiosCentral.com. They’ll have live blog from the park beginning at 4:00pm Eastern Time.

Lastly, be sure to watch (or record) a very special appearance by David Cook tomorrow (Thursday, February 12, 2009) on Good Morning America! He will be performing live from the American Idol Experience at Walt Disney World, so be sure to watch!

You can also expect to see lots of coverage from the press event and of the attraction itself as the weekend progresses. Keep an eye on AllEars.net, LaughingPlace.com, and MousePlanet.com for some reports, as those three websites seem to never fail at bringing the latest Disney news to the vast Disney community.

So remember, watch Good Morning America tomorrow, February 12, 2009, to see David Cook at Walt Disney World and log on to StudiosCentral.com at 4:00pm on February 12, 2009 to see live coverage of the American Idol parade! It’s sure to be a very exciting day.

By Blake; posted February 11, 2009. All images (C) Disney.

Channel Flippin’ – Something’s Cooking

May 24, 2008

Yet another incredible ‘American Idol’ season has concluded and was bid a final farewell with surprises, laughs, and, of course, a new instant superstar. Oh, and guess who’s going to Disney World?

By Blake

Originally posted May 24, 2008.

Well, it’s all over. What began in January as a seventh annual search for America’s most talented singer has fulfilled its intention and has soared to record-breaking heights, with its final voting night raking in a whopping 96 MILLION votes worldwide. By now, the folks over at Fox have definitely proven that they know how to put on a show, and this year’s finale was certainly no exception.

This year’s two contestants that battled it out for the ultimate prize were David Archuleta, 17, from Salt Lake City, and David Cook, 25, from Kansas City. I was extremely pleased with the fact that these two were the ones to make it to the end. They both seem to be very appreciative and grateful of everything the show has done for them and every opportunity that they are benefitted with because of the show. They both appear to have star-quality stage presence and good chemistry while working together. Additionally, both being deserving contestants (Archuleta formerly suffered from vocal paralysis and Cook’s brother currently has cancer), I was slightly on the Archuleta side when it came to picking who I wanted to win, but was ultimately fine with either of them being crowned the champion. I had picked David A. to go all the way since his first audition (I know that sounds conceited, but it’s true!) and have been a David C. fan since the top 24, as well.

The two-part season finale, which aired last Tuesday and Wednesday on Fox, was a star-studded extravaganza that dazzled its viewers beyond belief. On Tuesday, both David’s each sang three songs: one of which was Clive Davis’ choice, one the contestants’ choice out of one of the top ten songs in Idol’s songwriting competition, and the last being the contestants’ choice of any song. Both performed extremely well, but Archuleta was definitely the judge’s favorite and exceeded Cook’s performances in quality and ‘wow’ factor. Tuesday’s show concluded with a special appearance by season two winner Ruben Studdard, performing this season’s exit song, “Celebrate Me Home,” complete with a montage of this season’s most memorable moments playing onscreen. It certainly was something special and an excellent way to signal the end of an amazing year of Idol fun.

But there was just one piece of business left to attend to: the results! Wednesday, like all Idol finales, was a two-hour spectacular. It kicked off with a medley by the top twelve. Following that, David and David sang a duet of “Hero.”

Next was a real treat. As part of a promotion for the new Paramount film The Love Guru, a tape was shown of footage that was filmed earlier this week of both David’s viewing a private showing of the movie, followed by getting to visit an in-character Mike Myers as Guru Pitka (who was playing “Sitar Hero” when the David’s walked in on him). He also gave advice to both contestants, informing Cook that it was no longer the 90’s and he needed to shave. In an interview with the David’s afterwards, Guru abruptly came over and splashed Cook’s face with shaving cream and began to shave him, much to the delight of Cook, who started busting out a belly-laugh as the shaving cream fell off his face (and into Archuleta’s hands, who quickly caught it)! This segment I think really showed some personality of both contestants that we hadn’t seen before, but I’m glad we saw now.

Next up came consecutive performances of several of this year’s contestants. Syesha sang with Seal, Jason Castro reprised his previous performance of “Hallelujah”, Brooke White sang with Graham Nash, and Michael Johns and Carly Smithson sang with each other. Later, David Cook sang with ZZ Top and David Archuleta sang with One Republic. Next, the top six girls performed a Donna Summer medley with – you guessed it – Donna Summer, and then the top six guys performed a Bryan Adams medley with – surprise! – Bryan Adams.

Somewhere in between all of that, a special message was made by last year’s American Idol winner Jordin Sparks direct from Cinderella Castle (yep, at WDW!) announcing that the upcoming American Idol attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios would be called “The American Idol Experience” and is opening this January! However, even though my two favorite things are finally coming together, I can’t help but think that this attraction is destined for disaster. I mean, who really wants to spend part of their WDW vacation watching regular day guests sing karaoke? Not me. ANYWAY, that’s not the only Disney/Idol news I scooped up. In an interview on the official Idol website with David Archuleta, when asked what he would do if he had 24 hours left to live, he said he’d head to WDW! 🙂

Getting back to the finale, of course there were plenty of commercial breaks, which usually aren’t worth a hoot, but this time actually held some very . . . interesting . . . promotions, including two separate advertisements for the highly popular video game Guitar Hero, one featuring David Cook and the other featuring David Archuleta. In both commercials, they each jammed out on the game, channeling a scene in Risky Business with Tom Cruise (yes, each of them in their undies).

After that particular commercial break came a completely random appearance by the Jonas Brothers performing their hit song “S.O.S.”, much to the squealing delight of I’m sure millions of kid fans around the globe. It was ultimately just pointless to have them perform. It’s not that their performance was but, it’s just that they have nothing to do with American Idol whatsoever. Oh, well.

After that was over, the definite highlight of the show (for me, at least) had arrived! It was time for the best of the worst! This year’s finale had a significantly lessened amount of best-of-the-worst coverage than previous seasons, but I was just happy that they at least had something. First was a montage of clips from some of the most memorable auditions this season (including Alexis Cohen! . . . too bad she wasn’t actually there, though) followed by – are you ready? – a live performance by Renaldo Lapuz of “We’re Brothers Forever”!!! He was even backed up by the University of Southern California marching band and cheerleaders! Ryan, Paula, and Randy also joined him onstage. It was HYSTERICAL!!!

After that, two previous American Idol winners, 2005’s Carrie Underwood and 2007’s Jordin Sparks, performed.

Next were a few aforementioned performances, followed by a final top twelve George Michaels medley, complete with a “surprise” appearance by none other than George Michaels, whose performance I’m sorry to say was boring. With just moments away from crowning the winner of the entire show, his performance just seemed too “blah” for the occasion.

Finally, the moment had arrived. It was time to crown the next American Idol! As Ryan opens the envelope, suspense builds as he reads, “Ladies and gentlemen, David and David: the winner, by 12 million votes, of American Idol 2008 . . . is . . . David . . . COOK!” I was very, very, VERY happy with either of them winning. Overall I think Cook will do better in record sales and ultimate superstardom. During Cook’s post-results performance of the winning song in the Idol songwriting competition (“The Time of My Life”), showing his supreme good sportsmanship, he even invited Archuleta and the other contestants back on stage with him.

The moment to crown the newest American Idol winner had arrived, with contestants David Archuleta and David Cook and host Ryan Seacrest on stage.

Well, that about wraps up this year’s truly amazing American Idol journey. It’s definitely been the best season yet, filled with plenty of promising new artists. I possibly might be going to the concert when it hits town and if not, I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait for January to get here so we can start the pandemonium all over again.

David Cook celebrates his American Idol win.

David Cook celebrates his American Idol win.

And, finally, guess where David Cook is headed next? 🙂 And yes, that’s him singing.

By Blake; originally posted May 24, 2008. All images (C) Fox except: “The American Idol Experience” image, which is (C) Disney. Disney Parks commercials (C) Disney and uploaded to YouTube by user DavidCookCentral.

Theme Park Headlines – Reinventing Disney-MGM Studios

February 10, 2008

A new name! New attractions! New entertainment! Oh, my! Walt Disney World is redefining its third theme park with a slew of major changes. And will American Idol and Ratatouille REALLY be making their way to Walt Disney World? Maybe.

By Blake

Originally posted February 10, 2008.

When Disney-MGM Studios opened in May 1989, it truly offered guests a look into how movies were made and was defined as “The Hollywood That Never Was and Always Will Be”, complete with backstage tours, behind-the-scenes exhibits, and actual television studios. Since then, the park has slowly distanced itself from its original intention and, bit by bit, has had less and less Hollywood charm as it once had. Sure, there have been massive hits such as The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Rock n Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith, and Fantasmic!, but overall the park has suffered as a whole. And, finally, Disney has recognized where they went wrong in turning the “fantasy Hollywood” park into a huge advertisement for modern Disney movies and products by turning its direction around.

The park took its first baby step in completely redefining its image by getting a name change. For years it had been rumored that the Disney-MGM partnership contract was running thin and that a name change would be in place soon. Disney Studios and Disney-Pixar Studios, as well as a few others, were suspected to likely be the park’s new title, but it was not until August 9, 2007 that Disney officially announced that effective January 7, 2008, Disney-MGM Studios would become Disney’s Hollywood Studios . . . which in the long run could cause potential confusion among guests, since Hollywood is an actual town name in the state of Florida.

So, does a new name mean a new park? Kind of. The park is no longer defined as a dreamy Hollywood, but as “all that today’s Hollywood has to offer – in movies, music, theater, and television”, as said in Disney’s original press release concerning the name change that was issued in December. And, over the course of the next few years, there will be a very evident change in the park as a whole. Some attractions will be refurbished and refreshed, while others will sadly have the curtain closed upon them to make way for forthcoming projects. Here’s a look at what’s already changing in the park and what still is yet to come:

First up is the new edition of Playhouse Disney Live on Stage. Since 2001, the show has entertained preschoolers by bringing to life (in puppet form) the settings and characters from Playhouse Disney television shows Bear in the Big Blue House, The Book of Pooh, Rolie Polie Olie, Jojo’s Circus, and Stanley. Well, while that might have been really popular for preschoolers when the stage show initially opened, not one of those programs still airs regularly on the network today. So, for the past couple of years, the show has been in serious need of some refreshment. On January 28, 2008, soft preview openings for a new version of the show, featuring characters from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Handy Manny, Little Einsteins, and My Friends Tigger & Pooh, debuted before its official opening on February 1. And I’m happy to say that from the pictures and videos I’ve seen of the new show, Mickey and the gang make the transfer to puppetry quite nicely, and I’ve even read that the puppets were created using the same scale as the majestic “Partners” statue at Magic Kingdom.

Characters from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse are part of the new Playhouse Disney Live on Stage show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and coming soon to Disney’s California Adventure.

Characters from Handy Manny are part of the new Playhouse Disney Live on Stage show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and coming soon to Disney’s California Adventure.

Characters from Little Einsteins are part of the new Playhouse Disney Live on Stage show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and coming soon to Disney’s California Adventure.

The next step in the reinvention of the Studios is a parade replacement. Since October 2001, Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade has entertained guests with its daily march through the Studios’ streets, featuring a plethora of Disney characters riding in unique cars suited to match the characters riding in them. (It also features plenty of rare character appearances! J) Unfortunately, the parade’s time has come to move on. It will have its last performance at the Studios on March 9, 2008, before being moved to Disneyland Paris. It will surely be missed, but a new parade, Block Party Bash, will debut in its place five days later on March 14. The question is will this completely different-style, high-energy Pixar parade please guests just as much as the quaint and charming Stars and Motor Cars? Well, we’ll just have to wait and see. The new parade is being imported from Disney’s California Adventure, where it has been performed since May 2005, and features floats based on the Pixar films Toy Story; a bug’s life; Monsters, Inc.; and more.

The next date on the agenda is this summer, when the Mickey Avenue section of the Studios will awaken from its year-and-a-half hibernation as “Pixar Place”, a re-themed area of the park based on Pixar films. Just what WDW needs . . . MORE Pixar-themed attractions. Disney has officially confirmed that Toy Story Mania!, an interactive 3D ride featuring Toy Story characters, will open as part of Pixar Place this summer; and if the rumors I’ve been hearing are true, Pixar Place will eventually expand into further areas of the park. The word on the street is that the Backlot Tour, one of the only two rides that have been open since the first operating day of the park in 1989, will be demolished to make room for a Ratatouille-themed roller coaster, though this has not been officially announced, confirmed, or denied by Disney. Right now all it’s still a RUMOR.

Concept art for the upcoming Toy Story Mania! attraction, opening this summer at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Imagineers “test-play” the new Toy Story Mania! attraction, coming this summer to Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

And, finally, the year of redefining the Studios will come to a close in late 2008 with the opening of a brand-new, just-announced, breaking-news attraction . . . so new that it doesn’t even have a name yet. Announced on February 7 by Disney, with its temporary name “American Idol Attraction”, the hit Fox television show will be making a permanent home at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. And while it would be really neat for Ryan, Simon, Paula, and Randy to set up camp for airing the show at Walt Disney World, that’s unfortunately not what this new attraction means. What it does mean is that beginning late next year, guests between the ages of 14 and 28 (yes, that’s 14, not the TV show’s age minimum limit of 16) will be able to pretend to go through the “audition” process and try out for Disney’s version of American Idol. Guests can either sing in front of a live audience or pretend to be a judge and review other guests’ performances. At the end of each operating park day, a winner for the day will be announced, and the winner will receive a “Fastpass” to skip the massive thousands of people in line at the REAL American Idol auditions for the television show.

Concept art for the upcoming American Idol attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

And while all this seems really exciting right now, I’d give this two – maybe three – years, if that, to belong at the Studios. I mean, think about it. Most of the kids who want to try out won’t be able to since the age minimum is 14 (and even then, how is Disney going to check to see if someone is 14?!), and most adults who would like to go through the experience would be too old. Additionally, the problem with creating any attraction based on a television series is that TV shows don’t last forever. They have their heyday for a few years and then it’s time to say bye-bye as the shows goes off the air, as evidenced with the former version of the Playhouse Disney stage show, as discussed above. American Idol’s popularity is great right now, but it’s not really a wise decision on Disney’s part to partner with the show if it’s not going to continuously be a phenomenal success in the years to come. I think that American Idol will surely last much longer, but you can never be too sure. Besides, who honestly wants to visit a Disney park to sit around all day and watch people sing karaoke?

Concept art for the upcoming American Idol attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

So, it’s pretty evident that Disney-MGM Studios is no more. Disney’s Hollywood Studios has officially taken over, both literally and figuratively. Whether the massive changes are good or bad is a decision too early to make. We can hope for the best, but with Block Party Bash and American Idol on the horizon, I wouldn’t bet on it just yet.

By Blake; originally posted February 10, 2008. All images (C) Disney.