American Idol will become a theme park attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

American Idol will become a theme park attraction later this year in Orlando at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the park known up until this year as Disney-MGM Studios. The attraction will follow the show’s model, with park visitors able to audition and perform, and daily winners will get to skip lines at future auditions for the series.

It “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 judges,” according to a press release. “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.”

The attraction will be located in an existing building. “The American Idol soundstage will be carved out of the old, vacant Superstar Television attraction, which is next door to Sounds Dangerous,” The Orlando Sentinel reports.

Walt Disney Parks and Resorts chair Jay Rasulo “is confident that enough entertaining people will try out each day to sustain the show,” according to The Sentinel, which notes that the park “draws more than 9 million people a year.” It also reports that “the judging system … will be some sort of combination of studio-audience participation and a judging panel.”

This sounds a lot like a Who Wants to be a Millionaire: Play It!, a former attraction at the same park that recreated that game show’s set and allowed visitors to play for relatively lame prizes. It is currently being replaced by an interactive attraction based on Toy Story.

‘American Idol’ is “Going to Disney World!” [Disney and Fremantle press release]
‘American Idol’ attraction coming to Walt Disney World [Orlando Sentinel]

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Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.