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Disney Parks to create attraction based on the television and pop culture phenomenon

Thursday, May 22, 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, according to Jay Rasulo, chairman of Disney Parks and Resorts; Simon Fuller, CEO of 19 Entertainment; and Keith Hindle, executive vice president of FremantleMedia Licensing.

The attraction, slated to debut January 2009, 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 eligible to register, where guests perform "live" in front of a Disney's Hollywood Studios producer for the chance to be cast in a theme park show. If shown to have that star quality during the screening process and after backstage preparation -- working with a vocal coach, hair and make-up -- it's lights up and showtime for the lucky guest in front of a "live" audience and a panel of judges.

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 -- for the "American Idol" TV show. But when it comes down to the television show auditions, everyone is treated equal.

"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 that debuted in 2008: Toy Story Mania!, immersing guests in a 3-D interactive ride-through video game starring popular Disney-Pixar "Toy Story" characters; "Block Party Bash," an interactive and moving Disney-Pixar spectacle filling the theme park streets; and "Playhouse Disney-Live on Stage!" featuring a whole new cast of friends from "Playhouse Disney."