The American Idol Experience

by MouseStation Crew, staff writer

MouseStation 272 - The American Idol Experience

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Show run time 0:31:42

In today's show, Mark interviews Disney Parks spokesman Gary Buchanan about the American Idol Experience, coming soon to Disney's Hollywood Studios.

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Feature: The American Idol Experience

Mark talked with Gary Buchanan about the new American Idol Experience attraction, opening soon at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

There will be an audiiton process whereby those who have signed up for auditions will enter the theater through the backstage area into one of three audition rooms. The first audition is a capella, just like on the show. You may or may not make it all the way through your song. If the casting director passes you on to the next round of auditions, you'll go into a lounge area, where you'll get an iPod with a rendition of your chosen song on it so that you can hear what it sounds like and you can start trying to prepare. Next up is the producer's office, where you'll perform your song again.

If you make the show, you'll be given a time to come back at. All of the Disney cast members backstage are in communication, so that they can prepare to give the audience the best show that they can. The audience will be able to vote on the performers to decide who wins at each show. If you're selected for a show, you'll be given a time to return to the theater, at which point you'll meet with a vocal coach and go through hair and makeup to prepare for the show. Then, you get to go on stage in front of a live audience, on a set that is a near duplicate of the actual stage used to film American Idol in Hollywood.

The audience will select the winners of each show, who will then compete against each other in the final show of the day. The winner of that final show will get a "Dream Ticket," which will entitle them to a guaranteed slot at a regional audition for the American Idol TV show.

Through the process, they will be setting the guests up for success, to ensure that they do well on stage. The success of American Idol around the world and the response from guests who have expressed excitement about the attraction has Disney convinced that this attraction will be able to avoid the pitfalls that doomed Who Wants To Be A Millionaire – Play It!

The interactivity of the Idol attraction melds well with the increased interactivity that is appearing in more and more attractions. With the new "What Will You Celebrate?" campaign, the focus is on getting the guests involved and getting Disney involved in the guests' celebrations. There will be new interactive events in the parks, such as new mini-parades and other events.

The American Idol Experience is scheduled to open on February 14, with a press event on February 12 and Passholder and DVC previews earlier in the month. It's possible that there may be sneak previews in January, so keep an eye out for news on that.

A few things to note:

  • While the American Idol TV show restricts contestants to those ages 16-28, anyone from age 14 and up can participate in the theme park version.
  • You can only audition once per day, and if you make it into any of the shows for the day you can't audition again for 30 days.
  • If you win the Dream Ticket, you can't participate again for one year after you win the ticket.
  • Audition openings are limited, only a few singers will be chosen for each preliminary show and selections will likely be made early in the day.
  • You can choose any song you like for the initial audition (though no original compositions will be allowed), but the second audition must be from a list of approved songs provided by Disney.
  • You can have one friend or family member accompany you through the audition process, though they may not participate. If you're between the ages of 14 and 17, you must have a parent or guardian accompany you and fill out the required paperwork.
  • You (or your guest) can take still photos for personal, non-commercial purposes in the audition rooms, but there is no audio or video taping allowed.
  • A limited number of seats will be made available on a priority basis for friends and family of the performers in each show. Park admission is required.
  • If you win a Dream Ticket and are not eligible for the American Idol TV show audition process, you may transfer it to someone who is eligible, as long as you do not receive compensation for the ticket, and the ticket can only be transferred once.

Thanks to Gary Buchanan for taking the time to chat with Mark, and to Benjamin Thompson for setting it up!

Listener Feedback

Christopher, a cast member at the Disneyland Resort and the Disney Store, wrote in to thank us for the job that we're doing on the show. Mark had to remind Mike that Disney had bought back the Disney Store a year ago.


John Papas wrote in to ask about the Disney Vacation Club now charging $95 per reservation for exchanging to Walt Disney World Resort hotels, but not Disneyland Resort hotels. Mark believes that it changed within the last 2-3 years, and predicted that the charge would apply for Disneyland Resort hotels once the Grand Californian DVC rooms open. Mark imagines that, if it's a better deal to exchange points for a stay in a hotel room that sleeps 5 people, that a $95 per reservation charge would not change that appreciably.

Rik Messick asked about a website for airline tickets that predicts prices that Mike mentioned on an earlier show. It's

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