After a fairly short lifespan (4 1/2 years) Disney announced The American Idol Experience at Disney’s Hollywood Studios would close in January 2015 which will be just a month short of running 6 years. The show would see over 30,000 contestants perform and gave away over 2,000 dream tickets during its run.
This was not the first time Disney’s Hollywood Studios offered guests the opportunity to be the contestant. Eight years before American Idol would make its appearance in Disney Parks Who Wants to be a Millionaire-Play It offered guests the opportunity to sit in the hot seat as their trivia knowledge was tested in front of hundreds of people. Who Wants to be a Millionaire-Play It closed in 2006 and would be replaced by our beloved Toy Story Midway Mania.
I have been fortunate enough to experience both Who Wants to be a Millionaire Play-It and The American Idol Experience (twice). I don’t currently have any photos from Who Wants to be a Millionaire Play-It but you can read about my first experience performing on The American Idol Experience in a previous post.
So now the question on everyone’s mind is: What are they going to do with that space?
There have been so many rumors circulating about converting a large section of Hollywood Studios in to a land themed after Star Wars or a Lucas Films themed land much like what we saw with the addition of Cars Land in Disney California Adventure. Some suggest that The Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular and The Backlot Tour will soon join Who Wants to be a Millionaire Play-It and The American Idol Experience on the “remember those attractions?” list. That however is a topic for another blog post.
I don’t foresee Disney doing anything with this show building right away for a couple of reasons. One: although they just finished a major project with the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, there is still a great deal of construction going on around the Walt Disney World Resort. Two: I agree (and hope….to an extent) with the speculators who predict a Star Wars themed land will come to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. After the purchase of Lucasfilm Ltd. by Disney and the increasing presence of Star Wars in the parks, I think Disney would be doing a disservice to itself and its guest not to. Three: I think the American Idol show has quickly plummeted in popularity and I think this has affected Disney’s attraction as well. The show has run its course and people are over it for the most part. They have moved on to new shows like The Voice.
Is Disney just going to abandon the building for the time being. We have seen Disney do this in Epcot with the Odyssey Center and The Wonders of Life pavilion. This buildings only see guest during special events like Food & Wine Festival. The American Idol Experience theater is an awfully large show building to just completely demolish and start from scratch but we all know Disney dreams big! So will you miss The American Idol Experience? Have you ever performed? What do you think will come of this building or area? What do you hope to see?
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