History of The American Idol Experience at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Disney Parks History

The American Idol Experience Neon Sign Disney's Hollywood Studios Walt Disney World

One of the most iconic competition television shows in recent memory is American Idol, which was brought to American on the Fox television network. It almost instantly became a hit and it proved to be a long-lasting and consistently popular mainstay of modern television.

It was so popular that Disney began developing an attraction based on the film to be located in Disney's Hollywood Studios.

Fireworks Behind The American Idol Experience Sign Disney's Hollywood Studios Walt Disney World

The attraction would take over a theater that had at the time sat empty for close to a decade in the center of the park. Opening in 2009, The American Idol Experience was a show that attempted to replicate the format of a full season of the show through several performances throughout a single day at the park.

American Idol Experience Audition Room Disney's Hollywood Studios Walt Disney World

At the beginning of the day, you could sing up and audition for a chance to perform on the show.

Guests of all ages could audition, but there was an age limit to move on to the actual show. You would be taken to a backstage area of the theater to an audition room where you would perform one of a list of songs for a single judge.

The Next American Idol Golden Ticket Photo Op Disney's Hollywood Studios Walt Disney World

If accepted you would be invited to perform at one of the shows throughout the day (except the final show), and Disney would film an American Idol backstory film on you to be shown during that performance before your song.

American Idol Experience Star Wall In Queue Line Disney's Hollywood Studios Walt Disney World

During these performances, every chosen guest would be given a chance to perform one song, and then the audience would vote in real-time through electric devices connected to their seat. The winner of each of the first shows of the day would continue on to the last show of the day or the Finale show.

The winner of the day would then win a Dream Ticket. This Dream Ticket gave you the right to skip to the front of the line at any audition for the actual show. Winners of the Dream Ticket ended up making it all the way to the semi-finals of the actual show.

This Is American Idol Sign Disney's Hollywood Studios Walt Disney World

The show remained largely unchanged throughout its history, with the exception of a slightly changing song list over the years.

If you were lucky, you may have caught a special performance featuring an actual contestant from the show making an appearance as several contestants and winners, notably Lee DeWyze, appearing in the show on rare occasions over the years.

Eventually, the popularity of the show the attraction was based on would begin to diminish. Attractions based on TV shows, in general, have a much shorter shelf life in the Disney Parks than other attractions and that is what brought about the end of this show.

Lee DeWyze At The American Idol Experience Disney's Hollywood Studios Walt Disney World

The show would close in 2014, roughly two years before the American Idol television show went off the air. It continues to be fondly remembered by those who experienced it, and it helped hundreds if not thousands of people's American Idol dreams come true at the most magical place on earth.

Frozen Sign Along Entrance Disney's Hollywood Studios Walt Disney World

Today the show's former location holds the Frozen Sing-Along experience, keeping live performing alive at the park in a different way.