Walt Disney Parks and Resorts announced plans Thursday to create a live performance attraction based on American Idol at Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park - formerly called Disney-MGM Studios - in Lake Buena Vista.
"Our goal is to try to recreate the excitement of those 24 people who show up on that American Idol stage," Disney Parks chairman Jay Rasulo said. "We believe many, many viewers want to know exactly how that feels, and we're going to try to reproduce that feeling for them."
Much like the hugely popular Fox singing competition, the as-yet-unnamed attraction - scheduled to open in late 2008 - will allow theme park guests to audition and then perform before a live studio audience.
Disney licensed the rights to create the attraction from Idol co-producers 19 Entertainment and FremantleMedia, despite the fact American Idol airs on Fox and Disney owns broadcast competitor ABC.
"It is owned by us, so we can extend the brand in the off-air space in the ways that we want to," said Keith Hindle, FremantleMedia's licensing vice president.
"We don't see this in any way as a NewsCorp. vs. Disney debate. That's never been part of the discussion, and it's not something that's relevant to us. It's just part of American Idol."
The attraction's details are still being worked out, but it will probably operate something like this: Theme park guests ages 14 and up will be able to audition for a Disney casting producer. Those who pass the test will be selected to appear in one of the park's Idol stage shows.
Rasulo anticipates six to eight such shows a day.
Top audience vote-getters will compete in a grand finale show at the end of each day. Overall daily champs will win a special front-of-the-line pass at a regional audition for the actual American Idol show.