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Walt Disney World’s American Idol Experience attraction will be closing at the end of summer, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.
As first reported in The Orlando Sentinel, the Experience will shut down for good on Aug. 30. The theme park had announced back in June that guests would be able to compete on its stage for a chance to go to real-life auditions in Hollywood until January 2015. But a spokesman told the Florida paper that the company moved up the closing due to a continuous review of Disney’s entertainment options.
The American Idol Experience opened in 2009 to much fanfare, with all of the show’s winners — Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard, Fantasia Barrino, Carrie Underwood, Taylor Hicks, Jordin Sparks and David Cook — on hand for a blue carpet event. The attraction was set up much like the show. Guests pre-auditioned for a screener, who would decide whether or not to advance the prospective contestant to the main stage. There, the auditioner would perform in front of a panel of three judges using songs picked from a list of prerecorded selections.
Several future American Idol finalists earned a golden ticket there and went on to the big show, including season nine’s Aaron Kelly, season 11’s Erika Van Pelt, season 13’s Majesty Rose, Ben Briley and Emily Piriz.
Says Van Pelt: “The American Idol Experience changed everything for me. I had auditioned for the show several times before, but winning the Dream Ticket was the game-changer. AI Experience gave me a taste of the real thing, down to the smallest detail — live audience voting, charismatic hosts and a good Simon judge-a-like or two! The Dream Ticket gave me the opportunity to go to the front of the line at the auditions in Pittsburgh for season 11, which ultimately led to me securing a spot in the Top 10. I am so grateful for the opportunity.”
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