Time Traveling: The American Idol Experience

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Wow – it’s been a while since we’ve been time traveling, hasn’t it? Finally, the other day, while I was walking through Disney’s Hollywood Studios. I felt the past calling out from The American Idol Experience. I remembered the other two great shows that lived there before and wanted to share them with you. Before we get started, it’s a good idea to point out that these are mostly my memories. I do tend to prefer the sugary sweet things in life, and I fondly remember my past at Disney. If you remember it differently, please leave your comments below! I’d love to hear what everyone else thought about these old shows.

Doug Live!

If you stepped into a time machine and traveled back to March of 1999, you’d find Doug Live! performed several times a day in this theater. I’ve heard the show described as “nightmarish,” but it was one of my all time favorites. Doug was a Nickelodeon cartoon until Disney purchased the show’s production company in 1996. The cartoon hit the air waves in 1991 and focused on a young, awkward teenage boy and his dog. That was right around the time I was a young, awkward, not quite teenage girl with a cat. You can see how I became a fan! The stage show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios was energetic, bright, and full of memorable situations from the cartoon. At the beginning of each show, a host would come out and select adults to perform later in the show as Doug’s favorite band, The Beets. Two seats were reserved in the front row for the actors to sit in during the “concert”. The show was staged in a very creative way, and huge projection walls were used to transport you through the story. If you never saw this show, it’s easy to find on YouTube. It’s worth taking a look at this very short-lived piece of Disney history. Doug Live! closed abruptly in May of 2001, leaving this theater vacant for nearly eight years. I heard several rumors as to why it closed with short notice, but I’m not sure any of them are credible. In any case, this is a show I still miss and hope many of you had a chance to enjoy!

Superstar Television

Going back further in time you’d find yourself in 1989, and Superstar Television would be one of the absolute must see attractions in the park. This show took guests and made them the stars of popular television shows using green screen technology. The show was a journey through time, starting with the very early days of television and the morning news. then going though a standard programming day that ended with modern late night shows. I can remember standing in line for this very popular show and being very impressed that people really looked like they were in TV shows. It’s laughable now, looking back at it! But don’t take my word for it, check out this high quality video. (Speaking of laughable, check out the hair on the host!) The show really gets started about four minutes into that video in case you want to get right to the good stuff. Superstar Television performed its last show in 1999. I remember this was one of the first attractions whose closing made me was genuinely sad. Since guests were used in the show, every performance was a little different. I’m glad there’s at least one video out there preserving this long lost attraction.

So what do you remember from these pieces of Disney history? Did you ever get to see these shows? Do they sound like fun? Also, what would you like to see next for the American Idol theater? Personally, I have a Princess and the Frog stage show perfected in my mind. It would be so pretty in that theater! What are your ideas? I can’t wait to hear what you all have to say. Thanks so much for reading!

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Posted on March 23, 2014

4 Responses to “Time Traveling: The American Idol Experience”

  • My Grandmommy was selected for that show! Mommy wished that they were allowed to buy a video or something from it. She said that grandmommy looked amazing on the tv! She played the roll of a jealous lover and had to shoot someone – Mommy’s memory is really fuzzy. They didn’t live in Florida back then and only did that show once.

    • by Daisy Lauren on March 26, 2014, at 11:16 am EDT

      Hi Duffy! My memory was fuzzy too. I didn’t remember that my Dad had been chosen to read the news once! I’m glad your family was in the show. I was a lot of fun and I think with current shows it would still be successful today.

  • Thank you, Daisy.
    I also fondly remember both shows, and I recall large, enthusiastic crowds at each performance. As to why either one closed and why such a prime piece of park space stood empty for years…I guess we’ll never know.
    I’m not a fan of AI so I’ve always skipped past.

    • by Daisy Lauren on March 26, 2014, at 11:18 am EDT

      Hi DisneyDad! I’m glad you enjoyed the old shows. My main beef with AI is the wasted talent. The judges are all amazing performers so it’s sad to see them just sitting there. Especially when the show is pretty much like visiting Howl at the Moon. Ah, well. I’m sure it won’t last that much longer. Thanks for stopping by!