According to Jim Hill Media = Speaking of Imagineering ... The guys from WDI quietly put out the word late last week that the opening date for Disney's Hollywood Studios' newest attraction -- the "American Idol Experience" -- has been pushed back from January of 2009 to the Spring of next year.
Why For the delay? Well ... As I understand it, the retooling of the interior of the old "Superstar Television" Theater is taking far longer than Disney originally expected. Which -- given how large & lavish the sets for the "American Idol Experience" are supposed to be -- isn't really all that much of a surprise.
I also hear that Disney Parks -- working with 19 Entertainment and FremantleMedia, the co-producers of the "American Idol" television series -- has hatched this elaborate promotional plan for the "American Idol Experience." Which involves this new DHS attraction being prominently displayed and/or mentioned as part of each episode of AI that airs on Fox in the coming season.
This promotional effort will culminate in late May of 2009 when the winner of next season's "American Idol" is named. The very next day (or thereabouts), this individual will then be flown down to Walt Disney World so that they can then take part in the grand opening of the "American Idol Experience." Which will (in theory, anyway) garner lots of free publicity for Disney's Hollywood Studios' newest attraction.
Mind you, this doesn't mean WDW Entertainment still won't be holding AIE soft opening sometime in the last winter / early spring of 2009. The way I hear it, those folks want six to eight weeks of daily performances under their belt before they then invite the press in to check out DHS's newest attraction.
The only wildcard here is ... Well, because AIE was originally scheduled to open in January of 2009, DHS managers then felt justified in cutting "Fantasmic !" back to just two days of performances during that exact same time period. But now that the "American Idol Experience" 's soft opening has been pushed back by at least a few weeks, one wonders if Disney World officials will now revisit their earlier decision? Perhaps return Disney's Hollywood Studios' nighttime extravaganza to its rightful seven-days-a-week spot on that theme park's entertainment schedule.