How I Went Backstage at the American Idol Experience (and How You Can Too!)

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The American Idol ExperienceSince its debut in February, the American Idol Experience at Disney’s Hollywood Studios has been wowing guests with its faithful re-creation of one of television’s most popular shows. On-stage, audience members get to sit in on several shows a day where other park guests perform live on the set patterned after the American Idol season seven finale stage. The show’s daily finale always fills to capacity as hundreds who couldn’t get in grab a nearby seat outside and watch the performances on the giant Diamond Vision screen.

For guests who opt to perform, the grueling audition process begins ‘backstage,’ in Studio 2B (essentially the on-stage and ‘backstage’ portions are treated as separate attractions, 2A and 2B on the park’s map respectively). At stake is a ‘golden ticket’ which grants the holder the ability to ‘FASTPASS’ their way through real-live auditions for the actual show (for those ineligible to use the ticket, it can be transferred once).

So one way to go ‘backstage’ at the American Idol Experience is to audition — and to make it all the way through. And as you’re about to find out, it’s easier said than done. Fortunately, there’s another way to see everything the performer gets to see and more and it’s called The Ultimate Backstage Experience.

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The Walt Disney Family Museum Website is Live; Tickets Available for Dates Starting October 1

WDFM_our_book_07The Walt Disney Family Museum site has gone live. Visit it online at waltdisney.org to learn more about the museum, obtain timed tickets, watch videos and the chance to pre-order the museum’s book,  The Walt Disney Family Museum: The Man, the Magic, the Memories written by noted Disney historian J.B. Kaufman and Diane Disney Miller with preface by Richard Benefield and introduction by Diane Disney Miller. At 96 pages and containing 124 illustrations, the book tells the story of Walt Disney in ten chapters that coincide with the museum’s galleries. The book will be available exclusively from the museum beginning October 15, 2009, but is currently available for pre-order for $19.95

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Millionaire Celebrates 10th Anniversary Return to Primetime with New Ask the Expert Lifeline and Celebrity Contestants

Regis and “Millionaire” are back in ABC primetime! Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the smash hit “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” comes back to ABC this summer for a special two-week event. “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” premieres SUNDAY, AUGUST 9 (8:00-9:00 p.m., ET) and will air for 11 nights, Sunday-Thursday at 8:00 p.m., with the finale on SUNDAY, AUGUST 23 (8:00-9:00 p.m., ET).

ABC’s 10th Anniversary edition of “Millionaire” will celebrate everything that viewers loved about the original, combined with the major improvements to the gameplay after seven successful years in syndication. In addition, as a brand new feature of the return of primetime “Millionaire,” every episode will culminate with a celebrity playing one question for $50,000 to benefit their charity of choice. The lineup of celebrity players will be announced at a later date.

From Daytime “Millionaire’s” Emmy nominations on the eve of its eighth season launch to the Oscar-winning phenomenon “Slumdog Millionaire,” it has been a banner year for the “Millionaire” pop culture juggernaut. To date, there have been 1,285 episodes of the syndicated version, and before it went off the air in 2002, the primetime edition saw 363 episodes, including “Super Millionaire” in 2004. Over $132 million has been won by contestants over the decade ($79 million in primetime; $53 million in syndication). In primetime, celebrity players won $13.5 million for their favorite charities.

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Disney at Comic-Con: Phineas and Ferb Announce Two New Television Specials

San Diego, CA, July 26, 2009… Television’s #1 animated series for kids, Disney’s “Phineas and Ferb,” will be presenting two programming events this fall, a two-part time travel episode and a viewers’ choice countdown special featuring the Top 10 favorite musical numbers from the hit series. The announcement was made today at Comic-Con International in San Diego, California. Each “Phineas and Ferb” episode will premiere on Disney XD. The series also airs on Disney Channel.

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ABC.com and Kia Unearth Documentary Thought to be ‘Lost’ on Dharma Initiative

ABC.com and Kia Motors America (KMA) unveil the first webisode in a five-part short-form series titled “Mysteries of the Universe: The Dharma Initiative.” Exclusively sponsored by Kia Motors, “Mysteries of the Universe” is a fictional “documentary” series set in the early 1980s which takes an in-depth look into a variety of unsolved mysteries.

Once thought to be Lost, this all-new explosive documentary project provides a full-scale investigation into the so-called “Dharma Initiative.” Through interviews, research, eyewitness accounts and more, the short-form series attempts to uncover the truth behind this shadowy organization, including the possible existence of a secret society with links to covert locations around the globe, including a South Pacific island, which is the subject of intense speculation, but whose whereabouts have never been confirmed.

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Guest Artists Announced for Vinylmation Release Party on July 31 at DTD Marketplace

There will be an artist release party for Vinylmation Urban Series #2 (released July 24)  at the Art of Disney located in the Downtown Disney Marketplace. The event is scheduled to run from 5 pm – 7 pm and features the following Disney artists: Dan Howard, Lisa Badeen, Lin Shih, Mike Sullivan, Quynh Kimball and Donna Kozatek.

This is your chance to meet & greet with the creators of your favorite Disney Vinylmation figures as well as get an in-person sneak peek at upcoming releases.

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A Letter From Walt Disney Family Museum’s Executive Director, Richard Benefield

The following letter was published earlier today on the Facebook page of the Walt Disney Family Museum and has been copied here with permission. We encourage all of our readers to become a Fan of the Museum on Facebook to be apprised of the latest news and announcements from the Museum as well as images of just some of its amazing collection on display. You can also follow the museum on Twitter.

Richard Benefield, Executive Director of the Walt Disney Family MuseumWalt Disney was a storyteller.

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Disney Netpal Netbook by Asus Now Available for Pre-Order on Amazon.com

The Disney Netpal by Asus is now available for pre-ordering at Amazon.com for $350. Although it has no ship date listed, the current date listed for the Toys R Us version is August 11 (pushed back from an original date of August 3).

Remember that the difference between the two is that the Amazon version has a 160 GB hard drive for storage, making it slightly heavier, and the Toys R Us version has 16GB of static memory for storage.

Here are the links to the Amazon.com version in: Magic Blue and Princess Pink
And at Toys R Us in: Magic Blue and Princess Pink

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Disney at San Diego Comic-Con, Day Two: Disney Animation Panel

The Disney Animation Panel at San Diego Comic-ConAlso led by Patton Oswalt, the Disney Animation Panel brought together several of the directors from Walt Disney Animation, Disney/Pixar and even Japan’s legendary animated filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki.

A lot of the focus of the panel appears to have been on Ponyo and the upcoming Toy Story 1 & 2 in 3D double-feature and – of course – Toy Story 3.

Attendees were shown clips from Toy Story 2 in 3D as well as a preview of Prep & Landing, the first television special produced for ABC by Walt Disney Animation Studios, coming later this year.

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Chef Mickey Preps for October 25 Appearance of His Sous Chef, Food Network’s Robert Irvine

Food Network Star Robert Irvine with Mickey Mouse © DisneyChef Robert Irvine from Food Network’s “Dinner Impossible,” gets tips from Chef Mickey for his Oct. 25 appearance at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. Epcot kitchens turn up the heat for a global tasting experience worthy of every palate Sept. 25-Nov. 8 at the 14th annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival at Walt Disney World Resort. During the six-week, entertainment-packed event, park guests can taste fine cuisine and wines from the top “foodie” cities of the world. Some 250 chefs including Disney chefs and guest chefs from across the country conducting culinary demonstrations and hosting elegant dinners and tasting events. Guest chefs who have graced the festival include Irvine, Tory McPhail of Commander’s Palace, Rock Harper of “Hell’s Kitchen,” plus Jeff Henderson, Todd English, Warren Brown, Mary Meyers, Jamie Deen, Iron Chef Cat Cora and many other culinary stars. (Kent Phillips, photographer)

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