Since it opened in 1989, Disney’s Hollywood Studios has undergone many different changes. Because the park is so focused on the television and movie industry, the live show entertainment is one aspect that has changed a lot over the years. As new shows air and what’s popular evolves at home, the park refreshes their lineup to keep up. Superstar Theater, which has been a staple at Hollywood Studios from the beginning, has hosted many shows with very different concepts over the years.
Superstar Television (1989 – 1998)
SuperStar Television was one of the opening day attractions at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (then called Disney’s MGM Studios). The Sony-sponsored show offered guests the opportunity to play a role in popular television shows like Cheers, General Hospital, Gilligan’s Island, and more.
Before the show began, guests would try to get the attention of the emcee of the preshow in the hopes of getting selected to be in the show. Once all of the “actors” had been selected, they were taken backstage for costumes and make-up. The rest of the audience watched a short pre-show video and then entered the 1,000-seat theater for the main show.
In the audience, guests could see what was going on “behind the scenes” as well as how everything would have appeared on television. While the scenes played out on stage, eight large projection screens displayed the TV perspective. Scenes that were reenacted during SuperStar Television included:
- A morning newscast
- The Howdy Doody Show theme song sing-along
- The famous chocolate candy conveyor belt scene from I Love Lucy
- Drama between Sonya and Donald in General Hospital
- A commercial for Bonanza
- The opening sequence of Gilligan’s Island
- News footage from Apollo 11
- A pie fight between a waiter and the Three Stooges
- An ad for Sony Trinitron televisions
- An episode of Cheers with audience members as bar guests
- The “To Catch a Neighbor” episode of The Golden Girls
- Howard Cosell’s Sports Break
- A Tonight Show interview between Johnny Carson and an audience member
- Some funny segments from The Late Show with David Letterman
The final SuperStar Television show took place on September 26, 1998. It was replaced with Doug Live! a year later.
Doug: Live! (1999 – 2001)
In the early 90’s, Doug was a popular cartoon series that aired on Nickelodeon. The rights to the show were eventually acquired by Disney and was renamed Disney’s Doug. It then aired as part of ABC’s “One Saturday Morning” lineup.
On March 15, 1999, Doug and his friends made their debut at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in a show called Doug: Live! at ABC-TV Theater (formerly called Superstar Theater).
The preshow featured an interview with Doug creator Jim Jinkins, then guests were allowed to enter the theater around 15 to 20 minutes prior to showtime. during this time, guests were quizzed with about the show and its characters by a cast member in a bright costume. this cast member also chooses some audience members to later participate in the show
Disney’s Doug Live! was specifically created for Hollywood studios. The 30-minute musical stage show was a mix of live-action and animated entertainment. Doug Funnie is on the quest to win the heart of Patti Mayonnaise. With the help of his best friend Skeeter Valentine, Doug won tickets to see his favorite band in concert and he’s planning on asking Patti to be his date. Unfortunately, class bully Roger Klotz gets in the way of his plan. Other characters that made appearances during the show included Quailman (Doug’s alter ego), his dog Porkchop, and Evil Dr. Rubbersuit. Audience participants got to play roles like members of “The Beets” and Quailkid.
The last performance of Disney’s Doug Live took place on May 12, 2001. It was replaced by Get Happy…With ABC! in 2002.
Get Happy…With ABC! (2002)
After Disney’s Doug Live ended, Get Happy…With ABC! premiered on July 1, 2002. The new show allowed guests to get a sneak peek at the Fall 2003 television schedule. The interactive show was a 25-minute presentation featuring ABC stars like Ben Affleck, Jim Belushi, Jimmy Kimmel, George Lopez, and many more. Get Happy offered an exclusive look at the newest reality programs, comedies, dramas, and other programming that would be joining ABC’s Fall lineup. Performances took place multiple times daily until it ended on October 5, 2002. The theater then remained vacant for several years until the American Idol Experience opened in 2009.
The American Idol Experience (2009 – 2014)
The American Idol Experience was an interactive talent show that was inspired by the popular television show. It opened on February 14 in ABC Theater, which had been renamed (again) Superstar Television Theater.
The process began with an a capella audition in front of a Disney “casting director”. People who made it to the second round would select a song from a list provided by producers and perform for another audition. Provided songs ranged from pop, country, rock, Latin, R&B, and even Disney songs. After making it past the first two rounds, three guests were then able to perform for the Preliminary Show.
Inside the main theater, the three chosen performers took the stage in front of a live audience during one of five preliminary shows throughout the day. Each act got their own introduction to the crowd and the audience was able to vote for their favorite performer using electric keypads at their seats. The winning acts from all five shows would return for the main show at the end of the day. After every act performed for the second time, the live audience would vote again for their favorite singer.
In addition to the votes from the live audience, there were three credible judges critiquing the performances during the show. The final winner at the end of each day received a “Dream Ticket” that could be used to skip the line at a regional audition for the real American Idol television show.
The American Idol Experience eventually closed on August 30, 2014. For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration moved into the Superstar Theater in 2015.
A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration
Today you’ll find Queen Elsa in the theater, which is now called the Hyperion Theater. The live sing-along show brings some of the movie’s most iconic scenes to life as Arendelle’s Royal Historians retell the epic story. The story’s characters belt out the most popular songs from the Frozen soundtrack and the audience is encouraged to sing along!
You can watch Anna, Elsa, and other Frozen friends take the stage multiple times each day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Grab your discount Disney tickets from Tickets2You and enjoy the show! For more fun Disney history, learn all about the evolution of Storybook Circus at Magic Kingdom!