Not since Luke and Laura left Port Charles was there a sadder cliffhanger for soap fans than the cancellation of ABC Super Soap Weekend at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Spanning the years 1996-2008, it was promoted as an opportunity for people to meet and greet their favorite soap stars. In its heyday, the event was vastly popular, but as interest in network programming declined, so did ABC Super Soap Weekend.
I was never a committed soap fan, but I did have the opportunity to be a casual observer at ABC Super Soap Weekend in 2005. I did not experience all of the venues, but I will share what I recall.
ABC Super Soap Weekend was an experience organized by Disney and ABC. The event started the same year Disney merged with ABC. At the time, it was one of Walt Disney World‘s premier, annual events, scheduled over one weekend in the fall.
One of the highlights of the event was Celebrity Motorcades and Star Conversations. Throughout the day, vintage motor cars transported ABC soap stars to a stage at the Sorcerer’s Hat where a panel-style discussion and Q and A with the soap stars occurred.
Sprinkled through Hollywood Studios were tents, set up for on-location autographs. Two of the soap stars I visited with were Susan Lucci from All My Children and Erica Slezak from One Life to Live.
If you wanted to wait on line (which I did), you could check out Soap Central at the ABC Commissary. It was a place for fans to window shop or purchase costumes and props from ABC soap sets.
For even more opportunities to mix and mingle with favorite soap stars, there was a Super Soap Talk Show with the stars, show clips, and sneak peeks of upcoming story-lines. Or if you’re looking for that “big break,” at Casting Call you could compete with other Guests for a walk-on role on an ABC soap.
In the evening, a Grand Motorcade transported the stars down Hollywood Boulevard for a lively Street Jam. With music and dancing, it was a soap star celebration showcase. It was a great ending to the day’s festivities!
At a time when crowds at Walt Disney World were less dense, ABC Super Soap Weekend offered soap opera fans a unique,immersive opportunity. Unlike today, it was possible at the event to shake the hand of your favorite stars and exchange a few words. All ABC Super Soap Weekend activities were included in your park ticket—no separate ticket was necessary. In 2005, autograph session Fastpasses were implemented to eliminate the need to wait on line.
When Disney pulled the plug on ABC Super Soap Weekend, a mournful cry arose from the soap fan arena followed by a continuing hope that the event would come back from the dead—just like soap characters. Tune in tomorrow!
(Photos from the author’s personal collection.)
To learn more about K.S. Wicks and read some of her other posts on the WDW Radio Blog, visit her author page by clicking the link on her name above.