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Who Wants To Be A Millionaire - Play It!

Who Wants To Be A Millionaire - Play It! was an attraction at Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida and Disney's California Adventure Park in Anaheim, California. The attraction was a modified version of the Who Wants to Be a Millionaire television game show.

Game information

The attraction's theater was an exact replica of the television show. Sessions of the game ran several times a day; each session was 25 minutes long (but did not wait until the current contestant vacated the hot seat to stop) and seated 647 park guests.

The Disney park version of the game differed from the television version in several ways:

  • Contestants competed for points, not dollars. A contestant won a Disney collector's pin for each point level he passed (minus any down to the previous milestone if he got a question wrong). At 1,000 points, a contestant won a 1,000 point baseball cap. At 32,000 points, he won a 32,000 point polo shirt, and a 1,000 point hat. At one million points, he won a Disney Cruise Line vacation for four, a leather jacket, a gold medallion, and the 32,000 shirt and 1,000 hat. (During the first run of the television show, the million-point prize was a trip for two to a taping of the show in New York.)
  • Every audience member had his own A/B/C/D keypad. The ten contestant row seats were not special in any way (other than a video display of the camera work). Staffers outside the studio would quiz the waiting queue of audience members before they entered the studio -- correct answers would win the waiting audience members one of the ten seats.
  • To begin a session, a fastest finger question was asked. The audience member who got the correct answer in the shortest time got the hot seat.
  • The hot seat contestant had only fifteen seconds to answer each of the first five questions (100-1,000 points), thirty seconds per question for the next five questions (2,000-32,000 points), forty-five seconds for the next four questions (50,000-500,000 points), and fifty-five seconds for the final million-point question. (In the primetime version of the show, there is no time limit, because the pressure is tougher due to the fact that you're actually winning money, which was not the case at the Play It! attraction. There is an almost exactly similar time limit in Season 7 of the syndicated version, however. The only difference in syndicated season 7 is that, for the 15th question, the player gets 45 seconds plus all accumulated time from the other questions to try to win one million dollars.)
  • Each audience member could answer a question on his keypad at the same time as the hot seat contestant did. Contestants won points by pressing the correct button quickly; at the 1,000 and 32,000-point levels the game was paused briefly to show the top ten scores. If the hot seat contestant got a question wrong or decided to walk away, instead of additional fastest finger questions, the top scorer in the audience took his place, as long as there was time remaining. (Usually, only two full games were played.) The player with the highest score on the last game only won congratulations from the host, if that.
  • The three lifelines were 50:50, Ask The Audience, or Phone A Complete Stranger. Ask The Audience is immediate; the audience's answers can be instantly polled, because the audience already had a chance to enter their answers. Phone A Complete Stranger connected the contestant to a Cast Member outside the theater who found a guest to help. (Of course, often, the guest could be either an adult or a young child, with predictable results.)

Questions based on Disney parks and films often appeared at any point during the game. Usually, because the Fastest Finger First could be won by a younger audience member randomly selecting the correct one of the 24 possible orders and inputting it in a ridiculously small amount of time, the first five questions were usually easy enough that anyone in the audience could answer them correctly.

Special events

During the Disney's Hollywood Studios' Star Wars Weekends, the first two games of the day featured questions based on the Star Wars films and universe and begin with Greedo in the hot seat, answering questions in the alien language Rodanese. The lifelines in the "Star Wars Weekends" version of the game worked exactly like the regular game but were named 50:50, Ask the Jedi Council, and Phone a Stormtrooper.

During ESPN The Weekend, also based at Disney's Hollywood Studios, Play It! consists of sports trivia questions; contestants got to "team up" with ESPN personalities and sports figures, according to the official ESPN The Weekend website. For this edition of the game, the "Phone A Complete Stranger" lifeline was replaced with a chance to ask an ESPN expert -- either Howie Schwab or the Sklar Twins -- for assistance.

History

Both Disney's Hollywood Studios & Disney's California Adventure's versions of the attraction offered FASTPASS on these attractions. FASTPASS at Disney's California Adventure's version of the attraction was available for the whole run, while the Disney's Hollywood Studios version was taken out when the Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show arrived.

The attraction's former sound stages at Disney's Hollywood Studios are now the site of the interactive Toy Story Midway Mania! attraction.

The sound stage and Millionaire attraction at Disney's California Adventure were built as a quick fix to the initial criticisms and low attendance the park faced upon its opening in February 2001. Though the building has been unused since the attraction closed in 2004, it is planned to be used as the park's temporary main entrance while the permanent main entrance undergoes a major renovation project.

TV broadcasts

On several occasions over three years, the attraction at Disney's Hollywood Studios hosted tapings of the syndicated television show for later broadcast.

Attraction facts

  • Grand opening:
  • Closing date:
  • Designer: Walt Disney Entertainment
  • Show length: 25 minute shows, but didn't stop the show to keep that deadline
  • Ride system: Interactive theater
  • Total # of 1,000,000 Point Winners:
    • Disney's Hollywood Studios: 126
    • Disney's California Adventure: 47

References

See also

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