Who Wants to be a Millionaire-Play It!
Another one bites the dust. After 5 short years, “Who wants to be a Millionaire, Play It!” at Disney’s Hollywood studios is closing on August 19, '06.
This attraction is based on the wildly popular TV game show “Who wants to be a Millionaire" which premiered in August of ’99. The Hollywood Studios version opened on April 6, 2001 with Regis Philbin doing the honors at the ribbon cutting.
You had to hand it to the Disney Imagineers, they found an ingenuous way of keeping guests from making a mass exodus if they didn’t make it into the Hot Seat. Everyone has a keypad and having the “fastest finger” means you could be the next contestant.
Who wants to be a Millionaire – Play It! bears a strong resemblance to the TV show. The dramatic music and stage are virtual duplicates. The hosts are just a “little bit” enthusiastic. Picture Regis 30 year’s younger running onstage after drinking 43 gallons of black coffee and you get the idea. You have to wonder how anyone can be that perky doing the same show over and over, day in and day out.
There’s “Ask the Audience”, “50/50" and a cute twist on the “call a friend.” If you use that lifeline, you’re calling a complete stranger on Mickey Avenue. With the top prize being a Disney Cruise, there’s a lot at stake.
Think it’s easy? Sure, while the person in the Hot Seat is sweating, you’re snickering from the audience because you know the answer. Just get under the glare of the lights with everyone looking at you and see what happens. I don't like to name names, but I was there when a certain webmaster whose intials are Pete Werner found out the hard way that a lavatory is not in your attic. (Note to self: never visit Pete's attic, ever.)
Considering that this is a “Fast Pass” attraction, its closure comes as a surprise. I’ve never seen it without a full audience and the annual tapings of the TV show at Hollywood Studios always drew a large crowd.
It’s always sad to see an attraction close, but such is Disney. Millionaire joins Superstar Television which has yet to be replaced. Maybe these audience participation shows don’t meet expectations? Who knows, but for fans of the attraction, August 19 will be a day tinged with sadness.