This edition of In Memoriam focuses on a love-it-or-hate-it attraction at the Disney Parks, ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire – Play It!’ at both Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney California Adventure.
The attraction, based on the popular (at the time) ABC quiz show, allowed guests to take their place in the hot seat and try to answer 15 questions of increasing difficulty. ‘Play It!’ opened in April 2001 at Hollywood Studios and September 2001 at California Adventure, built to bolster criticisms of the lack of things to do at the Park upon its opening in February of the same year.
Fastest finger first contestants were chosen through a variety of methods, including quizzes in the attraction’s queue, as well as random choosing and guest requests to participate. A number of the rounds contained Disney Parks or films related questions, and audience members each had a pad to try to answer the question correctly as well.
The three lifelines were 50:50, Ask the Audience, and Phone a Complete Stranger, in which a Disney Cast Member would answer the call and then pass over to a random guest to help the contestant. The grand prize (i.e. correctly answering question 15) was a trip for two to watch a taping of the show in New York. This later changed to a Disney Cruise vacation for four.
No cash prized were available, but points were used instead, and contestants could win rare Disney pins for each question answered correctly. Audience members could also win prizes.
The declining popularity of the show (which had ended its original run in 2002 and saw its syndicated viewing figures waning) led to the retirement of the attraction, in 2004 at California Adventure and 2006 at Hollywood Studios. At the former, the attraction was never replaced, but is currently being used for Disney’s Frozen Fun event. At Hollywood Studios, the show’s building is now home to Toy Story Midway Mania.
What did you think of ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire – Play It!’? A must-see at the Parks, or did you just skip it? Let us know in the comments!
Luke Dunsmore is a lover of Theme Parks, and is the editor of ThemeParkInvestigator.Com, a news, review and opinion site dedicated to the fascinating World of Theme Parks. He lives in Manchester, UK.