Here is a first hand report form John H, who attended one of the preview shows.
Got to see Who Wants to be a Millionaire - Play It! at MGM last night during cast preview. The following is a report on the attraction. If you don't want to know everything about the attraction, then stop reading now :)
We entered the attraction via the back of the production building, so I can't say much about the queue. They had the area around the building set up for a VIP showing later that night with food and the works. We walked down some hallways and into the lobby, and then onto the set.
The set is a very similar to the New York set, except there are more seats. It is raised off the floor and looks very much like a game show set (as opposed to a permanent-looking attraction). There are three entrances onto the set - two for the quests and one for 'Regis'. Above each is a large screen for video and a robot camera. While we were seating, some of the crew were wandering around the set (they gave us a speech about how this was a preview and no prizes would be awarded except for the preview medallion).
Someone went by with flowers in a Mickey vase, which we all thought was for
someone in the crew for the show opening. When you sit down, there is a membrane keypad in front of you (mounted pretty low and nothing special). It has four buttons on it marked A, B, C, and D. Next to the pad is your seat number. The 10 seats surrounding the hot seat were empty for our show, but will apparently be used by random people selected from the crowd. They have nice screens on them, as does the screen for the hot seat.
A stage manager came out to explain how everything works, including the methods of getting in the hot seat (more later). He then introduced Regis, who was back stage getting ready for the show. Regis appeared on the screen in his dressing room saying that he was going to out for our show in just a moment. He was chatting with a stage manager about the show and kept saying we were going to win money (and doing an obvious job of reading the cue cards :), which the SM reminded him that it was only points we would win.
Then the flowers that we saw onstage were 'delivered' to his dressing room (which presumably are from Mickey Mouse). He starts getting psyched about starting the show when the SM reminds him that if he does our show, then who will be doing the New York shows? He grabs the plane tickets from the SM and says he's heading back to New York, and that we would have a different host (it's more detailed that this but it gives you the general idea). They then introduce our host, who comes out on stage and off we go.
The game starts with a fast finger round (assuming there is no-one from the last round who is continuing). Everyone plays and the audience member who is fastest goes to the hot seat.
About the audience buttons: you can't change your answer, so once its registered your committed. We've determined that getting an answer right but taking longer is better than getting it wrong in a short amount of time.
You get a 'limited edition' pin for each question you get right. You also get a hat at the first plateau (5000 points), and a '32000 point winner' polo shirt at the second plateau, in addition to the hat and pins. I'm not sure what the hat or pins look like. If you get to a million you go to New York to see Regis. You have to reach a plateau to be guaranteed anything, and you can walk away at any time with your loot. If you get a question wrong OR run out of time, then you lose everything back to the last plateau. From a timing standpoint, you get a short amount of time to answer (unlike> the TV show). It was something like 15 seconds for the first 5 questions, then 20 for the second five, then 30 (don't quote me). The audience gets the same amount of time. The keypad lights light up when you can enter your answer. This typically happens just when the last choice (d) is revealed. The faster you enter the answer, the better your score. Most people would hold their fingers ready and push the button as soon as humanly possible. You have three lifelines. The ask the audience lifeline does not re-poll the audience. Instead it uses the audience's original answers. And phone a complete stranger is just someone up in the tour hall or out by Fastpass (or in the office if no-one is there).
After a plateau question, we get to see who in the audience is fastest thus far. I'm not sure how they do the points, but I do know that you have to be REALLY fast and accurate to even think about getting on the list. We only had about 100 people, so with 600 it will be very competitive.
The first 10 questions are fairly easy, so getting to the second plateau was quick for both people who played. All of the first 5 seemed to be Disney related questions. The first person missed the 64000 question, so they displayed the scores for the audience and picked the person from the audience who had the highest score and he took her place. He got to the 125000 point question before time ran out. I believe that he gets asked if he wants to come back and continue on the next show. They didn't do that for us, though. The show was 25 minutes long.
As far as I could tell, the lighting and the music were identical to the New York show. The host did a pretty good job of running the show. Sometimes there would be a short delay after he would say 'here's the next question' and when the question appeared, or when showing the correct answer. I personally think this show will be very popular. It was well done and very suspenseful if your gearing for the hot seat.
Mar 29, 2001 /