Friday, 10 June 2011

Hooray for Hollywood!

I don't really have a favourite WDW park but if I did i think Disney's Hollywood Studios would be a pretty strong contender for the title. It's the only park where I find myself missing past attractions but also loving the new ones.

In total I have been personally involved in attractions at Hollywood Studios 4 times.

First, was the backstage magic tour which has been gone for years. Toy Story Mania now occupies the building that it was in, the entrance for which was near the current backlot tour. It existed back when the park was a working studio and you got to walk in a gallery that ran along the top of the soundstages, watch a short film starring Bette Midler, and have movie magic like blue screen and split screen divides demonstrated. I was selected to demonstrate blue screen and at the time they used 101 Dalmatians (the live action version) to do this. I got to sit on a bike that had no pedals and was told to pedal as fast as I could and was occasionally told to lean left/right/etc. They then made it look like Pongo was pulling me around the streets of London. Now, the amusing thing about this is that I can't actually ride a bike, so for me it was a bit of a special moment getting to ride one around London. Only in the movies - eh!

Time #2 was when I was 15. It was the 1st anniversary of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire - Play It! and the second show of the day which made it exactly 1 year since I had first visited the attraction. For those that don't remember/never saw WWTBAMPI! it was also in the building that now houses Toy Story Mania but it was more on the right side. In fact the soundstage gallery was visible from within the attraction and when both Backstage Magic and Millionaire existed they used to phone the gallery as part of the Phone a Complete Stranger lifeline. Anyway....each show would have two people make it into the hotseat. The first was decided by a fastest finger first round and the second was decided by the entire audience playing along and the person with the most correct answers in the fastest time would get to play. So there I am with my sister while the parents were sunbathing by the pool and we had to place 4 Disney films in order of original release. According to Charly my fingers moved like lightning and before we knew where we were i made it into the seat where I made it all the way to 16,000 points which, according to a CM was the furthest any Brit had got at that time.

Time #3 was at the Backlot tour. Now unfortunately I don't have any pictures or video of me in the show but I DO have pictures of the segment in question. So just imagine me and my friend being part of the action.

Yeah, I was dressed like a smurf!

Time #4 was back over at Millionaire. This time I was 18 or 19 and the attraction was due to close in August of that year. My sister was desperate to get in the hot seat before it closed so the last day of our trip was spent at the studios and boy was she on a mission. At the start of the day it was decided that we would go to every show until she got in that seat. I asked what I should do if, God forbid, I should make it into the hot seat and after the initial "I'd kill you" she said that I'd have to play but we'd keep going to the shows. So off we went to Millionaire for the first show of the day. Someone won the fastest finger first round and into the hot seat they went and with poised fingers we were ready to play along. The plan was for me to tell Charly the answer if I knew what it was and so I did right up to a question where I had no idea of the answer. Thankfully she got it right but I didn't so at that point I was a bit more relaxed playing along because if you got any wrong you basically had no chance of getting called down. A couple of questions go by and then one about meat comes up. Now I genuinely had no idea of the answer and told Charly that so we both just randomly hit one of them. Well, it turned out that only about 5 people in the entire audience got the answer right and the guy in the hot seat got it wrong and would you believe I was one of the 5. I literally sat there praying that I wasn't number 1 on the leaderboard but I was so down to the hot seat I went. I remember the host asking who was with me and I replied saying something like my sister but she'd kill me for making it down. the host made some quip about Charly not caring if I ended up winning a cruise and all I could think was "Yes she will!" This time round I made it to 32,000 - yay for improvement! But I then had to go to every show that day befriending some Millionaire regulars on the way. Sadly Charly never made it into the hot seat that day and despite some mild protestations we never saw the attraction again.

To be continued.....

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