With the closing of Who Wants to be a Millionaire-Play It! this past summer, I had no favorite attraction. Millionaire was my favorite because it was a new attraction every time I went. Simply, every time I played, I could win a cruise which is a really amazing concept. I could play as many times per day as there were shows and I really thought I had a shot at winning it (although based on my performance, even when I did make it into the hot seat, I didn’t do too well so my chances weren’t as large as I may have every believed). This opportunity to play was a lot of fun and I met some really great people because of this attraction and spent untold hours here (much to the dismay of my girlfriend).
Before Millionaire closed, my day at the Studios was built around Millionaire show times. I would get to the park for opening, ride two or three rides before the first show of the day, and then begin a schedule of a twenty-five minute show followed by a break, and another show in the next hour until early afternoon where I would take my lunch break, walk around the park a little bit and then resume my schedule for the rest of the afternoon until the final show of the day.
So Millionaire is closed now and I need a new favorite attraction. Somewhere I can go when in doubt and I have free time. Some attraction that I can stand to experience over and over and over again without getting sick of it. I had some viable candidates after some thinking, Rock ‘n Roller Coaster, Muppetvision and Tower of Terror. All three attractions I’ve enjoyed over the years for different reasons.
Rock ‘n Roller Coaster was my first favorite attraction at the Studios before I decided I want to become a millionaire (or at least win a cruise). It was my first upside down roller coaster and I found the whole attraction tremendously fun. I loved how they themed the idea of being in a record company recording studio while meeting Aerosmith from the announcements heard while waiting in line (“Jude, you’ve got a call on line 3. Hey, Jude, pickup line 3”) to that really annoying door that has all those marbles that every guest rolls their hands over.
The problem with Coaster is it was my first favorite attraction but I’ve done some growing up since then and although it was romantic a notion to go back to my first, the appeal of it had diminished over the years and I had ridden it so much that I was over it and couldn’t call it my favorite anymore.
The next possibility was Muppetvision 3D. One of these days I am going to spend a few hours in the preshow area to examine all of the gags that are in there. Besides the great preshow film, there are really funny signs, markings and gags hidden throughout the room. On a previous trip, I took about 20 minutes to look around the “security desk” (located to your right as you enter the building but before you go through the turnstiles) to see all of the funny items in there (You may not need to spend 20 minutes like me, but it is worth checking out). And beyond the preshow and thematic elements in the building, the film is good fun and has some great jokes.
I found that I enjoyed the preshow elements moreso than the actual attraction. I’ve seen the film so many times that like Coaster, it’s gotten a bit tiresome (only after about two or three dozen times of seeing the film does the film really start to get “old” and I highly recommend you see the film many times) and it bothered to call Muppetvision my favorite attraction when really, it’s the stuff outside the film that I enjoy.
So that leaves me with Tower of Terror. I was never a huge fan of the attraction early on. It’s fun but it was always the “cool kid” of attractions; the attraction everybody likes. There was something romantic about liking an attraction like Who Wants to be a Milionaire, Muppetvision or to a lesser extent Rock ‘n Roller Coaster for me. As I started really paying attention to Tower I saw a wealth of visual and mental stimuli. Like Muppetvision, the building and grounds outside of the ride is really interesting. There are so many stories behind what’s to be found and why it’s there. I especially enjoy the references to Twilight Zone episodes as opposed to flagrant references to something that everyone knows. A great example is the sign in the lobby advertising “Anthony Fremont Orchestra” which is set to play at the Tip-Top Club. Well, Anthony Fremont was the name of a character from a Twilight Zone episode where a little boy named Anthony Fremont had the ability to control the world through his mind.
Besides the great references and theming in the area, the ride is a lot of fun and with the not-so-recent addition of a random drop profile, it’s become a totally new attraction. And if it ever gets old, a fun option to try is to ride with someone who has never ridden before. It’s akin to sacrificing a virgin to the volcano gods on a less disturbing level. And to this day I’m discovering new references to the Twilight Zone episodes and tidbits of Imagineering knowledge.
So I’m no longer attempting to win cruises but I’ve found a new favorite attraction. Sure, some say by choosing Tower, it’s a “trophy” favorite but my girlfriend likes it a lot more than Millionaire (and let’s be honest, if the girlfriend isn’t happy, there’s trouble for yours truly). But like any ex, I’ll always love Millionaire, I’ve just moved on to a new love.