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Copyright © 2004, 2005 Robin Costello. All rights reserved.

Love Ya, Mean it...
The Accidental Millionaire

Love Ya, Mean it... The Accidental Millionaire

MGM is home to Who Wants to be a Millionaire, Play it. It is a game based on the television show. My son, Chris is quite fond of this game and we played it several times during our stay.

The first thing you need to know is if the show guide says the show starts at 4:10, you need to be there at 4:00 at the very latest. Once they start reading the rules of the game, no one is allowed in. It’s is the Florida State law.

Seriously, we asked around.

We weren’t looking to get ourselves arrested or anything, so we came back earlier than the posted time for the next show.

While you wait in line there are television sets hanging from the ceiling playing clips from past real shows staring Regis and Meredith. Contestants are asked questions and several of us call out ‘B, final answer’ because we are a bunch of smarty pants.

Myself included.

I forgot I was an idiot. I need to write that on my hand or something.

The nice thing about this attraction is it seems you spend more time sitting in the studio waiting for the show to start than standing in line. The studio holds about 47 million people (okay, maybe a little less than that) and it was nearly full during this showing.

I should have taken that as a sign, I refer you back to the idiot comment.

This is just a picture of the studio, not from the day I am talking about.

Now, as you might know, I have these so-called friends known as the Zurgs. They have a black-belt in hot seat achievement; all of them including the little one have been in the hot seat at least once.

They set me up. I know this now.

Kimball and Bennet (AKA the Zurgs) gave me the secret of getting into the hot seat. Fastest finger; just push any combination as fast as you can. After that the key is to click the right answer as fast as you know it, and keep clicking it. You can’t hold it in, pump it. If it isn’t A, B or C start clicking D before it goes up and the screens turn on.

They had also given my son Chris this information; I guess I was afraid of a failure to communicate. I was showing him how to push buttons. He is almost 21 years old and in the military, but in my mind he still needs his mommy to show him how to do the simplest things.

Chris, Bea, Nikki and Del were all leaning forward preparing to push buttons with my drill-instructor voice saying ‘faster, faster!’ while Em pushed hers and the empty seat next to her.

It was probably the ONLY empty seat in the studio.

The board lit up with the seat numbers. We were in the 300 seats and at the very top was a 300 seat.




It was MY seat.

No way.

To this day, the kids laugh themselves to tears over the look terror on my face. This look was broadcast on 3- 75 foot television screens located around the studio so everyone had a good view. My eyes bulged; my face turned pasty white and my mouth dropped wide open. I looked like someone who had just witnessed a terrible accident.

I had, I shouldn’t be on the board. One of the kids should be, not me! I was just showing them what Kimball and Bennet told me to do.

Advice to the extremely shy: If you don’t like being the center of attention, DON’T TOUCH THE STUPID BUTTONS!

If you also happen to have a son in the Air Force that is trained to work on F-16 fighter jets, there is a good chance he can understand simple instructions, he doesn’t NEED a visual on how to push buttons. The government had more faith in him than me apparently. Why did I do that?

“What am I going to do??” I cried to Del, who only laughed and said “You’re on your own, kiddo.”

Love ya, Mean it, my hero.

“Seriously? You’re not going to help me?” I asked in a whimper.

“I’ll hold the camera for you. You heard the rules, no switching seats. You better get up, they are waiting for you.” He said.

I yanked the camera off my neck and dropped it in his lap. “Thanks a lot.” I said and pushed him in the shoulder.

From the second my seat number had lit up, the camera was on me. I didn't realize that. The entire studio saw me freaking out and they were giggling. I didn't hear any of it. I couldn't hear any of it over my heart pounding.

I scooted past people to get to the stairs, pausing at each person to apologize for them having to put my butt in front of them to get past.

That is never pleasant for anyone involved.

Once I was on the stairs, I froze. The lady sitting on the isle put one hand on my arm and said “You’ll be fine, dear.” I would have leaned over to thank her but there was a risk of accidental vomiting if I moved at that moment.

That is not very Disney-like behavior.

At the bottom of the stairs was a man with a head set on, waving me down.

I shook my head.

He waved harder.

I decided to go to the bottom and try to explain to him it was an accident, I didn't mean to get in the hot seat. Surely he would understand.

“Hi, what is your name and where are you from?” Headset man asked me.

“Robin, seat 320. It was an accident. Sorry about that.” I tried to reason with him.

He laughed and said “No, where do you live?”

“The Coast, but I didn't mean to push the buttons. I was just showing my kids what to do.” I told him.

“What STATE do you live in?” he laughed at me again.

“Maine, but you’re not listening.” I was explaining to him.

Headset man continued to laugh as he shook his head. “Follow me.” He instructed me and started walking away.

I was screwed. I touched the buttons and now I would have to be put to death.

He was leading me to the chair to drop dead from a heart attack.

Once I made it to the hot seat, headset man put a black bendable stick with a foam ball on the end of it directly in front of my face. This thing would be called a M-I-C-R-O-P-H-O-N-E. Its function is to amplify what you are saying so the entire room can share what you are saying.

Who knew?

Not me.

I sat there for several seconds looking at it crossed-eyed debating on where or not it was a chin rest.

I am grateful that I didn't carry through with that brain fart.

I did carry on a conversation with the host that I didn't realize the entire room could hear. I guess I thought we were at a commercial break.

Your brain turns to oatmeal the minute you put your butt in the chair, okay?

Before the host could say anything, I started apologizing. “I’m so sorry, this was an accident. I was just pushing the buttons, showing my kids what my friend Kimball told me to do.”

“Well, you had the fastest finger, .05 seconds. That’s pretty good for an accident. It sounds to me like your friend is pretty good at this.” He said to me.

“Yeah, well, if I survive this, and I am not entirely convinced that I will, Kimball’s getting a phone call as soon as I get outside.” I said with a heavy sigh.

It took me several seconds to realize that when I sat in the chair, I had put an atomic death grip on the armrest. I actually hurt myself squeezing the chair so hard. I said out-loud “Well, ouch, dummy, let go” and started rubbing my hands.


I think my tormentors name was Brian, but I was freaking out so bad I couldn't remember the name of my own crew. He introduced me to the 47 million (more or less) people sitting in the studio and asked me who I was here with.

Could I use a life line?

When we came back later to another show (where I kept my hands OFF the buttons) we spotted Brian wearing the headset. I guess they take turns torturing people.

I half-heartedly waved my hand over my shoulder to my crew who was behind me and said “Them”.

I couldn't remember the name of the man I share a bed with, or the name of people I gave birth too and the spare kiddo, how was I suppose to answer questions?

The camera zoomed over to my crew who, with the exception of my shy Bea baby, started waving their hands and sticking out their tongues. Bea buried her face in her hands right after she shot me a look that clearly said “Mother, how could you?”

“There are a lot of people over there; do you know all of them?” Brain asked. I now realize he was trying to get me to say the names of my crew.

I couldn’t. I said “Yup. I know hundreds of people.”

That’s about right, wouldn’t you say?

I was still looking at the 75 foot screen when it zoomed back to me.


It was obvious that I had out-eaten all the walking we had been doing. I had gained 47 pounds and had eye-liner smudged under my eyes giving me that walking-dead glamour look.

Nikki told me later that I looked at the screen several times and grimaced each time when I did. She desperately try to tell me telepathically to stop doing that, the grimace was worse than what I actually looked like, but the screen is slightly to the right of my tormentors head and couldn't be helped.

There was the possibility of one of two things happening to me while sitting in the hot seat. The first was the accidental vomiting I told you about earlier and the other was a fainting party with me as the host. I had to get out of there and my plan was to blast threw my life lines as quickly as possible.

I wanted to use one on the first question I was asked.

“So Robin, what do you do?” Brian asked me.

I think this was the first that I had actually LOOKED at my host. Holy cow, he was a handsome man but that was a pretty nosy question.

Seconds past while I thought of what I was going to say. I could almost feel my crew trying to tell me not to say it; ‘DON’T admit in front of 47 million people what you do’.

A lot of jobs raced in my head. Could I lie and say a banker, maybe? What if there was a math question? Could I pass for a dancer? No, chubs, you couldn't. Look at the screen and grimace again, you know they would never believe you could move those double chins with any kind of grace.

I couldn't think of a job description for my second part-time job that I held. Girl behind desk that collects money and takes orders is all that came to mind. Oil company was too hard of a word to get out with out on of the two possible scenarios taking over. (Vomiting and fainting)

“I deliver pizza.” I said as quickly as possible hoping we could move on to something else.

We couldn't, Brain looked at me like I had just whipped out a breast or something. It was a total shock to him.

“Really? Wow! I bet you have some stories to share.” He said.

Who, me? If he only knew.

He then asked me which of the parks was my favorite and I said Magic Kingdom. He asked me if I would like to try again.

Oh, he is a handsome smart-aleck. The correct answer to that question is MGM. (Dramatic eye-roll inserted here)

The game started and I knew I couldn't use a life-line on the first couple of questions. The crew was so excited that one off us had made it to the hot seat; I had to play a little so they wouldn’t be disappointed.

I used the ‘50-50’ life-line and the ‘ask the audience’ life-line first. I had to hurry up and blast the ‘phone a complete stranger’ life-line away quickly because my previously mentioned two scenarios where become a very real situation.

My complete stranger told us her life story. She is a stay at home mother of three that was visiting Disney for the first time with her family that was in from Detroit who owned a cat that had just recovered from surgery or something. I almost screamed for her to just answer the question.

She didn't sound like she really knew the answer, so I went with what she said and prepared to hop out of the hot seat and run.

She was right.

I hate my complete stranger.

The next question I got wrong. I made it to the 8000 point question was free of the hot seat!

Headset man suddenly and without warning appeared behind me scaring the crap out of me so much that I actually jumped and then squeaked.

Into the M-I-C-R-P-H-O-N-E.

After my performance I was led into a small room where I had to give my name, social security number, date of birth, blood sample and first born child, sign a paper saying I couldn't return to the hot seat for 30 days, but I tried to negotiated it to 30 years. In return I was awarded a hat, lanyard and 5 pins. Pretty good deal, I think.

I was returned to my crew by headset man. People around me were commenting on how I made them laugh and what a good job I did. I thought it would end there.

It didn't.

As soon as we walked outside I whipped out my cell phone to call Kimball. I screamed at her that thanks to her and Bennet, I was in the hot seat and it was all her fault. She laughed and said ‘You’re welcome’ like it was a good thing.

I would have asked her if she was smoking something if people didn't stop coming up to me and telling me how funny I was.

Funny is as funny does.

We went to the 50’s prime time for dinner and a lady in the bathroom asked Bea is the lady in the stall was the one that was just in the hot seat.

“Yeah, now she’s on the toilet seat.” Bea laughed.

Two days later, while we were in Epcot I was talking on my cell to my friend Laura when another family stopped me and said “Oh my god! You were in the hot seat! You were a riot!”

Laura laughed her butt off.

I will never, ever touch those buttons again.

Copyright © 2004, 2005 Robin Costello. All rights reserved.


Love Ya / Mean It and Pins

Tony, Delaney, Connor - Love Ya / Mean It

Robin & Del, Kimball & Bennet (aka Delswife & Scuba Steve, Zurgswife & Zurg) are proud to announce two unique limited edition trading pins to benefit research to help find cures for Juvenile Diabetes and Muscular Dystrophy.

We love going to Disney World and writing funny trip reports, after all it is how we became friends.  We care just as much or more about helping these two great causes. All the profits from pin sales will go to JDRF and MDA because, well, Robin thought it would be a fun idea.

So if you enjoy the trip reports please chip in and buy a pin or two. Pins are $10.00 each including shipping and handling (North America.) Send an email to with how many pins you would like and we will get the pins rolling. The pins have sold out. Existing orders are being filled but we can't take anymore pin orders, sorry. There still Love Ya /  Mean it Pins (there were more to start.) 

If you feel inspired click either MDA or JDRF's logo or both and make additional contributions.