Mark and Heather C's Blog Post
POSTED on Monday, January 28th, 2013
My wife and I have been watching Wheel of Fortune for 30 years, since we were both young children. We both have special memories of watching the show with our grandparents. Being selected as a contestant was a dream come true! I have been applying to be a contestant on the show for 7 years. On one ordinary work day, I received an email to audition in Louisville, KY. I was so excited that before I had even finished reading the email, I called my wife to share my great news. After our conversation, I read the rest of the email which stated that I needed to call to confirm my spot, as seats were limited and were available on a first come, first serve basis. Thankfully, I called in time and my spot was reserved! Finally, I was one step closer to my lifelong dream.
When I called to reserve my spot, I asked the contestant coordinator if my wife would be able to join me so we could audition as a couple. They said YES! We were consumed with excitement (and nerves) for our big audition day and made a fun weekend in Louisville out of the whole experience. The audition was held in the Brown hotel in downtown Louisville. There were probably 80 people at our audition. They had also held an audition the day before.
After several rounds of practice games, a written test, and impromptu interviews we made it to the final cut. We were thrilled and honored just to be a part of this experience. The contestant coordinators are amazing! They do everything they possibly can to make you as successful as possible during your audition.
Once the auditions were over and only about 20 of us remained, we were told that if we didn't get a letter within 2 weeks, we didn't make it. SO, two weeks later nothing. Two months later not a word. At this point, we had almost given up hope! Our dream was slowly slipping away, until one cold December day. Yes, December 5 months later. As my wife was rushing around making dinner for the kids, she received a call from one of the contestant coordinators inviting us to be contestants on Disney's Making Family Memories Week, taping in 2 weeks!
My wife created a makeshift Wheel of Fortune game for me on a dry erase board as her way of telling me about our awesome news! I can only remember yelling "Are you kidding me? Are you kidding me?" To say I was excited would be a massive understatement. After making childcare, flight, hotel, and clothing, arrangements, etc., we were on our way to making our dream come true! Our day on the show was thrilling, nerve-wracking, and entertaining, to say the least. Watch us spin on Wednesday, January 30th!
Thursday, January 31st, 2013
Were we nervous? Absolutely! Were we prepared? Definitely! Again, the contestant coordinators are phenomenal! We started VERY early but the coordinators spent the entire day preparing us for our big moment! They reviewed the rules, gave us tips, let us practice spinning the wheel and calling letters, and so much more. They are professional morale boosters!
The set is so beautiful! It's smaller than it looks on TV, as is the wheel, but it was really amazing seeing the set guys transform it to a Disney wonderland, complete with Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy and Lightning McQueen. The entire studio audience wore mouse ears! It was surreal! Pat and Vanna were so very nice. Vanna even came into the green room to say hi before the taping and to wish us all good luck.
Finally, it was our turn; time to tape our show. Oddly enough, our nerves had dissipated at this point and we felt completely ready. Our attitude was that we were there to have fun. We were there to play the game we had dreamed of playing our entire lives. If we won any money, that was just a nice bonus on top of this once in a lifetime experience! We had devised a plan for how we would play together. My wife would call the letters, and keep track of what had been called and I would spin the wheel and focus on solving the puzzles. Solving the puzzles was easy. It was the spin of the wheel however, that truly determined our fate in the game.
In the end, we won $11,500! We were just short of making it to the bonus round but are SO excited and grateful for the money we did win. It was a huge blessing, especially considering how hard we were hit when the economy collapsed. We are using most of the money to get back on track, but some of it for fun! We are planning a trip to Florida this fall...and who knows, we may even stop by and say hi to Mickey.