Vanna White's Wheel of Fortune hosting tenure is officially here, and the opening moments were filled with Disney magic. The longtime co-host and puzzle board operator famously stepped into the hosting role as Pat Sajak took time off to recover from emergency surgery. While the host is already back filming new episodes of the show, Monday's episode was the beginning of a lengthy period where White stepped into the main role.
Kicking off her set of episodes, as well as the show's beloved Secret Santa Holiday Giveaway season, White was welcomed to the stage alongside Disney mascots Mickie and Minnie Mouse.
"Hello, hello and welcome to Wheel," White began her greetings at the start of the show. "As I'm sure most of you know by now, Pat [Sajak] is recovering from surgery and hopes to come back real soon.
For the first time in show history, @TheVannaWhite steps in as host at the Wheel, while our friend Minnie Mouse helps out at the puzzleboard! You won’t want to miss this week, as the Secret Santa Holiday Giveaway has officially begun! #WheelOfFortune pic.twitter.com/a8VEeBja4R— Wheel of Fortune (@WheelofFortune) December 10, 2019
"I'm happy to step in and help out, and thanks to Disney Magic, Minnie has the power to light up the puzzle board," she added.
Ahead of her hosting debate, the television personality spoke in an interview with ABC News about the experience of stepping into the host role for the first time in 37 years.
"I was petrified, terrified. But I did it." Good Morning America reports White will host the show for three weeks while Sajak recovered from his emergency surgery for a blocked intestine.
She also spoke at the time of the challenges of controlling the show as host, as well as spinning the wheel.
"[You] have to be aware of everything that's going on, where before all I had to worry about was letters," she said in the interview. "Now I have to carry the whole show, I have to talk to all three players and make sure I get their scores right."
"Those three weeks without him was very hard. I really missed him," she said. "I just can't imagine doing this show without him, you know? And I hope he feels the same with me."
Sajak celebrated his return to filming on Dec. 5 on Twitter, writing: "Even though the shows I missed haven't started airing (they begin next week), I'm happy to say that I'm back in the studio taping today. It's been four weeks since my 'episode,' but it feels longer. Nice to be back."