This “Death-defying” “free falling” doomed elevator in the eerily haunted Tower of Terror located in Hollywood Studios is satisfyingly haunting as you take a ride to the Twilight Zone! Doo-Do-Doo-Do. The Tower of Terror is easily one of the best and most sought-after attractions in Hollywood Studios, I mean my five-year-old asks to go on it repeatedly!
The storyline and details surrounding this attraction combine the elements of the popular Twilight Zone television series with the amazingly detail-oriented Imagineers creating the most heart-racing, spine-chilling ride on Disney property. What are those details that make this ride so popular? Let us take a closer look into the Twilight Zone!
As already mentioned, the Tower of Terror is based on the popular television series, The Twilight Zone. In fact, all 156 eerie episodes were viewed before the frightening, fictional tale was imagined. If you have been on this ride several times, like us, you can recite the following opening monologue of the storyline behind the Tower of Terror. “On a stormy Halloween night in 1939, five individuals- an elegant honeymooning couple, a child actress, her nanny, and a bellman-entered an elevator in the prestigious Hollywood Tower Hotel. As the elevator ascended it was struck by lightning, sending it plummeting to the ground floor, yet the bodies of the victims were never found. Though the hotel has long since been abandoned and remains in its eerily original, untouched state, the missing individuals are believed to still be roaming the grounds, inviting unsuspecting visitors to enter the Fifth Dimension with them.
As you are watching the opening pre-show video before you enter the hotel, guests get the pleasure to see the host of the Twilight Zone television, Rod Serling. However, Rod Serling passed away in 1975 so Disney Imagineers pieced together actual snippets of footage and audio, along with voiceovers from Mark Silverman narrating the remainder of the video, to create a seamless pre-show.
The Hollywood Tower of Terror is one of the tallest attractions at Walt Disney World, standing at 199 feet tall. The first tallest attraction is located at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Expedition Everest comes in at 199.5 feet tall. In fact, if the Tower of Terror was one foot taller it would require a flashing red aircraft beacon on top, per Florida law. Fun fact! The Tower is so tall it can actually be seen by the neighboring park, Epcot. As you cross the bridge that leads to Mexico in Epcot’s World Showcase, look across the lagoon for a perfect view of Morocco with the Tower of Terror positioned directly behind it in the distance. You wouldn’t know it though without these helpful tips as the Imagineers blended the tower in with a Moorish feel perfectly.
As you enter the hotel look around at the amazing details that surround you, including the cast members who are wearing costumes made to resemble a 1930s bellhop. These costumes cost over a thousand US dollars, making them the most expensive cast member costume on Disney property!
Take a look at the concierge desk in the lobby. The Hollywood Tower Hotel was awarded 13 diamonds from AAA. Did you know the highest AAA rating a hotel can receive is only 5 diamonds? Spooky! Looking around the lobby, guests can also spot sheet music resting under an old trumpet in the library room which reads “What! No Mickey Mouse?” There’s a copy of “Four Pages of Hilarious Star Caricatures by Walt Disney” featured in Photoplay Magazine on the lobby’s concierge desk. The lobby is also outfitted with many genuine antiques and furniture; including a mahjong game on a table that has appeared to been abandoned mid-game.
Throughout the Ride.
As you enter into the corridor guests will start to notice slow-moving apparitions of the five individuals trapped in the Fifth Dimension. How is this possible? The dimension is created using the technique, which can also be found during the ballroom scene of the dancing ghosts in The Haunted Mansion attraction, using simple mirroring techniques which create the illusion of three-dimensional, translucent “ghosts”. Once through the corridor you will enter the elevator shaft which will create the terrifying “free-fall”. Fun fact, the free-fall of the ride is created by your elevator falling at a rate faster than the speed of gravity while being controlled by motors and pulled up and down by cables. As you are “free-falling” the computer system running the attraction will also choose the random drop sequence you will experience. That’s right, you will not always experience the same drop as the Hotel is in control of your destiny! The original attraction that debuted in 1994 only featured one big fall, now the only guarantee is that you will drop more than once!
We hope you enjoyed your experience in the Fifth Dimension as you entered the Twilight Zone!
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