The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

Infobox Disney ride
name= Tower of Terror

designer= Walt Disney Imagineering
manufacturer= Walt Disney World Co
type= Elevator drop
theme= The Twilight Zone
control_system= Dual Processor Allen-Bradley PLC
host= Rod Serling
vehicle_type= AGV/VVC
guests_per_vehicle= 21
height_requirement= 40
custom_label_1= Number of vehicles-
custom_value_1= 6-8
custom_label_2= Guests per vehicle
custom_value_2= 21

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, more commonly known as Tower of Terror, is a simulated freefall thrill ride at Disney's Hollywood Studios in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, at Disney's California Adventure Park in Anaheim, California, and at Walt Disney Studios Park, Disneyland Resort Paris. It is based upon the television show "The Twilight Zone". The version of the attraction located at Disney's Hollywood Studios opened in 1994, the version located at Disney's California Adventure opened in 2004 and the version in Walt Disney Studios in Paris officially opened on April 05, 2008 - even though it was unofficially open since December 22, 2007.

A similar attraction without a Twilight Zone theme opened at Tokyo DisneySea in Japan on September 4, 2006.

The attraction is themed to resemble the fictional Hollywood Tower Hotel. The story of the hotel, adapted from elements of the television series, includes the hotel being struck by lightning on October 31, 1939, mysteriously transporting an elevator car full of passengers to the Twilight Zone. The exterior of the attraction resembles an old hotel with a blackened scorch mark across the front of the facade where the lightning destroyed part of the building. All of the cast members wear a costume that resembles that of a 1930s bellhop. At over one thousand dollars (US) per uniform, it is the most expensive costume in the various theme parks. [ [ Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | Headline | National News | Dallas Morning News ] ]

At 199 feet, it is the second tallest attraction at the Walt Disney World Resort, shorter only than Expedition Everest's 199.5 feet. The Tower of Terror is 199 feet high at Walt Disney World because of FAA regulations that require a fixed red light beacon to be added to the top of any 200-foot or taller building. Imagineers thought that the beacon would take away from the hotel's 1939 theme. At the Disneyland Resort, the 183-foot attraction is the tallest attraction at the resort, as well as the tallest building in Anaheim. In Disneyland Resort Paris it is the second tallest attraction. Only the Jules Verne-themed Panoramagique goes higher (over 200 feet).

Attraction storyline and description

Queue and pre-show

In the American and European versions of the attraction, guests enter the hotel through the main entrance gate. The outdoor queue winds itself through the overgrown gardens of the Hollywood Tower Hotel, and then it enters the lobby. From this point, guests are assisted in entering the hotel's library. Through the window, guests can observe that there is a thunderstorm going on outside. Lightning strikes and the television comes on, apparently of its own accord. The opening sequence of Season 4 of "The Twilight Zone" plays, followed by an explanation of the events hosted by Rod Serling. (The late Serling is able to "host" the events via some reused footage and audio from one of the episodes, along with additional dialogue dubbed by a voice actor. Henceforth, all future references to Rod Serling refer to the character in the attraction.) He then invites guests, if they dare, to step aboard the service elevator. With that, the TV goes out and the sliding wall in the back of the library opens. The guests exit the library and enter the basement boiler room, where they wait until their elevator is ready.

In an effort to be true to the spirit of "The Twilight Zone", Disney Imagineers reportedly watched every episode of the original television show at least twice. The attraction buildings are littered with references to "Twilight Zone" episodes.

Disney's Hollywood Studios version

Infobox Disney ride

park=Disney's Hollywood Studios
land=Sunset Boulvard
opened=July 22, 1994
custom_label_1= Number of vehicles
custom_value_1= 8
custom_value_2="Never the Same Fear Twice," "The Tower is in Control!"
transfer_accessible= 1
The ride system employs specialized technology developed specifically for Disney, particularly the ability to move the vehicle in and out of the vertical motion shaft. The elevator cabs are self-propelled, automated vehicles which lock into the vertical motion cabs. The cabs move into and out of elevators horizontally, move through the "Fifth Dimension" scene, and on to the drop shaft. After the vehicle has completed its profile, the vehicle propels itself to the unload dock and then back to the show shaft. The Floridian ride system runs on a loop, though it's not as efficient as the newer "franchise" version used in California, Paris, and Tokyo. The self propulsion system used in the vehicles often causes some long and complicated downtimes which are, of course, frustrating to cast members and guests.

In this version of the attraction, Rod Serling greets passengers the moment the elevator doors close, saying, "You are the passengers on a most uncommon elevator about to ascend directly into your very own episode of The Twilight Zone." The elevator rises for a few seconds before coming to a stop.

The doors open to reveal a corridor populated by the ghostly occupants from 1939, who then disappear. The corridor fades to a starlit night sky, except the window at the end of the corridor. The window then morphs into a more ghostly black-and-white version and shatters (like in the opening segment of each episode).

The elevator doors close and the car begins to rise again. Serling's voice continues: "One stormy night long ago, five people stepped through the door of an elevator and into a nightmare. That door is opening once again, and this time, it's opening for you."

At the top, the doors again open and the car mysteriously moves forward out of the shaft, through a section of the ride called "The Fifth Dimension": a surreal collection of objects and sights, once again in the style of the television show's opening sequence.

A field of stars appear and then opening sequence of the Twilight Zone. Then after the segment is done, the stars fade, forming a hidden Mickey right before disappearing, then reveals a vertical line, which splits in half and opens like elevator doors. Serling's voice is heard again, saying, "You are about to discover what lies beyond the fifth dimension, beyond the deepest, darkest corner of the imagination, in the Tower of Terror."

After the elevator moves in to the shaft, the randomly-selected drop sequence begins. Rather than a simple gravity-powered drop, however, the elevator is actually pulled downwards by a cable, meaning it drops unnaturally fast, causing most riders to rise off their seats, held down only by the restraining bar. At one point, doors in front of the riders will open to reveal a view the park from a height of 13 stories.

In the years since the attraction's initial opening, a randomized pattern of drops and lifts have been added, where the ride vehicle will drop or rise various distances at different intervals. Other effects were also added, including new projection images of the breaking window, wind effects, lightning flashes, and ominous blacklit figures of the five ghostly original riders. These changes were made to make every trip to the Twilight Zone a different experience.

After a series of these drops have been made, the second corridor when returning to the basement is as the opening for the third season of the Twilight Zone. Then Rod Serling's voice says, "A warm welcome to those of you who made it, and a friendly word of warning; something you won't find in any guidebook. The next time you check into a deserted hotel on the darkside of Hollywood, make sure you know just what kind of vacancy you're filling. Or you may find yourself a permanent resident of... The Twilight Zone!" The ride vehicle returns to the basement of the decrepit Hollywood Tower Hotel. The slogan for the ride now is "Never the Same Fear Twice!!" This is also Disney's fourth version of the ride (Tower of Terror 4!), adding the slogan, "the tower is in control!"

Version at Disney's California Adventure

Infobox Disney ride

park= Disney's California Adventure
land= Hollywood Pictures Backlot
soft_opened=April 23, 2004
opened=May 5, 2004
custom_label_1= Number of vehicles
custom_value_1= 6
fastpass= 1
transfer_accessible= 1
While similar in concept and theme to the original attraction in Florida, the versions of this attraction in Disney's California Adventure Park and the Walt Disney Studios in Paris do have some differences.

In order to conserve space and money, Imagineers redesigned the entire ride system for the attraction at Disney's California Adventure, and made some general changes to the show scenes. The attraction features three elevator shafts. Each shaft, in theory, is its own separate ride with its own separate operating system. Doing this made it easier to repair individual areas of the attraction without causing the entire attraction to go down. Each shaft has two vehicles and two load levels. It is designed so that the lower vehicle can be in its ride profile while the upper vehicle is loading, giving the attraction the ability to move its line much faster. Since each vehicle loads and unloads from the same point, it ended up saving space. Due to the smaller budget and fewer breakdowns, Disney decided to use this ride system again at Walt Disney Studios in Paris and Tokyo Disney Sea.

When the show cycle starts, the vehicle pushes backwards away from the elevator door while a starfield appears around it and a purple spiral appears on the doors. The narrator (Rod Serling) says, "You are the passengers of a most uncommon elevator, about to take the strangest journey of your lives. Your destination...unknown, but this much is clear, a reservation has been made in your name for an extended stay." A door closes, placing riders in darkness as the elevator rises.

The first stop for the elevator is a large mirror. Rod Serling tells riders to "wave goodbye to the real world." As they do, lightning strikes and electricity begins to arc around the mirror and the reflection of the riders is replaced by a ghostly silhouette of themselves. The passengers' reflection then disappears with the narrator saying "For you have just entered ... the Twilight Zone!" This is actually a thermal-mirror, which shuts off to reveal the dummy vehicle behind it. The elevator shudders as the door closes and the elevator moves to the next show scene. As the door opens, it reveals a corridor of the hotel, with an elevator door located on the far end of it. Here, the narrator says, "What happened here to dim the lights of Hollywood's brightest show place is about to unfold once again," which is followed by an appearance of the hotel's permanent residents. Electricity courses through the hallway after their disappearance as Rod Serling continues his narration: "One stormy night long ago, five people stepped through the door of an elevator and into a nightmare...."

The hallway slowly fades away into a starfield with the permanent residents standing in the now open elevator that was at the end of the hallway. Serling then says "That door is opening once again, but this time, it's opening for you." Then the elevator at the end of the hallway with the permanent residents has a little "show sequence," when it shows them standing helplessly in the shaft then their elevator drops. Then your ghostly elevator drops, and then a second later, the passenger elevator begins its drop sequence: a drop from the show scene to the first floor, then a rise to the "13th" floor. After flashing strobe lights and the photo opportunity, the elevator has a short drop, followed by a longer one, then a rise that goes up 2/3 of the way up to the top and an immediate fall down to "B3." The lights flicker as the elevator goes all the way back up to the top, it is then that the top floor doors open and riders are treated with a sky high over view of both Disneyland and California Adventure. It pauses there a moment and falls to place between the load levels (so that both load levels give the same ride) and a door opens again and you see an elevator door. The vehicle begins moving toward the door. The Twilight Zone theme begins again as Rod Serling says, "The next time you check into a deserted hotel on the dark side of Hollywood, make sure you know just what kind of vacancy you're filling or you may find yourself a permanent resident of...The Twilight Zone." The door opens, and a bellhop is standing in the doorway to greet you.

easonal enhancement

Started in 2004 for Disney's Halloween Time, the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney's California Adventure receives special sound and lighting effects for the exterior and themed Halloween decor for the surrounding area and in the lobby. The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is the starting point of Disney's "Happiest Haunts on Earth" tour.

Version at Walt Disney Studios

Infobox Disney ride

park=Walt Disney Studios Park
land=Production Courtyard
soft_opened= December 22, 2007
opened= April 5, 2008
custom_label_1= Number of vehicles
custom_value_1= 6
fastpass= 1
transfer_accessible= 1
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Walt Disney Studios Park is based on the same designs as the version at Disney's California Adventure. However, it was originally "Imagineered" for the Paris park at the same time as Tokyo's tower and planned to open just 2 years after the opening of the park itself. [ [ The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror (Around The World) - 15th Anniversary - Disneyland Resort Paris | DLRP Magic! ] ]

When financial troubles again hit Disney's Parisian theme park resort, the attraction was put on hold. In the meantime, it was constructed for Disney's California Adventure as an added crowd-puller.

The attraction was finally greenlit in 2005 and was under construction right in the center of the park, behind the "La Terrasse" seating area, in early 2006. Upon completion, it was joined by a new theme development producing an outdoor Hollywood Boulevard of faux movie sets. [ [ DLRP Today | Hollywood Boulevard ] ] Unlike its American cousins, the Paris Tower was constructed using concrete rather than steel due to French construction guidelines and standards, at a total cost exceeding 60 million.

The Paris and California versions were originally believed to become identical versions upon completion, but some differences remain, notably the height of the building, the location of some rooms backstage as well as other differences due to construction and work regulations being stricter in France. [ [ DLRP Today | Spotting the details of a Twilight Zone redux ] ]

The name of the attraction in French is La Tour de la Terreur - Un Saut dans la Quatrième Dimension. (The Tower of Terror - A jump into the fourth dimension)

The default audio language for the pre-show library video and the ride is French, but can be changed to English by the Cast Member. The library video is the same as the American version but dubbed in French and subtitled in English.

The Walt Disney Studios version soft opened on December 22, 2007. The official opening was April 5, 2008.

Twilight Zone references and design information

* The opening lines and appearance in the introduction video during the queue--cquote|Tonight's story on The Twilight Zone is somewhat unique and calls for a different kind of introduction. This as you may recognize is a... In the original episode, he says " of the United States." In the Tower of Terror opening lines, the line instead is "...maintenance service elevator, still in operation, waiting for you. We invite you if you dare to step aboard because in tonight's episode, you are the star. And this elevator travels directly to...the Twilight Zone." The opening line is a modified version of the introduction from the episode "It's a Good Life."
* There is a display case in the photo gallery of the Tower Of Terror attraction at Disney's California Adventure that contains two items relating to the "A Thing about Machines" episode. One is a typewriter (with the GET OUT OF HERE FINCHLEY message); the card next to it reads "Almost Writes By Itself." There is also an electric razor; its card reads "Has A Long Cord - Can Follow You Everywhere." There is also a toy telephone from the episode "Long Distance Call" with a card saying "Perfect for the children's room and those late night calls from Grandma."
* The queue at California Adventure features a reference to the Twilight Zone episode "Little Girl Lost." Chalk marks on the wall are in the same place they were in the episode when trying to find where the portal to find the girl was. This can be found in the upper level of the boiler room next to the attraction warning signage. Periodically the girl's voice can be heard calling out for help from the wall and from the radios around the boiler room.
* Outside the libraries at DCA, in the glass case adjacent to the doors there is a gold thimble accompanied by a card that reads, "Looking for a gift for Mother? Find it in our Gift Shop!" This is a reference to the Twilight Zone episode "The After Hours."
* Both of the elevator exit areas of the Florida ride contain a display featuring, among other things the ventriloquist dummy "Caesar" from the "Twilight Zone" episode "Caesar and Me."
* In the lobby of the hotel on a dusty couch sits Talky Tina from the "Twilight Zone" episode "Living Doll," at California Adventure.
* In the library, the Mystic Seer machine from the episode "Nick of Time" can be seen sitting on the high shelf.
* At DCA, an envelope with the name Rod Serling can be found in both libraries, near the sliding wall, a reference to the episode "A World of His Own." In Library 1, it sticks out of the top of the green books. In library 2, it sits in front of the books. The green books contain titles of selected "Twilight Zone" episodes. Other books in the libraries are in various languages from around the world, including German and Danish.
* The attraction at DCA contains no Hidden Mickeys. This is because Imagineers wanted to put more effort into references from the Twilight Zone.
* The trumpet from "A Passage for Trumpet" can be seen in the display while exiting the libraries.
* As the ride comes to a stop in Florida the slot machine from the "Twilight Zone" episode "The Fever" can also be seen.
* As the ride comes to a stop the flying saucer from the "Twilight Zone" episode "The Invaders" is hanging from the ceiling.
* At all rides besides Tokyo's, the preshow includes the little girl holding a Mickey Mouse plush toy, along with her still holding it on the hallway scene. At DCA's there is a picture of Walt Disney behind the counter in the gift shop of him at a Tip Top Club party holding a Mickey Mouse plush toy as well.
*The elevator has a plaque that says the last time the elevator was checked. It was checked on October 2, 1959 (the date "The Twilight Zone" first aired) and was checked by Mr. Cadwallader, the sinister deal maker from the episode "Escape Clause."
*"Picture If You Will..." is in the Hotel Gift Shop where you can buy your on-ride photo, something Rod Serling would say in the "Twilight Zone" episodes.
* In the Florida library there is the book titled To Serve Man from the episode of the same name.


In the queue for the Tower of Terror at Disney's Hollywood Studios, music from the 30s is played.

The ride's theme was conducted by Richard Bellis, [ [ Theme Parks and Rides:Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Disneyland,WDW] ] and can be found on several theme park albums:
* Disneyland/Walt Disney World Music Vacation (as part of a medley)

Historical site

In Hollywood, California, visible from Highway 101, are the Hollywood Tower apartments on Franklin Avenue. A plaque by the front door reads:


Hotel Hightower: Tokyo DisneySea's Tower of Terror

Infobox Disney ride
name=Tower of Terror

caption=Hotel Hightower
park= Tokyo DisneySea
land=American Waterfront
opened= September 4, 2006
fastpass= 1
transfer_accessible= 1
The Tower of Terror at Tokyo DisneySea has no connection or tie-ins with "The Twilight Zone", and is instead themed as the Hotel Hightower, an 1890s' New York City hotel owned by eccentric billionaire Harrison Hightower the Third who disappeared on December 31, 1899 while taking the elevator up to his private quarters shortly after taking a mysterious idol of a trickster spirit called Shiriki Utundu from an ancient civilization in Africa.

The facade's architectural style is more gothic, and the Tower is located in the American Waterfront area of the park, opposite the "S.S. Columbia" cruise liner. The ride system for this version is similar to that of Disney's California Adventure's version and that of Walt Disney Studios Paris' version. However, this version is cited as the most elaborate themed of the four, as well as the most expensive version, at an estimated $190 million.

After the initial queue area, guests are shepherded into a smaller room, where a cast member provides some backstory in Japanese via microphone. After this, guests move into a large room similar to the television library room in the Twilight Zone version. On the center of the main wall is a large stained-glass window in the gothic style, and in front of it is a desk (presumably Hightower's) with office materials and an old phonograph record player. The cast member directs the guests' attention to the front of the room, and before leaving the room, turns the handle on the phonograph, which starts a recorded narration sequence. This story is presented in Japanese, and uses the stained-glass window to showcase some elaborate visual effects in conjunction with the audio. This serves the same narrative function of the television Twilight Zone "episode" narration in the attraction's original version. Guests then move into the ride load area, which resembles a storehouse for antiquities that Hightower has collected from his travels around the world (instead of the hotel basement in the original version), where they receive instructions and are assigned rows and seats on the elevator.

The backstory is extremely complex and plot bits and story-lines were available in its official website, a radio show, and even news papers distributed in various areas around Tokyo.

ee also

* Disney's Hollywood Studios attraction and entertainment history
* "Tower of Terror", a 1997 television movie based on the ride.
* Incidents at Disney parks


*"Operating Guideline for The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney's California Adventure"

External links

* [ Disney's Hollywood Studios - Tower of Terror]
* [ Disney's California Adventure - Tower of Terror]
* [ Tokyo DisneySea - Tower of Terror]
* [ Walt Disney Studios - Tower of Terror]
* [ Photo tour of The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disneyland Resort Paris (fan website)]
* [ DLRP Tower of Terror facts]
* [ Mark Silverman Interview (Rod Serling Impersonator)]

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