Zone Tower of Terror
FREE FALL DROP
Hollywood Hotel with an apparent broken elevator that thrills with an
abrupt downward plunge in a
terrifying, 130-ft free-fall drop, and then travels quickly up, only to
drop all over again! ...
Looming ominously at the end of Sunset Boulevard is the rundown Hollywood
Tower Hotel, home to one of the premiere thrill rides at Disney-MGM
Studios - The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. Enhanced recently, the
Tower of Terror now sends guests plummeting again and again and again
-- a far cry from the ride that debuted in July 1994 with only one big
drop. This exhilarating ride lives up to its name, as well as its new
slogan: Fear every drop!
Pre-Show - After queuing through the lobby of the dusty old Hollywood
Tower Hotel, guests are directed into the Library to view a short film
hosted by Rod Serling, creator of the old Twilight Zone television series.
At the conclusion of his story, which sets the stage for the upcoming
ride, you are plunged into momentary darkness, then guided into the
Hotel's boiler room, where you await your "elevator" to the
Twilight Zone Tower of Terror - Guests are seated aboard a rickety old
"freight elevator" that glides through mysterious hotel passageways,
past ghostly images of former guests. As the journey progresses, the
elevator enters a pitch-black shaft. The elevator launches guests skyward
unexpectedly, then, just as suddenly, the cables 'snap' and electrical
sparks shower. The vehicle then plunges 13 stories. The elevator abruptly
rises once more, with an unpredictable series of shorter drops and climbs.
At one point, the doors of your elevator open to reveal the Disney-MGM
Studios parking lot 13 stories below you! You are eventually returned
to a dimly lit rear hallway of the Hotel, where you exit the elevator.
Mini-Review: The special effects, coupled with the fact that the drop-sequence
varies from time to time, make this ride worth many repeat visits! You
never know what to expect when -- this attraction is a must for thrill-seekers!
The Tower Shops, featuring Tower of Terror-specific merchandise, are
located at the exit of this attraction. There is also a photograph taken
during one of the drop sequences that is available for purchase at the
ride exit. The cost is $9.95. Often, you will be given a $4 coupon toward
the purchase of the Rock'n'Roller Coaster photograph when you purchase
a photo here. Packages, including purchased photos, may be sent back
to your room from this location if you are a guest at a Disney resort
(this includes the Swan and Dolphin resorts).
Engineers are able to reprogram new drop sequences in the ride due to
the advanced technology it employs. Riders are currently launched to
the top of the tower at breathtaking speed, then dropped faster-than-free-fall
to the bottom again and again.
Ride engineers tested 33 versions of the Tower of Terror before coming
up with what they felt was the best and most thrilling attraction.
Imagineers watched each episode of the original Twilight Zone series
at least twice before developing this ride.
Many of the items in the queue and other areas of the attraction are
from actual episodes of the original Twilight Zone series, such as the
poster for the Anthony Freemont Orchestra in the queue, and the small
metal robot on a ledge in the library.
At 199 feet tall, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is the highest attraction
at Walt Disney World.
Duration: 10 mm. Crowds: Yes! Strategy: Go early or wait until evening
when the crowds thin out. Audience: Older children and adults. No pregnant
women or guests with back, neck, or heart problems.
EXACTLY IS THIS RIDE?
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror features high speed free falling drops
in elevator-type vehicles.
The ride recreates a story from 1939. One night, during a party, the
Hollywood Tower Hotel was suddenly struck by lightning. At that very
moment, there were five people riding in the elevator. Instead of getting
off at their floor, the elevator passengers were transported to the
While you are waiting to get on, you move through the lobby of the old
Hollywood Tower Hotel where you hear music from the 1930s playing. Like
"In the Mood" one of my Dad's favorites, I might add.
A bellhop directs you into the Library to watch a short video hosted
by no other than Rod Serling himself! This starts like the old TV series
and do do do do do do do you learn about what happened in 1939. Suddenly
it is pitch dark until they open the door and guide you to the Hotel's
boiler room to await your "elevator" to the 13th floor. Note:
This area was somewhat smokey and it seemed to get more so during the
Another bellhop gives you instructions for riding the elevator doing
it in a candid way ~ "no flash photography allowed because the
movie stars staying at the hotel want their privacy. Also hang onto
loose items you wish to keep like hats, glasses and small children."
As soon as the elevator arrives, the bellhop gets you on and the lap
bars and seat belts are double checked. Note: YOU ARE SEATED even though
most of the pictures we had seen made it look as if you were standing.
The bellboy asks if there are any questions and before anyone has a
chance to answer he says "No? Good, if you need anything to just
scream!" The doors close, the lights go low and good old Rod Sterling
is telling you how many years ago those five people stepped onto this
same elevator and got off into a nightmare and this time it is your
turn! The Twilight Zone music fills the elevator.
I won't spoil all of it for you but suffice to say you see the images
of the five elevator passengers, they beckon you, the Twilight Zone
distorted images fill the elevator, Rod Sterling talks more, the elevator
opens only to close before letting anyone off, lightning flashes, thunder
booms ... now to me, this is all the VERY best part of the ride! We
all know the drop is coming but it is just built up so well! The way
the stage is set up, the suspense, the story, Rod Sterling ~ I just
loved all that!!
Oh almost forgot ~~ the elevator drops a few floors, goes back up to
the top, drops close to 13 floors, heads back up once again only to
make it about half way before it is squarely hit by the lightning causing
it to speedily shoot up to the top and then without stopping, quickly
back down about 1/4 of the floors. It then starts shaking more as you
quickly dropped down to the bottom.
When the elevator stops, (in the Hotel basement) you hear the Twilight
Zone music and see (and hear) Rod Sterling for the last time. He welcomes
you back and then warns you to be careful ~ the next time you check
into an old deserted Hotel, you may be checking into the Twilight Zone.
As you make your way to the exit, you will see the photograph taken
during one of the drops. They some in 5x7 and 8x10 sizes with the smaller
size costing just under $10. There is also a lot of Tower of Terror-specific
merchandise available which ranged from T-shirts to Hotel keys to postcards
to picture frames. WHAT DID MY FAMILY THINK?
We went on this ride many times over two different days and while my
husband and I thought of it as a good ride, our children were split
on it. My oldest found it "boring," my son thought it was
the "most awesome ride ever" his twin went once and she was
through, another daughter didn't even like to go into the waiting area
and my youngest loved it!
It all worked out though since the ones that LOVED the Tower of Terror
did NOT like the Rock'n'Roller Coaster and visa versa. Since they were
close to each other, half went on one while the rest on the other.
As they walked off the ride, they would get another fastpass to go again!
These would be valid anywhere from 1 to 3 hours later, giving us time
to do other things in between. THIS AND THAT
** You must be 40 inches tall to ride. This ride is NOT for those who
have a fear of heights, the dark or closed areas.
** Right before you board the elevator there is a last minute exit for
those who change their minds.
** At 199 feet tall, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is the highest
attraction at Walt Disney World. If it was one foot taller, it would
be required to have airplane warning lights on the top.
FUN TWILIGHT ZONE/TOWER OF TERROR CONNECTIONS
** The elevator inspection certificate number is 10259, standing for
the Twilight Zone's first episode premier on October 2, 1959. The episode
was called Where Is Everybody
** Part of the Rod Serling dialogs are taken from actual Twilight Zone
episodes. The rest was filled in by a sound-alike who was chosen by
Rod Serling's widow who made her choice after listening to audio recordings
of all the finalist.
** Check out the directory in the Hotel lobby. On the bottom there is
an anagram that spells, "Evil Tower U R Doomed." LOL
Looming high over Disney's MGM Studios, the Hollywood Tower Hotel dominates
the park. At 199 feet tall (one more foot would mean they'd have to
put one of those read aircraft warning lights on it) you can't help
but see it from all over as you approach the Studio. This building contains
the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.
This attraction is at the end of Hollywood Blvd. As you walk up to it,
you walk through what appears to be overgrown, neglected gardens. A
bellhop greets you and ushers you into the lobby where you see a film
giving you the backstory. In 1939, the hotel was struck by lightning,
sending the front of the hotel, the elevator, and its inhabitants into
the Twilight Zone.
You are then sent to a still-working service elevator. (The best seat
to have, in my opinion, is the seat-belt seat at the back center of
the car. This gets the most airtime.) The car travels up a level and
you see another very brief film about going into the Twilight Zone.
Then you wind forward through the hotel, exploring a time that once
Once you are near the front of the building, the car rises up. There
is a small drop before you are taken all of the way to the top. Doors
open in front of you and you can look out on the whole entire Studios.
It is only then that the thrill part of this thrill ride begins.
Disney has done a wonderful job on this ride. The theme is incredible.
The ride itself is terrific, though the drops seem tame to me after
having ridden Power Tower in Cedar Point. Still, that is just a "go
up, go down" ride where this had a whole story that you are immersed