The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

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The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
TowerOfTerror MGM.jpg
Attraction at Disney's Hollywood Studios
Disney's Hollywood Studios
Area Sunset Boulevard
Coordinates 28°21′31″N 81°33′52″W / 28.35861°N 81.56444°W / 28.35861; -81.56444
Status Operating
Opening date July 22, 1994
Disney California Adventure
Area Hollywood Land
Coordinates 33°48′24″N 117°55′03″W / 33.8065479°N 117.9174805°W / 33.8065479; -117.9174805
Status Closed
Opening date May 5, 2004
Closing date January 3, 2017[1][2][3]
Replaced by Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout!
Tokyo DisneySea
Name Tower of Terror (Japanese: タワー・オブ・テラー Hepburn: Tawā Obu terā?)
Area American Waterfront
Coordinates 35°37′32″N 139°53′07″E / 35.6254767°N 139.8851705°E / 35.6254767; 139.8851705
Status Operating
Opening date September 22, 2006[4]
Walt Disney Studios Park
Name French: La Tour de la Terreur – Un Saut dans la Quatrième Dimension
Area Production Courtyard
Coordinates 48°52′00″N 2°46′37″E / 48.8666589°N 2.7768075°E / 48.8666589; 2.7768075
Status Operating
Opening date December 22, 2007[4]
General statistics
Attraction type Drop tower dark ride
Manufacturer Otis Elevator Company
Designer Walt Disney Imagineering
Theme The Twilight Zone
Music Richard Bellis
"The Twilight Zone Theme" by Marius Constant
Joel McNeely (Tokyo)
Height 199 ft (61 m)
Drop 130 ft (40 m)
G-force 1.3[5]
Vehicle type Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV)/Elevator
Vehicles WDW versions
Other versions
Rows 3
Riders per row 7
Duration 2-3 minutes
Height restriction 40 in (102 cm)
Hosted by Rod Serling (voice of Mark Silverman in English versions)[6]
Drop speed 39 miles per hour (63 km/h)
Fastpass available
FastPass+ available
Must transfer from wheelchair

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, commonly known as the Tower of Terror, is an accelerated drop tower dark ride located at Disney's Hollywood Studios, Tokyo DisneySea, Walt Disney Studios Park, and formerly located at Disney California Adventure. Except for the Tokyo version, the attractions are inspired by Rod Serling's anthology television series, The Twilight Zone, and take place in the fictional Hollywood Tower Hotel in Hollywood, California. The Tokyo version, which features an original story line not related to The Twilight Zone, takes place in the fictional Hotel Hightower. All three versions place riders in a seemingly ordinary hotel elevator, and present the riders with a fictional backstory in which people have mysteriously disappeared from the elevator under the influence of some supernatural element many years prior.

The original version of the attraction opened at Disney's Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World in July 1994, and was the basis of the 1997 television film of the same name, several scenes of which being shot at the attraction. A decade later, Disney began plans to add similar versions of the attraction to their newest parks at the Disneyland Resort in California, Tokyo Disney Resort in Japan, and Disneyland Resort Paris. In California and Paris, Disney sought to use the popular attraction to boost attendance at the respective resorts' struggling new theme parks. The California and Tokyo versions of Tower of Terror opened in 2004[7] and 2006,[8] respectively, while financial problems delayed the opening of the Paris version until 2008.[9] The California version closed in January 2017.

The Tower of Terror buildings are among the tallest structures found at their respective Disney resorts. At 199 feet (60.7 m), the Florida version is the second tallest attraction at the Walt Disney World Resort, with only Expedition Everest 199.5 feet (60.8 m) being taller. At the Disneyland Resort, the 183-foot (55.8 m) structure is the tallest building at the resort, as well as one of the tallest buildings in Anaheim.[10] At Disneyland Paris, it is the second tallest attraction.

Queue and preshow[edit]

In the American and European versions of the attraction, guests make their way to the Hollywood Tower Hotel through the front gate. Guests then walk along a cracked, curved pathway that leads to the hotel. The pathway goes past overgrown gardens, signs pointing to the stables, a bowling green, tennis courts, swimming pools, and a vine-covered pavilion. In most parks, 1930s jazz music plays in the queue area.

Entering through the hotel's front doors, guests encounter an interior designed to give the impression that the Hollywood Tower Hotel has been left untouched since the night of its closure. The lobby is covered in dust and draped with cobwebs, and throughout there are other signs of the hotel's abrupt closure. Past the front desk, the main elevators are in a dilapidated state, and a sign reads "Out of Order". Guests are informed by bellhops that their rooms are not ready yet, and they are then ushered into the hotel library, which houses the hotel's collection of books, antiques, exotic curiosities, an old television set, and various pieces of Twilight Zone memorabilia scattered about the room. Through the library window, guests can observe a severe thunderstorm raging outside.

With a crash of thunder and lightning, the power suddenly goes out, except for the television set which crackles into life and plays the opening sequence from the fourth and fifth seasons of The Twilight Zone, followed by a supposed "lost episode" hosted by Rod Serling. The episode goes on to depict the events of the Halloween night in 1939, where five people vanished in the elevator when a lightning bolt struck the tower. The television then turns off and the guests are directed through to the boiler room, where they await the maintenance service elevator's arrival.

Disney's Hollywood Studios version[edit]

The original Tower of Terror, at Disney's Hollywood Studios

The original attraction at Disney's Hollywood Studios, at Walt Disney World, opened on July 22, 1994. The tower's interior and exterior design took inspiration from existing Southern California landmarks, including the Biltmore Hotel and Mission Inn.[6] The distinctive Spanish Colonial Revival architectural features on and around the attraction's roof were designed so that the rear facade, which is visible from Epcot, would blend seamlessly with the skyline of the Morocco Pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase Lagoon.[11] The ride's slogan, "Never the Same Fear Twice!", refers to the drop pattern being randomly selected by a computer before the ride begins. The drop reaches a top speed of 39 miles per hour (63 km/h).[12]


In the late 1980s, a second phase of development was being designed for Disneyland Paris (then Euro Disney). Included was a free-fall type ride in Frontierland that was to be named Geyser Mountain. It would have been part roller coaster, part free-fall ride that shot guests up a vertical shaft. The plan was scrapped, but was picked up by Disney's Hollywood Studios (then Disney-MGM Studios) as part of a massive expansion to their U.S. park. Several attractions had already been proposed, including "Dick Tracy's Crimestoppers", which would be later made into Indiana Jones Adventure at Disneyland. Still needing a major "E-ticket" attraction, the idea of a drop-shaft ride came up and was chosen.[13]

There had been several proposed ideas for haunted attractions, including a ride based on Stephen King's novels, a Vincent Price ghost tour, a Mel Brooks-narrated ride, a real hotel, and a whodunit murder mystery, but none were constructed.[14] They eventually settled on a 1930s Hollywood hotel with a Twilight Zone theme, but a new ride system had to be built, which would allow both more capacity inside the ride and make the drop fast. Otis Elevator Company created the vertical ride system, and Eaton-Kenway a ride vehicle that could drive itself horizontally.[13] Disney licensed the rights to use The Twilight Zone intellectual property from CBS Inc..[15]

Site-clearing and prep began early 1992. A sinkhole led to the site's being moved slightly. After construction ended, the ride was set to open on July 4, 1994; but the Tower of Terror opened on July 22, 1994, along with the Sunset Boulevard thoroughfare.[13]

Technical details[edit]

The ride system of The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney's Hollywood Studios employs specialized technology developed by Walt Disney Imagineering, particularly the ability to move the vehicle in and out of the vertical motion shaft. The elevator cabs are self-propelled automated ride vehicles, also known as automated guided vehicles, which lock into separate vertical motion cabs. The cabs can move into and out of elevators horizontally, move through the "Fifth Dimension" scene, and on to the drop shaft.

In order to achieve the weightless effect the Imagineers desired, cables attached to the bottom of the elevator car pull it down at a speed slightly faster than what a free fall would provide. Two enormous motors are located at the top of the tower, measuring 12 feet (3.7 m) tall, 35 feet (11 m) long, and weighing 132,000 pounds (60,000 kg). They are able to accelerate 10 short tons (9.1 t) at 15 times the speed of normal elevators. They generate torque equal to that of 275 Corvette engines and reach top speeds in 1.5 seconds.

After the elevator cab has completed the ride, it propels itself to the unload dock and then back to the show shaft. The Florida ride runs on a unique loop system different from the versions used in California, Paris and Tokyo.

Ride experience[edit]

Corridor scene[edit]

In this version of the attraction, Rod Serling's voice greets passengers the moment the elevator doors close, saying:

You are the passengers on a most uncommon elevator about to ascend into your very own episode of The Twilight Zone.

The elevator rises for a few seconds before coming to its first stop. The doors open to reveal a long, dimly lit hotel corridor, with overgrown plants and doors to guest rooms, with morning newspapers and room-service trays outside, along its length. There is a single window at the opposite end of the corridor. A violent thunderstorm is raging and lightning flashes outside the window. The five missing passengers from 1939 appear for several moments, turning to face the elevator and beckoning the guests to join them. Then they disappear in a burst of electricity. The corridor fades away, but the window remains until it appears to be floating in a dark field of stars. The window morphs into the window from the Season 5 opening sequence, and breaks.

Fifth Dimension scene[edit]

The lobby of The Hollywood Tower Hotel at Disney's Hollywood Studios, May 2010

The elevator doors close and the car continues its ascent. Serling's narration goes on, saying:

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.

The elevator stops once more. The doors open to what at first looks like a maintenance room, but slowly transforms into a field of stars. The elevator car emerges horizontally from the lift shaft and enters a section of the ride called "The Fifth Dimension", which is a collection of sights and sounds and star fields, again in the style of the television show's opening sequence. A rendition of The Twilight Zone theme plays throughout. The scene ends as the elevator reaches another star field which splits and opens much like elevator doors. The elevator enters another vertical shaft, this one pitch black. 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.

Drop sequence[edit]

On the last word of Serling's narration, the elevator starts its drop sequence. Rather than a simple gravity-powered drop, however, the elevator is pulled downwards, causing most riders to rise off their seats, held down by a seat belt. At least once during the drop sequence, wide elevator doors in front of the riders open to reveal a view of the park from a height of 157 ft (48 m), however the drop is only 130 ft (40 m), the height of a 13-story building. The elevator drops at a top speed of 39 miles per hour (63 km/h). In the Hollywood Studios version, the back of the "Hollywood Tower Hotel" sign partially obstructs the view (the on-ride camera is located here, recording the ride for video or a photograph to be purchased later).

Randomized patterns of drops and lifts have been added, where the ride vehicle will drop or rise various distances at different intervals. Other added effects include projected images of the breaking window, wind effects, lightning flashes, and ominous blue-lit figures of the five ghostly original riders. These changes were made so that each trip on The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is a slightly different experience. The ride was reprogrammed most recently, in its fourth conversion, so that the ride system allows for any number of randomized drops and lifts. When guests enter the drop shaft, a computer randomly chooses one of four drop profiles, one of which is a modified version of the ride's third incarnation.[16] Regardless of the number of randomized drops and lifts, each drop sequence always features one "faux drop" meant to startle the riders, and one complete drop through the entire tower at the top speed of 39 miles per hour (63 km/h).

After a series of these drops have been made, the elevator returns to the basement of the decrepit Hollywood Tower Hotel, past a curious array of abandoned items. A short clip plays, showing elements from the Season 5 opening sequence, along with the 1939 elevator passengers and Rod Serling falling into the "vortex" seen in the Season 3 opening sequence. Serling's voice says:

A warm welcome back 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 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.

Guests then exit the elevator, leaving the hotel through the gift shop.

Ride exit and shop[edit]

On leaving the elevator, guests are led through a hotel corridor towards what would appear to be the old "Lost & Found" desk of the hotel; however, it is now where photos taken on the ride may be purchased. Beyond this desk, guests pass a cracked fountain to the left and on the right can be seen the Hollywood Tower Hotel's dining room, previously called The Sunset Room. The menu, placed outside the closed double-doors, is dated October 31, 1939. Guests then enter the shop which is called Tower Merchandise. The shop, in keeping with the theme of the hotel, has cracked walls and is dimly lit. There, guests may purchase Twilight Zone merchandise and Hollywood Tower Hotel-themed souvenirs, including hotel bathrobes and slippers.

On August 13, 2014, the ride's on-ride camera began recording, so that riders could purchase a photograph or video of their ride.[17] This was the first ride at Walt Disney World to offer on-ride videos. On September 18, 2014, the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train ride at the Magic Kingdom began offering on-ride videos and pictures as well, making these the only two rides at Walt Disney World to offer videos and pictures.[18][19]

Summer Nightastic update[edit]

In February 2010, Disney announced that the Tower of Terror would receive "new lighting effects and a new addition" as part of a summer entertainment package called "Summer Nightastic!".[20] The Fifth Dimension scene is changed, mostly covered by black tarps with fiber-optic stars, and Serling's voice is removed from just before the drop profile. Replacing it is music played in the drop shaft, along with a projected picture of the riders just before they enter the drop shaft. Similar to the California Adventure and Walt Disney Studios Park versions of the ride, the riders disappear, leaving an empty elevator. A new drop profile was created for "Summer Nightastic!", and replaces the other drop profiles on all rides. The profile mainly consisted of utilizing the entire tower for the drop sequences, as compared to the numerous faux and shortened drops in the randomized version. The changes were implemented on June 5, 2010, but were officially introduced the day after. All changes were temporary, and lasted until August 14, 2010.[21]

Disney California Adventure version[edit]

Attraction at Disney California Adventure in 2009

While similar in concept and theme to the original attraction in Florida, the attraction at Disney California Adventure, which opened in 2004[7] and closed in 2017, featured some significant differences. The exterior of Disney California Adventure's tower had architectural features reminiscent of Pueblo Deco styles found throughout Southern California during the Golden Age of Hollywood.

The California version also had a slightly different queue area. The boiler room scene in the queue area had two floors, instead of the one floor in the original Florida version. The two floors allowed for one elevator in one shaft to have guests on ride, while the other elevator of the same shaft was loading guests. There were three elevator shafts in the Disney California Adventure version, with two elevators per shaft, for a total of six elevators operating at once.

New ride operation system[edit]

Imagineers redesigned the ride system for the attraction at Disney California Adventure and made some changes to the show scenes. The attraction featured three elevator shafts. Each shaft was its own separate ride with its own separate operating system. This made it easier to repair individual areas of the attraction without causing the entire attraction to go down. Each shaft had the capacity to accommodate two vehicles operating from two load levels, each vehicle loading and unloading at the same point. The ride was designed so that one vehicle could be in its ride profile while the other was at its loading level, giving each ride shaft the ability to accommodate more riders. Disney used this ride system again for Walt Disney Studios Park's version of the ride, and for Tokyo DisneySea's Hotel Hightower.

Ride experience[edit]

Instead of the autonomous vehicle found in the original incarnation, the Disney California Adventure attraction limited a car to a single shaft. As the elevator doors closed, the lights of the service elevator flickered out. The redesigned, multiple-cars-per-shaft, multilevel-boarding ride system for the California version of the tower required that one elevator load while another be in the drop shaft progressing through the ride cycle. As such, the first movement guests experienced is horizontal, as the elevator itself was pulled back from the doors as Rod Serling's voice was heard:

You are the passengers on a most uncommon elevator...

With a flash of lightning, the walls of the basement disappeared altogether, leaving only a starfield around the service doors with a rotating purple spiral.

...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.

The elevator rose quickly to the fifth floor. Because the dark-ride portion of California's tower took place in the drop shaft, the physical vertical vehicle conveyance system moved more quickly and nimbly than Florida's (in which the first tower functions only as a dark ride and is not built for the quick movements that the drop portion requires). As such, visitors felt a moment of weightlessness as the elevator quickly ascended and then stopped on the fifth floor, where when the doors opened, an ornate, wood-framed mirror stood in a brightly lit hallway of the hotel and riders saw their reflection in its glass. Serling then said:

Wave goodbye to the real world.

Suddenly, lightning struck the hotel and the lights of both the hallway and elevator flickered out. A ghostly wind blows through a window and the reflection of riders in the elevator became distorted. With another blast, the elevator rumbled and shook and with a final blast of lightning the electrified reflection disappeared, leaving only the image of the empty elevator in the mirror as the doors closed.

For you have just entered the Twilight Zone.

The elevator descended and opened to reveal the "hallway" scene with an image of another elevator at the other end of the hallway, unlike Florida's version which shows a window. Serling delivered his next narration:

What happened here to dim the lights of Hollywood's brightest showplace is about to unfold once again.

The five missing guests appeared in the hallway, crackling with electricity and beckoning riders to follow them. They disappeared, and the walls of the hotel became a starfield, leaving just the other elevator, as Serling said:

One stormy night long ago, five people stepped through the door of an elevator and into a nightmare.

The other elevator doors opened to reveal the lost passengers inside as both elevators appeared to float through space.

That door is opening once again, but this time it's opening for you.

The distant guests fell, then the distant elevator, followed immediately by the ride elevator. California's version did not have a randomized drop sequence. The ride experience was identical in every drop shaft, regardless of which floor passengers boarded on. Two small drops occurred in pitch-black darkness, followed by a rise to the top of the tower as in-cabin lights flickered. The doors then opened out to reveal the view from the top floor before the ride drops briefly, pauses, and drops along the remainder of the shaft. The elevator then raised and immediately dropped without stopping, in complete darkness. The elevator then was raised to the top of the tower, shuddered, and fell to the bottom of the shaft, to the area in between the two loading floors (to assure each ride is identical), with the elevator being finally returned to its load level and horizontally pushed back into place at the boiler room service doors. The height of the ride is 130 feet (40 m) and the elevator drop 124 feet (38 m) feet in total.

As the elevator was pushed back into place, Serling delivered his final narration:

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.

After which, the service doors opened and guests exited the hotel through the basement and the gift shop.


On July 23, 2016, at San Diego Comic-Con, Disney announced that the California attraction would be replaced by Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout!, which is scheduled to open in May 2017 and will utilize the same structure and ride system.[2][22] This will be the first American Disney attraction to be based on the Marvel Cinematic Universe (Marvel Entertainment having been wholly acquired by Disney in 2009).[23]

The Tower of Terror's final day of operation was January 2, 2017; the ride then closed January 3.[3] In preparation for the closure, Disney began a "farewell" promotion of the ride on September 9, 2016, which featured a "Late Check Out" option to experience the drop portion of the ride in total darkness. On the night of September 19 and early morning of September 20, the "Hollywood Tower Hotel" sign was removed to prepare for the new attraction.[24][25]

The other three Disney parks with versions of the Tower of Terror are unaffected, and Disney has stated that there are no plans to change the ride in its other locations.[26][24]

Tokyo DisneySea version[edit]

Tower of Terror at Tokyo DisneySea

The Tower of Terror at Tokyo DisneySea has no connection or tie-in whatsoever with The Twilight Zone, as the Oriental Land Company would have to pay licensing fees to both Disney and CBS for the attraction, and a separate fee to CBS for the rights to use The Twilight Zone name. Instead, the attraction is themed as the fictional Hotel Hightower. The ride tower, its facade an example of Moorish Revival architecture, is located in the American Waterfront area of the park, close to the S.S. Columbia cruise liner. The ride system for this version is similar to that of the Disney California Adventure and Walt Disney Studios Park versions.

The story line of the attraction is more complex than that of its American and European counterparts. The scenario involves the adventures of the hotel's famous builder and owner, Harrison Hightower III (modeled after Walt Disney Imagineering executive Joe Rohde), who went on many expeditions throughout the world and collected thousands of priceless artifacts. Most of these artifacts were stolen for personal gain and stored in his hotel. After one such expedition to Africa, he brought home an idol with the name of Shiriki Utundu.

Hightower claimed that the natives were angry to have their beloved god taken, and that they threatened that the idol would curse him. On New Year's Eve, 1899, Hightower held a press conference about his expedition to Africa, followed by a huge party. Hightower boasted about how he acquired the idol and denied claims of it being cursed. Just as he left the party, he mocked the idol, using its head to put out his cigar. Around midnight, he entered the elevator to retire to his private apartments in the hotel penthouse. As the elevator neared the top, the idol came to life.

The idol's immense rage and power caused the elevator to plummet and crash on the ground floor. When the doors were pried open, only Hightower's hat and the idol were recovered. The hotel was abruptly closed and condemned for more than a decade, rumored by locals to be haunted. In 1912, following pressure to demolish the hotel, a New York restoration company reopened it because of its historical significance. The company now offers paid tours of the building. It is on these "tours" that guests embark when they enter the hotel.

Queue and preshow[edit]

The queue area winds through gardens filled with statues from many different countries up to the Hotel Hightower, where guests can see that the windows are almost completely shattered. Signs are posted all over the hotel front advertising the tour. Guests then enter the lobby, an elaborate and well-decorated room filled with plush furniture and beautiful art. On each ceiling arch is painted a mural of Hightower on one of his adventures, showing him escaping native people with a valuable artifact or item in his possession. At the end of the lobby is the elevator in its destroyed state, its doors left open with only a single plank of wood holding them together, a broken cable visible inside. Guests are then ushered into a room filled with many pictures of Hightower, his expeditions, and his hotel.

Guests enter one of two rooms, either his office or the library, and in each room a large stained glass window depicts a confident Hightower with Shiriki Utundu sitting on a pedestal nearby. A tour guide talks about Hightower, then winds up an old gramophone that plays a recording of Hightower's last interview. At this point, the lights dim. Suddenly, the stained glass window changes to show a frightened Hightower holding the idol and then entering the elevator on that fateful night. It then shows the outside of the hotel as the elevator ascends. Suddenly, all the lights in the hotel go out, and there is a flash of green lightning, shattering the bottom of the window. At this point, Shiriki Utundu comes to life, looks around, laughs mischievously at the guests, and then vanishes into a star-field. A gray fog covers the window, which remains the same when the fog lifts. Guests are then ushered into an enormous storage room where Hightower kept his treasures. There are multiple loading rooms on the second floor, each themed to a different type of item. One has swords, another has tapestries, the third has stone tablets and other valuable artifacts.

Ride experience[edit]

The mechanics of the DisneySea tower are identical to those of the Californian and Parisian towers, with dual loading floors, horizontal push-back from the doors and into the drop tower, a hallway scene, and a mirror scene, but with thematic changes. The order of the mirror and hallway scenes is reversed compared to the American and European counterparts.

As the ride begins, the lights of the elevator turn off as Hightower's voice explains the significance of the idol. The elevator is pulled backwards, away from the still-visible service elevator doors as the walls of the basement disappear and turn into a star field. The glowing green eyes of the idol appear in the darkness as the elevator enters the drop shaft. The elevator begins its ascent, first stopping at the hallway scene.

The elevator doors open to reveal the private apartments of Harrison Hightower, the idol sitting on a table in the center. Hightower, under a ghostly form, glowing blue, appears beside it and reaches out to touch it. The idol zaps him with a bolt of green electricity, blasting him backwards past open elevator doors at the opposite end of the apartments, where Hightower falls down the shaft, which then fades away, replaced by a star field. The idol turns toward the guests' elevator and laughs before the doors close.

The elevator ascends to another level. The doors open, revealing a large, ornate mirror. Hightower tells the guests to wave and say "good bye to yourself". As they do, the lighting of the hotel is replaced with an eerie green glow, which makes the reflections of the guests ghostlike, an effect similar to the California and Paris rides, but absent the lightning strike. The ghostly reflection of the riders disappears and leaves the idol alone in the empty elevator. The idol laughs menacingly at the riders, and suddenly shoots forward at them. The elevator vibrates, shakes, and begins the drop sequence. The sequence is identical to the US version except the first two drops are missing (the ascent comes first) and the final drop takes place from the bottom set of doors rather than the top of the shaft.

At the end of the drop sequence, the elevator returns to its loading level, where the idol's green eyes glare from a star field, which then disappear, replaced by the service doors through which guests entered.

Walt Disney Studios Park version[edit]

La Tour de la Terreur – Un Saut dans la Quatrième Dimension (English: The Tower of Terror – A Jump into the Fourth Dimension), at Walt Disney Studios Park in Disneyland Paris, is similar to the version at Disney California Adventure, which used the designs for the Paris park to construct its ride first, when it was needed as an additional crowd-puller.[27] When financial troubles hit Disney's Parisian resort, the attraction had to be put on hold.

The attraction was finally green-lit in 2005 and was under construction in the center of the park, behind the La Terrasse seating area, by early 2006. Upon completion, it was joined by a new Hollywood Boulevard lined by faux movie sets.[28] 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 180 million.[29] The Paris version opened in 2007.[9]

The Paris and California versions were originally intended to be almost identical upon completion, but there are differences, notably the height of the building and the location of some rooms backstage, as well as other differences due to different construction and work regulations in France.[30]

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

The Twilight Zone references and design information[edit]

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.[31] The attraction buildings are littered with references to Twilight Zone episodes, including:

  • At Walt Disney Studios (Paris), in the lobby of the hotel, on a couch, sits a dusty old doll. Some say the doll is supposed to be Talky Tina from the Twilight Zone episode "Living Doll", but others say it is Sally Shine, the little girl in the pre-show and ride experience, from the 1997 movie Tower of Terror. Others think the doll is simply a Shirley Temple doll. It is in fact a Shirley Temple doll, despite reasonable suspicion that it is a Twilight Zone reference. Talky Tina can be found in the library of Disney's Hollywood Studios version in Florida.
  • The archival footage of Rod Serling used in the queue preshow is taken from the episode, "It's a Good Life".[6] Following the Twilight Zone television opening sequence, Rod Serling's opening lines in the introduction video during the queue are as follows:

"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 TV episode, Rod Serling continues " a map of the United States." In the Tower of Terror opening lines, he instead says " a maintenance service elevator, still in operation, waiting for you..." Mark Silverman provided the entire voice impersonation of Serling for this particular dialogue sequence for both the Walt Disney World and the now defunct California Adventure versions of the ride.[6]
  • At all rides besides Tokyo's, the preshow includes a little girl holding a Mickey Mouse plush toy, along with her still holding it on the hallway scene.
  • In the library, the Mystic Seer machine from the episode "Nick of Time" can be seen sitting on the high shelf.
  • In the Florida library, there is the book titled To Serve Man from the episode of the same name.
  • The trumpet from "A Passage for Trumpet" can be seen in the display while exiting the libraries.
  • The queue of the Disneyland Paris version features a reference to the Twilight Zone episode "Little Girl Lost". Chalk marks on the walls are in the same style as those in the episode, when people were trying to find the portal to the girl. 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.
  • The elevator has a plaque that gives the last time the elevator was checked. Its number is 10259, which is a nod to the date October 2, 1959, when The Twilight Zone first aired. The plaque also states the elevator was checked by Mr. Cadwallader, the sinister deal-maker from the episode "Escape Clause".
  • After guests are loaded on the elevator, the needle indicating which floor the elevator is on moves past the 12th floor. This is a reference to the 9th floor in the episode "The After Hours".
  • As the ride comes to a stop in Florida, the slot machine from the Twilight Zone episode "The Fever" can be seen.
  • Upon exiting the Disneyland Paris venue, the display cases on the ground floor contain advertisements for, among other things, a "Housemaid Wanted" (a reference to the Twilight Zone episode "I Sing The Body Electric") and for "A Pair of Reading Glasses Wanted" ("Time Enough At Last"). There are some 20 advertisements of this nature at the exit of the Paris venue.
  • As the ride comes to a stop, the flying saucer from the Twilight Zone episode "The Invaders" is hanging from the ceiling. The eponymous characters of that same episode can be found on display in the libraries at the Florida and Paris attraction.
  • 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."
  • "Picture If You Will...", a phrase Rod Serling used in more than one Twilight Zone episode, appears in the gift shop where guests can buy their on-ride photo.

The ride appeared on the Disney Channel's 1994 Halloween edition of Walt Disney World Inside Out with guest star Gilbert Gottfried. Scott Herriott was the host.

Following the ride's success, Disney produced the TV film, Tower of Terror, based on the attraction in 1997, starring Steven Guttenberg and Kirsten Dunst. Many shots were filmed at the Orlando theme park, while others were filmed on Burbank movie sets. As of October 2015, a theatrical film based on the ride, with a script by John August, is in the works.[32]

References in the Disney California Adventure version[edit]

  • In the Hollywood Tower Hotel's lobby at California Adventure, there was a door with 22 in brass numbering. This was a reference to the episode "Twenty Two".
  • Similar to the version at Walt Disney Studios (Paris), at California Adventure in the lobby of the hotel, on a couch, sat a Shirley Temple doll.
  • At California Adventure there was a picture, behind the counter in the gift shop, that is said to be of Walt Disney at a Tip Top Club party holding a Mickey Mouse plush toy.
  • Outside the library 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."
  • Envelopes with the names Rod Serling and Victoria West could be found in both libraries at California Adventure, near the sliding wall, a reference to the episode "A World of His Own." In Library 1, it stuck out of the top of the green books. In Library 2, it sat in front of the books. The green books contained titles of selected Twilight Zone episodes. Other books in the libraries were in various languages from around the world, including German and Danish.
  • Similar to the Disneyland Paris venue, the California Adventure queue line featured a reference to the Twilight Zone episode "Little Girl Lost". Chalk marks on the walls were in the same style as in the episode when trying to find the portal to the girl. This could be found in the upper level of the boiler room next to the attraction warning signage at each of the 2 venues. Periodically the girl's voice could be heard calling out for help from the wall and from the radios around the boiler room.
  • There was a display case in the photo gallery of the Tower of Terror attraction at Disney California Adventure that contained two items relating to the "A Thing about Machines" episode. One was a typewriter (with the GET OUT OF HERE FINCHLEY message); the card next to it read "Almost Writes By Itself". There was also an electric razor; its card read "Has A Long Cord - Can Follow You Everywhere". There was 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."
  • Whilst exiting the Disney California Adventure ride, there was a display window for "Willoughby Travel", a nod to the episode "A Stop at Willoughby."
  • In the photo gallery of the Tower of Terror attraction at Disney California Adventure, there was a poster advertising "Anthony Fremont's Orchestra". Anthony Fremont was the young boy with god-like powers from the episode "It's a Good Life".


In the queue for the Tower of Terror at Disney's Hollywood Studios, music from the 1930s is played.

The ride's theme was composed by Richard Bellis,[33] and incorporates the main Twilight Zone composed by Marius Constant. The attraction's theme and can be found on several theme park albums:

  • Disneyland/Walt Disney World Music Vacation (as part of a medley)
  • Walt Disney World Resort: The Official Album (1999 CD)
  • Walt Disney World Resort: Official Album (2000 CD)
  • Official Album: Walt Disney World Resort Celebrating 100 Years of Magic (2001 CD)
  • The Official Album of the Disneyland Resort (2005 CD)
  • Disneyland Resort: Official Album (2013 CD)
  • Walt Disney World: Official Album (2013 CD)
  • Walt Disney Records: The Legacy Collection–Disneyland (2015 CD)

The Tokyo DisneySea version of the attraction is scored by Joel McNeely, who has released the overture on his site.

See also[edit]


  • "Operating Guideline for The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney's California Adventure"
  1. ^ Martin, Hugo (July 23, 2016). "Tower of Terror to get superhero makeover at Disney California Adventure Park". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 24, 2016. 
  2. ^ a b Rohde, Joe (July 23, 2016). "Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! Coming to Disney California Adventure Park Summer 2017". Disney Parks Blog. Retrieved July 24, 2016. 
  3. ^ a b Glover, Erin (August 30, 2016). "Check Into Twilight Zone Tower of Terror Before it Checks Out of Disney California Adventure Park on January 2, 2017". Disney Parks Blog. Retrieved August 30, 2016. 
  4. ^ a b "Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, The". D23. 
  5. ^ "Fun Facts of The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror". 
  6. ^ a b c d Fickley-Baker, Jennifer (July 22, 2014). "20 Facts For The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror's 20th Anniversary". Disney Parks Blog. Retrieved July 29, 2016. 
  7. ^ a b "Disney's California Adventure Tower of Terror Secrets". Archived from the original on April 25, 2012. Retrieved 3 May 2013. 
  8. ^ "Tokyo Disney Tower of Terror Secrets". Retrieved 3 May 2013. 
  9. ^ a b "Disneyland Paris To Build New Rides For Both Parks". Ultimate Rollercoaster. Retrieved 3 May 2013. 
  10. ^ "Tallest Buildings in Orange County". 
  11. ^ "30 Hidden Secrets on the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney's Hollywood Studios". 17 March 2014. 
  12. ^ Taylor, Adam. "The surprisingly cutthroat race to build the world's fastest elevator". Washington Post. Archived from the original on January 5, 2017. Retrieved January 5, 2017. The Shanghai Tower’s elevator goes even faster than the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, a Disney haunted-elevator amusement-park ride that hurls thrill-seekers at 39 mph. 
  13. ^ a b c Twilight Zone Tower of Terror WDW HD - Ultimate Tribute. Vimeo. 
  14. ^ Taylor, Drew (23 July 2015). "13 Stories Down: On the Anniversary of Twilight Zone Tower of Terror | Disney Insider". Disney. Retrieved 15 September 2016. 
  15. ^ "Headless Horseman Haunts Mickey's Halloween Party As Halloween Time Returns to the Disneyland Resort, Sept. 9 through Oct. 31". PR Newswire. July 13, 2016. Retrieved July 28, 2016. The Twilight Zone® is a registered trademark of CBS, Inc. and is used with permission pursuant to a license from CBS, Inc. 
  16. ^ "Twilight Zone Tower of Terror WDW HD – Ultimate Tribute - Martin's Videos". 
  17. ^ Glassburn, Kelly. "MyMagic+: Video Captures Your Twilight Zone Tower of Terror Drop at Walt Disney World Resort". Disney Parks. Retrieved 7 February 2015. 
  18. ^ Glassburn, Kelly. "Photos, Videos Capture Your Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Ride at Walt Disney World Resort". Disney Parks. Retrieved 7 February 2015. 
  19. ^ Wallace, Sandi. "Disney PhotoPass Service Simplifies Access to Walt Disney World Photos, Videos". Disney Parks. Retrieved 2 November 2014. 
  20. ^ "Main Street Electrical Parade Returns to Walt Disney World Resort This Summer". Retrieved 2010-02-10. 
  21. ^ "UPDATED (2:41pm) Twilight Zone Tower of Terror Summer Nightastic drop profile details". 
  22. ^ Glover, Erin (February 15, 2017). "Step into Blockbuster Super Hero Stories at Disney California Adventure Park! Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! Opens May 27 with Summer of Heroes and All-New Epic Experiences". Disney Parks Blog. Retrieved February 15, 2017. 
  23. ^ "Tower of Terror to close for 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Ride". ABC 7 News, Chicago. September 12, 2016. Retrieved September 29, 2016. 
  24. ^ a b "Twilight Zone Tower of Terror ride closing at Disneyland". ABC 5 News, Boston. Aug 31, 2016. Retrieved September 29, 2016. 
  25. ^ "Disneyland removes sign to Tower of Terror, signaling switch to Guardians of the Galaxy". San Jose Mercury News. September 21, 2016. Retrieved September 29, 2016. 
  26. ^ Bevil, Dewayne (November 19, 2016). "Disney: 'Avatar' land to open next summer at Animal Kingdom". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved November 20, 2016. 
  27. ^ "The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror (Around The World) - 15th Anniversary - Disneyland Resort Paris". DLRP Magic!. 2007. Archived from the original on July 15, 2007. Retrieved January 16, 2017. 
  28. ^ "Hollywood Boulevard". DLRP Today. 2007. Archived from the original on May 24, 2007. Retrieved January 16, 2017. 
  29. ^ "The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror". DLP Guide - Disneyland Paris at the click of a mouse!. 
  30. ^ "Spotting the details of a Twilight Zone redux". DLP Today. 
  31. ^ "The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror - Hollywood Studios Attractions - Walt Disney World Resort". Walt Disney World. 
  32. ^ ‘Tower Of Terror’ Getting Movie Treatment; Venerable Disney Theme Park Fright Ride Deadline, Retrieved October 23, 2015
  33. ^ "Richard Bellis :: Filmography". 

External links[edit]