The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
by Christy Todd, Playtime Vacations Travel Consultant
Looming mysteriously on the skyline of Disney’s Hollywood Studios is the abandoned Hollywood Tower Hotel. Inside this creepy hotel you are invited to take a tour of the vacant corridors in The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror!
During the golden age of Hollywood the Hollywood Tower hotel was frequented by the glitzy stars for some relaxation time. It was a glamorous scene, a beautiful hotel and all the famous people were sure to visit. However, on a dark stormy night in 1939 a big storm with fierce lightning struck the building and the 5 unfortunate people in the elevator at that moment were never to be seen again. The hotel was closed and has remained abandoned every since that fateful night. What became of those poor souls and where they may have gone still remains a mystery.
Currently you are invited to take a tour of the hotel to try and uncover what happened during that mysterious incident. As you approach the Hollywood Tower Hotel you wind along walkways lined with overgrown, weed filled gardens and ancient wrought iron fencing. All along the way soft music reminiscent of the bygone era can be heard wafting through the greenery. The outdoor fountains that were once gloriously lit up and showering delightfully are now dried up and cracking. The walls of the hotel are cracked and have crumbling stucco.
As you enter the hotel lobby it seems as though the room as been frozen in time. The lobby still has newspapers, coats, hats, jackets and luggage waiting for their owners to return. There is even champagne and tea service left behind as if all the people disappeared instantly. The entire lobby is covered in a thick layer of dust and cobwebs showing the effects of time. You are greeted in the lobby by a bellhop who directs you to the doors of the library. You can tell that the bellhops are unsure exactly what time this is and who you are but they stay true to their duty. As you enter the dark and foreboding library you start to realize that you may soon be part of a journey into another dimension. Lightning flickers throughout the library and a television set in the corner flips on with Rod Sterling welcoming you to the Twilight Zone. Here he gives you a glimpse into what may have happened that night.
After Rod’s message is complete doors open into a secret hallway taking you deep into the hotel leading you to the boiler room. The clanking and glowing flames of the boilers lead you along the walkway to the only working elevator on property, the service elevators. As you enter your elevator to take you into the 5th dimension the light bulbs flicker ominously. Strap yourself in and you’re off to search for answers. You are taken up to the next floor and when the doors are opened you are greeted by the lost souls from 1939. They call to you to keep moving and follow them into the darkness. On the next level up, your elevator begins to move forward as you travel through sights and sounds of The Twilight Zone. You are taken through the stars and into the darkness of your mind. The elevator slows to a stop and everything goes black. Suddenly, it drops! You are plummeting downward and then quickly racing up again. As you speed up and down in the elevator shaft you get a peek out across the theme park through part of a missing wall as the elevator doors open and close. The elevator is being controlled by something not of this world and you can hear the cables cracking and metal creaking. You are unsure if you will be making it out alive or joining the “other world”.
Disney’s Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is a thematic amazement. Disney always makes sure that everything they do is authentic and high quality. The building inside and out transports you to another time, the story line engrosses you so that you almost forget where you really are. Not only do they set the scene perfectly Disney is always pushing the bar when it comes to developing new ride systems. The ride vehicles and multi drop ride system were created and developed specifically for this ride. Therefore each time you ride you will experience a new sequence of thrilling drops. When you are in the drop shaft the ride vehicle is pulled up and down by cables allowing you to fall faster than gravity. The drop shaft portion of the ride reaches a top speed of 39 mph and 4.5 G’s of gravitational force. For those who don’t meet the height requirement of 40 inches or taller or those who change their mind at the last minute there is always a chance to exit. Disney also offers a perk called Rider Switch. For this you should talk to the first cast member you come across and inform them that you will need to take advantage of the rider switch. They will assist you in the process. All the members of your group, including the non rider, will go through the pre-show portion of the ride (the library) first. Then one of you and the non rider will then be taken to a holding area to wait for your first rider(s) to finish their trip and return. The next rider will then be ushered to the front of the line to take their turn in the haunted hotel!
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror debuted in July of 1994 but has remained one of the most popular rides at Disney’s Hollywood Studios throughout the years. Get ready to travel into the 5th dimension inside the Hollywood Tower Hotel and uncover the mysteries within!
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