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Things You Might Not Know About the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney California Adventure Park

posted on October 17th, 2011 by Erin Glover, Social Media Director, Disneyland Resort


Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney California Adventure Park

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is one of my favorite attractions – both at Disney California Adventure park and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Especially this time of year, it seems extra spooky. Each time I “check in,” I discover some new cobweb-covered detail. That’s why I wanted to share these little-known facts about the attraction at Disney California Adventure park:

  • Reaching 183 feet, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is made of more than 900 tons of steel, 1,600 cubic yards of concrete, 50,000 square feet of exterior plaster and about two miles of HV DC power cable.
  • The “service elevators” ridden by guests move faster than the speed of gravity.
  • The music heard in the Hollywood Tower Hotel courtyard and lobby features jazz and popular tunes from the 1930′s, such as “I Can’t Get Started With You” by Bunny Berigan, “We’ll Meet Again” by Vera Lynn and “Mood Indigo” by Duke Ellington.
  • The “Twilight Zone” episode from which Rod Serling’s appearance in the Library scene was taken is entitled “It’s A Good Life,” written by Rod Serling. The episode tells the story of a little boy who can read minds and control people.
  • The two glass display cases just outside the Library contain props that reference two “Twilight Zone” episodes:
    1. Gold thimble – From “The After Hours,” starring Anne Francis as a woman who has forgotten that she is not actually a human being but a department store mannequin.
    2. Broken stopwatch – From “A Kind of a Stopwatch,” the story of a watch that could actually stop time.

Can you name some of the other “Twilight Zone”-inspired props throughout the hotel?

The Twilight Zone® is a registered trademark of CBS, Inc., and is used with permission pursuant to a license from CBS, Inc.
©Disney/CBS, Inc.

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Filed: Disney California Adventure Park, Disneyland Resort

35 Comments

1

Gregory on October 17th, 2011 at 1:12 pm

The elevator inspection certificate number is 10259, code for October 2, 1959. That is the date Twilight Zone premiered.

2

Megan on October 17th, 2011 at 1:19 pm

Gravity isn’t a speed. It’s an acceleration. Does this mean that the elevators accelerate downward faster than they would in free fall (i.e. due to gravity alone)?

3

Kyle on October 17th, 2011 at 1:21 pm

I know that at DHS on the first table to the right after you walk into the “Hotel” you will see a pair of broken glasses that were featured in the episode “Time Enough at Last.”

4

Marc on October 17th, 2011 at 1:36 pm

The “service elevators” ridden by guests move faster than the speed of gravity? Really? The speed of gravity is 299,792,458 m/s. Look familiar? That’s the speed of light in a vacuum.

So, how fast are they really moving?

5

Otto on October 17th, 2011 at 1:37 pm

I love the tower in WDW. The first time I road it I freeked out! I was prepaired to drop, I was not prepared to drive out the first elevator and drop in the second one! I still hope and pray there is a connection in the second shaft, it´s so scary!

6

Michael from FL on October 17th, 2011 at 1:55 pm

Megan, you are correct. The elevators accelerate downward faster than they would in free-fall. They’re actually “pulled” down with a motor.

Also, another reference (in the WDW version at least) in the library is the devil-headed fortune teller machine from an episode featuring William Shatner. The episode name escapes me at the moment.

7

mark on October 17th, 2011 at 2:07 pm

The Mystic Seer (a devils head on top of a machine)is in the library, from the episode “Nick of Time.”

8

Jennifer on October 17th, 2011 at 3:36 pm

Not really related to “The Twilight Zone,” but there’s a hidden mickey in the video clip (at least at WDW, I haven’t gotten to go on the one in California Adventure yet).

9

Vincent from TX on October 17th, 2011 at 3:45 pm

Gravity isn’t a speed. It’s an acceleration. Does this mean that the elevators accelerate downward faster than they would in free fall (i.e. due to gravity alone)?

You are correct, Megan, Acceleration is the rate of change of velocity, so the Rate of change of Acceleration in the Elevator is greater than the rate of change of Acceleration from Gravity.

The Elevator has more “Jerks (Physics)” than Gravity.

Also, according to “Walt Disney Imagineering: A Behind the Dreams Look at Making the Magic Real”, it says that the Ride motors are 7 Feet wide, 35 Feet long, and not stated how tall they are, (But that’s already 245 Sq feet) and each weighs 132,000.

Which means the motors exert 3 Pounds per Square Inch. or 432 Pounds per Square Foot on the steel frame they rest on.

And then remember that the motors are located AT THE TOP of the structure. That’s some pretty serious construction to hold all of that.

And in case you were wondering, the torque generated to move the elevators is equivalent to about 275 Corvette Engines.

10

Dolores on October 17th, 2011 at 4:21 pm

why didn’t anyone mention Talking Tina who’s sitting on the couch?? or that in one of the library’s the books on the shelf are names of episodes of the Twilight Zone :)

11

Nondie on October 17th, 2011 at 4:56 pm

I was just about to say something about the Devil head! That thing gives my best friend the creeps! Anyway, there is also a first edition Wizard of Oz book on the couch in the lobby and the doll is a real Shirly Temple doll!

12

Dean on October 17th, 2011 at 6:03 pm

Will the Disney Parks Blog PLEASE do more posts about what movie/film props there are at the parks? I’ve been trying to find a full list of things to see in Tower of Terror and whether they have all been used in the TV show because I am a HUGE fan of the show from the 1950′s!

Isn’t there chalk drawings from the episode “Little Girl Lost” up the stairs? And are they real, or just recreations?

Thank You DPB!!!!!!

13

John from FL on October 17th, 2011 at 6:30 pm

Nondie, the Devil head that is up on the top shelf in the pre-show is from the episode called, “Nick of Time” which premiered November 18, 1960 which was about a pair of newlyweds stopping in a small town are trapped by their own superstition when playing a fortune telling machine in a local diner.

14

Erik on October 17th, 2011 at 7:22 pm

on the upper level loading area at the far end of the walkway, there are rectangular chalk marks on the left wall, marking the portal to another dimension (as seen in the TZ episode “Little Girl Lost”). if you wait there, you will hear the little girl, Tina, crying for help from the other side. this is my favorite TZ reference. Note – this TZ episode was parodied in The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror VI.

15

Eric on October 17th, 2011 at 7:43 pm

Are any of these in the east-coast WDW version?
World-champion TZ authority that I am :) , I keep thinking I should’ve seen these, but I’ve never been on the West Coast version.
(Or maybe I just wasn’t looking, since I was too chicken to go on the Studios version more than two or three times ever.)

16

Thomas on October 17th, 2011 at 9:26 pm

Will the Tower of Terror in DCA ever be made random like the one in Florida? The same old drop sequence becomes less exciting the more times ridden, especially for annual pass holders.

17

Charles on October 17th, 2011 at 10:49 pm

Erik, the girl behind the wall is voiced by Kat Cressida, the woman who also provides the voice of the Bride in the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland.

18

Matthew on October 17th, 2011 at 11:05 pm

@Erik

YES! Favorite reference, as well as “Time enough at last” which was mentioned earlier. Man this made my evening haha!

19

Danell on October 17th, 2011 at 11:12 pm

At Disneyland when you are upsatirs their is a wall that looks like its patched right before you get seperated into sections, anyway you can hear a little girls voice in there, reminds me of poltergiest girl, it’s cool but then after a couple minutes it gives me the creeps

20

Caitlin on October 17th, 2011 at 11:24 pm

I’m a huge Twilight Zone fan who’s in Tokyo for the year, so I’m just wondering if there are any references or props in Tokyo DisneySea’s Tower of Terror. Given the different storyline and the removal of “the Twilight Zone” from the name, I’m assuming there aren’t, but it can’t hurt to ask! Probably my favourite ride in DisneySea either way. :)

21

Tara from AB on October 17th, 2011 at 11:39 pm

When we were there in April, there was a typewriter with the “GET OUT OF HERE FINCHLEY” nod to the episode from Season 2 “A Thing About Machines”.

My fiance proposed to me on the Tower of Terror! :)

22

Timmy on October 17th, 2011 at 11:44 pm

I’ve been to both DCA and Hollywood Studios in the past year and have noticed slight differences. As for Twilight Zone references, I love that there is Willoughby Travel etched in the post-show area at DCA, a reference to the episode “A Stop at Willoughby”.

23

Nathan on October 18th, 2011 at 12:34 am

In the tv room where you watch the intro to the ride I can spot a few things actually. Sorry that I don’t know the episode names, but I hope you all know what I’m talking about.

One is the miniature space aliens suit that terrorizes the lonely old woman in her shack.
I can also spot the fortunetelling machine in the cafe that tells a man a events soon to come and obsesses the guy.
And lastly my favorite is the skull mask of the grandfather who put masks on his siblings that matches their personalities.

24

Miguel on October 18th, 2011 at 3:43 am

I totally love the original version at WDW. Not so much the one at DCA. There are so many aspects of the WDW one that make it an incredible “must do” attraction that were left off the DCA copy in an effort to make the new version simpler to operate and maintain. There’s no way the the dumb “magic mirror” effect at DCA makes up for the loss of the “5th Dimension” transition sequence in the WDW original, but the mirror effect requires no maintenance whereas the complex transition sequence is mechanically troublesome. My opinion certainly, as there are fans who would argue the merits of both versions. It is said that the drops at DCA are a bit wilder. I think there’s little doubt that the overall story development and execution at the WDW version beats the DCA version hands down, including the extensive “unkempt and spooky” garden queue feature (which was left off the DCA version entirely in favor of a much smaller and more manicured landscaped patio area).

Let’s just say that the WDW version is a supremely executed dark ride with a significant thrill element, and the DCA version is mostly an intense thrill ride with some show elements overlaid on top. Being that Disney is primarily about “show”, that’s why I tend to like the WDW version more.

25

Karen on October 18th, 2011 at 5:36 am

#15 – Erin, did you realize that for anyone who’s NOT seen, “The After Hours”, you’ve just given away the surprise ending to the story?! That’s the whole point of Twilight Zone, the ending! Maybe you could change your write-up and just say it’s an episode with Anne Francis that takes place in a department store??

About “Nick of Time”, the husband in the episode is played by William Shatner and the mechanic is played by Stafford Repp, who played “Chief O’Hara” on the original Batman TV show with Adam West as Batman. “Time Enough at Last” starred Burgess Meredith, who also played “The Penguin” on the same Batman series.

“It’s a Good Life” starred Billy Mumy (who later played Will Robinson on “Lost in Space”) as the charming child and Cloris Leachman played his mother!

If you can’t tell, Twilight Zone was one of my favorite shows growing up and we enjoy the Twilight Zone Tower of Tower in both parks.

26

Leslie on October 18th, 2011 at 7:30 am

When the ride is finished right before you turn to the exit door The Dummy from the ventriloquist episode in on the right with tons of other items.

The Dummy was one of the scariest episodes for me as a kid so I can’t seem to find any of the other items when we get there just see tons of stuff.

27

Randy on October 18th, 2011 at 11:16 am

I learned that when they were testing the HTH for the first time they didn’t allow for enough air flow when the elevator came down. They apparently blew out some walls. This was from some imagineers during a tour called Back Stage Magic.

28

Diana from NY on October 18th, 2011 at 12:30 pm

Great post! I love both the DCA and DHS versions of Tower of Terror (I hope to someday right the DLP and TDL versions as well!). Each has something unique, but the same classic experience.

As for “We’ll Meet Again” by Vera Lynn – I was in a store somewhere recently and heard this song (I wish I could remember where!). I literally got goosebumps from hearing it. Totally set me up for a spooky encounter with the Twilight Zone…unfortunately, all I was really set up for was the checkout line ;). It is a testament, though, to how well Imagineering sets the story through music, sights, and smells. Amazing.

29

Carrie on October 18th, 2011 at 2:26 pm

I would just like to second another post, and wonder if you will ever do radom drops like at DHS. While the drops are great at DCA, the randomness adds a whole new dimension to the ride and makes it so much more fun for repeat visitors. Please!!!

30

Alexander on October 19th, 2011 at 4:01 am

I second the “we need the random drop sequence in DCA” too!!!

Always the same drop sequence (same as in Paris btw) gets really boring…

31

Katie from CA on October 19th, 2011 at 7:35 pm

so glad you posted this ive been wondering what songs they played in the courtyard of tower forever. how many other songs are played out there? and can you by the soundtrack to it anywhere?

32

Fred from CA on October 20th, 2011 at 9:17 pm

Miguel–
I wouldn’t call the mirror effect “dumb”. That is being too harsh. I actually like the mirror effect, and I’m glad that there are differences and that the versions are different.

I actually like the DCA version better, but I agree, the random drops should be added to the DCA version.

33

Fred from CA on October 20th, 2011 at 9:24 pm

…Also, I think that the DCA version is very well themed. To say that the themeing is not as good as the Hollywood Studios version is really cutting the DCA version short.

The DCA version has lots of great details.

34

Sheila on October 21st, 2011 at 5:12 pm

awww man! this almost makes me want to go on this ride again just to see all of the stuff I missed! I HATE falling. I have a fear of it. I can’t go on any rides that come to a full stop, then drop. I went on the ‘free on your birthday’ year and bought a pic to document the event so I could say “see? I went” and promised myself Never again! XD

35

Nicholas from CA on October 23rd, 2011 at 2:36 am

One more fun fact… the boy from “It’s A Goof Life” who can read minds is named Anthony Freemont. You will notice a sign in the ride photo display room advertising the Anthony Freemont Orchestra performing at the hotel.

35 Comments