The Frightful Tale of Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at the Disneyland Resort

Michele Himmelberg

by , Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort

We have shared lots of Halloween Time fun with you this season, from ghoulish goodies to the making of Haunted Mansion Holiday and the 13 surprises hidden in the rooms of the mansion. Now it’s time for for the spooky side of Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort, with a story worth a scream or two.

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Step back in time, to 1939 and a stormy Halloween Eve. A fateful bolt of lightning strikes the Hollywood Tower Hotel. An elevator plunges to the basement and its five passengers vanish. Guests hastily flee the hotel, leaving an “Out of Order” elevator with bent and damaged doors and a creepy library where the old-fashioned television suddenly comes alive — with the voice and image of “The Twilight Zone” host Rod Serling.

Today, the mysterious building remains locked in time in Disney California Adventure park. Crossing over into the The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, you’re invited to ride the hotel’s remaining service elevators and experience your own terrifying plunge.

If you’re bold enough to flirt with the fifth dimension, it’s a thrilling drop from the 13th floor in a high-speed, 21-passenger elevator. Before you step foot in the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, you may want to know more about its eerie details:

  • The ominous Hollywood Tower Hotel stands 183 feet tall, the tallest building in Anaheim.
  • The landscaping is designed to reflect what was typical of an upscale hotel in 1930s Southern California. Chinese flame trees, magnolias, and various palms accent the building. Look for the dead palm fronds, intentionally left on the trees for that “unkempt-by-design” look.
  • Music heard in the area includes popular tunes from the 1930s, 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, all chosen for their timeless, haunting quality.
  • Artifacts fill the hotel lobby, all items “left behind” by guests who suddenly disappeared on that frightful Halloween in 1939. Scattered on tables and chairs are a pair of dusty wine glasses, a book, an unfinished postcard, a child’s doll and more.
  • Many of the props in the hotel are replicas that recall specific episodes of “The Twilight Zone” television series. The series originally ran on CBS, from 1959 to 1964. Rod Serling, its creator and host, wrote 92 of the original 156 episodes.


  • Chad from what I understand it was more efficient to do it this way. It’s more of 2.0 version of the ride and is used in Paris as well.

  • There are superbly-themed attractions at DLR– The Haunted Mansion, Cars Land’s rides, and Indiana Jones Adventure, to name a few. But the very best, bar none, is the Tower of Terror. The incredible attention to detail, rich storytelling, and excellent ride makes for a really awesome experience. Even at WDW, the Tower is at the very top of well-themed attractions, with the possible exception of Expedition Everest. For me, what makes the Tower a long-lasting treat that stays with you well after you leave the park is the haunting music; it fits the attraction and area to a tee, and its melancholic, brooding melodies are perfectly juxtaposed with the frantic, adrenaline-pumping ride that awaits at the end. I can listen to this music endlessly, especially during this autumnal time of year… Happy Halloween Disney and all!

  • This is clearly one of my favorite attractions at both Disneyland and Magic Kingdom. From the moment you see the tower from your approach to the park, you’re immersed into the narrative.

    After experiencing the attraction at Disneyland, I have a follow-up question. The elevator at MK detach from their initial ascent up and move throughout a hallway before the descent into madness happens. Why did Disneyland not choose this factor of the ride? Was it a space concern? Or simply another version of the narrative?

    Whatever the case, the ride never fails to surprise.

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