Today we’re celebrating a special milestone on the Disney Parks Blog – it’s the 20th anniversary of The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror!
In honor of today’s milestone, here are 20 fun facts about the attraction.
- Our Walt Disney Imagineers viewed 156 episodes of “The Twilight Zone” for inspiration when creating The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.
- The ride vehicle is an elevator car.
- The storyline of the attraction sets the date as Halloween night – October 31, 1939.
- The architecture of the tower was inspired by multiple Southern California landmarks, such as the Biltmore Hotel and the Mission Inn.
- The building features 27,000 roof tiles.
- The outdoor queue area features the songs “Inside” by Fats Waller and “Mood Indigo” by Duke Ellington.
- The grounds of the Hollywood Tower Hotel were inspired by the look of California’s Griffith Park and Elysian Park.
- The lobby of the Hollywood Tower Hotel was outfitted with antiques and furniture purchased at Los Angeles-area auction houses.
- Some of the sculptures featured in the lobby are the work of 19th century sculptor Auguste Moreau.
- A copy of “Four Pages of Hilarious Star Caricatures by Walt Disney” is featured in Photoplay Magazine on the lobby’s concierge desk.
- The Library room features a hidden nod to Mickey Mouse in this sheet music, which is for the song “What! No Mickey Mouse?”
- The clip of film in which Rod Serling introduces the attraction was taken from a “Twilight Zone” episode called “It’s a Good Life.”
- While actor Rod Serling appears in the film in the Library room, the voice you hear is actually voice actor Mark Silverman.
- The young girl who disappears in the elevator carries a Mickey Mouse doll.
- The attraction’s “Fifth Dimension” scene was inspired in part by the “Little Girl Lost” episode of “The Twilight Zone.”
- The attraction offers a 13-story drop.
- The drop sequence for each elevator car is selected at random by the attraction’s computer system.
- Measuring 199 feet tall, Tower of Terror is one of the tallest attractions at Walt Disney World Resort.
- There are now four Tower of Terror attractions at Disney Parks: Disney’s Hollywood Studios (Walt Disney World Resort), Disney California Adventure park (Disneyland Resort), Walt Disney Studios Park (Paris), and Tokyo DisneySea (Tokyo – pictured above) each have their own version.
- The attraction will take center stage during runDisney’s Tower of Terror 10-Miler Weekend this fall, which will feature a The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler, a 5K fun and kids races.
The Twilight Zone® is a registered trademark of CBS, Inc. and used with permission pursuant to a license with CBS, Inc.
Fun Fact: The little girl in the ride is child actress Lindsay Ridgeway, who later appeared on the ABC-TV show Boy Meets World as the the little sister Morgan (seasons 3-7). She shot the video for the original ride at age 7, then was cast in the Disney Movie at age 11.
I wish the girl during the drop sequence still lit up every so often. I saw her once, and I’ve asked about her countless times and have only been told that “she was only around for a limited time.” So cool, yet so creepy!
My husband & I love the detail to the items in side the lobby. They are “spot on” 1930s era. Such as; the ‘in play’ Mah Jongg game. The furnishings. The telephone … However, I love going to the right side for the MOST drops! I am a Tower of Terror fanatic. I wonder how many people realize it’s more than just a ‘free fall?’ It’s pulled down at an even faster rate than a free fall! Gotta’ love it!
Timothy, Tanya… Your memories aren’t entirely playing tricks on you.
When the ride was first opened, there was only a single drop, and the story played out a little differently, but the “floors” haven’t changed.
Keep in mind, it’s been a “few” years, but the details as I recall are:
Up-Shaft stop 1: You see the family. They invite you to join them. Family disappears. you enter the twilight zone and the window breaks. [similar to how it is today]
Up-Shaft stop 2: [this is a bit fuzzy] Doors open and you see what looks like another floor of the hotel. you suddenly move forward and as the car moves there is more twilight zone narration as the room darkens and becomes the “5th dimension” room.
Drop Shaft: As soon as you entered the drop shaft, you would be taken up to the top floor with narration. The elevator stopped. The outside doors opened letting you see out at the park (or the back side of the hotel sign), before you were pulled down in a single drop to the basement.
Basement: exit video with the family and more Rod, before being pulled backwards to the ride exit.
Ultimately…. Same ride/story, but with the original single drop there was a little bit more build up before the drop. It also made the 5th dimension room where you switch shafts appear as much more of a mid-level floor since you always would go up several floors once entering the drop shaft, instead of potentially being pulled down as soon as entering the shaft to start your yo-yoing within the drop shaft.
Opened one day before our wedding day. 20 years later and now my wife’s a Cast Member in WDW — and I STILL can’t get her to ride it with me.
I remember that Timothy! I keep telling my family that there is a floor missing but no one remembers it!
I miss the ‘evil tower u r doomed’ hidden detail… Please bring it back!
Didn’t the elevator car used to go into the room with the breaking window and the guests inviting you to come with them before heading to the 13th floor?
Thanks for the facts. I’ll share with my wife, who LOVES the ride. Whether at D-Land or D-World, we usually head there first thing in the morning so she can get 2 or 3 rides in before the line gets too long. Then we’ll come back each day for another 2 or 3 rides per day, making it 1 dozen or more rides during a stay. We love the random sequences. Keeps us on the edge. Kudos!
Can’t believe you guys gave away the gags on 12 and 13. Bad form, people.
James’ wife here – We love all the details that were clearly carefully and meticulously chosen when creating the ride and the atmosphere surrounding the ride. Thanks Jennifer for the list – some of the facts were completely unknown to us.
The Tower of Terror is a thrill we never tire of and the first ride we head to when we enter Hollywood Studios! It is pure unadulterated fun, excitement and scary all intertwined! For anyone that has not tried this ride – put it on YOUR Disney Bucket list!
Just reading about it gets me nervous!!! 😀
#21 should be that it was designed to blend in with the Morocco Pavilion in Epcot since it’s so tall.
Thanks for the neat facts about my absolute favorite ride!!! Here’s to another 20 years 🙂