We went to Disney World in 1992 and almost immediately our son Stuart found out that Disney planned to open a new e-ticket attraction. Today, the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror turns 25. We weren’t there until December and it was a long wait. To celebrate this anniversary here are some fun facts on one of our favorite Disney’s Hollywood Studios attractions.
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror Creation
- Several different themes were considered including ones based on Stephen King, Vincent Price and Mel Brooks.
- Walt Disney Imagineers viewed all 156 episodes of “The Twilight Zone” for inspiration when creating The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
- Site-clearing and prep began early in 1992, but a sinkhole led to a slight change in the plan.
- The back of the tower is designed to blend into Morocco Pavilion when viewed from Epcot.
- The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror was the first Disney World e-Ticket attraction that offers recorded video of guest on August 13, 2014.
- The original Cast Member bell hop outfits cost over $1000 each to create.
- The ride has gone through several upgrades and improvements and is currently undergoing another. The ride is open during these refurbishments.
Building the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror Story
- The story begins on Halloween night – October 31, 1939 when lightning strikes the Hollywood Tower Hotel . . .
- The introductory film clip of Rod Serling comes from the “It’s a Good Life” episode.
- Rod Serling’s widow, Carol Serling, acted as a consultant during the auditions for the voice actor who would provide Serling’s voice.
- Voice actor, Mark Silverman, was selected and he has since gone on to portray Serling in the Disney California Adventure attraction, an episode of “Medium”..
- The last scene before the drop, “the Fifth Dimension” was partially based on the “Little Girl Lost” episode of “The Twilight Zone.”
- The hotel has a plaque awarding the hotel 13 Diamonds by AAA
- There are more than a dozen artifacts and references to the Twilight Zone TV Show hidden throughout the ride,
The Hollywood Tower Hotel Building
- The Hollywood Tower Hotel is 199 feet tall. One more foot and a blinking light would be required. Only the Expedition Everest attraction is higher at 199.5 Feet.
- The architecture and grounds were inspired by California landmarks such as the Mission Inn, Biltmore Hotel and Griffith Park.
- The building features 27,000 roof tiles.
- The lobby furniture are antiques purchased at Los Angeles auction houses.
- The Mahjong Game is an actual unfinished game played by professional Mahjong players left in progress.
- The 19th Century sculptor Auguste Moreau created many of the lobby sculptures. Some of the original sculpture castings can be found for sale in art houses.
- The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror not only has a height requirement, but an age requirement as well. Children under 7 must be accompanied by an individual that is 14 or older.
- When the ride was first opened, there was only a single drop but now the drop sequence may include up to 6 drops. The largest drop is 130 feet (13 stories) and is included on every ride.
- A computer randomly picks the ride profile and sequences before you begin. There are four ride profiles leading to multiple sequences.
- When first created the sole center seat was restrained by a seat belt while all other seats had bar restraints. Riders had an enhanced sense of weightlessness during the large drop.
- The ride vehicle is an elevator car playing on a common fear of elevators which combines claustrophobia and agoraphobia,
- The Tower of Terror does not have a free fall. The cars are actually pulled down in order to achieve a speed of 39 miles per hour.
- When the car moves through the tower it moves on its own battery power.
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror Disney Connection
- The concierge desk has a copy of Photoplay Magazine featuring “Four Pages of Hilarious Star Caricatures by Walt Disney”.
- Under a trumpet in the Library room the sheet music for “What! No Mickey Mouse?” an be viewed.
- A Mickey Mouse doll is carried by the young girl who disappears in the preshow
- The Disney Channel’s Walt Disney World Inside Out features the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror on their 1994 Halloween edition.
- Walt Disney Television produced the Tower of Terror TV Movie staring Steve Guttenberg and Kirsten Dunst in 1997.
Twilight Zone in the Other Parks
- There were three additional Tower of Terror attractions at Disney Parks Disneyland’s California Adventure (2004), Tokyo (2006) and Paris (2007).
- The Disneyland Tower of Terror was closed in 2016 to make way for Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT.
- Lightning struck the attraction while it was being built as well as several times later.
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is an important part of Disney to our family. Our first visit to Disney MGM Studios preceded Twilight Zone. While there Stu found Twilight Zone so fascinating that we returned shortly after it opened. He was so excited to go on the ride that Bob hung back and took a picture of Pat and Stu as they walked toward the ride. We have taken the same picture every time we have gone to Disney World since.
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