The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is hands down one of the best attractions at Walt Disney World.
At the end of Sunset Boulevard looms the imposing Hollywood Tower Hotel. It’s 13 stories high (naturally) and is home to the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.
Unless you get here right when the park opens, you can expect to wait. Your best bet is to grab a FastPass. (Get it as early as you can as they will use up the daily allotment on busier days.)
The Hollywood Tower Hotel has been “deserted” and the signs of neglect are everywhere. The queue takes you through gardens of broken stoneware and decaying plants. In the background you’re listening to haunting melodies from the past by Glenn Miller, Duke Ellington and other notables from that era. (You also hear the screams of the elevator riders.)
When you enter the lobby, you see that everything is covered by dust and cobwebs. There’s a set of leather chairs that are genuine Renaissance antiques. There are French bronzes, including some by Moreau, a noted artist of the 19th century. Other props are reproductions. If you can, get a glimpse of the Concierge desk. There’s a Photoplay magazine with “Four Pages of Hilarious Star Caricatures by Walt Disney.”
From here, you’re directed to the Library. Before the door closes and the lights dim, look around. On top of the bookcases you’ll see some props from Twilight Zone episodes.
The room gets dark, the TV turns on and there in black and white is Rod Serling. He begins with “Tonight’s story on the Twilight Zone is somewhat unique and calls for a different kind of introduction. This, as you may recognize, is a..” This intro is from the “It’s a Good Life” episode where the little boy holds a town hostage by his ability to change or destroy anyone or anything. (Think “Wish it into the cornfield Anthony” and you’ll know the episode.)
You’ll see the Hollywood Tower Hotel in its heyday. A young couple, a little girl with her Governess and a bellhop enter the elevator. The doors close, they start to go up, lightning hits the building and they vanish.
With a crack of lightning, the lights in the Library turn back on, a door opens and you enter the “Twilight Zone.” In this “episode” you’re in the boiler room of the hotel waiting to board a 1917 service elevator.
Once you’ve fastened your seatbelt, the doors close and the elevator heads up. First stop, the doors open and you see a very cool optical illusion. The doors close again and at the next stop, you move forward.
Get ready, this is where the real fun begins. The Tower of Terror has progressed since its debut when the drops were pre- programmed. Now a computer is in control making each ride random and unique. You never know how many times you’ll go up and down and up and down and……
A great souvenir photo is taken that can be purchased at the end of the ride. Most everyone has that mix of happy/terror on their face.
Handicapped Accessibility: Guests in wheelchairs must transfer from the chair to ride. Minimum height is 40 inches. Closed-captioning is available on the pre-show film. See Guest Relations to obtain an activator for closed-captioning.
Mark Plante and his family have been visitors to the Orlando area for 15+ years. They are using information, tricks and knowledge that they have accumulated during that time to create this blog.