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Twilight Zone Tower of Terror -- Part Two

Yesterday, I gave you a brief history of the Tower of Terror and walked you through the attraction up through the Lobby. Today we'll finish the tour.

From the hotel lobby we proceed to one of the two libraries. It's here that we're told that our rooms are not quite ready and to please enjoy the amenities until summoned. Then, with a crash of lightning, the room goes dark and the television set comes alive. For the next minute and a half, the fateful story of the hotel's demise is presented.

Rod Serling recounts the tale of the Hollywood Tower Hotel and how on Halloween night, October 31, 1939, a stylish young couple and a child actress with her stern governess, check into the hotel. An overworked bellman escorts them to an elevator and the doors close. On their ascent, lightning strikes the hotel and the building's two wings disappear, along with the inhabitants of the elevator.


Library

Library


The clip of Rod Serling was also taken from the episode titled "It's a Good Life." However, the voice used is that of Mark Silverman. Mr. Serling's widow made the final selection after the Imagineers narrowed down the field following hundreds of auditions.

Watch the television show carefully and you can see a Mickey Mouse plush toy in the young girl's hand right before she gets onto the elevator.


Rod Serling


A number of other details can be found in the libraries. The broken pair of glasses is from the episode titled "Time Enough at Last" starring Burgess Meredith as Henry Bemis. He is a bookworm and the sole survivor of a nuclear war who drops and breaks his only pair of glasses.


Glasses from Time Enough at Last


The trumpet is from "Passage for Trumpet" starring Jack Klugman as Joey Crown, a down and out musician. While contemplating suicide, he is saved by another trumpet player, Gabriel. Beneath the trumpet is sheet music titled "What! No Mickey Mouse? What Kind Of Party Is This?" The song was written in 1932.


Trumpet from Passage for Trumpet


On the shelf above the books is a small spaceman. This creature was from "The Invaders" starring Agnes Moorhead who is terrorized by what turns out to be a space mission from earth.


Spaceman from The Invaders


Also on the overhead shelf is a fortune telling machine that tormented William Shatner in an episode titled "Nick of Time." All of these items are accurate reproductions of the actual props used in the television show.


Fortune Telling Machine from Nick of Time


When "Tonight's Episode" concludes in the Library, a hidden panel slides open and you proceed to the Boiler Room and the Service Elevators.


This Way to the Service Elevators


Pay attention to the noises in the Boiler Room. You can hear a number of sounds appropriate to your surroundings such as motors running and pipes banging. The first two brick structures you encounter when entering this room are the hotel's furnaces. One is still in service. If you look closely, you'll find several carloads of coal waiting to be stoked. Boiler tanks and electrical equipment can also be found down here.


Basement Walkway

Furnace

Coal Bin

Water Tank


Eventually you reach the Service Elevators. Between each set of elevators is a caged area. In this area is the electrical motor that lifts and lowers the cars (not really). Pay attention and you can hear the motor start and stop as the cars rise and lower. And occasionally you can see sparks within the machine. Also, if you watch the "floor indicator," you can tell when the elevator is arriving.


Service Elevator

Elevator Motor

Floor Indicator


I know there are a few of you who have absolutely no desire to ever ride on TOT. And that's totally understandable. But I would strongly suggest you accompany your friends and family to this point. The queue and preshow are an attraction in their own right and worth seeing. If you've made it this far, just tell the bell hop you don't wish to be taken to your room at the moment and you'll be allowed to bypass the elevator and meet your companions later.

Now it's time to board the 1917 caged service elevator for a quick trip to your room. If you look to the side of the car, outside the cage, you can see a "Permit to Operate" certificate dated October 31, 1939. The certificate was signed by Inspector Cadwallader. This is in reference to the Twilight Zone episode "Escape Clause" where Walter Bedeker (played by David Wayne) makes a deal with the devil -- a gentleman who calls himself Mr. Cadwallader (played by Thomas Gomez). In addition, the certificate also displays "STATE ID NUMBER 10259." This is a nod to the date The Twilight Zone premiered on CBS, October 25, 1959


Elevator Car

Permit to Operate Sign


After everyone has been secured in their seat, the elevator doors close and you're whisked up several stories. When the doors reopen, you're looking into one of the hotel's hallways. Shortly thereafter, the family that disappeared on that fateful night long ago, reappears for an instant, before lightning strikes once again and they vanish forever. The effect is wonderful and eerie. I'm not going to give away the secret here, but if you're curious as to how this trick is accomplished, look up "Pepper's Ghost" on the internet. Wikipedia has a good description and discusses several Disney attractions.


Hotel Hallway and Guests


The doors close once again and your elevator car continues its ascent. When the doors open this time, the elevator moves horizontally into the Fifth Dimension. This room was inspired in part by the "Little Girl Lost" episode of The Twilight Zone. In this show, the daughter of a young couple rolls under her bed and through the wall into another dimension.

In order to accomplish the elevator's forward motion, the cars needed to be motorized and on wheels. These "Autonomous Guided Vehicles" are powered by onboard electric motors and batteries. Improving on techniques developed for Epcot's Universe of Energy, the vehicles use fast charging batteries that can be recharged while in use.

One of the props in the Fifth Dimension Room is a giant eyeball that opens to reveal a passing elevator car. At one time, a picture of the actual car you were riding in was displayed and you could see yourself. But sadly, this effect was eliminated a number of years ago due to obscene gestures some guests made while having their picture taken.

At the end of the Fifth Dimension Room a star field gathers and suddenly, doors open to reveal an inky blackness. Your elevator proceeds into this abyss, then stops. For a moment, nothing happens…then your elevator goes wild. The drop sequence that you experience is selected by a computer and each ride is unique and random. You never know if your journey will start with a ride to the top or a drop to the bottom. Here are a couple of pictures taken from the top.


View from the Top

View from the Top


To accomplish a faster-than-gravity fall, the elevator car you are riding in actually enters a secondary elevator car located in the drop-shaft and locks into place. This secondary car has cables attached to both the top and bottom of the elevator, allowing a motor to pull you down faster than a natural freefall would generate. The motors used on these elevators are significantly more powerful than those used in modern skyscrapers.

Eventually, the elevator comes to a rest in the basement. If you look to the side of the car before it turns, other Twilight Zone props can be seen. The slot machine from the episode "The Fever" and the ventriloquist dummy from the show titled "Caesar and Me" are both in view. You will also notice a large "B" painted on the inside of the elevator doors, signifying "Basement." As the doors open, the "B" splits in half creating the number 13.


Basement 13


After exiting the elevator, you walk down a long hallway to find a hotel storage room. I've read that various other Twilight Zone props can be found on these shelves, but I couldn't identify any and the cast members I spoke with were unaware of them.


Hotel Store Room


It's at this storage facility that you can order a picture of yourself taken while riding on the elevator. Also notice the chalkboard that reads, "Picture If You Will…" a quote often used by Rod Serling on The Twilight Zone television show.


Picture if you Will Sign


Around the corner is a large desk where your photo can be purchased and picked up.


Photo Pick-up Desk


Just beyond this desk are three sets of doors labeled Sunset, Beverly, and Fountain Rooms. I mentioned these earlier when talking about the hotel Directory. In reality, these lead to backstage areas. But in the realm of the Hollywood Tower Hotel these are banquet rooms.


Sunset Banquet Room


If you check the menu next to the Sunset Room, you can see that a gala dinner was taking place here on October 31, 1939. As you can see, the guests were in for a sumptuous feast. Here's what was on the menu that night:


Menu


Hors D'oeurve
Grape Fruit Maraschino
Sweet Gherkins à la Moutarde
Bismark Herrings

Soups
Glear Turtle with Sherry
Potage Ecossaise
Cold Consommé

Fish
Grilled Bluefish
Dover Sole
Whitefish Matheson

Entrees
Mignon of Beef
Rack of Lamb Johnson
Tournedos Nicoise

Grill
Mutton Chops
Spring Chicken
Calf's Liver and Bacon
Deviled Quail on Toast

Vegetables
Fresh Green Peas
Cauliflower au Gratin
New Carrots

Salads
Autumn Salad
Belgian Endive
Polonaise Beaumont

Dessert
Peach Shortcake
Apple Pie and Cream
Gateau Chocolate au Rodman

Tea and coffee, Liqueurs, Cigars, Cigarettes

I want to thank my friend Kev for pointing out that some of the menu items contain the names of writers of the Twilight Zone TV show such as Richard Matheson, Charles Beaumont, and George Clayton Johnson.

All good hotels have a gift shop and the Hollywood Tower Hotel is no exception. Here you can find HTH logo merchandise that is only available in this shop. Also, a number of books and pamphlets about The Twilight Zone television show are for sale.


Hotel Shop

Hotel Shop

Logo Merchandise


Outside the shop are three windows displaying elegant merchandise once for sale at the hotel. Pumpkins make up part of the window dressing in honor of Halloween. Also, a sign in the window mentions the upcoming Halloween Extravaganza, presumably being held in the Sunset Room.


Shop Window

Shop Window Sign


While researching this piece, I read of other attraction details, but I have chosen not to mention them for various reasons. But rest assured, there are more hidden treasures scattered around this outstanding attraction.

Restrictions: Guests must be at least 40" tall; cannot suffer from any neck, back, or heart problems; cannot suffer from motion sickness or claustrophobia; wheelchair guests must be able to walk in unassisted and possess full upper-body control; pregnant women may not ride.

Finally, I would like to answer a question I get time and time again: "Where are all the people?"

1. Whenever I do a photo-shoot, I arrive at opening (9am). This gives me roughly an hour to take unobstructed photos.

2. For this blog, I know that everyone rushes down Sunset Boulevard for Rock 'N' Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror first thing in the morning. All I had to do was wait ten minutes for the morning onslaught to be absorbed by these two people-eaters. Then I had the street, queue, and much of the attraction to myself.

3. I made multiple trips to Disney's Hollywood Studios in order to take my pictures.

4. I'm very patient. I will wait, and wait, and wait for people to move out of my way before I snap a shot.

5. And finally, I'm very good with the computer and can remove a lot of unwanted objects from my pictures.

Because I waited patiently for everyone else to rush ahead of me, I got to ride in an elevator all by myself. Cool.


All by Myself in the Elevator


I have created a five-minute video of the Tower of Terror. I have tried to capture as much of the attraction as possible and hope that I can provide you with everything but the thrill of the drop. Enjoy!



Check back tomorrow when I present an overview of the Towers in California, Paris, and Tokyo.

The previous post in this blog was Twilight Zone Tower of Terror -- Part One.

The next post in this blog is Twilight Zone Tower of Terror -- Part Three.

Comments (67)

John Arena Jr:

Mr. Spence,

Great blog on the TOT. I'm sure a lot of time and research went into creating this. I'm hoping you can make time to consider other attractions and do this again. Maybe some thing for Mission : Space or Test Track, or something with the older attractions like the Haunted Mansion or Pirates of the Caribbean.

Thanks again very interseting and a job well done.

Jack's Comment:

You must be one of my newer readers. I recently wrote blogs about both Mission: Space and Test Track. I've also written about the TTA, Great Movie Ride, Hall of Presidents, Jungle Cruise and others. If you search my archives, you'll find a lot more things of interest.

Mary:

Great job on the video!

Tracy:

Loved this blog! Even though I can usually only "stomach" one ride on ToT each trip, it's still one of my favorites and I enjoyed reading about an attraction I agree is so wonderfully themed and expertly detailed. Keep up the great work Jack, your details and care in writing are so appreciated!!!

Ken Fischler:

Excellent video Jack, you are quite the videographer!

Alison:

Do you know if some of the "menu items" in the Sunset Room that night honor the imagineers who worked on the attraction?

Jack's Answer:

I do not know, but I wondered the same thing. I wouldn't be surprised at all if this was their way of garnering some recognition.

Jack,

Thanks for the great writeup of ToT, I'll have to look up your reviews of the other attractions!

I was wondering if you've had your SLR damaged -- or your nerves racked -- when bringing it on some of the thrill/water rides at the parks?

My wife and I are taking a trip this year and I just got a DSLR for Christmas and I'm wondering if I could safely bring it with my while touring, or if I should shoot for a bit and then put it in a locker?

Jack's Answer:

I take my cameras everywhere at Disney World and have never had a problem. None of the rides are so jerky as to damage them. However, I have found that the "anti-shake" feature on my new video camera causes the camera to stop working momentarily when on a jerky ride. But after I turned the camera off and back on, it reset itself and worked fine. I had to use an older video camera to get the pictures while riding TOT since it didn't have anti-shake built into it.

I would be careful when riding water rides. Splash Mountain isn't a problem as long as you put your camera in your lap during "splash down." But Kali River Rapids is the one attraction I would think twice before taking a camera. I would not trust the storage bin in the ride vehicle. Just stop at any shop before riding and ask for a bag. This will protect your camera if you received the brunt of the splash.

Also, when riding a thrill ride, I wrap the camera's strap around my arm twice to make sure I don't accidently drop it.

Cindy Hershey:

Thanks for this blog. This is our favorite attraction at DHS! I have some beautiful pictures taken while walking through the gardens. Everytime we make it to the lobby, the line moves way to fast to take it all in. Next time we'll let the crowd the move on and we'll take a look at the decor.

Disney did a tv movie, starring Steve Guttenberg and Kirsten Dunst, that appears to be loosely based on the Tower of Terror. Any reason why Disney seems to have forgotten the movie?

Jack's Answer:


Actually, Disney hasn't forgotten this movie. It is for sale in the TOT gift shop and some of the other shops around property. It's also available on Amazon.


Erin:

Great article as usual!!! I love to know the fine details around Disney, you do an excellent job at it.

Angie:

Thank you so much for this post, and especially the video. In 2003 I rode Tower of Terror at the insistence of my brother and his g/f telling me it wasn't that bad. I discovered just how bad my personal fear of falling was and left the ride in tears. I have heard that they replaced the lap bar with seatbelts, but I still don't think it would be enough for me to feel comfortable riding the ride.

While I accept that its just not for me, it also makes me sad because you are right, the theming on this ride is absolutely fantastic. I was so glad to be able to see some of that pre-drop part of the attraction again. It also let me share it with my boyfriend who is unable to ride thrill rides but loves the Twilight Zone. Thanks again!

Jennifer:

Jack, I agree with you about the themeing of ToT! Disney really did a great job creating the atmosphere with the music, the exterior and interior.
You've outdone yourself with detailed information. A funny question.. do the CM's know you by now?
Thanks again for taking us back to 1939!

Jack's Answer:

For the most part, I keep a low profile when I visit Disney World. I have gotten to know a handful of cast members, but most don't recognize me. However, I am occasionally stopped by my readers who see me wandering the parks.

Joe Boudreau:

Excellent Jack - just like being there - if only! Thanks so much!

Michelle Gala:

Your video is AWESOME! Really enjoyed watching that, I still can't get over all the details in this ride. Maybe I'll actually work up the courage to go this one next time! Great blog, very interesting, great pictures, very informative, thanks so much for sharing!!!

Roberto Paredes G Femat:

Great blog Jack!!!! I have been reading your blog since 2008 when my wife an I were preparing our honeymoon trip to the "world", which actually took place in October 2008. Many of your recomendations were so valuable for us, like visiting the magic kingdom for MNSSHP!!! This year we are planning a Winter vacation for a very special reason, our baby´s firts visit to Disneyworld!!! Maybe we are not going to be able to ride in every attraction as we did in our honeymoon trip, but with suggestion and advices like the ones you post in your blog, we are sure we are going to have a great vacation!!!

Greetings from Mexico!!!
Roberto Paredes G Femat.

PS- What do you think a must-see would be for a year and a half baby??

Jack's Answer:

I think it's very sweet that you're coming back to Disney World with your young baby. However, at a year and a half, this trip is more for you and your wife than for your child. But here are my suggestions. Take it slow with lots of breaks. Your little one will tire easily. If it's possible, go back to your hotel mid-day for a rest, then return later in the evening.

Make sure you protect your child from the sun (you too).

Give your baby plenty of liquids.

Most all of the men's restrooms have baby changing facilities so you can give your wife a break and take over this chore occasionally.

There is no reason you and your wife can't go on all of your favorite rides. Disney has a procedure called "Baby Swap." This allows one of you to ride while the other tends to the baby. Then you trade places. Just ask the cast members at each attraction and they'll be more than happy to help you.


Julie Morgan:

Another fantastic blog, Jack! This is my absolute favorite attraction on the entire planet, so I was thrilled to see your take on it. I do prefer the Hollywood Studios version over the California Adventure one, but they are both awesome. You know those "Live, Laugh, Love" photo frames? I have one with photos of the TOT in it! I live to ride it, love to ride it, and laugh like crazy when I ride it! Can't wait to read about the other Towers next. Keep up the great work!

Penny:

Made my day!!! Beautiful job.

Kristi Ziehl:

As always, your writing is a pleasure. I love the video editing -- very creative!

cathy mullen:

Hi Jack,
I have only gone on this ride once ....with my eyes closed so now I know what I missed! I bought a shirt at the gift shop that said " I Survived the TOT!"

Kel:

Another great blog. I remember the first time I road TOT soon after it opened when I was 8 or 9. I have ridden countless times since then, yet still find new details each time. And I definitely learned a few new things during this blog!

[ this is jerry ]:

Great follow-up, Jack. The video was superb!

Brittany:

Great blog, as always! Just reading it I found myself imagining i was on the TOT, just waiting for the drop to happen. Yikes! We will be there in May and you have me anticipating our ride on the elevator!
I have to commend you on how brave you were to ride alone...not only is the drop pretty intense (I need an arm to squeeze sitting next to me), but the content can be quite scary! Great photos, great information - you'll have me looking for some of those excellent details next time.
Thanks again!

Fatima:

Great blog, Jack. I love reading your blogs because you always give so many details. One question. You mention if a guest didn't want to ride that actual ride but just view the pre-loading area they could and then ask to leave. My grandmother will be traveling with us when we visit the world in two week. I know she will NOT ride this ride but I think she'd enjoy the pre-load ambiance. Do you know if she will need to get a fast pass ticket also, to enter with us?

Thanks much

Jack's Answer:

In order to use the FastPass line, you MUST have a ticket regardless if you plan on using the elevator or not. The FastPass tickets are collected before the Library so the cast members have no way of know if you are riding or not.

christine:

Hi Jack,
Great article! After many years of waiting for my husband and daughters on this ride, I saw something for the first time this past summer. My parents and I were sitting on the bench just outside the exit hallway near the booth to purchase photos from the ride. There was a cast member dressed in black hiding in the doorframes along that hallway. She would step out and scare random guests and then scream along with them. Her interactions with the desembarking riders were very funny! She would turn and give the thumbs up sign to us after she really frightened a few men. We sat for about 25 minutes watching her. Another great overlooked attraction found!

Lisa Cunningham:

This is fabulous! Thanks for sharing so much detail on this beloved Disney attraction! The video was excellent!

Suzanne Lefever:

As always a great blog! The video was AWESOME, my stomach is still jumping up and down from the drop! While I'm more of "It's a small world" type of rider, my husband, and teen sons always make me go on the "big" rides. TOT is just so amazing with the theme that I'm almost happy to ride it! Thanks for all you patience when taking your pictures, and videos. All of us that can't be there today greatly apperciate it! Can't wait for my next ride 5/11! :(

Rich:

Great article. I've ridden many times but my wife and younger daughter never have. I'll have to at least take them through the line and preshow as you suggest. What type of camera do you use for the great pictures?

Rozi:

Jack,


Thank you so much for making a blog about the Tower Of Terror. I go on allears.net everyday to check if there is new blogs. I am really sad that when I went in June I didnt get to go on it because the Rod part freaked out my little sister, and I had to wait with her. Sigh. At least I got to experiance it with the closest best thing, your blog.

Reagan:

Jack,
I so enjoyed reading your TOT blogs yesterday and today! I love the theming of that ride. Thank you for pointing out so many of the details that I hadn't previously noticed. Your video was totally awesome! My stomach started to react as if I were really there!! I can't wait until I am really there again in six weeks!!

Diane:

Jack, As usual, you have scored another 10! Great article on the TOT! My heart was racing while watching the video almost as fast as it does everytime I ride the TOT. Thanks for all the great info. The Twilight Zone episodes are replayed on the Sci-Fi channel in a marathon every New Year and my family has had so much fun trying to pick out all the different props Disney used for the TOT. We'll be sure to watch for those broken glasses!

Justin:

Hey Jack,

I have a eight year old daughter and a wife you seem to think that the ride is scary/dangerous then fun. Note we have never been on the ride. We are visiting Disney World in March. Can you please answer this question for me. Is the ride Scary and Dangerous or is it amusing and fun? Thanks in advance.

Jack's Answer:

Safety is the number one concern of Disney. As long as you follow their posted guidelines, there isn't anything dangerous about any of their attractions.

"Scary" is a subjective term. If you don't like "drops" then TOT is scary. But if you're asking if anything jumps out at you to frighten you, then no.

Watch my video. It contains the entire attraction. As you can see, it's creepy, like the old television show, but I don't think it's scary.

Kevin:

Jack, I'm not sure if you were aware of this, but several of the "menu items" were named after Twilight Zone writers. At a casual glance, I notice references to Richard Matheson, Charles Beaumont, and George Clayton Johnson, all of whom contributed multiple Twilight Zone scripts.

Terrific entry!!!

Jennifer:

Jack,
This has been my favorite article so far - this is one of my favorite attractions and I am also a Twilight Zone fan as well. Thanks for pointing out some of the props that I had missed! (I will always remember walking in and looking in the room to see the broken glasses -that was the first prop I recognized!). Great job!

Debbie Horvath:

Jack,

As always another great blog. This happens to be my husbands favorite attraction at Disney World but our last few trips have been with our young boys and we have not taken the time to ride it so I really enjoyed reading this one. On our last trip in December our three old loved the Haunted Mansion but was not 40 in. tall yet to enjoy this attraction. For some reason I have not been able to view your latest videos and since I am not very good with computers, I am not sure why. Is there something I may need to download in order to view them? I really would love to view this video and show my boys so they can see that it is not scary.

Thanks,

Debbie

Jack's Answer:

You probably need to download Flash Player. Check out this website for the download link.

http://www.adobe.com/products/flashplayer/

Michelle in Maryland:

Another fantabulous blog! It *almost* made me forget the "snowpocalypse" outside & instead enjoy a fleeting visit to the World. Thank you so much!

Stacy:

when was the video taken? The parks are empty.

Jack's Answer:

The park looks empty because:

1. Whenever I do a photo-shoot, I arrive at opening (9am). This gives me roughly an hour to take unobstructed photos.

2. For this blog, I know that everyone rushes down Sunset Boulevard for Rock 'N' Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror first thing in the morning. All I had to do was wait ten minutes for the morning onslaught to be absorbed by these two people-eaters. Then I had the street, queue, and much of the attraction to myself.

3. I made multiple trips to Disney's Hollywood Studios in order to take my pictures.

4. I'm very patient. I will wait, and wait, and wait for people to move out of my way before I snap a shot.

5. And finally, I'm very good with the computer and can remove a lot of unwanted objects from my pictures.

Josh:

hey jack
first of all great movie. I loved every minute of it. you captured the ride perfectly. As I said in my last e-mail to you, I love the TOT. it was so cool seeing all the little details that I myself miss from time to time. once again great job and I can't wait to see the next attraction you write about.

Kristine:

Thanks so much for this! I am one of those who will NEVER ride this attraction, but I loved getting to see all of the little details. You've done us cowards a great favor!

Frankie:

Hey, thanks for an amazing post! It really made me feel like I was there, a little bit creeped out actually!

I had to go on this by myself when I visited last October, as my Mum is too chicken these days now the drop is so unpredictable. She says she can't concentrate on the theming if she doesn't know what's coming. My advice to first time riders? Go on it twice! So yes, had to rush through all of the gardens and lobby at 8am in October, much to my annoyance. Sometimes I think a bit of waiting in line might be a good thing since Disney puts so much effort into entertaining us whilst we're there!

Katherine:

Long time lurker, first time poster. Love all of your blogs! I've had a question about this ride since my last trip to Disney last May. It was my first time back in almost 13 years. When I rode TOT, the ride seemed very different...like some of the effects were missing in favor of extra drops. I remember riding years ago when you did see the people in the hallway, your reflection (and possibly breaking glass/mirror?), the eyeball, and the starfield. But, it seems like last May, most of these were missing in favor of extra drops. I must admit, though, I can't exactly remember what was missing besides the reflection. It seems I didn't see the eyeball and the starfield effect was either missing or very short. So, my question is, do they ever change the effects in order to accomodate the drop sequence? Or do all riders see the same effects regardless of the drops you experience? After leaving the ride, another guest was commmenting that the ride seemed different, and we both agreed it seemed like some of the effects were missing. I searched the web after I got home, trying to find information about any changes, with no luck. So, I really appreciate your detailed posts, both with current and past details! It's nice to be able to reconcile old memories with current experiences (and be certain it's not a bad memory playing tricks on you!). The good news is, we are going back this May, so I will pay very close attention to the details (that is if I can convince my 5 year old to ride...he rode last year, not knowing what to expect, and, while not terrified, he did say he didn't want to ride again)

Jack's Answer:

To my knowledge, nothing has changed in the Library and 5th Dimension Room (except they don't take your picture and put it in the eyeball). However, when Disney added the different drop sequences, they added new effects into the drop shaft. And depending on the drop sequence you get, the effects will be different. Sometimes you see the missing people. Sometimes you see Rod Serling. Other times you see scenes from the series (like the eyeball).

CyndiL:

Jack that was a really great blog. I just recently stumbled across your blog on Spaceship Earth, I was so excited to see this as it is my most favorite ride at DW. I cant wait to read what you do next and I will be checking your past blogs. Thanks again!

Laura:

Another great blog. TOT is one of my favorite attractions at the studio.

To comment on the scare factor. Of course whether something is scary or not is totally subjective. My son rode at 4 and 6 years of age and absolutely loved the drops but was freaked out by all the special effects. We have to close eyes and cover ears for the bulk of the attraction and then he can enjoy the drops at the end.

On the flip side, Grandma loved all the pre-show stuff but took the escape route to miss the drop.

Guess it's all depends on how you define scary. As for me - I love it all. Hope to ride this again this year. Always a favorite. Thanks for all the great info and trivia!

Heather:

I'm a newbie reader, so forgive me if you've tackled this topic elsewhere. You mention a large desk where photos can be purchased and picked up at the attraction's end... do you know if TOT photos can be put on a PhotoPass card to be printed later?

Thank you for the excellent write-up -- I'll be checking in again!

Jack's Answer:

To be 100% honest, I don't know. However, I don't believe you can add "attraction" pictures onto your photo pass. But don't take my word for it. Ask next time you visit.

Sara McCaslin:

We love TOT! Our most recent trip, however, resulted in a pretty scary situation. I, my husband and a 13 year old family friend were riding and after the final drop the elevator swung around to where we would normally exit the elevator but the exit doors never opened and we then moved away from the doors. We knew this was not normal especially when we could feel and hear an elevator above us making its run in the shaft. We felt the air from the shaft and it quite literally felt as if the elevator above us would land on top of us. We sat there for problaby 10 minutes and then realized there were elevators in front and behind us. Eventually, we moved to an exit door and a cast member appeared to show us out. After this experience, we decided not to ride TOT for the remainder of that trip. We will, however, ride again during our next trip!

Shirley Garcowski:

What came first? The ride or the movie? I could have sworn it was the movie but you don't mention it here. Thanks! Great photos. It is definitely my favorite ride--not just of Studios--but all of WDW. It is especially fun at night and gives a lovely view of lights in Studios. The Scorcerer's Hat is amazing at night from the Tower.

Jack's Answer:

The TOT ride opened at Disney World in 1994. The movie came out in 1997. This was Disney's first attempt to turn a theme park ride into a movie.

Cheri:

Jack:

Always love your posts. The video is great and I really like how you belnd all of the elements of the ride together. I do some videos for my sons' sports teams using both still photos and video, so I'm always looking for different programs. What program did you use to put this all together? Thanks!

Jack's Answer:

Up until recently, I used Sony Vegas Movie Studio 9 Platinum Edition. You can buy it for around $100. It's very robust and allows for three layers of video and 3 layers of audio (or 5.1 surround sound). However, I just bought a new 64bit computer and this software is not compatible 64bit (only 32bit). So I upgraded to Sony Vegas Pro. It retails for $600, but I was able to get a new copy on EBay for $350. I really love both versions. It allows me to do some very creative editing.

Debra :

Jack -

Great piece! I have to admit I am not a fan of ToT...there is fun scared like RnRcoaster and then...well ToT! lol. It is more anxiety than fun for me, but I did it each trip! And have hilarious photos to show for it. Everyone else seemed to know when to pose including the FIVE YEAR OLD in the row in front of me and I look like I'm going to my death! lol.

I will however look very forward to going through the queue and preshow again after this. Zone is one of my all time fave shows and the "Nick of Time" episode is my all time favorite! I can't beleive I had never noticed the Mystic Seer!!!

Great post! Thanks for having such an amazing eye for detail, makes it great for the rest of us!!! (great pics by the way!!!!)

Bridget:

Great article! I'm not sure if anybody else has commented on this, because there are a ton of comments to read, but in my humble opinion, the most fascinating part of the ride happens during the drops. I only noticed this in January '09, so it must be a newer feature (my family goes once a year). During all the stops and starts during the drops, silhouettes of the 5 elevator passengers can be seen. The ride sequence effects how well you can see them. The first time I saw it, only their heads were visible (which is immensely creepy), and during my recent trip, we stopped for a full body shot. I screamed more at those images than the actual drops. At first I only thought it was random shadows, but when I realized those were supposed to be the people, I literally lost it! I thought I was the only one to see it, but when my sister said she saw it too, I didn't feel so crazy anymore!

Darrell Shortt:

Great blogs on TOT as usual, Jack. In response to the question of scariness, it truly is subjective. My 11yo daughter has loved riding it since she was 6 (4 if you count the tantrum she threw when they wouldn't let her ride it because she was on the 40in line). My 17yo son, however, has only recently obtained the courage to start riding with us. While TOT is not my favorite ride (Toy Story Midway Mania is), I do enjoy it a lot. I miss, though, when the ride guaranteed the full drop. As interesting as variable rising/falling may be, it just isn't the same thrill as a 13 story drop. Keep up the good work.

Kelly:

WOW!!! I feel like I'll always have a part of Disney at my fingertips. Thank you very much! I'll watch this many times before my upcoming trip, and will encourage my boys to watch it so they'll know what to to expect....LOVE your blogs!

Kristen:

This is my 2nd favorite ride (Space Mountain is the first) but I was always in such a rush to get into the ride I never took the time to really look at all the details. I also love the music they play outside when you're waiting in line, so thanks for posting the song list!
I don't know what I would do without this blog, thanks again Jack.

Nathaniel Powe:

Jack,

I am a fan of ToT, Disney, and Jack Spence! Great job and thanks for making my day. I just recently had to cancel WDW trip and been feeling a little down about that. Thanks for the picker upper.

"The Disney Fanatic"

Scott C:

I always come back to allearsnet at least 3x a week just to check for your blogs Jack. I don't get the opportunity to visit my favorite place, WDW as often as i would like (I would LIVE there!!), but even in the middle of my work day, your blogs help me feel like i'm there! Thank you and please keep it up!

Kelli H.:

So amazing...I really felt like I was there! I think it's super creepy that you rode all by yourself. I'm a bit too chicken.

Thanks for your blog. I enjoy it so much!

KA:

Thank you for creating this! The Tower of Terror is my favorite ride (not just in Disney World, but everywhere else, too!) I will be sure to look for all of the interesting props, but I was thrilled to discover that I could remember many of them!

Julie K.:

Great blog post, Jack!! I always love reading your entries. TOT is my absolute, hands-down, favorite ride in all of Disney World. It is the attention to detail of the ride that makes me love it. I am a sucker for movies and TV and I really love how you feel like you are in an abandoned hotel. It is truly amazing. Last time I was in Disney I went to early open day at HS by myself and rode TOT 4 or 5 times in a row, no waiting, since my husband is not nearly as in love with it as I am. :)
I did notice one time when I rode the ride, that in the hallway after I exited the elevator there were 2 or 3 cast members dressed in period appropriate clothing posing as if they were statues. When people walked by they would move and scare them. It was awesome and funny, anyone who hadn't been on the ride before didn't know that they aren't usually there. Do you know if they still do this at all?
Thank you for all your hard work in this blog, it really makes my day.

Julie K.:

I also forgot to say now you have me EXTREMELY curious about the other details that you decided to not mention.....hmmmmmm.

i loved your video of TOT. It created all the anticipation that I get when I ride it; I could feel my stomach start to tighten as it does as you wait for that anticipated drop. FANTASTIC!

A. D. Johnson:

Hello Jack,

These articles on TOT are among your very best. I had never even heard of a TOT-themed movie and now I'm very curious, I would love to get my hands on that.

I always look forward to your blogs.

A. D. Johnson
-Littleton, CO

The article & video are fantastic!

Michelle Schaefer:

Well Jack you've done it again...I've officially been magically transported to my Happy Place! TOT is my absolute favorite ride at WDW...I tend to really focus on the details when I go on a ride but your attention to detail goes far beyond my own...thank you so much for that! I will definitely follow your lead in going early and then waiting for the initial rush to pash before heading in...I think it would be super cool to be able to ride the elevator with just my hubby and son!! We usually go at a time of year when its not too busy so I see this in our WDW future! I think the most consecutive times we have gone on the ride is up to 8 or 9 and then the stomach tends to advise a break...lol!! Thank you again for being the wonderful ambassador that you are for The Happiest Place on Earth!!

Ashley:

Great article as always. Disney does such a great job of theming their attractions. This used to be one of my favorite rides because I love the big drop, but the last time I rode it was after the change to the individualized drop sequences & we never really dropped. Just kind of bounced up and down a little, which made me rather queasy.

JB:

Hi there- Great article. Not to nitpick, but the technical term for the "AGVs" is Autonomous Guided Vehicle, not Automated. Also, in case you were wondering, the technical term for the actual elevator is a VVC or "Vertical Vehicle Conveyance."

Rob Dickinson:

Jack,
Yet another great blag and as typical of me I'm late as usual posting to your blog :) I wanted to mention a couple things I found interesting. First, several times while standing near the "banquet room" opposite of the Sunset room waiting for friends(either the Beverly or the Fountain room door, cant remember which one at the moment, sorry) The door was given a rather loud and strong shove from the inside actually pushing the doors out a bit. The door I am speaking of has a large chain and lock around the two door handles as if something is "locked" inside. I am not sure if this shove is automated or if it is a Cast member behind the scenes playing a little prank. At first I thought it was my imagination but I noticed it on two different visits to the attraction.
Also perhaps this will help the reader above who remembers a few missing effects. I recall riding the attraction my first time way back in 2000. At that time I recall having two stops on the UP elevator. The first stop when the doors opened you saw a long corridor with a window at the very end of the hall. The window slowly begins tumbling end over end faster and faster toward the elevator. Just before it strikes you the doors quickly close and I believe you could hear the shattering of glass. The Next stop was that of the one you described with the ghosts at the end of the hall making a waving hand gesture of "come here". Very creepy and the best of the effects in my humble opinion. Thanks again!!

Rob

Jack's Answer:

I have seen two of the banquet room doors open. Both of them have storeroom and office space behind them. I won't tell you that a CM isn't banging the door to frighten people, but I suspect it was just someone moving boxes or the like and not necessarily intentional.

As for the up shaft... The Florida version of TOT makes one stop only before entering the Fifth Dimension Room. This is where you look down the long hallway and see the people disappear and the window come toward you and break. It's always been this way. Nothing has changed.

The California, Paris, and Tokyo TOTs all stop twice. Once for the Hallway scene and once for the Mirror scene.

Maria Roden:

My children and i went on tot 3 times yesterday and the third time we were the only riders on the whole ride.We were also the last riders of the day,the park was closed.Something very strange and scary happened.I am not making this up.i came on this website to see if maybe it was a part of the ride we never seen before,only to find out that it is not.After we made the first stop and seen the image of the passengers we made a second stop which showed a t.v. screen with just a blue screen,then made a third stop where a different set of ghosts were,not the images of the 5 in the beginning.These were different people.My oldest daughter& I looked at each other and screamed in horror.You could see the look in our eyes in the picture,we were not faking it.There was something else on that ride last night.

The Good Wario:

Concerning the eyeball prop effect, it's has returned.

Kirth Gersen:

I rode the ToT first year it opened (1994).

On the elevator ascent, ToT had an unexpected, whimsical "feature" when the exterior doors of the building opened up.

There was a goofy-looking, animatronic, "elevator serviceman" outside on the ledge, mischievously messing around with the elevator mechanics!

As I recall,
-- there was a simulated, electrical sparking effect resulting from the "tampering", and
-- the animatronic figure was on only 1 of the 2 elevator shafts.

One or two years later, the animatronic repairman had been removed.

No one believes me anymore, when I talk about the mysterious animatronic repairman. I feel like the Bill Shatner character in the famous Twilight Zone episode "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" -- everyone thought he was crazy for claiming to see a gremlin sabotaging the airplane's wing ;-)

Anyone else recall this animatronic repairman?
Better yet, a photo!

Emma:

This was so interesting! I'm a passholder at Disneyland and have often wondered about the differences between our TOT and the parent one at DW. Really cool blog and video was awesome! the actual ride sequence doesn't seem too different except for the demention room, and ours only has one drop sequence that I've noticed.

What I really wanted to know about was the different safety features? A friend of mine is a cast member, and described it as a huge bouncy ball? I'm just wondering if you knew anything more about them?

Jack's Answer:

I have never heard anything about a "huge bouncy ball" in regards to the TOT. The elevators have many safety features, but I seriously doubt a "bouncy ball" is part of them. Please keep in mind, well-meaning cast members get a lot a facts mixed up and often share misinformation with others.

Sharon:

Hi Jack, I'm after some advice, I know it might be hard to judge but I'm asking as many people as I can.

I'm from the UK and as a child I was fortunate to travel to Florida 6 times, last time in 1998. It was a dream come true as a child and now at the age of 30 I'm really hoping to one day travel back before I have kids of my own. I'm also hoping to get back before all my favourite rides have gone. Now I'm a huge fan of The Twilight Zone but I'm not a huge fan of thrill rides which is why the stuff in the Orlando parks are usually just about my level plus I love theme rides. I really want to go on the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror but after reading on your blog about the differing ranges of intensity I was wondering how extreme it gets? If there are other rides in the Orlando area you could say it is similar to intensity wise? Whether you would say it was more or less intense than standard drop style rides? I did feel that maybe it was more themed and interesting (from the videos I've watched) rather than full on intense. Sorry for the long post but you seem to be a good person to ask although if anyone would like to share their experiences it would be really helpful.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on February 5, 2010 5:00 AM.

The previous post in this blog was Twilight Zone Tower of Terror -- Part One.

The next post in this blog is Twilight Zone Tower of Terror -- Part Three.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.