Twilight Zone Tower of Terror Sunset Boulevard Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Looming ominously at the end of Sunset Boulevard is the rundown Hollywood Tower Hotel, home to one of the premiere thrill rides at Disney’s Hollywood Studios – The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. Enhanced recently, the Tower of Terror now sends guests plummeting again and again and again — a far cry from the ride that debuted in July 1994 with only one big drop. This exhilarating ride lives up to its name, as well as its new slogan: Fear every drop!
Pre-Show – After queuing through the lobby of the dusty old Hollywood Tower Hotel, guests are directed into the Library to view a short film hosted by Rod Serling, creator of the old Twilight Zone television series. At the conclusion of his story, which sets the stage for the upcoming ride, you are plunged into momentary darkness, then guided into the Hotel’s boiler room, where you await your “elevator” to the 13th floor.
Twilight Zone Tower of Terror – Guests are seated aboard a rickety old “freight elevator” that glides through mysterious hotel passageways, past ghostly images of former guests. As the journey progresses, the elevator enters a pitch-black shaft. The elevator launches guests skyward unexpectedly, then, just as suddenly, the cables ‘snap’ and electrical sparks shower. The vehicle then plunges 13 stories. The elevator abruptly rises once more, with an unpredictable series of shorter drops and climbs. At one point, the doors of your elevator open to reveal the Disney’s Hollywood Studios parking lot 13 stories below you! You are eventually returned to a dimly lit rear hallway of the Hotel, where you exit the elevator.
Mini-Review: The Tower of Terror was revamped with random drop sequences and other special effects, making it worthy of its slogan: “Fear Every Drop!” Because you never know what to expect, this ride deserves many repeat visits! This attraction is a must for thrill-seekers!
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is a FastPass+ attraction. Queues at this attraction continue to be long during busy periods, even though the nearby Rock’n’Roller Coaster takes a lot of the crowds.
Rider Switch (aka Child Swap) is available at this attraction. Contact the first Cast Member you encounter as you approach the Tower to determine the current specific procedures. Rider Switch usually entails taking the non-rider through the pre-show, which is held in a pitch-black room with a television monitor and loud noises (and sometimes screaming guests!). After the pre-show, the non-rider and companion are taken to a holding area to await the return of the first rider, who then waits while the other adult is ushered to the front of the line to ride.
This ride is part of the Extra Magic Hour program at the park, which allows resort guests entrance to the park one hour earlier or a few hours later than normal operating hours on designated days.
Just before you board the elevator for the ride, there is an exit for those who change their minds at the last minute. Be sure to let the Cast Member know if you wish to exit at this point.
If you’ve ever seen a commercial advertising this ride, you probably think you stand during it. In actuality, you’re seated and restrained by a seat belt.
This attraction is very dark and is probably not advisable for folks with a fear of the dark or claustrophobia. In addition, those with a fear of heights may be upset at certain points during the ride.
If standing outside the Tower of Terror, you can hear the screams and squeals of its passengers — you may even watch the elevator doors open and see the hapless guests dangling in mid-air before their next drop!
The repeated drops can be jarring to guests with sensitive backs or other medical concerns. Pregnant women or others with medical considerations are advised against riding this attraction.
Height requirement for this attraction is 40 inches (102 cm).
Guests using a wheelchair/ECV must leave it behind to board this attraction.
Restrooms are located to the right as you stand facing the Tower at the end of Sunset Boulevard.
This is a very dark ride and may be too intense for many young children (not to mention some adults!).
There are no characters associated with this attraction. There are many Character Meet and Greet opportunities elsewhere in the Studios, however. Check your daily Times Guide for times and locations.
There is no place to dine in the immediate vicinity of the Tower of Terror. However, before reaching the attraction, on Sunset Boulevard, there are several fast-food establishments.
The Tower Shops, featuring Tower of Terror-specific merchandise, are located at the exit of this attraction. There is also a photograph taken during one of the drop sequences that is available for purchase, or as part of the Memory Maker package, at the ride exit.
Engineers are able to reprogram new drop sequences in the ride due to the advanced technology it employs. Riders are currently launched to the top of the tower at breathtaking speed, then dropped faster-than-free-fall to the bottom again and again.
Ride engineers tested 33 versions of the Tower of Terror before coming up with what they felt was the best and most thrilling attraction.
Imagineers watched each episode of the original Twilight Zone series at least twice before developing this ride.
Many of the items in the queue and other areas of the attraction are from actual episodes of the original Twilight Zone series, such as the poster for the Anthony Freemont Orchestra in the queue, and the small metal robot on a ledge in the library.
At 199 feet tall, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is the highest attraction at Walt Disney World.
On December 31, 2002, the Tower of Terror debuted a new drop sequence. This was the fourth show enhancement and placed the computers in control of the ride making each sequence unique and random.
The Tower of Terror was constructed with 1,500 tons of steel, 145,800 cubic feet of concrete, and 27,000 roof tiles.
If you have comments or tips to share with others about touring Disney’s Hollywood Studios’, please email us. Thank you.