If there’s one thing Disney has mastered, it’s storytelling.
Around Disney World, you’ll find details and backstories behind more aspects of the parks than you probably thought possible! For example — that alien that sings to you while you’re enjoying your lunch at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe? He has a whole history of singing the Astro-blues since his time on his home planet of Zork. In Disney’s Hollywood Studios, one of our favorite attractions is teeming with history — The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. Today, we’re bringing you 13 details you might miss if you don’t look closely!
This ride is meant to play out like an episode of the 50s television series The Twilight Zone. According to the tale, the Hollywood Tower Hotel was once a luxurious hotel, full of celebrities and glamour. But on one unfortunate night — in 1939 — lightning struck the elevator as a family went in, sending them into the 5th dimension.
While you make your way through the queue and ride, you’ll notice all kinds of details relating to this story. Let’s drop in.
Outside, the sign that says “The Hollywood Tower Hotel” has a secret. Watch closely and you’ll see that it lights up to show “The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror” — a warning of what’s to come.
As you approach the gardens outside, you might also see a “Keep Out” sign from Halloween 1939 — the fateful night of the accident.
The lobby is set to look frozen in time, and there is real antique furniture all around the room. After you enter, look to the left to see a Mahjong board that has been abandoned mid-game.
But that’s not the only thing that’s been abandoned. All over the lobby, you’ll find everything from luggage to cups of tea that have been left behind as though time had just stopped.
Among all of the dusty furniture, the clocks all read the same — 8:05, when time froze on that fateful day decades ago as the elevators dropped.
Above the desk in the concierge area, a “Thirteen Diamond Award” from 1939 hangs on the wall. AAA awards only go up to 5 stars, so this is a nod to the spooky 13 theme. You’ll also occasionally see the wait time listed as 13 minutes, a note that the attraction is a walk-on.
The directory in the lobby fits the motif with its cobwebs and fallen letters.
But look closely! You’ll see a warning at the bottom that says “take the stairs”!
Here, you’ll also be able to spot the elevator that crashed on that night in 1939. Don’t worry, you’ll be directed to another elevator later on.
After the lobby, you’ll be guided into the library, where you will watch a video with clips from The Twilight Zone. All around the room, you’ll find little nods to the series, like a little metal space invader that sits on the top shelf, from the episode “The Invaders.” Notice the dusty clock in here also reads 8:05!
In one corner, you’ll see an Ouija board with some sheet music and a trumpet nearby. The sheet music is actually a real song called “What! No Mickey Mouse? What Kind Of Party Is This?”
The instrument is also significant — in the episode “Passage for Trumpet,” Jack Klugman played the trumpet as Joey Crown.
After the library, you’ll walk through a boiler room to get to the boarding area of the ride. Before you board the vehicle, however, look out for the Permit to Operate. The State ID Number is 10259, which is a callback to The Twilight Zone’s first airing on television, on October 2nd, 1959.
Did you know about all of these details? Let us know your favorite in the comments below. As always, stay tuned to AllEars for all the latest Disney news!
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What is your favorite backstory in Disney World? Let us know in the comments below!