Tower of Terror

Florida Guide > Hollywood Studios

This ride is, without doubt, the most fun ride at the Disney’s Hollywood Studios. If you have ever been on it, or near it, you will know this from the number of screams echoing from the building!

Opened in 1994, the ride is based around the television show, The Twilight Zone. The ride features a simulated freefall ride in an out-of-control elevator. The actual building which houses the ride is the second tallest attraction in Walt Disney World at one hundred and ninety nine feet tall, having recently been surpassed by Animal Kingdom' s Everest Expedition which stands at one hundred and ninety feet and six inches - allegedly! As a point of interest the attraction is this height as FAA regulations require a fixed red beacon to be added to the top of any 200-foot or taller building. Disney thought that the beacon would not be compatible with the hotel' s 1939 theme and so the height was kept below the maximum.

The attraction has been constructed to resemble the fictional Hollywood Tower Hotel from the television series, and includes the fact that the hotel was struck by lightning on October 31, 1939, in some way transporting an elevator load of passengers to the Twilight Zone. In fact the exterior of the ride resembles an old hotel, which has been blackened where the lightning hit and destroyed part of the facade.

In keeping with the age of the hotel, Walt Disney has provided all the cast members working on the attraction with bellhop uniforms dating back to the 1930s. It is believed that these uniforms are the most expensive costumes worn by any staff at over one thousand United States dollars each!

When first approaching the hotel, guests enter through the main entrance, although for queue management purposes, a path leads through overgrown gardens of the hotel. After passing through the library, where a television comes on, apparently of its own accord, with an explanation of events, guests are invited, if they dare, to step aboard the service elevator.

Although the attraction is supposed to be an elevator in freefall, Disney actually causes it to drop faster than the pull of gravity, causing the extra thrills and the sensation of leaving your stomach behind you! The ride also uses a system which permits the ' elevators' to move in and out of the vertical elevator shaft, in addition to up and down. Since 1994, different patterns of falls and lifts have been introduced, which is a definite benefit to guests when returning to the park in later years.

Other than the loss of your stomach in a fall, one of the main thrills is that as the elevator goes to the very top of the hotel, the top floor doors open and guests have a sky-high view over the Disney’s Hollywood Studios and the immediate surrounding areas of Orlando.

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