I am a Disney thrill-seeker, no doubt about it. I love all the thrill rides at Walt Disney World including: Rock N Roller Coaster, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Expedition Everest and Space Mountain. They’re all awesome…but the ride that gives me the biggest thrill is my all-time favorite: The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror opened at Disney-MGM Studios (now Disney’s Hollywood Studios) on July 22, 1994 which just happened to be my eldest son’s 9th birthday (Happy Birthday, Johnnie! Love you!!). TOT, as I call it, is 199 ft tall which makes it the second tallest attraction building at Walt Disney World. It’s just one-half foot shorter than the Animal Kingdom’s Expedition Everest. Where it stands in stature is right up there with where it stands in my itinerary when planning my day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
The Tower of Terror is my go-to fast pass for Hollywood Studios. I can’t wait to get to this 13-story structure which sits at the end of Sunset Boulevard. Today I’m sharing my experiences on this favorite attraction with you.
At the moment that I enter the line, my excitement starts. It grows with every twist and turn of the line through the ungroomed, eerie courtyard. Once inside the dusty lobby of the old Hollywood Tower Hotel, The cast member directs a group of us into the library for the pre-show. This is a short film hosted by Rod Serling, creator of the old Twilight Zone television series. In the momentary darkness, I start to feel the adrenaline pumping as I am then guided into the Hotel’s boiler room.
Once the doors open to the boiler room, the butterflies start flying. I have been on this ride probably 60 times or more, but every time I ride it the butterflies show up. I think that is part of the fun! The cast members definitely play a role in the anticipation for this ride.
Dressed in a vintage bellhop costume, the cast member taunts us by thanking us for “dropping in.” Each guest is then directed to his or her appropriate row and seat number which is painted in a diagram on the floor. Finally, our “freight elevator” arrives and I find my appropriate seat and put on my seatbelt. I am ALL smiles at this point; high-fiving my kids and getting ready to go. This is where the real fun starts!
We take off and and the elevator rises up. It stops for a visual depiction of the story and then closes again. After a short ascension, the doors open again. As the “freight elevator” glides through mysterious dark passageway you can see a vertical light flash ahead. The elevator then enters the shaft. It is pitch black and chilly. Suddenly, our elevator is locked into place. Here we go!
There is a 130-foot free-fall drop and then it quickly shoots up, then down, then up; plummeting again and again in random drop sequences. As it drops, I scream – to me this adds to the excitement. As the doors open, we are able to see out over the park and I join in with my fellow riders screaming our lungs out while thoroughly enjoying the experience.
When the ride is over, I think to myself, this is what I have been waiting for all year!! What a life!!
NOTE: I find that riding this one with my hands in the air takes away from the intense rising and dropping sensation in my gut, so I ride this one with my hands down. Have you found the same to be true for you?
Thanks for “dropping in” today! I hope you will be riding this baby soon!