Amid the glitz and the glamour of Hollywood at the height of its golden age, The Hollywood Tower Hotel was a star in its own right. But something happened. Something dark. Something unexplainable. Something terrifying. And it's happening once again. But this time… It's happening to you.
It may have taken almost six years and over 180 million Euros, but late 2007 finally saw The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror become the centrepiece of Walt Disney Studios Park, transforming a desolate plot reserved in the heart of the park and providing an icon, a thrill and a feeling that couldn't have been more perfectly matched to its location.
For fans, the arrival of the classic attraction, first opened in 1994 with a very different exterior style at Disney's Hollywood Studios in Florida, was never any secret. But, for year after year, the land lay bare as the resort's financial problems continued. The tower almost looked like it could be lost to the same Twilight Zone of Rod Serling's 1959 television series which inspires the ride's story.
And what of that tower? It is perhaps one of the greatest Disney attraction of the modern generation; heaping and piling an unbelievable level of storytelling, history and ambiance into every corner. You will simply not believe this "hotel" only opened in 2007 — from the fantastic "Bellhop" Cast Members to the cobwebs, abandoned luggage and creaking boiler room, it's steeped in history... and still alive.
Then, to truly "top" it all, the thrill of a faster-than-gravity drop of around 160ft and some bewildering, ghostly special effects. Unmissable.
Extensively-themed, atmospheric hotel housing a thrilling elevator drop ride with horizontal movement and special effects.
22nd December 2007
Vertical drop dark ride
22 Guests per elevator,
6 elevators in 3 shafts
3 minutes (ride),
5 minutes (pre-show)
55 metres (183 ft)
An abadoned hotel in a late 1950s downtown Hollywood is the setting for an episode of cult sci-fi series The Twilight Zone which places you as the star. Approaching along Hollywood Boulevard, you can see already that all is not well. The lettering on the façade of The Hollywood Tower Hotel hangs at an angle, its neons barely flickering back to life. Below, an almighty wound, surrounded by scorch marks and debris, marks where three wings of the glamorous Pueblo Deco hangout once stood. Closed and untouched since one fateful, stormy night in 1939, the hotel is coming back to life and a reservation has been made in your name...
Stepping inside the Lobby, you are suddenly transported back in time to a very different period, a very different moment. Coats and bags lie discarded; tea cups have been left only half-drunk; playing cards have been thrown down, mid-game; a child's rag doll lies alone on the chair. Every inch of the room, lit by yellow Art Deco lights hanging from above, is entangled in over a decade of cobwebs. Ushered past the reception desk by the somewhat disquieting bellhops in their maroon jackets and caps, you enter the Library whilst final preparations are made to your rooms.
The door closes; the mood changes. A flash of thunder shrieks through the window and an old television set bursts to life, relaying an episode of The Twilight Zone that has yet to be played out... "You unlock this door with the key of imagination, beyond it is another dimension. A dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind. You're moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas. You've just crossed over into... The Twilight Zone."
You see The Hollywood Tower Hotel in its heyday, as host Rod Serling announces: "Hollywood, 1939. Amidst the glitz and the glitter of a bustling young movie town at the height of its golden age, the Hollywood Tower Hotel was a star in its own right. A beacon for the show business elite. Now, something is about to happen that will change all that." As guests are seen boarding the elevator, an enormous bolt of lighting hits the hotel, causing the guests to vanish as their elevator cabin is dropped into another dimension.
"The time is now on an evening very much like the one we have just witnessed. Tonight's story on The Twilight Zone is somewhat unique and calls for a different kind of introduction."
"This, as you may recognize, is a maintenance service elevator still in operation, waiting for you. We invite you, if you dare, to step aboard because in tonight's episode, you are the star. And this elevator travels directly to... The Twilight Zone."
With the beat of the infamous Twilight Zone theme room, a secret door swings open at the back of the library room, leading directly into the hotel's Boiler Room. Here you pass by a mass of piping, a furnace which appears to have a face and a wall from which you seem to hear the faint cries of a little girl. A maintenance worker desk is overflowing with paperwork, its period wireless set occasionally crackling to life. Once in a while the lights will gently dim, or flicker, as the electricity circuit is overpowered by strange activity. The bellhops guide you to your Service Elevator and assign you a row for boarding.
The fateful doors "ping" open and you're called forward to your room. You take a seat, listen to the safety advice and say your goodbyes — the bellhop declines to join us on this particular journey. Narration by Rod Serling continues, as the elevator suddenly begins to move... not upwards, but backwards...! "You are the passengers on a most uncommon elevator about to take the strangest journey of your lives. Your destination: unknown; but this much is clear: a reservation has been made in your name for an extended stay."
Your elevator begins climbing through the floors only for the doors to open on a corridor scene with a mirror, where you see a reflection of yourselves which — in a spark of electricity — disappears, leaving an empty cabin! "Wave goodbye to the real world, for you have just entered, The Twilight Zone... What happened here to dim the lights of Hollywood's brightest showplace is about to unfold once again."
Moving up a floor, you see a Ghostly Corridor stretching away in front of you. Is this where we're staying? Almost... "One stormy night long ago, five people stepped through the door of an elevator and into a nightmare." Transluscent guests standing in the hallway suddenly appear to be sucked up by electrical energy. The lights fade to reveal a blacker than black space, punctuated by twinkling stars... At the end of the corridor, you see the doors of the old guest elevator open, with the guests once again standing inside, only for it — and for you — to suddenly... drop!
"That door is opening once again, but this time it's opening for you..."
The Hollywood Tower Hotel rises to a height of 183 ft, with a further 40 ft of basement space for your fall into The Twilight Zone!