Take a Thrilling Ride into the Unknown on The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

If you're a thrill-seeker then you probably already have The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror on your must-ride list of attractions.

But if you haven't had a chance to experience this attraction yet and you only have a slight fear of falling elevators and dark rides, I would suggest adding it to your FastPass+ selections on your next visit. After riding it for the very first time ever a few weeks ago, the Tower of Terror is my new favorite attraction at the Studios.

Ready to ride Tower of TerrorReady to ride Tower of Terror

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is a rather imposing sight at Disney's Hollywood Studios. It rises up to the sky at the end of Sunset Boulevard and you can even see the top of it from behind the Morocco pavilion in Epcot.

And as with the best Disney Parks attractions, the backstory to the Tower of Terror adds to the thrill of the ride. As the story goes, the Hollywood Tower Hotel was once a bustling hotel for the rich and famous but a mysterious event took place back in 1939. On a stormy Halloween night five guests entered an elevator at the hotel and then a storm struck the building, the guests were never seen again, and the hotel closed for good.

As you enter the attraction you'll find yourself in the hotel's lobby and it looks just as it did on that fateful day back in 1939.

The lobby of the Hollywood Tower HotelThe lobby of the Hollywood Tower Hotel

The lobby is dark and spooky and full of cobwebs. Not exactly an inviting kind of place. And the cast members at this attraction are great. They really get into the spookiness of their role which just adds to the overall vibe of the attraction.

Guests are queued in the hotel's library and are shown a short film hosted by Rod Serling, the creator of the original Twilight Zone television series. After the film, guests walk a short distance and find themselves in the hotel's boiler room where they will board the service elevators.

The queue area as you head toward the service elevatorsThe queue area as you head toward the service elevators

Once you're seated and strapped in the elevator it launches upward and then suddenly the doors open to reveal a dark hallway that just happens to be inhabited by the guests who disappeared during the Halloween storm in 1939. Then the doors close and your journey up continues.

The elevator does stop, presumably at the 13th floor (of course), and guests are treated to some rather spooky sights and sounds inspired by the Twilight Zone.

And then the fun begins. Your elevator suddenly plunges down the elevator shaft and then it rises back up and plunges down again. At one point during the up-and-down plunging the doors will open to reveal an amazing view of Disney's Hollywood Studios (I opened my eyes long enough to see this). And then the doors close and you plunge down again.

The "service elevator" ride vehiclesThe "service elevator" ride vehicles

The magic behind this attraction is that it is programmed so that each ride has slightly different drop sequences. You never know how many drops you might have on any given day. Add the sound of snapping cables and clanging metal to the excitement of dropping down and going back up and you have one thrilling ride. (Of course you might not hear the sound effects if you happen to be screaming loudly. Not that I would know anything about that.)

The ride ends (finally) and you find yourself in a dimly lit hallway, knees shaking and heart racing. As you exit the ride don't forget to stop at the desk and check out your ride photo.

The Tower of Terror ride is a very dark ride. As in you'll be in total darkness several times. If you are afraid of the dark, afraid of heights, or have a fear of plunging elevators this is not the ride for you. It can also be scary for small kids. However the decision to ride the Tower of Terror on this trip was made by my 7-year-old daughter and her verdict was that it's the "best ride ever."

Are you a fan of The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror? Leave us a comment and let us know.

Kristen K. wrote on Mon, 08/25/2014 - 11:40:

Kristen K.'s picture

After many years of saying "never again," last year my daughter got me to go on Tower of Terror last year. Absolutely terrifying to me, she and my husband however giggled the entire time. They loved it, I swear I thought I was going to die.

Hannah_E wrote on Mon, 08/25/2014 - 15:00:

Hannah_E's picture

Going for my first time this October .. cant wait !

nan van wrote on Mon, 08/25/2014 - 18:38:

nan van's picture

I laugh each time I remember riding the TOT with my mom 4 years ago. After the ride stopped and everything was quiet she said in a LOUD voice: That was Horrible which just made everybody on the ride crack up laughing. Oh, that trip was for her 75th birthday celebration so I give her a lot of credit for at least attempting the ride :)

Magic Mirror wrote on Tue, 08/26/2014 - 02:40:

Magic Mirror's picture

I have never yeard the sound effects of the cracking cables...ummmm...I must be the one screaming!

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