The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror (Disney's Hollywood Studios)

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The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
Disney's Hollywood Studios
Location Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA
Coordinates 28°21′36″N 81°33′35″W / 28.360056°N 81.559833°W / 28.360056; -81.559833
Park section Sunset Boulevard
Status Operating since July 22, 1994
Cost $140,000,000
Rider height
  • Minimum: 40 inch
  • Min. unaccompanied: 52 inch
  • Maximum: 78 inch
Manufacturer Otis Elevator Company
Designer / calculations Walt Disney imagineering
Capacity 3 Elevators seating 21 guests each
Height 199 feet
Drop 130 feet
Speed 39 mph

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is a Drop Tower-Dark Ride hybrid attraction located at Disney's Hollywood Studios in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, United States. Located in the Sunset Boulevard area of the park, the ride is loosely based off The Twilight Zone television series and is themed around a formerly luxurious hotel ruined by a thunderbolt, shocking elevator passengers and the parallels to the Fifth Dimension. The ride is located in the Sunset Boulevard area of the park and is one of the main attractions in the park overall.

History & Development

The idea first came up in the late 1980s, when a ride named Geyser Mountain was conceptualized. The ride was to be a mix between a Roller coaster and a Drop Tower, with a shaft ending. The concept was almost dropped, but the idea was pitched and later ported for the then known Disney MGM Studios.

The idea was almost completely changed and re-done, this time, the foundation of the ride was now based on Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone anthologies. Before that, it was almost going to be based on Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein, but the Imagineers saw the Twilight Zone was a better fit. The imagineers created the plot of a abandoned hotel that could unlock the "Secrets of the Fifth Dimension" that Serling would always ramble about in each episode he was in. Instead of a coaster, the ride would be a Drop Tower mixed with a Dark Ride instead, using the same technology utilized beforehand in the Ellen’s Energy Adventure in 1982, and The Great Movie Ride a few years earlier in 1989.

The ride was to be part of a new land called Sunset Boulevard, themed around the real-life boulevard of the same name. The ride's name was to be called the Tower of Terror. The Otis Elevator company was brought on to help construct the ride. Construction started as early as 1992 and wrapped up a few years before opening in 1994. The ride was purposely built to be exactly 199 feet tall in order to not have a red light built on top of the ride's tallest point. The ride also had clever references to episodes of The Twilight Zone.

On July 22, 1994, the Tower of Terror opened to the public. The ride was part of a new area called Sunset Boulevard, which was next to the Animation Courtyard area of the park. The ride was Disney's most expensive ride ever at the time with a hefty cost of $140,000,000.

When the ride opened, the ride only had one drop sequence all the way to the bottom of the shaft. In 1996, the ride was changed to have 2 drops, with one drop before the original 1994 drop occurring afterwards. In 1999, a third drop was added, this time keeping the other two original drops intact. In 2001, these drops were removed to fit in a new sequence that randomly selects from a range of the number of drops to what scenes the ride goes to. The ride remained mostly unchanged throughout the years, although a couple of temporary overlays and lighting packages have been added since then.



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