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The Secret History of Disney Rides: The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

by Tad on December 28, 2015 8   Video

Secret History of Disney Rides - Tower of Terror

Where's a place you can travel to that's bizarre, fascinating and creepy all at the same time? The Twilight Zone, of course! Part of our "The Secret History of Disney Rides" series, we're exploring the secret history of The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. One of the most easily recognizable attractions at Disney parks across the globe, the tower is a ride I can experience over and over again! And the secret history of The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror does not disappoint.

====>Hop here for The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror wait times, ride details and more!<====

The Secret History of The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

As you can guess from its name, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is inspired by the classic television series "The Twilight Zone." Imagineers thought of the attraction during the design process of Disney-MGM Studios (now Disney's Hollywood Studios). According to, the new park needed something to really draw in heavy crowds. Unique ideas were thrown around, including an attraction based on "Frankenstein"! Soon enough, it was decided the ride would be a haunted hotel. Via, Imagineer Bob Weiss wanted the haunted hotel to carry an "art-deco high end 1930's-style."

Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney World - Secret History of Tower of Terror

Service ElevatorImagineers didn't just want the attraction to consist of a free-falling elevator; it needed to drop at a rate faster than gravity! According to, an Imagineer said, "If my tie doesn't fly up in my face, it's not good enough." The result of this idea was the elevator being pulled down at around 30 mph! To add more thrills and spooks, themes of "The Twilight Zone" were added to the design of the hotel. Via, Imagineers actually watched 156 episodes of the series to be as accurate as possible!

The plot of The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror follows the tragic night of Oct. 31, 1939, when lightning struck the building. Five people were aboard an elevator as the building was struck, causing the elevator to free-fall. The Hollywood closed following these events, but has reopened, allowing new guests to experience these haunting events.

Opening at Disney-MGM Studios on July 22, 1994, the 199-foot tall attraction was instantly popular! Ten years later on May 5, a new version opened at Disney California Adventure Park, and another began haunting guests at Tokyo DisneySea on September 4, 2006, which has a completely different story. The newest version of The Tower of Terror opened at Walt Disney Studios Paris on December 22, 2007. Let's see what we can uncover with the fun facts of The Tower of Terror!

The Secret History of Disney Rides: The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror - California Tower of Terror

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror Fun Facts

  • The tower only goes up to 199-feet tall because if it had been built up to 200 feet, airplane beacons would have had to been added!
  • Take a look at the inspection certificate right before you enter the ride elevator. Via The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World by Susan Veness, the number is 10259 - the numeric version of October 2, 1959 (the date the first Twilight Zone episode aired).
  • If you're familiar with The Twilight Zone, you might recognize props from some of the episodes, including the demonic popup device above the bookcase, the metal robot and an envelope with the name Mary.
  • Think the old furniture throughout the hotel looks actually antique? That's because many of it is! According to, much of the furniture was purchased from the Los Angeles-area auction houses.
  • Two additional drops were added to the elevator of Disney-MGM Studios Tower of Terror after it opened. The ride went through another refurbishment in 1999 to add even more drops! Finally, on December 31, 2002, Disney added advanced technology to the elevator, allowing completely random drops controlled by the attraction. You'll always get a different experience at the Hollywood Studios version, the only one to offer this!
  • Try to talk to one of the bellhops with gold epaulets. According to The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney by Susan Veness, these are original Tower of Terror Cast Members. Think of the spooky stories they'll have to tell!

Did you enjoy traveling to the Twilight Zone? Let us know about your own journey into this strange dimension of time and space! Hop here for The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror wait times, ride details and more! Be sure to check out our other Secret History posts. 

Related: The Secret History of Splash Mountain

Related: The Secret History of Haunted Mansion

Related: The Secret History of Space Mountain

Keep hopping, Tad!
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Jul 18, 2022 at 1:26 p.m. billy bob joe Says...

great ride screamed and loved it this helped

Jul 18, 2022 at 11:56 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Billy Bob Joe!

We love Tower of Terror, and glad you did too!

Stay cool!


Jun 17, 2021 at 2:01 p.m. Emma Says...

I just went on this and this made the experience way better!

Jun 17, 2021 at 9:16 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Emma!

Thanks for sharing! Glad you had a hoppin' good time!

Stay cool!


Jun 13, 2018 at 10:26 a.m. Carlos Says...

Tower of terror is the fastest drop tower than guardians of the galaxy ride in disneyland

Nov 5, 2016 at 9:34 a.m. Carlos Medina Says...

I like The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror because the elevator will straight you up and down

Nov 3, 2016 at 9:26 p.m. Carlos Medina Says...

I like the twilight zone tower of terror because it has big drops and tower of terror is a thrill ride at hollywood studios

Jan 8, 2016 at 9:07 p.m. Erick Garcia Says...

Very Interesting Indeed. I can't remember the first time I ever went to The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, but I do remember that I literally yelped with the drop, something that didn't usually happens to me at rides. In those days there was only one drop and I always thought that it was such a long wait and a long ride for just one drop however exciting it was. Thankfully they've added those new features to make the ride much more enjoyable. Thanks!

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