Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is loosely based on the television series The Twilight Zone. The storyline of the ride is about the Hollywood Tower Hotel. In 1939 the hotel was struck by lightning, causing not only damage to the hotel building but also transporting a family in one of the elevators to the Twilight Zone. Guests are challenged to join a ride in the elevators of the deteriorated hotel and experience the Twilight Zone for themselves.
The ride is a freefall ride which includes dark ride scenes on multiple floors in the building. Riders are sometimes offered a glimpse of the outside world when the doors of the elevator open for a short time.
The attraction features a complicated ride system. Guests board an Automatic Guided Vehicle (AGV), shaped like an service elevator. The vehicle drives into an elevator that will bring the vehicle up several floors, while stopping at various scenes in between. On the top floor of the first elevator, the vehicle will drive to the opposite side and into a second elevator. This elevator can reach high speeds both up and down, creating a free fall attraction.
Walt Disney Imagineering turned to Otis Elevator Company to create six elevators, two of which high-speed elevators. The AGVs were manufactured by Eaton-Kenway (now Eaton Corporation).
Twilight Zone Tower of Terror was the first of four 'Tower of Terror' rides for Disney. It was followed by versions in Disney California Adventure (Disneyland Resort, 2004), Tokyo DisneySea (Tokyo Disneyland Resort, 2006) and Walt Disney Studios (Disneyland Resort Paris, 2007).
Besides being the first Tower of Terror built in a Disney park, it is also the world's first modern freefall ride. This first version differs from the newer Tower of Terror rides though, as the new versions do feature AGVs and only contain three (high speed) elevators instead of six.
Ride duration5 minutes
Number of vehicles8 vehicles
Seats (per vehicle/theatre)21 seats
Maximum speed63 km/h
Maximum height31 m