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The Twilight Zone™ Tower of Terror

September 27, 2013 Attraction No Comments Email Email

In Hollywood Land at Disney California Adventure Park, guests discover the seemingly abandoned Hollywood Tower Hotel, a once-luxurious remnant of Hollywood’s Golden Age, now a mysterious building locked in time on Sunset Boulevard.

drop03-640x396Brave visitors who explore the site will find a lobby that appears to have been hastily vacated decades ago, along with an “Out of Order” elevator with bent and damaged doors, and a dark and spooky library where the old-fashioned television suddenly comes alive with the voice and image of “The Twilight Zone” host Rod Serling.  They’ve just crossed over into The Twilight Zone™ Tower of Terror.

The popular attraction at the Disneyland Resort features a thrilling drop from the 13th floor in a high-speed, 21-passenger hotel elevator, along with props and décor that re-create that fateful Halloween night more than 70 years ago.

According to Disney legend, the Hollywood Tower Hotel first opened its doors in 1928 and quickly secured a place of honor in the booming Hollywood film community. It was at the height of its popularity in 1939 when a mysterious occurrence forced it to close.


One stormy, rain-drenched evening, as the hotel elevator ascended, lightning struck the tower. The elevator plunged, carrying its five unlucky passengers to certain doom. But this was no ordinary storm, no ordinary stroke of lighting. Before it reached the bottom of the shaft, the elevator and its passengers vanished. Now guests who ride the hotel’s remaining service elevators may take a detour into the fifth dimension, where they spot those ghostly passengers…and even experience their terrifying plunge.

  • The Hollywood Tower Hotel at Disney California Adventure is 183 feet tall, the tallest building in Anaheim.
  • Guests who board the elevator make several strange stops before rising to the rooftop and then plummeting back to the basement in a series of drops.
  • The architectural style of the hotel is known as Pueblo Deco. To emphasize a sense of neglect, the pale ochre-colored hotel appears as though nothing has changed since its sudden closure in 1939, when the five souls mysteriously vanished from the elevator.
  • Pueblo Deco, popular in the 1920s, is characterized by the clean, geometric shapes common to the Art Deco style. It also borrows elements from southwestern Native American art, such as radial sunbursts, arrowhead shapes, and simplified thunderbird motifs.  A prime southern California landmark in the Pueblo Deco style is the Los Angeles City Hall building.
  • The landscaping at Tower of Terror is designed to reflect what was typical of an upscale hotel in 1930s Southern California.  Chinese flame trees, magnolias, and various palm trees accent the building. Dead palm fronds are intentionally left on the palm trees to indicate a lack of care for many years.  Tall grasses grow among the shrubs and ground cover, contributing to the “unkempt-by-design” look.
  • Music heard in the area includes jazz and popular tunes from the 1930s, such as “I Can’t Get Started With You” by Bunny Berigan, “We’ll Meet Again” by Vera Lynn, and “Mood Indigo” by Duke Ellington, all chosen for their timeless, haunting quality.
  • The costumes worn by the hotel bellhops are inspired by bellhop attire that was common in Los Angeles hotels in the ’20s and ’30s: tunic, matching trousers and pillbox hat.
  • A variety of artifacts fill the hotel lobby, all items “left behind” by guests who suddenly disappeared on that fateful Halloween day in 1939. Scattered on tables and chairs are a pair of dusty wine glasses, an unfinished postcard and a child’s doll.
  • Another item left behind in the lobby is a book, a vintage 1930s edition of L. Frank Baum’s “The Wizard of Oz.”
  • Many of the props in the foyer, in the library itself, in the boiler room queue area and the “Modern Wonders” store front along the exit corridor are replicas that recall specific episodes of “The Twilight Zone” television series. Examples include a pair of broken spectacles representing “Time Enough at Last,” a miniature spaceman from “The Invaders,” and a devil-headed fortune-telling machine from “Nick of Time.”
  • An insider note for Tower of Terror cast members (not visible to guests) is the signature on the Elevator Inspection Certificate in the Tower of Terror ride vehicles: Cadwallader, the name the devil uses in “The Twilight Zone” episode “Escape Clause.”
  • The storefront for “Willoughby Travel” at the attraction’s exit references the television episode “A Stop at Willoughby.”
  • In the library, guests watch a video about “The Twilight Zone” narrated by the voice of Rod Serling, the original narrator of the popular television program.
  • “The Twilight Zone” television series originally ran for five years on CBS, from 1959 to 1964.  Rod Serling, its creator and host, a six-time Emmy winner, wrote 92 of the original 156 episodes.

The Twilight Zone® is a registered trademark of CBS, Inc., and is used with permission pursuant to a license from CBS, Inc. ©Disney/CBS, Inc

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