13 Spooky Facts & Secrets About Tower of Terror at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is up there as one of our top attractions at Walt Disney World and one that seems to have survived the mass closures at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Given the huge amount of detail and affection that Imagineers put into this attraction, as well as this being a huge fan favourite, we thought it would be fun to dive into a few facts and secrets that you might not know about this beloved ride.

#1 Some Serious Imagineer Research

In order to make this attraction a living Twilight Zone story, Disney’s Imagineers did a lot of research into the classic television show.

In fact, they viewed 156 episodes from the series in order to draw inspiration as to what to put into the attraction. While that might not sound too impressive in the age of Netflix binge watching, think of all the countless times they would have had to rewatch and pause to take notes in order to add the many references to the show into the final attraction!

#2 Ride on Halloween Night

Though most people know that the Tower of Terror storyline takes place in 1939 (it says so within the attraction!) it is not clear from the ride the date in which events occur.

Disney have provided the answer to this, October 31st! That’s right, the events taking the original elevator occupants across into the Fifth Dimension.

#3 Gardens of California

Take some time when you are queuing for Tower of Terror to look around the exterior of the hotel. Though most people will rave about how incredible the interior looks (and they are right to do so), be sure to check out the surrounding grounds too.

The grounds to the building of the Hollywood Tower Hotel were inspired by both Griffith Park and Elysian Park in California.

#4 Almost a Real Hotel

Though you will notice at night that the hotel has a single lit window to make it seem like it is a real hotel, this room is just a fake.

However, former CEO Michael Eisner stated in his autobiography that his original suggestion was to have both the attraction and hotel in a single location. Not only did this prove to be rather impractical (getting guests in and out of Disney’s Hollywood Studios would have been a logistical nightmare) it also proved to be too expensive for the project.

The idea does sound pretty awesome, though I can’t imagine being able to grab an afternoon nap with the sounds of all that screaming!

#5 A Valuable Mickey Mouse

This is one of the more common ones that a lot of guests notice when viewing the attractions preshow.

The little girl in the elevator is holding an original Mickey Mouse plush. Not only are these incredibly rare, they reach upwards of $500 plus when an original is found in good condition.

I will always remember going on Tower of Terror for the very first time and being incredibly scared. Somehow seeing the Mickey Mouse the girl was carrying made me feel a little calmer about riding so maybe one to point out to any child that looks a bit worried.

#6  Lucky Number 13

Though many will see the number 13 as unlucky, if you see this posted as the wait time on Tower of Terror, you should jump into the queue immediately.

Disney posting 13 isn’t a spooky way of saying 15 minutes, it actually means that the ride is pretty much a walk-on. A awesome touch by Disney Cast Members in my opinion!

#7 Rod Serling

Twilight Zone creator and presenter Rod Serling appears in the attraction pre-show. Given Rod passed away in 1975 it was no easy feat to get Rod into the attraction.

The clip where Rod Serling introduces the attraction is actually taken from an episode of the Twilight Zone called ‘It’s a Good Life’.

Rod Serling from the It’s a Good Life episode of The Twilight Zone

#8 A Fresh Voice

Though Rod Serling appears in the attraction, Disney obviously needed new dialogue in order to accurately tell the story of the Hollywood Tower Hotel.

In order to do this they cast voice actor Mark Silverman in the role. Mark got the seal of approval from Serling’s wife, Carol Serling after several auditions.

Using a combination of footage of Rod Serling and the fresh voice work from Mark Silverman guests can enjoy the final result, the pre-show!

#9 The Original Drop

Though most people now know about the computerised random drop sequences that occur during Tower of Terror (you do now), this is not how the attraction originally opened in 1994.

In its original form, the attraction opened with just a single drop but in January of 2003 Disney added randomised drops into the equation when they announced the campaign ‘Never the same Fear Twice’.

Though Disney say it is randomised, the computer simply selects from a number of pre-defined drop profiles so in fact, it isn’t actually random at all and you could easily get ‘the same fear twice’.

#10 Girl Meets Tower

The little girl who appears with the Mickey Mouse plush that we covered off earlier is actually actress Lindsay Ridgeway who went on to appear in the TV show Boy Meets World (as little sister Morgan in seasons 3-7.

She was just 7 years old when she shot the pre-show but then later was cast in the Disney Movie, Tower of Terror at the age of 11.

#11 Just Enough Dust

Though it may not look like the interior is cleaned on a regular basis, Disney make sure that all unnecessary rubbish is removed but the Imagineering team have left cleaners strict guidelines on what can and can’t be removed.

After all, the hotel must maintain its level of dust!

#12 A Moroccan Design

If you look closely at the back of the ride, the design has a very Moroccan feel to it. That is because those enjoying the day at Epcot’s World Showcase can actually see the attraction from Morocco.

Though there is only a couple of places where guests can make out the back of the tower, it is an incredible touch by Disney to fit these two completely separate parts of two theme parks together.

#13 Some Seriously Expensive Clothing

Tower of Terror cast member costume

The costumes that cast members wear are among the most popular among fans and are made to look like 1930s bellhops. Due to the incredible design and attention to detail, they are among the most expensive costumes on property, costing over thousand dollars to create.

Tower of Terror has many more secrets to uncover so make sure you keep your eye open the next time you check into the deserted hotel. Want more on Disney’s Hollywood Studios? Be sure to check out the rest of our Disney’s Hollywood Studios guides.