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The Tower of Terror is a different species of Disney thrill ride, though it borrows elements of The Haunted Mansion at the Magic Kingdom. The story is that you're touring a once-famous Hollywood hotel gone to ruin. The story begins in the queue, which immerses guests in the adventure as they pass through the hotel's once-opulent grounds and public rooms. From the lobby, guests are escorted into the hotel's library, where Rod Serling, speaking from an old black-and white television, greets the guests and introduces the plot.
The Tower of Terror is a whopper at 13-plus-stories tall. Breaking tradition in terms of visually isolating themed areas, it lets you see the entire Studios from atop the tower ... but you have to look quick.
The ride vehicle, one of the hotel’s service elevators, takes guests to see the haunted hostelry. The tour begins innocuously, but at about the fifth floor things get pretty weird. Guests are subjected to a full range of eerie effects as they cross into the Twilight Zone. The climax occurs when the elevator reaches the top floor—the 13th, of course—and the cable snaps.
The Tower of Terror is an experience to savor. Though the final plunges—yep, plural—are calculated to thrill, the meat of the attraction is its extraordinary visual and audio effects. There’s richness and subtlety here, enough to keep the ride fresh and stimulating after many repetitions. Disney has also programmed random lift-and-drop sequences into the mix, making the attraction faster and keeping you guessing about when, how far, and how many times the elevator will fall.
A senior from the United Kingdom tried the Tower of Terror and liked it very much:
I was thankful I had read your review of the Tower of Terror, or I certainly would have avoided it. As you say, it’s so full of magnificent detail that it’s worth riding even if you don’t fancy the drops involved.
A Washington State reader thinks the randomness is a net negative:
The last time I rode the Tower of Terror was almost 20 years ago, and I remember a HUGE drop initially. This time it was just kind of up-down, updown, up-up-down. Bummer.
The Tower has great potential for terrifying young children and rattling more-mature visitors. If you have teenagers in your party, use them as experimental probes: If they report back that they really, really liked the Tower of Terror, run as fast as you can in the opposite direction.
The attractions in Galaxy’s Edge, along with Slinky Dog Dash and Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, draw crowds away from Tower of Terror. If you can’t ride first thing in the morning, waits should be shorter in the last hour the park is open.
To save time once you’re inside the queuing area, when you enter the library waiting room, stand in the far back corner across from the door where you entered and at the opposite end of the room from the TV. When the doors to the loading area open, you’ll be the first admitted.
Our touring plans incorporate strategies for riding Tower of Terror, Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, and Slinky Dog Dash with minimum waits.
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Here's roughly how many minutes you'll wait for The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at each Hollywood Studios Crowd Level.
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