Category Archives: Hollywood Studios

Inside the Magic – Tower of Terror

Since we cannot be at Disney World right now, let’s take a look at some of the things that make it so special.

Another one of my favorites! This attraction opened its doors on July 22, 1994.

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The story

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 hotel was closed after these tragic events and now guests are permitted to visit the obviously haunted hotel.

The History

The Tower of Terror is basically a drop ride with an incredible themed story around it. As for the drops, it drops 130, or 13 stories down. The first smaller drop in darkness is about 8 stories, then back to the top for the 13 story plunge doubled. The speed of the drop is about 39 MPH, and the drop itself only lasts for around 2 ½ seconds, although it seems longer!

Early on Mel Brooks was involved and it started out as “Castle Young Frankenstein” which would have featured a Bavarian village with winding streets to the castle with a drawbridge.  The idea later changed to “Mel Brooks’ Hollywood Horror Hotel”. Mel Brooks eventually left the project and Disney Imagineers had some ideas of their own and brought in the idea to have a moving elevator off its track and moving down hallways. Imagineers decided on Spanish-Renaissance/Riverside Mission Inn architecture because it would fit in on Sunset and Hollywood Boulevards. Disney also felt the attraction needed a movie reference and settled on the Twilight Zone theme making it an eerie and thrilling attraction.  

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The attraction uses an Autonomous Guided Vehicle. A self controlling, self contained ride vehicle, that can move without track. Although the 5th Dimension floor has guideways for traction, the vehicle itself runs on its own wheels along the floor. The AGV guides itself into the ride shaft to ascend to the boiler room (load) level, it slots into a larger elevator the VVC, or Vertical Vehicle Conveyance. This is a normal elevator car complete with cables and wheels. It is this that lifts the AGV up through the corridor scene, and to the 5th Dimension level. As the AGV transfers horizontally, the VVC returns to the basement level to receive the next AGV. The AGV then will get into another VVC for the drop portion of the attraction. 

An informative video on how the Tower of Terror works.

Fun Facts

  • Our Walt Disney Imagineers viewed 156 episodes of “The Twilight Zone” for inspiration when creating The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.
  • The ride vehicle is an elevator car.
  • The storyline of the attraction sets the date as Halloween night – October 31, 1939.
  • The architecture of the tower was inspired by multiple Southern California landmarks, such as the Biltmore Hotel and the Mission Inn.
  • The building has 27,000 roof tiles.
  • The grounds of the Hollywood Tower Hotel were inspired by the look of California’s Griffith Park and Elysian Park.
  • The lobby of the Hollywood Tower Hotel was outfitted with antiques and furniture purchased at Los Angeles-area auction houses.
  • The Library room features a hidden nod to Mickey Mouse in this sheet music, which is for the song “What! No Mickey Mouse?”
  • The clip of film in which Rod Serling introduces the attraction was taken from a “Twilight Zone” episode called “It’s a Good Life.”
  • The young girl who disappears in the elevator carries a Mickey Mouse doll.
  • The attraction’s “Fifth Dimension” scene was inspired in part by the “Little Girl Lost” episode of “The Twilight Zone.”
  • The drop is 13-stories.
  • The drop sequence for each elevator car is selected at random by the attraction’s computer system.
  • Measuring 199 feet tall, Tower of Terror is one of the tallest attractions at Walt Disney World Resort.

Step into the elevator

 

Pixar Characters in Toy Story Land at WDW

Meet some of your favorite characters from the Disney•Pixar “Toy Story” films, including Sheriff Woody, Buzz Lightyear, and Jessie the Yodeling Cowgirl, at Toy Story Land – opening June 30 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios®.

Woody, Buzz and Jessie will be greeting guests throughout Toy Story Land on a daily basis. And each character (along with the rest of the gang) will be joining in on the fun in a land where you “shrink” to the size of a toy. Take a ride on Slinky Dog Dash, a roller coaster Andy has assembled from his Mega Coaster Play Kit, or take a spin on Alien Swirling Saucers, a galactic play set that Andy won at Pizza Planet.

In Toy Story Land you also walk through a new carnival game box to experience Toy Story Mania!, which has been a favorite attraction at the park since it opened in 2008. Take aim at 3D objects – using everything from baseballs to cream pies – in a variety of whimsical, fast-paced games.

Frozen Fun this Summer

Frozen Fun Coming to Walt Disney World this Summer!

This summer the world of Disney’s instant classic “Frozen,” takes center stage at Disney’s Hollywood Studios®, coming to life like never before in a full range of all-new, immersive experiences through the park.

From July 5-Sept 1, 2014,  enjoy “Frozen Summer Fun – Live at Disney’s Hollywood Studios” daily.

Frozen Fun 

Here are some highlights:

Olaf on Summer Vacation – Olaf the snowman is having the time of his life on his very first summer vacation! He chimes in throughout the day to keep everyone updated on all his adventures. Plus, if you want, pick up a Take-Along Olaf from locations in the park, so he can join you on your summer vacation. And, when you share your photos with Olaf on social media and tag them with #OlafSummerVacation, you may just get selected to appear in that day’s grand finale!

Anna and Elsa’s Royal Welcome – At 11 a.m. each day, Anna and Elsa arrive in Hollywood as part of their goodwill tour of neighboring kingdoms, making their way down Hollywood Boulevard in a horse-drawn sleigh. Kristoff is along for the fun, too, joined by a flurry of skaters, skiers, ice cutters and more! The entire procession culminates in a special moment at the Sorcerer Hat Icon Stage to officially welcome the visiting royalty to this kingdom of Hollywoodland.

For the First Time in Forever: A “Frozen” Sing-Along Celebration – Cool down inside the Premiere Theater, where Anna and Elsa join the Royal Historians of Arendelle for a fun and comedic retelling of the unique history of their Kingdom, filled with delightful, sing-along moments from “Frozen.” Guests will be invited to join in special sing-along moments from the film’s chart-topping soundtrack

Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post & Frozen Funland – Inside Soundstage One, Oaken and his cousins have created a Frozen Funland filled with cold weather activities, unique photo opportunities, and more! There’s a frozen pond with ice skating demonstrations, wintertime fun for kids in the “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” play area, a “big summer blowout” with plenty of “Frozen” merchandise, and special “Frozen”-inspired food and beverage offerings.

“Coolest Summer Ever” Dance Party – Starting at 5:30 p.m. each day, a dance party takes over the area around the Sorcerer’s Hat Icon Stage, with a DJ and live band. The band plays a variety of classic and contemporary summer rock & roll hits, as well as a cool, rocking medley of “Frozen” favorites. It’s going to be hot!

“Frozen” Fireworks Spectacular – Everything wraps up at 9:45 p.m. when Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, and Olaf come together at the Sorcerer’s Hat Icon Stage for a grand finale to the day’s festivities, kicking off an awe-inspiring fireworks display set to the glorious music of “Frozen!”

Happy Birthday Hollywood Studios

Today, May 1st, Hollywood Studios celebrates 25 years. The first 2 times I visited the park, it was still Disney’s MGM Studios and I call it that a lot still to this day.

On our last trip, this park became a favorite of my boys. They are getting older and having a few more thrilling rides was a big plus. We all love Toy Story Mania, but Rock N Rollercoaster became the boy’s new favorite. They even got me on it, and I had never been on a coaster that went upside down before then. I rode it at least 5 times and I am screaming and look like a dork in the picture on every single ride. It was fun though!

Toy Story Mania

Rock N Roller Coaster

My favorite ride though at Hollywood Studio’s has to be the Tower of Terror. Enter the Twilight Zone!

Tower of Terror

I am not crazy about the drops, especially when they do a lot, every ride is a different sequence. But I love seeing the park out the window for a few seconds before the drop and I love the old dilapidated hotel. The theme design at this attraction is just spot on! Right down to the Cast Members and their attitudes.

Tower of Terror Lobby

What’s your favorite attraction at Hollywood Studios?