|The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror|
|Disney California Adventure|
|Designer||Walt Disney Imagineering|
|Attraction type||Drop tower|
|Theme||The Twilight Zone|
|Opening date||May 5, 2004|
|Closing date||January 3, 2017|
|Hosted by||Rod Serling (voice of Mark Silverman)|
|Music|| Richard Bellis (attraction)|
Marius Constant and Bernard Hermann (original music)
|Vehicle type||Service elevator|
|Ride duration||2:25 minutes|
|Total height||183 ft (55.8 m)|
|Number of lifts||3|
|Number of vehicles||6|
|Tagline(s)||"Drop in if you dare!"|
|Replaced by||Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: BREAKOUT!|
Disney's California Adventure version
While similar in concept and theme to the original attraction in Florida, the versions of this attraction at Disney's California Adventure at the Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney Studios Park at the Disneyland Paris Resort do have some differences. These versions of the ride opened in 2004 and 2007, respectively, 10 and 13 years after the opening of the original Tower of Terror at Disney's Hollywood Studios.
New ride operation system
In order to conserve space and money, Imagineers redesigned the entire ride system for the attraction at Disney's California Adventure, and made some general changes to the show scenes. The attraction features three elevator shafts. Each shaft, in theory, is its own separate ride with its own separate operating system. Doing this made it easier to repair individual areas of the attraction without causing the entire attraction to go down. Each shaft has two vehicles and two load levels. It is designed so that the lower vehicle can be in its ride profile while the upper vehicle is loading, giving the attraction the ability to move its line much faster. Since each vehicle loads and unloads from the same point, it ended up saving space. Due to the smaller budget and fewer breakdowns, Disney decided to use this ride system again for Walt Disney Studios Park's version of the ride and for Tokyo DisneySea's Hotel Hightower (Tokyo's version of Tower of Terror, see here).
Disney's California Adventure opened Tower of Terror in 2004 to better lure crowds into the struggling theme park, while bringing the Tower of Terror to the West Coast as well.
When the show cycle starts, the vehicle pushes backwards away from the elevator door while a starfield appears around it and a purple spiral appears on the doors. The narrator (Rod Serling) says, "You are the passengers of a most uncommon elevator, about to take the strangest journey of your lives. Your destination...unknown, but this much is clear, a reservation has been made in your name for an extended stay." A door closes, placing riders in darkness as the elevator rises.
The first stop for the elevator is a large mirror. Rod Serling tells riders to "wave goodbye to the real world." As they do, lightning strikes and electricity begins to arc around the mirror and the reflection of the riders is replaced by a ghostly silhouette of themselves. The passengers' reflection then disappears with the narrator saying "For you have just entered ... the Twilight Zone!" (The mirror uses computer-generated imagery to change the appearance of the riders' reflections, ultimately removing them from the image completely. A high resolution camera captures the guests' and compares the image to an image of an empty elevator, then removes whatever is not in the empty image.) The elevator shudders as the door closes and the elevator moves to the next show scene. As the door opens, it reveals a corridor of the hotel, with an elevator door located on the far end of it. Here, the narrator says, "What happened here to dim the lights of Hollywood's brightest show place is about to unfold once again," which is followed by an appearance of the hotel's permanent residents. Electricity courses through the hallway after their disappearance as Rod Serling continues his narration: "One stormy night long ago, five people stepped through the door of an elevator and into a nightmare...."
The hallway slowly fades away into a starfield with the permanent residents standing in the now open elevator that was at the end of the hallway. Serling then says "That door is opening once again, but this time, it's opening for you." Then the elevator at the end of the hallway with the permanent residents has a little "show sequence," when it shows them standing helplessly in the shaft then their elevator drops. Then the "ghostly" projected passenger elevator drops, followed a second later by the actual passenger elevator beginning its drop sequence: a drop from the show scene to the first floor, then a rise to the "13th" floor. After flashing strobe lights and the photo opportunity, the elevator has a short drop, followed by a longer one, then a rise that goes up 2/3 of the way up to the top and an immediate fall down to "B3." The lights flicker as the elevator goes all the way back up to the top, it is then that the top floor doors open and riders are treated with a sky-high view of both Disneyland and California Adventure. The elevator pauses there a moment and falls to a place between the load levels (so that both load levels give the same ride) and a door opens again and passengers see an elevator door. The vehicle begins moving toward the door. The Twilight Zone theme begins again as Rod Serling says, "The next time you check into a deserted hotel on the dark side of Hollywood, make sure you know just what kind of vacancy you're filling or you may find yourself a permanent resident of...The Twilight Zone." The door opens, and a bellhop is standing in the doorway to greet departing passengers.
Seasonal enhancements during Halloween Time
Started in 2006 for Disney's Halloween Time, the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney's California Adventure receives special sound and lighting effects for the exterior and themed Halloween decor for the surrounding area and in the lobby. The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is the starting point of Disney's "Happiest Haunts on Earth" tour. The Halloween decor was not put up in 2008, but lights projected spinning spider webs upon the exterior of the hotel.
Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: BREAKOUT!
In July of 2016, the Walt Disney Company announced that they will officially be retheming the California Adventure version of the ride into an attraction themed to the 2014 Marvel film, Guardians of the Galaxy. The Tower is said to close in January 2017 and the new ride will open the following May. The announcement was met with astoundingly negative feedback by fans of the attraction over social media and online petitions have been made to save it.