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Twilight Zone Tower of Terror celebrates 25 years at Disney Parks

by Brittani Tuttle

One of the most iconic attractions in Disney Parks history, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, is celebrating 25 years of thrills and chills.

tower of terror
Photos by Banks Lee

Currently, there are four (three if you don’t count Guardians) versions of this drop ride in Disney Parks around the world:

  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror in Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World
  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror in Walt Disney Studios Park at Disneyland Paris
  • Tower of Terror in Tokyo DisneySea at Tokyo Disney Resort (which features no reference to “The Twilight Zone”)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout! (was originally The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror until its retheming in 2017)

The original version of the attraction, located at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, opened on July 22, 1994. Ten years later, a new version opened on May 5, 2004 at Disney California Adventure; Tokyo’s version opened in 2006. The latest version is at Disneyland Paris, which opened on Dec. 22, 2007.

tower of terror

For the Walt Disney World and Disneyland Paris versions, the ride is based on the popular TV series, “The Twilight Zone,” which aired from 1959-1964. The show was created, written and hosted by Rod Serling, who makes an appearance in the ride thanks to some Disney magic.

The attraction’s story goes like this, according to the Walt Disney World website:

Step uneasily inside the infamous Hollywood Tower Hotel and find a dusty lobby frozen in time. Even the subdued hotel staff seems strangely out of another era.

Suddenly a television set springs to life and Rod Serling welcomes you on a journey into the Twilight Zone. He reveals that on a gloomy Halloween night in 1939, some hotel patrons were riding the elevator when a violent storm struck the building… and they were never seen again. The hotel closed down and has stood empty ever since.

Enter the rickety, elevator-style lift, strap yourself in and prepare to discover what lies beyond the darkest corner of your imagination.

Shriek in terror as you’re suddenly propelled up and down the abandoned shaft—unexpectedly dropping and rising—as you hear the sound of cables snapping and metal clanging overhead.

Will you make it back to the real world… or will you become a permanent resident of the Twilight Zone?

tower of terror

Want to learn even more of the history of this cornerstone attraction? Check out our video on what went into creating The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror below:

You can also check out our Instagram Story here, featuring our resident Tower of Terror fan and reporter, Banks Lee, as he shares trivia, photos and more during a visit to The Hollywood Tower Hotel.

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