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Hollywood Studios: Secrets of The Tower of Terror

Welcome to the Hollywood Tower Hotel, enjoy your stay! Today I am going to talk about some really interesting things I’ve learned about the Tower. It has such an incredible back story, and the fine details the Imagineers have put in to this ride are really amazing.

So, here’s just a little bit of what I’ve learned about this thrilling, scary, exciting ride at Hollywood Studios…

The elevator motors are 12 feet tall, 35 feet long, and weigh 132,000 pounds. They are able to accelerate 10 tons at 15 times the speed of normal elevators. They generate torque equal to that of 275 Corvette engines and reach top speeds in 1.5 seconds.


  • Building materials:
    1,500 tons of steel
    145,800 cubic feet of concrete
    27,000 roof tiles
  • Height: At 199 feet tall, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror™is one of the tallest theme park attraction at the WALT DISNEY WORLD Resort. (One foot under restrictions that would have placed a flashing red light on top of the Tower for Air Traffic reasons).
  • Show Time: 5 minutes
  • Speed:The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror™ is one of the most unique thrill attractions at any of the Disney theme parks. This is because the rate at which your speed increases is literally faster than the acceleration due to gravity. The top speed is 39MPH.
  • It cost $140 million to build the Tower of Terror at Hollywood Studios

Hidden Mickeys

Images of MICKEY MOUSE have been hidden throughout the attraction by mischievous Imagineers. During the entire show, for example, the little girl is holding a MICKEY MOUSE doll.

Also, look for the famous silhouette of three circles along the balcony railing just before you enter the building and as a water stain on the wall in the boiler room.

Although probably not intentional, the bell for the elevator above Rod Serling’s head in the Library film also bears a resemblance to those famous mouse ears.

A reference to Mickey Mouse can also be seen in sheet music in the Echo Library which is a copy of actual music written in the 1930s (titled, “no mickey mouse? what kind of party is this?”).

In the Fifth Dimension scene on the Foxtrot side, the swirling stars form a Hidden Mickey just before they disappear.

The motors that are used in The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror are three times more powerful than those that were used in the World Trade Center.

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror was struck by lightning during construction.

By the concierge desk in the hotel lobby, there is a 13-diamond award from AAA. In reality, the real AAA award system only goes up to 5 diamonds.

The luggage in the lobby is a complete set made from genuine alligator skin.

Disney Imagineers have calculated that if both towers were to drop at the same time that Rock’n Roller Coaster launched it would bring down the Studio’s power grid. This is prevented because the Imagineering department decided to build a power sub-station that services just this section of the park.

The exterior of the Tower of Terror was designed to match the buildings in the Morocco pavilion at Epcot because Tower of Terror is visible from a certain angle in World Showcase and Imagineers wanted to make it look like Tower “fit in” with the landscape of Morrocco.

Hotel Props and Antiques: The rooms and corridors of The Hollywood Tower Hotel are full of items from Hollywood auction houses. Some items are particularly valuable: One set of leather chairs is an authentic Renaissance antique. (Similar sets of these 17th century Portuguese renaissance chairs are in New York’s Metropolitan Museum and London’s Victoria and Albert Museum.) Other chairs were from the exclusive Jonathan Club, a well-known Los Angeles landmark built in the 1920s. Numerous French bronzes are found throughout the hotel, some by the famous 19th century artist Moreau, whose work graced many of the best hotels of the period. Even some recreations of a famous American’s own work can be found in the lobby. “Four Pages of Hilarious Star Caricatures by Walt Disney” is featured in the Photoplay Magazine on the concierge desk.

Thanks for riding along with me on the Tower of Terror,  “A warm welcome back to those of you who made it, and a friendly word of warning, something you won’t find in any guidebook. 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.”


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