The Hollywood Tower Hotel was the place that the stars of the silver screen liked to come to relax in the 1930’s. In its day it was amongst the elites. On the wall next to the Concierge Desk hangs the famed AAA 13 Diamond Rating given to the hotel. This would be the only 13 Diamond Rating ever given out.
Then on that fateful Halloween night in 1939, 5 unsuspecting guests were riding the Hotel’s maintenance service elevator when it was struck by lightning…and they were never seen from again.
The Disney Imagineers set the bar high for storytelling and theming when they created this attraction. It starts with the overgrown gardens and dry fountains you pass in the outside queue while waiting to enter the building. Take the time to notice all of the little touches they have added to make this look like a hotel that has been abandoned for 70 years.
Inside the Hotel, en route to the ride, you experience three rooms: The Lobby, the Library, and the Boiler Room.
You spend the least amount of time in the Lobby and that is unfortunate because there is so much to take in. Much of the furniture and artifacts in the room are either authentic from the 1930’s purchased from Hollywood area auctions and estate sales or especially reproduced to match furniture from that era.
Details abound as you gaze around the room
The before mentioned AAA 13 Diamond Rating plaque does indeed hang on the wall (as shown in the picture above in the upper right-hand corner). There are references to characters from Twilight Zone episodes in the signs and material used as props in the room. This is all just to create the mood and set the scene, allowing you to escape into this fantasy world for a brief moment in time.
Once you enter the Library, you are told the story of the Hollywood Tower Hotel and the event that changed it forever. The Twilight Zone theme blends seamlessly into the story as it is told. Now you understand that you will be reliving the event that caused the disappearance of the 5 guests and led to the downfall of the Hotel. This is when fear sets in.
In the final queue before you board the elevator to take you to the Twilight Zone, you find yourself in the Boiler Room. Again the details are amazing. Can there be a more ominous setting than a basement boiler room?
Having a free-fall style elevator ride with randomly programmed drop sequences is thrilling enough to make people want to ride the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. Designing an entire Hotel with a sordid history and immersing you within that story makes this a Disney attraction…and I wouldn’t have it any other way!