THE TWILIGHT ZONE TOWER OF TERROR

A NEW ATTRACTION AT DISNEY'S CALIFORNIA ADVENTURE

INTERESTING FACTS:

  • Attraction Opening Date: May 5, 2004  
  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney's California Adventure is based on the popular Disney attraction at the Disney-MGM Studios in Florida , which opened on July 22, 1994
  • Reaching 183 feet, “The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror” is the tallest attraction at the Disneyland Resort. Tower building materials include over 900 tons of steel, over 1,600 cubic yards of concrete, over 50,000 square feet of exterior plaster, and about two miles of HV DC power cable.
  • The ride system is not actually an elevator - but rather a "vertical vehicle conveyance.”
  • The capacity per elevator is 21 passengers.
  • The “service elevators” ridden by guests move faster than the speed of gravity.
  • Architectural style of the Hollywood Tower Hotel: Pueblo Deco, similar to the famed tower of Los Angeles City Hall .
  • The legendary Hollywood Tower Hotel:
    • Date hotel originally opened (according to legend): 1928, the same year Mickey Mouse made his movie debut.
    • Date the hotel originally closed (according to legend): October 31, 1939 .
  • In the course of their tour of The Hollywood Tower Hotel, guests are led through the lobby, past the ruined elevator doors and into a Library. There they view the opening moments of an episode of The Twilight Zone ® . This “lost episode,” featuring a special appearance by Rod Serling, was never broadcast. It tells a story unique to “The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror” and was created specifically for the attraction.
  • The episode from which Rod Serling's appearance was taken is entitled " It's A Good Life ," written by Rod Serling. This episode tells the story of a little boy who can read minds and control people.
  • The Twilight Zone ® television series originally ran for five years on CBS, from 1959 to 1964. Rod Serling, its creator and host, a six-time Emmy ® winner, wrote 92 of the original 156 episodes.
  • The music heard in the hotel courtyard and lobby features jazz and popular tunes from the 1930's, such as “I Can't Get Started With You” by Bunny Berigan, “We'll Meet Again” by Vera Lynn, and “Mood Indigo” by Duke Ellington, which were all chosen for a certain timeless, haunting quality.
  • Throughout the attraction, as an homage to the classic television series, there are props and design elements that recall specific episodes.

Tiger Woods on a Recent Visit to DCA

Props: The Lobby features an extensive array of period props and furniture that creates a bygone era of Hollywood splendor. Magazines and newspapers from 1939 are casually placed just where the guests left them. At the front desk, a set of luggage remains where a guest was about to register. On a table, a deck of cards, a cribbage board, two wine glasses…all carefully placed to indicate that the people in this lobby left in a hurry without a thought of taking anything with them - and never came back.

The Boiler Room is especially rich in prop and set details that suggest an actual working facility, from the time clock to the maintenance man's desk filled with photos and personal effects.

The two glass fronted display cases just outside the library contain:

  • A Gold Thimble - "The After Hours " - starring Anne Francis as a woman who has forgotten that she is not actually a human being but a department store mannequin.
  • A Broken Stopwatch - "A Kind of a Stopwatch" - a watch that could actually stop time.

The Library contains the richest cache of Twilight Zone ® referenced props, including:

  • Miniature Spaceman - “The Invaders”- Agnes Moorhead is a woman beset by tiny creatures that turn out to be the crew of a spaceship from Earth.
  • The Mystic Seer - “Nick of Time"- In a roadside diner, a fortune telling machine torments Don (William Shatner) and Pat Carter (Patricia Breslin).

In “Modern Wonders” store front along the exit corridor:

•  Box Camera - “ A Most Unusual Camera ” - A camera that photographs the future.

Other references from The Twilight Zone ® :

  • Chalk Marks on the Wall (Boiler Room) - " Little Girl Lost " - This design indicates a doorway into another dimension.
  • Willoughby Travel (Shop name, Image Capture Area) - “ A Stop At Willoughby "- A harried commuter finds comfort in the small town of Willoughby .

Location: The Hollywood Tower Hotel is located in the southeast corner of the Hollywood Pictures Backlot. The site is typical of an upscale, urban hotel in the Hollywood area in the late 1920s. The building is oriented so that it can be seen from the Sun Plaza of Disney's California Adventure.

DESIGN: Towering 183 feet above Sunset Boulevard on the Hollywood Pictures Backlot, the Hollywood Tower Hotel recalls the faded grandeur of period hotels from the “Golden Age of Hollywood.” Abandoned and fallen into disrepair, the glamour that the hotel once exemplified is still apparent. The pale ochre colored hotel appears to be locked in time, with nothing changed since its sudden closure in 1939, when five unlucky souls mysteriously vanished on “one stormy night, long ago” as they rode the elevator to the top of the tower. Guests to the attraction are invited to repeat their journey, if they dare.

This journey leads them through the lobby, the library, and into the boiler room and a bank of service elevators which are still operational after over 60 years. As it carries guests up the tower, the elevator stops to reveal strange, disquieting sights and sounds. At the top of the tower, the elevator doors open to reveal a gaping hole in the tower and a brief view of the outside world before the elevator plummets.

Architectural Style: “ The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror” is housed in an abandoned luxury hotel, reflecting the architectural style known as Pueblo Deco. This stylish, beautifully detailed structure creates an immediate, haunted, otherworldly impression, appropriate to its Twilight Zone ® theme. Pueblo Deco, popular when the hotel was built in the 1920's, is characterized by the clean, geometric shapes common to the Art Deco style. However, from southwestern Native American art, it borrows elements such as radial sunbursts, arrowhead shapes, and simplified thunderbird motifs. A prime southern California landmark in the Pueblo Deco style is the L.A. City Hall Building.

Landscaping: The landscaping has been designed to reflect what was typical of an upscale hotel in 1930s southern California . Chinese flame trees, magnolias, and various forms of palm trees have been used. A particularly beautiful specimen of coral tree is located near the Disney's FASTPASS ® light rail station. Overall, a sense of neglect is suggested in the look of the landscaping to accompany the tone established in the architecture. For instance, dead palm fronds have intentionally not been stripped from the palm trees, to indicate a lack of care for many years. Tall grasses grow among the shrubs and ground cover, contributing to the "unkempt by design" look.

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