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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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