8 Facts & Secrets About The Twilight Zone Tower Of Terror At Walt Disney World

Credit: Disney Tips

One of the most popular and thrilling attractions in all of Walt Disney World can be found nestled at the end of Sunset Boulevard in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is housed in the massive Hollywood Tower Hotel and brings guests on an immersive and eerie experience where they have the opportunity to star in their very own episode of the hit television series. As guests approach The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, they hear the screams of other guests inside and work their way towards the abandoned lobby through a misty and overgrow garden. Once inside, guests experience a preshow video in the library of the hotel where Rod Serling explains to them the history of the building and the unknown future they are about to face. After moving through a boiler room, guests soon find themselves on board a rickety service elevator which seems to have a mind of its own as it travels directly to The Twilight Zone. With thrilling drops, eerie moments, and amazing attention to detail, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is one of the most beloved attractions in Walt Disney World and is filled with hidden facts and secrets for guests to enjoy. Here are eight facts and secrets about The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror to discover on any visit to Disney’s Hollywood Studios.


8. Strategic Height

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror reigns over all of Sunset Boulevard and can be seen from many places in Disney’s Hollywood Studios thanks to its massive height. The attraction is the tallest building in the park and stands at one hundred and ninety nine feet. While many guests might wonder why it wasn’t made an even two hundred, Imagineers knew exactly what they were doing when they chose the height. Law requires that any building over two hundred feet must require flashing red lights on the top to warn nearby aircrafts. Since these flashing red lights would ruin the idea that the Hollywood Tower Hotel was built in the early nineteen hundreds, Imagineers took one foot off the height to make sure that the theming was perfect.

7. Rod Serling 

As with any episode of The Twilight Zone, Rod Serling is the host who introduces the experience and shares some background information. While the preshow video may seem completely authentic as Serling speaks, guests might be surprised to find out that there were several edits made to the film. For starters, Serling passed away in 1975, long before The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror opened in 1994. Since Serling was not available to narrate a new experience, Imagineers used footage from a preexisting episode and had a voice actor impersonate the famous host to fill in gaps.

6. Broken Glasses 

The lobby of the Hollywood Tower Hotel is beautifully themed to make guests believe that it was abandoned in a hurry many years ago. With cobwebs abound and personal belongings left behind, there are many wonderful details to discover in the lobby. One prop in particular pays homage to an episode of The Twilight Zone from 1959. Time Enough at Last features a man named Henry Bemis who longs to be able to have plenty of time to enjoy reading with no disruptions. Fortuitously, he finds himself the sole survivor of a massive bomb explosion with a nearly intact library close by for him to enjoy. Thinking he has all the quiet and time in the world to finally read undisturbed, Bemis hurries to the library only to drop his glasses and shatter them, effectively leaving him blind. Guests who look around in the lobby of The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror can spot a pair of broken glasses that were left behind when the hotel was abandoned which pay homage to the episode.

5. Dummy 

Guests who are brave enough to enjoy a ride on The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror can spot another prop which pays homage to an episode of the series after their final drop. Guests emerge from the thrilling experience in a mishmash of props and items which seem to have been haphazardly piled and left behind. Among the items is an eerie dummy which tributes the 1964 episode Caesar and Me. The episode features a ventriloquist named Jonathon West who finds himself rather unsuccessful. His dummy Caesar comes to life and encourages him to commit a series of burglaries to keep afloat, and his evil plots are overheard by a young girl who lives in their building. After being caught by the police, West attempts to convince them that the plan was all Caesars, but the police think that he is crazy as the dummy is inanimate. After West is arrested, Caesar attempts to convince the young girl in the building to continue his evil plans. After the thrilling conclusion to The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, guests who quickly look around before disembarking their elevator can spot Caesar sitting amongst a pile of items looking for his next victim.

4. Mr. Cadwallader 

While the Hollywood Tower Hotel is abandoned and covered with a layer of dust and cobwebs, the service there was once impeccable. After boarding the service elevator, guests should look for an inspection certificate to the left hand side of the doors which is dated October 31, 1939 and signed by a Mr. Cadwallader. While the name might seem random, it is a character from the 1959 episode Escape Clause. Cadwallader was the devil himself, making it ominous that he is who signed off on the safety of the elevator. Guests should also look for the number 10259 which references October 2, 1959 which was the airing date of the very first episode of The Twilight Zone,


3. Boiler Room Hidden Mickey 

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is home to several Hidden Mickeys, one of which can be found in the boiler room. While moving through the queue towards the elevators, the line splits into two allowing guests to choose one side. Guests who chose to walk straight can spot a Hidden Mickey on the wall formed by a water stain.

2. Preshow Hidden Mickey

The preshow of The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror tells the story of how five individuals went into the elevator many years ago and were trapped in The Twilight Zone after being struck by lightning. One of the doomed individuals was a little girl who can be heard singing an eerie version of “It’s Raining, It’s Pouring.” In the little girl’s hand is a classic Hidden Mickey in the form of a vintage 1930s plush doll. The doll can be seen again during the ride when the girl appears as a ghostly figure in a hallway of the hotel.

1. Moroccan Design

While The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror may seem completely authentic in its architectural style, it was influenced by Epcot of all places. When building the massive attraction, Imagineers realized that it could be seen from nearby Epcot. Guests who stand near the Odyssey Restaurant can spot The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror in the distance behind the Morocco Pavilion. Since the attraction can be seen from that vantage point, Imagineers chose a color scheme and architectural details which would seamlessly blend in with the Moroccan Pavilion. Despite this odd influence, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror still perfectly fits in on Sunset Boulevard inviting guests in for an unforgettable experience.

About Caitlin Kane

Caitlin Kane first started visiting Walt Disney World when she was two years old, and despite spending most of that trip quarantined with the chicken pox she managed to fall in love with the place. Visiting WDW every year since, she especially loves learning all about the history and small details of the parks and eating/drinking her way through the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival each fall. When she's not in Disney, Caitlin lives in New York and spends her time counting down the days to her next trip.