Top 13 Secrets About the Tower of Terror

Tower of Terror at Night
Credit: D23

It “towers” over Hollywood Studios and currently stands as the theme Park’s icon (since the Water Tower and Sorcerer’s Hat are no longer the Park’s landmarks). But there’s more to the classic attraction than just a drop-tower thrill ride. Let’s explore the top 13 secrets you may not know about the Hollywood Tower Hotel.

Tower of Terror Movie

Credit: Disney

1. Almost 200 Feet

The Tower of Terror at Disney’s Hollywood Studios stands 199 feet tall. The reason? At 200 feet, structures are required to add blinking lights for aircrafts. As such, many of Disney’s structures need to reach that cut-off to maintain the aesthetics of the attractions. However, Expedition Everest is a few inches taller – making the Tower of Terror #2 on the list.

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2. Ride-Inspired Movie

It was one of the first attractions to have a film based on it. Although it never reached the success of The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, the made for TV movie Tower of Terror (1997) starred Steve Guttenberg and Kirsten Dunst.

Tower of Terror Movie scene

Credit: Disney

3. No Two Are Alike

The Tower of Terror exists in various Disney Parks throughout the world. Yet, each version features unique architecture that connects the land’s themed areas and sight lines. In Florida, the building is designed to resemble art deco architecture reflecting Hollywood’s Golden age of the 1930s. It’s also colored to blend in seamlessly when spotted from the nearby EPCOT Park.

4. Twilight Zone Nostalgia


Credit: Disney Tips

The classic black and white Twilight Zone show was specifically chosen for the ride’s intellectual property tie-in. The nostalgic charm of the Twilight Zone added to the yesteryear appeal of the theme Park and classic Hollywood ambiance. It also gave the ride a unique atmosphere instead of a generic “ghost ride” like the Magic Kingdom’s Haunted Mansion. Walt Disney Imagineers watched 156 episodes of The Twilight Zone for inspiration.

5. Random Drops

Unlike many Disney Park thrill rides, the Tower of Terror offers a unique experience nearly every single time. It features multiple drop profiles and a randomized sequence, ensuring that each ride has a different number of lifts and falls.


Credit: Disney Tips

6. Halloween Night

The storyline of the incident at the attraction takes place on October 31, 1939.

7. Outdoor Gardens

California’s Griffith Park and Elysian Park inspired the exterior grounds and queue surrounding the Hollywood Tower Hotel.

The Tower of Terror Entrance Sign

Credit: Disney

8. The Lobby Furnishings

The hotel’s lobby, where Guests walk past old furniture, is populated with antiques and furnishings purchased from auction houses in the Los Angeles area.


Credit: Disney

9. Not Rod Serling

You don’t hear Rod Serling’s voice during the ride and preshow. Although the video in the library features clips from a Twilight Zone episode, the audio is from Mark Silverman, who has done voices for Disney in other attractions and animated films.

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10. Mickey Mouse in the Tower

During the ride, there is a moment where you see the spirits of the vanished hotel Guests. If you pay close attention, you may notice that the little girl is holding a Mickey Mouse doll.

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11. Outdoor Ambiance

The outdoor queue area features the songs “Inside” by Fats Waller, released in 1938, and “Mood Indigo” by Duke Ellington, released in 1930.


Credit: Disney Tips

12. Top Speed?

Unlike a standard drop tower ride, this attraction employs a unique system that pulls the vehicles up and down. The top speed it reaches is 39 (as in the year lightning struck the hotel).

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13. The Number 13

Despite the ride being nearly 20 stories tall, the farthest you would ever fall is 13 floors. In addition, when there is little to no wait, the wait time will often be posted as 13 minutes instead of 10 or 15 minutes.


Credit: Inside the Magic

If you’re a real hardcore fan of the Tower of Terror, you’ll also know that a new movie is coming out based on the attraction. We can’t wait!

RELATED: Details on Tower of Terror Movie

About Steven Wilk

Steven has a complicated relationship with Disney. As a child, he visited Walt Disney World every few years with his family. But he never understood why kids his age (and older) were so scared of Snow White or Alien Encounter. He is a former participant of the Disney College Program (left early…long story), and he also previously worked in Children’s publishing, where he adapted multiple Disney movies and TV shows. He has many controversial opinions about Disney…like having a positive view of Michael Eisner, believing Return of the Jedi is superior to The Empire Strikes Back, and that Toy Story Land and Galaxy’s Edge should have never been built (at least not at Hollywood Studios). Every year for the past two decades, Steven has visited either Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Aulani or went on a Disney Cruise. He’s happy to share any and all knowledge of the Disney destinations (and he likes using parenthesis a lot…as well as ellipses…)