Ok, soooo…all my life one of my worst fears, aside from balloons popping, is falling. So I’ve always stayed away from free-fall rides with the exception of the Parachutes in Six Flags over Georgia (which aren’t there anymore but some of you may remember) because although they went high enough to have a nice view of the park, they came down rather slowly…You sat on a soft seat with just a bar over your lap to give you an idea of how tame it was and how long ago this was.
Then comes along the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney. Now the first one was built in WDW back in 1994 and I believe I was there in August of 1994 but was too chicken to ride it. I went to WDW again in 1999…nope, won’t go on it. 2006….no, not going! 2009…ok, I’m ready! Although I’d been WANTING to go on it because I’ve always loved Twilight Zone and wanted go in and see all the props and everything, just didn’t want to do the drop. But thought it was time to face my fear as it were and ya know what…I LOVED IT! I still won’t do a free-fall ride
You’ll NEVER see me on this!! We’ve been to this park in Spain twice I believe and my husband LOVES this and has tried his best to get me on it but it just ain’t happenin’! I’m outside, in a chair, hundreds of feet above the ground WHICH I CAN SEE!! Nah…ain’t happenin’. Its about 328ft…WDW’s ToT is 199ft tall but the tallest drop is roughly 170ft. Also in ToT you are in a proper ‘vehicle’ with a floor, three rows of chairs and a seatbelt! And you’re inside a building. See the difference?!
In my mind this is a HUGE difference and a BIG reason as to why I’m ok with ToT but the thought of a proper free-fall ride still makes me sweat. Also, ToT is not a free-fall…it actually has cables on the bottom of the car that PULL it down rather than it really dropping freely. There are two motors at the top of the tower that can accelerate 10 tons at 15 times the speed of normal elevators and generate torque equal to 275 Corvette engines and reach top speeds in 1.5 seconds.
In all the Towers of Terror in DLR, WDW and DLRP the story is the same…huge thunder/lightning storm one night. A huge bolt of lightning hits the hotel sending a group of people who’d just boarded an elevator going up to their rooms, into the Fifth Dimension. So when you go to visit the hotel, it is a night just like the one back in 1939 and you are able to experience the same mysteries that they did…only that you survive it!
Now in Tokyo’s DisneySea’s version its somewhat different in that Twilight Zone was never big in Tokyo so instead of the Tower trying to kill you…its the buildings owner Harrison Hightower III and idol of Shiriki Utundu, a trickster spirit from Africa.
Hightower claimed that the African natives were very unhappy to part with their beloved god and threatened him that it would curse him. On December 31, 1899, Hightower held a huge party, attended by many members of the press. There he boasted about how great he was for taking the idol and denied any claims to it being cursed and even went so far as to insult it. Around midnight, he entered the elevator to retire to his quarters at the top of the hotel. As the elevator neared the top, Shiriki Utundu came to life and zapped him and the elevator, causing it to drop and crash at the bottom.
When the elevator was finally pried open, only Hightower’s hat and the idol were found. The hotel was then abandoned and left for many years, claimed by the locals to be haunted. After several years, in 1912, a woman from a New York restoration company reopened the hotel with paid tours available. It is on these “tours” that guests embark on when they enter the hotel.
I grew up loving Twilight Zone, I’m not a HUGE fan…I don’t remember what episode number is which, I can’t tell you all about them (like I can do with Ghostbusters) but I always had respect for the show and of course was intrigued. So with this I always wanted to see all the props inside the ride from the show and the hidden references and it is so cool what they’ve included and how they did things. Even the pre show includes the little girl holding a Mickey Mouse plush toy, along with her still holding it on the hallway scene. At California Adventure’s there is a picture of a man, who is said to be Walt Disney, behind the counter in the gift shop of him at a Tip Top Club party holding a Mickey Mouse plush toy as well.
As Rod Serling starts his welcome to the hotel’s guests he says “Tonight’s story on The Twilight Zone is somewhat unique and calls for a different kind of introduction. This as you may recognize is a…” which is from the TZ Episode “its a good life”. Now I don’t remember this as a show episode, but I DO remember it from the 1983 Twilight Zone: The Movie which I did love and watch over and over as a child. Even if Danny (Dan Aykroyd) scared the shit out of me in the opening sequence. Danny and Albert Brooks are driving along with “Midnight Special” playing on the radio. After a bit they start talking and then Danny’s character asks “Do you wanna see something really scary?” to which he then turned into this demonic monster and slaughters Brooks’ character. Ever since then, every time I hear that song I think of that scene and I don’t think to this day I’ve sat there and watched that scene without covering my eyes. This is for two reasons, A) I was a kid when I first saw it and it scared me B) I love Dan Aykroyd and hated seeing him turn into a monster (its like I can never watch a character played by Robin Williams die). Maybe one day I’ll watch it again and properly…ANYWAY, getting off subject here…so the 1983 movie of TZ it featured a segment of the original episode “its a good life”. In this a kid has these supernatural powers to do whatever he likes from turning people into cartoon characters to mutating them and even killing them and by doing so having the life he wants by intimidating his family and the towns people.
So…sleep tight 🙂