Opened: July 22, 1994.
Location: Near the end of Sunset Boulevard.
You can’t miss it – trust me.
The entrance is located up the walkway to the right.
Extra Magic Hours: Morning, Evening.
Ride Length: 3 minutes.
Type: Elevator drop.
Similar To: Certainly unique in its theme and scope, but the “drop” can be compared to many other carnival/amusement park rides. The Tower of Terror is so popular that similar attractions have been built at Disney’s California Adventure (2004), Tokyo DisneySea (2006), and Walt Disney Studios Park in Paris (2007).
Requirements: Must be 40” or taller to ride.
Scary Factor: High. Tower of Terror is the most obviously frightening ride at Disney World and one of few that puts an emphasis on fear. Still, there are no particularly scary images or scenes, but Disney does an excellent job of building tension up to the final drop. While the ride is intended to be scary, if you watch the exit to the ride you’ll notice that just about everyone leaving has a huge smile on their face. The ride is great fun and many people leave with a sense of accomplishment after making it through. After moving through the lobby section and watching the pre-show video, you can still opt out of the ride discreetly through the “chicken exit.” Just be aware that the “chicken exit” is actually an elevator down to the gift shop. Just tell the attendant that’s directing people to stand in front of the various elevators that you would rather not ride.
What to Expect: This section does contain more spoilers than usual. The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is an immersive experience from the moment you step into the queue.
First, you’ll wind your way around the outside of the building’s dilapidated exterior. Then you’ll move inside to the hotel lobby and then the library.
Here in the library, you’ll watch a video of the unfortunate circumstances surrounding your visit. After the video concludes, you’ll move to the boiler room, which is another queue area with a tense 5-10 minute wait. You will then be directed in front of an elevator door.
Once it’s your turn to board, you’ll enter the elevator, sit, and buckle yourself in with a lap restraint. The elevator will then take an eerie journey through the hotel, where you will see and hear a variety of spooky stories as you make your ascent to the 13th floor. The narrator will say, “”You are about to discover what lies beyond the fifth dimension, beyond the deepest, darkest corner of the imagination, in the Tower of Terror” and the elevator will begin its sequence of drops. A computer randomly selects how many times and from how far up the Tower of Terror’s elevators will drop on any particular ride. You are guaranteed at least one full drop from the top of the tower and the window will open so you can see the entire Hollywood Studios Park before you fall.
Most rides consist of two to three short drops and two to three longer drops for a total of about 30 seconds. After the final drop your announcer will welcome you back, if you’ve survived, and you will exit the elevator through a gift shop, as though nothing has changed.
Can My Children And I Handle It? This is a difficult question to answer because everyone’s experiences are different. The bark might look bad from the outside, but the drop sequence is surprisingly smooth and nearly everyone leaves with a smile and a sense of relief.
Where to Sit: It’s rare to hear someone request a row, which may be proof that there aren’t necessarily any seats that are better than others. The seats in the back rows are elevated so everyone has a good view of what’s in front of them. The view from the front row provides the least obscured look. Request it when you arrive at the cast member at the front of the line that asks how many people are in your party.
A photo is taken during the drop sequence.
FastPass+: Yes, highest Tier 2 priority. Using FP+ here will save 30 to 70+ minutes in the afternoon, which is more than the other experiences. Inventory is also limited with a low chance that it will be available as 4th or subsequent FP+ choice.
What You Miss Using FastPass+:
You’ll likely only have a brief moment or two in the hotel lobby, but it should be enough to set the stage for the ride.
4th FastPass+ Availability:
Expect to Wait:
When To Go: If you’re headed to Toy Story Mania and then Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster in standby, you’ll likely want to use FastPass+ at Tower of Terror next. If you’re starting with Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster first thing, then you should be able to ride Tower of Terror in standby with a short wait immediately after. Otherwise, ride before 9:30am, as late in the evening as possible, or with FastPass+.
Length: 5 minutes
Commentary: Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is a crowning achievement and one of the world’s most immersive theme park attractions. Those apprehensive about riding should do everything they can to work up the nerve. It’s a fantastic ride.