The date: July 22, 1994.
The place: Disney’s MGM Studios (as it was known back then)
The location: Sunset Boulevard
The attraction: The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
That is right, today marks the 17th anniversary of the Tower of Terror opening up for thrillseekers! Let me tell you, this attraction has become one of my daughter Sophie’s favorite attractions, and my wife loves it as well! As for me — well, let’s just say that the first time I rode it, when my camera was going up when we were going down, that was all I needed to experience with that ride!
That being said, though, the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror has, in my opinion, one of the best, if not the best, backstories of any of the attractions at any of the parks.
As you enter into the Hollywood Tower Hotel, you immediately are transported back to Holloween, 1939. It was on that fateful day that lightning struck the hotel, causing an elevator full of guests to be transported to the Twilight Zone, never to be seen again — at least not until now!
It was while waiting in line to ride this attraction for the first time in 2008 that we ran into a newlywed couple named Bryanne and Tyler. We struck up a conversation, I snapped a picture of them, emailed it to them, and Sophie and Bryanne became pen pals!
The backstory continues with a mysterious appearance by some of the elevator patrons — right before your eyes — and continues as you travel right into the Twilight Zone yourself! The tension builds as you travel into the Zone, and then you stop, pitch black, not a shred of light to be seen — until the window opens up, and you are immediately plummeted to your doom!
Or so you think. Down, up, down, up, will it never stop? Fortunately for my stomach, it does stop eventually, and you get off the ride, either swearing that you will never ride that thing again, or, in the case of Sophie, asking me if we can get back in line to ride it again!
I have ridden the ride one more time, in 2010, and I had determined that for this ride, I would snap pictures while we were in the ride, hopefully making it easier for me to get through it. Here is one of the pictures I took, right as we were about to drop:
If you haven’t ridden the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, I really do recommend that you at least try it. But, if you prefer not to, that’s okay also. One last thing I picked up on YouTube is absolutely incredible, and really plays into the ToT backstory. This video was taken by a Guest one night. I thought it was a really cool piece of video. Enjoy!
So happy anniversary, Tower of Terror! You have lived up to your name in this writer’s opinion!