I rode this for the first time on my last trip to Disney back in September, 2001. I'd heard enough about it to get me drooling at least a year in advance of the trip. So naturally, the first attraction I headed to on our day at Disney's Hollywood Studios was none other than the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.
Walking into the Studios, anyone would be hard pressed not to notice this 199 ft. tall built-to-look-worn-down Hollywood Tower Hotel. It's awesome, yet foreboding in appearance. Walking up the long and winding outside queue, you get a hint of the the unknown you're about to enter. Disney did an incredible job with the detail of the entire structure, including the gardens outside where you walk through mist and hear the sounds of early 20's, 30's music. Upon entering the lobby, you see just how well Disney designed this abandoned hotel as dust coats everything, and all that you see inside reflects the age of this neglected hotel. After a short wait, unless you're able to walk right in, you head into the library and after the doors shut and the lights go out, the tv comes on and you're introduced to "Rod Serling" and are told the history of the building and the mysterious events that happened there. Shortly after that, the back wall of the library opens up and you walk into the boiler room/basement of the hotel. There, the bellhops (likewise dressed in the aged attire) give you your instructions on entering the elevator, make sure everyone's secure, and then the ride begins.
***TIP*** The absolute BEST seat in the elevator is in the 'dead' center of the top row where the safety harness doesn't reach. Instead, the rider has a seatbelt. Trust me, this gives you the best seat on the ride.
According to numerous Disney sites, the program for the ride is a little different each time. The number and length of the drops are affected. The elevator makes a first stop and when the doors open, you're looking into a long hallway. Suddenly, about 4-5 people appear and seem to be calling to you. Then, lightning strikes them and they disappear. The lights go out and the window in the distance seems to lift and come straight at you. The elevator doors close again and on the next stop, the doors open and your car moves forward into the hallway. You see several freakish sights on both sides of the hallway and then it enters the main "drop zone". Your car shoots upward a short ways, then makes an unexpected drop. It shoots back up again and when the doors open you're looking out over the entire park. After a few seconds, the elevator makes a quick drop, rises up a bit, drops some more, and finally drops down to the basement again.
This is an incredible ride, no, experience. And half the fun is in listening to the other riders, ones who haven't ridden and even if they have, still scream at the top of their lungs. Disney certainly hit a homerun with this attraction, as it is a definite must-see attraction. My sister and I must have ridden it 4-5 times in a row and wanted more, but also wanted to check out some other attractions nearby. I recommend this ride to everyone. It's absolutely great fun.