Opened just in time for Christmas 2007, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror visually dominates Walt Disney Studios. It is housed in a full-scale recreation of a 1930s-era Los Angeles hotel, dubbed the Hollywood Tower Hotel, and places guests into the middle of an episode of The Twilight Zone.
After queuing through the hotel’s grounds and into its lobby, guests are sent into one of four virtually identical “libraries”. There, they watch as the late Twilight Zone presenter Rod Serling (voiced by an impersonator) introduces the ride’s plot: a Hollywood couple entered one of the hotel’s elevators during a storm, and disappeared into the Twilight Zone, never to be seen again.
Guests emerge into the hotel’s basement, where they are divided into groups and board one of its service elevators. Seated and strapped in, they rise to a mid-level, where they see a ghostly representation of the missing hotel guests beckoning them into the Twilight Zone. The elevator then races to the top of the hotel, offering a quick peek out over Walt Disney Studios before plummeting towards the ground below at speeds that are faster than freefall. The elevator then rises and drops again several times, before guests emerge into the post-ride shop.
The Walt Disney Studios version of the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is a clone of version at Disney California Adventure. In fact, this version was originally designed for the park in Paris, but financial problems caused its opening to be delayed for several years. The original ride, which opened at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida in 1994, features an additional section in which the elevators leave the shaft and enter one of the hotel’s floors, but this was removed to increase the reliability and capacity of subsequent versions.