December 20, 2002
Lake Buena Vista, FL -- Five simple words - one chilling thought: the tower is in control.
While "sequels" sometimes don't measure up to their originals, the new version of The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror(TM) at Disney-MGM Studios multiplies the thrills inside the 13-story haunted hotel with technology that actually places the attraction in control of each ride experience.
Random ride and drop sequences will soon be unveiled, making the attraction faster and adding more drops than ever before. In addition, visual, audio and olfactory special effects have been added, making Tower of Terror one of the most advanced multi-sensory attractions anywhere in the world. Ghostly apparitions, rocketing new ascents, more "air time" and cannon blasts of chilling air are just a few of the new surprises in store for brave Walt Disney World guests.
The new ride sequences will officially debut Dec. 31, 2002, as the new year will ring in with screams and shrieks echoing from the ride's cavernous elevator shafts.
All of the new ride sequences are unique and random, so not even the droll hotel "bellhops" (costumed Disney-MGM Studios cast members who operate the attraction) will know which specific sequence guests are queued to ride. It's the first Disney attraction in the world to offer random experiences and the first where the attraction actually determines the ride sequence.
"The newest transformation of Tower of Terror affects every one of the senses, leaving you feeling as if you have really been in your own episode of The Twilight Zone," says Theron Skees, show producer for Walt Disney Imagineering. "A team of Walt Disney Imagineers worked very hard to break the barrier and truly immerse guests in the experience. Adding new sound technology, scent, and visual effects is only part of the way we achieved this. We wanted the guest to feel completely out of control -- not knowing what to expect next, and giving the die-hard fans a lot more to talk about."
Tower of Terror has thrilled Disney-MGM Studios guests since it opened in 1994. This is the fourth time the attraction has reopened with a new ride sequence, each time with new thrills and special effects.
In fact, changing the ride experience has always been part of the plan to put "terror" into the Tower. Thanks to the storyline, technology and ride engineering designed by Walt Disney Imagineering, Tower of Terror has the ability to be transformed into a number of completely new ride experiences.
"Tower of Terror affords us the technological opportunity to be extremely flexible by way of its design," Skees says. "We can add effects, change timing sequences and completely alter the way it moves. This ability, combined with a unique storyline that is equally flexible, enables us to reinvent the ride experience as often as we want. No other theme park attraction that I know of allows us to continually morph and improve the guest experience in the same way."
The ride's fright-filled ascent begins when visitors board a decrepit hotel freight elevator that passes through mysterious hotel passageways where ghostly images of lost guests seem to appear and disappear at will. As the journey progresses, the elevator-cage hurtles through the "Fifth Dimension" in a pitch-black shaft, as guests embark on a not-to-be-forgotten journey.
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror features Disney's FASTPASS, an innovative system -- offered at no charge -- designed to reduce waiting times at popular attractions in all four Walt Disney World theme parks.