The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

the architecture of the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney's Hollywood Studios that makes this attraction so unique

Walt Disney loved to tell a story and when it came to his parks he made sure every ride had a story behind it.  Every detail adds to the look and feel of the ride.  From the sounds, the smells, the architecture… you loose yourself in the world Imagineering has created.

Welcome to this month's Blogorail Orange Loop. Today we are sharing some of our favorite architectural details at the Disney Parks.

anyone who was anyone stayed here

One of the best examples of Disney architecture being used to tell a story has to be The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.

The ride is set at The Hollywood Tower Hotel which opened in 1928 and is known for it’s rich and famous guests. But on October 31, 1939 tragedy strikes in the form of lightning hitting one of the elevators.

The Twilight Zoen Tower of Terror - The Hollywood Tower Hotel Sunset Boulevard Billboard

a billboard highlighting the Hollywood Tower Hotel

The elevator and a portion of the hotel mysteriously disappear with 5 people inside: a couple that look to a singer, her boyfriend, a child, her nanny, and a hotel bellhop.  The hotel immediately closed until …. well until 1994.

You are now invited to board the only elevator (service elevator located in the basement boiler room) to discover the secret of the Hollywood Tower Hotel.

double dog dare you to ride it

The hotel itself reflects the Hollywood art deco style of the 1930’s which is beautiful but the size of it is what first strikes you.

You can easily see it from the drive into the parking lot.  As you walk towards the park you will hear families daring each other to ride the Tower of Terror and a lot of heckling for those that refuse.

the tower from the Boardwalk walk way (photo credit: Greg from Why I Run Disney)

the tower from the Boardwalk walk way (photo credit: Greg from Why I Run Disney)

But as you enter the park and turn onto Sunset Boulevard the Tower is right there in front of you and looms higher and higher above you as you get closer.  (and the screams become louder and louder)

You can even begin to see all the details where the old elevator used to be.  There is a lot of detailed damage to take in.

A bit of trivia: the Hollywood Tower Hotel architecture was inspired by The Mission Inn in Riverside, California.

it really is creepy

One you walk past the entrance sign you will be immediately immersed in the world of the Hollywood Hotel.

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney's Hollywood Studio - Entrance Sign

As you wander along the (unkept and creepy) garden pathway you will begin to hear beautiful 1930’s music.  It will sound like it is far away.  Like a memory the original hotel is trying to share with you.

As you approach the hotel you will pass broken statues, an old fountain and overgrown walkways. All adding to the wonderfully spooky and sad ambience.

If you happen to be there during the summer the misters will be on adding a creepy fog to the area.  And at night the light make this one of my favorite places.

It really is quite romantic if you don’t mind the screams and ghosts ‘dropping’ in.

it is the maids day off

Everything you have seen and heard up until pales in comparison to the lobby of the hotel.  Everything is covered in dust and is left just as it was on October 31, 1939.

Everything from suitcases on the floor, to a tea service, to dead flowers and more.

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror Dusty Lobby at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Take time to look at all the art deco architectural elements.  From arches to light fixtures to the intricate wood working to the decor.  Everything is stunning and accurate for the time period.

A bit of trivia: In fact, many of the items are genuine antiques, including several bronze statues carved by French artist Moreau.

Don’t think the details ends at the lobby.  From the hotel library to the boiler room you are kept in the story.

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney's Hollywood Studios - Entering the Boiler Room

Even the exit is in the same 1930’s art deco style – from fountains to the check out desk.

even out back

Even the back of the hotel carries the same great architecture.

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney's Hollywood Studios - exit area

Did you know that you can book private parties on that 2nd floor balcony.  Can you imagine having dinner up there?

As you can see the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is the complete package.  You will step back in time one you enter the grounds and you will remain there until you exit the back door.

What other ride goes to this level of detail?

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney's Hollywood Studios - exit area

Thank you for joining me today as I shared my love of this attraction.  It truly sticks out from the rest.


For more architectural details at Disney, check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!

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