Is there an example of a perfect ride? This may come close.
There is absolutely nothing about this ride that isn't a themed part of the story or hokey looking. From the intricate yet derelict grand lobby to the library stuffed with TLZ trinkets, to the basement ride and giftshop its all perfect.
In the lobby the tale starts immediately as you see that the elevators have suffered some accident, closed off and dented. you can also see objects from the last day of operation for the "Hollywood Tower Hotel" check in books with the 1939 date, rancid looking coffee/stains, unfinished games, cobwebs all over, mysteriously turned on lights as if to welcome you, as well as period lobby music. The music is full of jazz and happy songs that put an ironic eeriness in the room. They are complimented by their age and poor quality creating an abandoned feel even when the queue is full. It's designed to look like a crowded lobby with one huge upsettingly missing ingredient: people. Its all set up for them but they seem to have left in a hurry.
Next is the library where you see props from the TLZ show. The intense scary feeling continues as your morbid hosts welcome you inside. A bolt of lightning flashes and an old tv flips on with the intro to the show. You see an episode introduction by Rod Serling and a dubbed over voice (its a scene from an episode edited to have the elevator in the back instead of a US map. Everything up until "This as you may notice is a....." is from the episode flawlessly integrated. notice the sudden scene change and how he doesnt appear again for a while). You are informed you will star in your very own TLZ episode and the background about the mysterious vanishing of two elevator shafts on the front of the building and the surrounding rooms. after they disappear withe the passengers, an elevator drops empty freefalling in open air.
After the preshow its down to the basement where the only operating elevators still stand, the service elevators. Everything down here looks evil/industrial, with furnaces like angry faces ala roger rabbit ride. You move deeper and see the doors to the shafts, the elevator motors and the dial showing only 12 floors (obvi there are more by one look at the tower but there was a superstitious omission of floor 13 in many buildings of the time) as the cars before you go up you see the dial go up and the engine zap and sparkle until finally down it goes with a thud. the doors magically open to an empty car giving the appearance that its the same car and the people have vanished to the other dimension.
The ride itself begins by surprising you, the door in front of you is only part of the shaft, instead you see it all moving before you. First stop a haunted hallway where through the magic of fiber optics and peppered ghost (maybe) you get quite a show. The ghosts of the passangers appear before you doing what they did as they got zapped. Suddenly they are zapped and fade like in the intro. The zapping of their out of place dimension begins to noticably effect the hall as the lightning zips up and down the doorways. you see the entire hallway vanish into the 5th dimension just as the towers did, all except the window which twirls in a vast star field until morphing into the one from the show intro and crashing to pieces falling into oblivion. silence, then your doors close on the vacant obviously-not-a-plasma-screen scene. (its 3d and you can look around because it really is there!) you shoot up the shaft as Serling comes back to announce your entry to the twilight zone. You reach the top and see that it was not just that floor effected but the whole tower's gone whack! Everything is from the intro of the show as you float out of your shaft EMV style across this bizarre landscape. You hear the little girl from the elevator as an eyeball flashes an image of your car and everything becomes stars that swirl and fade into a line that becomes too lines opening like elevator doors. You are informed you are entering an area "beyond the fifth dimension" and the "deepest darkest corner of your imagination in the tower of terror" which is the first and only name drop of the ride. Darkness as you stop waiting for what seems an eternity. then a bolt of lightning and down you go into the new randomly selected series of drops. Some of them sit in front of the old shaft doors (presumably you moved to near those invisible towers) opening to the air space created by their absence. This goes on faster than gravity (it moves with mechanics not freefall) till you hit bottom see the other seasons intro from the show and those who have made it are welcomed back and cautioned not to mess with what you don't understand.
Even the exit of the ride and the shop is themed, creating a hollywood tower hotel giftshop with some neat hotel souvenirs too.
All in all this is exactly what a disney ride should be. No hint of the outside world. No exposed backstage or ceilings unfinished. just fully natural, and real enough to be scary. Its got thrills, illusions, trackless systems, and a story. A must for any visit to WDW to see when thrills and imagineering are mixed right
Simply the best ride in the world from the attention to detail, photo opportunities, imagination and the ride itself. Even the walk up Hollywood Boulevard and seeing it in front of me gets me in a little spin and acting like a 10 year old boy!
It's just so unlike anything I have ever been on, and it will always be a classic for me. Rode it for the first time 15 years ago, and I will never get bored of it.
this ride is one of the best rides in disney!!! growing up i was always scared of rides but one year my father dragged me on it and i had the best time! for as long as i remember the drops are never the same so you can ride it 3-4 times in a row and it will always be different. the ride is great from the minute you get on line to the minute you walk out the door.
this ride needs to stay in Hollywood Studios forever.
The tower of terror is a great ride that supplies thrills throughout the whole ride expierience but small children might not react well to sudden drops. if you want to make sure your kids could handle drops I would try Splash Mountain or Expedition Everest first.