Get ready for a scavenger hunt – Disney’s Imagineers packed the Tower of Terror with loads of Twilight Zone TV show references!
The Tower practically doubles as a museum dedicated to classic sci-fi show – replicas of show props, references to characters, and reminders of twist endings are found throughout the haunted hotel attractions.
Some Twilight Zone references in the Tower of Terror only found in the Hollywood Studios (HS) tower; others are unique to the tower in Disney California Adventure (DCA). The later towers, namely the Disney California Adventure version and the Paris version, have more props and references than the original in Orlando – the Imagineers doubled down on the Twilight Zone goodies the second and third time around!
Specific episodes are referenced, but I’ve done my best to omit spoilers in this article wherever possible. Be warned that links to Wikipedia and external sites may contain Twilight Zone episode spoilers. 🙂
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* Hotel Lobby *
It’s dim in here, but look closely and you’ll see a few Twilight Zone references in the hotel’s entrance.
Tip-Top Club poster (HS & DCA)
Episode: “It’s a Good Life” (Season 3, Episode 8)
Original air date: November 3, 1961
Six year old Anthony Fremont has an incredible superpower: using only his mind, he can make anything – or anyone – who annoys him disappear forever. Time magazine and TV guide both regard”It’s a Good Life” as one of the best Twilight Zone episodes!
The Tip-Top club poster in the lobby features Anthony Fremont and his orchestra playing at the top of the Tower. The irony, of course, is that little Anthony hates it when people sing.
Gold Thimble (DCA)
Episode: “The After Hours” (Season 1, Episode 34)
Original air date: June 10, 1960
Marsha is shopping for a gold thimble – and she finds it on the mysterious nonexistent ninth floor of a downtown department store.
Located in the “waiting area” just before the libraries in the DCA version of the Tower are a couple of glass cases containing Twilight Zone prop replicas. One of them is a golden thimble accompanied by a small sign containing the phrase, “Looking for a gift for mother? It’s the very thing you need. Available in our gift shop.”
“After Hours” shares two more features with the Tower:
- A nonexistent floor, much like the Tower’s mythical 13th floor
- The elevator needle going past the top floor (in the episode, it’s past the 8th. In the Tower, it’s past the 12th.)
Broken Stopwatch (DCA)
Episode: “A Kind of a Stopwatch” (Season 5, Episode 4)
Original air date: 10/18/1963
Patrick McNulty receives a stopwatch from a drunken man at a bar and thinks it a rather odd gift until he realizes the watch stops time for everyone but him. This is another very highly rated Twilight Zone episode.
In the DCA Tower, look in the glass case before the library for this stopwatch.
Door “22” (DCA)
Episode: “Twenty Two” (Season 2, Episode 17)
Original air date: February 10, 1961
Hospital patient Miss Liz Powell has a recurring nightmare about taking an elevator down to the hospital’s morgue – room 22 – as the line between nightmare and reality begins to blur.
A door in front of the out-of-order elevators in the lobby is numbered “22”.
* Hotel Library *
The library is jam-packed with Twilight Zone references. Spotting all of them is a challenge because the library is usually very dark – good luck!
The footage of Rod Serling in the Tower of Terror’s introduction video is from “It’s a Good Life”. His original line was, “This as you may recognize is a map of the United States.”
Row of Books
Near the door to the boiler room is a shelf with a row of tightly packed books (look low, maybe 3 feet above the ground near the door to the boiler room). Each of these slender volumes contains a Twilight Zone episode script.
Pair of Glasses (HS, DCA)
Episode: “Time Enough at Last” (Season 1, Episode 8)
Original air date: November 20, 1959
Henry Bemis never had time to read – until an apocalyptic event wipes out all life on Earth.
Look for a pair of round-rim glasses on a stack of books.
Envelopes labeled “Victoria West” and “Rod Serling” (HS & DCA)
Episode: “A World of His Own” (Season 1, Episode 36)
Original air date: July 1, 1960
Gregory West writes reality by dictating his wish into his dictation machine – and un-writes it by burning up the tapes, which happen to be stuffed into labeled envelopes.
These envelopes takes a bit of effort to find. In Hollywood Studios, the right library room contains an envelope labeled “Rod Serling” tucked away behind a cage to the left of the television. The left library room contains an envelope labeled “Victoria West”. To fully understand these references, you’ll have to watch the episode ’til the end!
They made these envelopes a bit easier to find in DCA – they’re laying face up on the bookshelves.
Episode: “A Passage for Trumpet” (Season 1, Episode 32)
Original air date: May 20, 1960
Joey Crown is a down-on-his-luck trumpet player who, after a suicide attempt, finds himself in a state of “limbo” where he cannot be seen or heard by others.
The trumpet is located just below waist-height. It’s not a real trumpet, just a sturdy replica that’s been attached to the shelf it sits on. (Look at the title of the sheet music underneath the trumpet for one of the Tower’s “Hidden Mickeys”).
Miniature Space Man
Episode: “The Invaders” (Season 2, Episode 15)
Original air date: January 27, 1961
An old woman uses a hatchet to battle two tiny space aliens!
Look to the top of the bookshelves – this little guy is pretty easy to spot.
The Mystic Seer
Episode: “Nick of Time” (Season 2, Episode 7)
Original air date: November 18, 1960
Young couple Don and Pat Carter encounter a irresistible fortune-telling machine in a diner.
The “Mystic Seer” is easy to spot in the Tower library – look on top of the bookshelves, near the ceiling. It’s a little red box with a devil’s head on top.
“To Serve Man” Book
Episode: “To Serve Man” (Season 3, Episode 24)
Original air date: March 2, 1962
Friendly aliens from a paradise planet give Earth a few upgrades…
Look for a black book laying face up behind a table with a lamp and an upholstered chair. The book title’s translation, “To Serve Man”, is written on a card atop the book.
* Boiler Room *
Chalk “Circle” on Wall & Radio Voice (DCA)
Episode: “Little Girl Lost” (Season 3, Episode 26)
Original air date: March 16, 1962
Six year old Tina disappears from her bed – but her parents can still hear her cries for help. Her parents and neighbor investigate, discovering an invisible portal to the fourth dimension next to her bed.
The DCA and Paris towers contain two references to “Little Girl Lost”. The first is a chalk line drawing on the wall in the upper floor of the boiler room near the attraction’s warning signs. The second is the little girl’s voice calling out for help from the workbench’s radio.
Popular Mechanics magazines (DCA)
Episode: “I Sing the Body Electric” (Season 3, Episode 35)
Original air date: May 18, 1962
Ray Bradbury wrote this episode in which a recent widower orders a mechanical grandmother for his three children.
Look on the workbench in the boiler room to catch this obscure reference.
* In the Elevator *
Elevator Inspection Certificate (HS & DCA)
While in the elevator, look on the wall to your left for the elevator’s inspection certificate. The number on it is 10259, or October 2, 1959 – the date that Twilight Zone first aired. It is signed by Cadwallader – a reference to the deal-making devil from “Escape Clause” (Season 1, Episode 6; air date November 6, 1959).
Slot Machine (HS)
Episode: “The Fever” (Season 1, Episode 17)
Original air date: January 29, 1960
Franklin despises gambling, but a drunken man gives him a coin to gamble with while vacationing in Las Vegas. As he tries to walk away with his winnings, the slot machine taunts him back.
The slot machine is in the “landing room” at the bottom of the elevator shaft in Hollywood Studios. Your only chance to catch this reference is when the elevator backs up and rotates into the unload position.
Ventriloquist Dummy (HS)
Episode: “Caesar and Me” (Season 5, Episode 28)
Original air date: April 10, 1964
Jonathan West has a ventriloquist dummy with a mind of its own and a knack for dispensing poor advice.
Look quickly, this is another reference that can only be seen in the collection of memorabilia waiting at the bottom of the elevator shaft in Hollywood Studios.
* On the Way Out *
Hanging in both Hollywood Studios and Disney California Adventure Towers is a dusty old sign with the words, “Picture if You Will”, near the photo purchase desks.
Red Toy Telephone (DCA)
Episode: “Long Distance Call” (Season 2, Episode 22)
Original air date: March 31, 1961
Five-year-old Billy talks to his deceased grandmother via a plastic toy phone she gave him just before her death.
The toy telephone shares a display case with several other Twilight Zone references.
Box Camera (DCA)
Episode: “A Most Unusual Camera” (Season 2, Episode 10)
Original air date: December 16, 1960
A camera that photographs the future falls into the hands of a trio of nitwits.
Look for a burgundy-colored camera in a display case accompanied by a few more antique cameras.
Electric Razor & Typewriter (DCA)
Episode: “A Thing About Machines” (Season 2, Episode 4)
Original air date: October 28, 1960
Bartlett Finchley hates the machines around his house – and for good reason. They all seem to be out to get him…
There are actually two items referencing “A Thing About Machines” in the DCA tower:
- An electric razor accompanied by a sign, “Has A Long Cord – Can Follow You Everywhere”
- A typewriter with the repeating phrase “GET OUT OF HERE FINCHLEY”
Willoughby Travel (DCA)
Episode: “A Stop At Willoughby” (Season 1, Episode 30)
Original air date: May 6, 1960
Stressed-out New York ad man Gart Williams finds comfort when his train stops at the small town of Willoughby.
This “Willoughby Travel” sign adorns a window near the Tower’s exit in Disney California Adventure.
Whew! Got all that? This concludes our tour of the Tower of Terror’s Twilight Zone references – unless, of course, we missed any. Let us know in the comments!
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