Lilliput Lane Tower of Terror Collectible Sculpture

Sculptor Ray Day and Lilliput Lane teamed up to create this exquisitely detailed Tower of Terror collectible for the 2002 Disneyana convention. Ray Day is an acclaimed sculptor who has produced many other Disney designs, and Lilliput Lane is known worldwide for their miniature cottage collectibles. Only 400 individually-numbered Tower replicas were produced and sold at $325 each to individual collectors. This treasured Tower of Terror Disneyana collector’s item is rare and highly sought after.

Fellow tower fan Ryan R. kindly shares these gorgeous photos of his Lilliput Lane Tower of Terror collectible sculpture #002.

There are eight “Hidden Mickeys” on the Lilliput Lane Tower of Terror sculpture – six of them are visible in these photos below. Can you find the six Hidden Mickeys? They look like the Sorcerer’s Hat + Mickey ears. (Answers at the bottom of this page.)

Front View

(Click any of these photos to see them larger)

TowerSecrets: Lilliput Lane Tower of Terror collectible sculpture. Front view.

TowerSecrets: Lilliput Lane Tower of Terror collectible sculpture. Front view.

Left SideTowerSecrets: Lilliput Lane Tower of Terror collectible sculpture. Right side view.Back Side

The gold medallion/keyhole design reads: “Official Disneyana Mystery 2002 – Confidential – Limited Edition”.

TowerSecrets: Lilliput Lane Tower of Terror collectible sculpture. Back side view.

Right Side

Look at all those tiny bricks in the courtyard! Also, if you look closely on the lower right side of this photo you’ll see the limited edition “002” numbering.

TowerSecrets: Lilliput Lane Tower of Terror collectible sculpture. Left side view.

With so much detail packed into the sculpture, you might be  surprised to know that this Tower replica is actually very tiny! Here is Ray Day creating the original wax sculpture:


Ray Day creating the original wax Tower of Terror Lilliput Lane sculpture.

In fact, Ray Day shares several photos of the Tower’s wax sculpting process here. If you’d like to see how it was made, check it out!

Hidden Mickey Locations

(Don’t peek down here unless you want help finding the Hidden Mickeys on the Tower of Terror Lilliput Lane sculpture!)


Ray Day hid 8 “Mickeys” in the sculpture!

  1. On the front, under the “hotel” sign
  2. On the front, near the entrance gate in the greenery
  3. On the left side, just above the trees on the building itself
  4. On the right side, near the bottom and to the right of the “HTH” logo
  5. On the right side, in the greenery just above the second flight of stairs on the left
  6. On the backside, near the top of the Tower on the right
  7. (Pictured below) On the back side, on the right under a tree and between two flowers
  8. (Not pictured) On the back side, on the left where the path leads into the shrubs

This Hidden Mickey isn’t visible in the photos above – here’s a closeup!

Huge thank you to reader Ryan R. for the beautiful photos of his Lilliput Lane Tower of Terror collectible sculpture!

Twilight Zone References in the Tower of Terror

Twilight Zone logo in white

Can you spot all the Twilight Zone references in the Tower of Terror?

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. 🙂

* 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.

Tower of Terror Tip Top club poster featuring Anthony Freemont and his Orchestra

Anthony Freemont and his orchestra – a rather obscure reference to “It’s a Good Life”.

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.”

Tower of Terror Twilight Zone reference gold thimble from "After Hours" on a red velvety background

Gold thimble from “The After Hours”. Photo credit:

“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.

Twilight Zone references in the Tower of Terror a stopwatch from "A Kind of a Stopwatch" in a glass display case

Stopwatch from “A Kind of a Stopwatch”. Photo credit:

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”.

Twilight Zone reference in the Tower of Terror door "22" from "Twenty Two" found in Disney California Adventure

“22” door in DCA’s Tower. Photo Credit:

* 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!

Introductory Video

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.”

Rod Serling Tower of Terror It's a Good Life map footage

“This as you may recognize…”

Related: How Rod Serling “Hosts” the Tower of Terror Attraction

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.

Twilight Zone references in the Tower of Terror row of episode script books in the library

Twilight Zone episode script books – each library contains its own unique set. Photo credit:

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.


Burgess Meredith as Henry Bemis finally getting some time to read! Photo credit: CBS Twilight Zone

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!


Photo Credit: FromScreenToTheme (warning – episode spoiler in link!)


Photo credit: DisneyDreamer09 on (warning – episode spoilers in link!)

They made these envelopes a bit easier to find in DCA – they’re laying face up on the bookshelves.


The named envelopes as they appear in the DCA Tower. Photo credit: (careful – link contains episode spoiler!)


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”).


A trumpet replica sits on a shelf in the library. Photo credit: JSpence at (his post is excellent, but be warned it contains a few episode spoilers)

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.

Tower of Terror reference to The Invaders tiny space man

A tiny alien spaceman suit sits atop the library shelves.

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.

Mystic seer fortune telling box in the twilight zone tower of terror

The Mystic Seer atop a bookshelf in DCA’s Tower of Terror. Photo credit: (who quite impressively built his very own Mystic Seer replica!)

“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.


Seem familiar? The source material has beenwidely spoofed in pop culture, including in the very first Simpsons “Treehouse of Horror“. Photo credit: Todd Hurley

* 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.

Twilight Zone Little Girl Lost portal

Tina’s parents and neighbor outline the portal on her wall. Photo credit: CBS The Twilight Zone

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).


Photo credit:

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.


In case you didn’t get enough scares in the elevator, this spooky dummy is waiting for you at the bottom! Photo credit: Disneyana by Max

* 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.


One of Rod Serling’s episode-opening phrases gets appropriately applied to the ride photo area.

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.


The sign reads, “Perfect for the children’s room and those late night calls from grandma.” Photo credit: Regions Beyond at forums

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.


The future-seeing camera spits out photos of events that haven’t happened yet. Photo credit: CBS The Twilight Zone

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:

  1. An electric razor accompanied by a sign, “Has A Long Cord – Can Follow You Everywhere”
  2. A typewriter with the repeating phrase “GET OUT OF HERE FINCHLEY”

The accompanying card says “Practically writes by itself”. Photo credit:

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.


Willoughby Travel sign at DCA’s Tower of Terror. Photo credit:

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!

Buy the complete Twilight Zone series on Blu-Ray!
(Or on DVD if you prefer)

Twilight Zone blu ray box set

All 156 episodes of the classic sci-fi series, including pilot episodes, audio commentaries, interviews, radio dramas, music scores, and more!
(Affiliate link – your purchase helps support this site!)


This collection of Disney-dedicated websites from around the web lists just a few of my favorites:

Matt from runs this nearly ten-years-old tribute site to the Tower of Terror. This is the quintessential site on all things Tower – from the story of how the Tower was conceived and built to how the special effects work (among other secrets). Caution – obsessives have been known to get lost here for hours. 😉


A fiendishly fun tribute “dead-icated” to Disney’s Haunted Mansion, the other delightfully haunted Disney attraction! “accompanied” me on a recent trip to the Magic Kingdom, where I explored the backstory and secrets of The Haunted Mansion via my mobile phone while waiting in line. SO many secrets packed into one ride, and this site explains ’em all!


If you can’t afford a trip to Japan right now, Dejiki’s Disney blog is virtually the next best thing! This site offers beautiful photos and well-written English descriptions of Disney’s Tokyo attractions. Don’t miss Dejiki’s tour of the Tokyo DisneySea Tower of Terror – mechanically, it’s the same as the other Towers, but the story and architecture are completely new!

HiddenMickeys isn’t just Hidden Mickeys – it also offers the most complete list of Tower theories and confirmed reports on the web. If you love the mysteries of Disney, check it out!

Physics At Disney

A physicist brings an accelerometer onto the Tower of Terror and graphs the ascents and descents! Even non-physicists can enjoy this fascinating “inside” look at the Tower’s main feature.

Disney’s Tower of Terror Movie

A decades-old mystery centering on an abandoned hotel serves as the centerpiece for this 1997 Disney family film. Many scenes were filmed at the Orlando Tower of Terror! If you’re a Tower enthusiast, this movie’s for you! (Amazon affiliate link) 

StudiosCentral is a fan site dedicated to Disney’s Hollywood Studios park in Orlando, with weekly updates on the park’s happenings.

AllEars is a massive fan-run Disney site, covering both Disneyland and Walt Disney World. They keep it up-to-date on things like changes and new attraction construction, so it’s almost like visiting the parks even when your next trip is months (or years 🙁 ) away.


This self-proclaimed community for nuerotic Disney People gets detailed – and personal. My favorite part of the site is the confessional, where anonymous posters tell funny (and poignant) stories.


Some folks like to take the fast track through Disney! This fan-run blog covers official runDisney events that are held year-round in and around the Walt Disney World Resort area. These joggers see a side of Disney the rest of us usually miss, so even if you’re not into running, RunningAtDisney is another great way to explore Disney from your home!


This might be the biggest archive of vintage Disney photos on the web. DisneyFans hosts thousands of old (and new) photos of the parks. My favorite thing to do here is explore how the parks looked circa 1993 and 1994 – these are the years of my first two childhood visits. It’s incredible how much things have changed!

Buzzfeed’s 30 Things…

Buzzfeed’s 33 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Disney Parks was full of surprises – even for a grizzled old Disney veteran like me! It’s a light, fun read. Enjoy!

Winter Terrorland: Tower of Terror Snow!

Sure, the Tower’s been struck by lightning, but has it ever been snowed on?

Yup!  While snow is almost unheard of in sunny Florida and California, the Paris and Tokyo parks occasionally offer a wintry version of Disney.  The Tower of Terror may be a haunted Hollywood icon, but it isn’t immune to the occasional blizzard.

The Disney And More blog shares a stunning collection of photos from the Paris park after a January snowfall.  The Tower of Terror covered in snow is such an unusual sight!

Paris Tower of Terror snow

The Paris Tower of Terror seems extra haunting under a layer of snow! Photo credit: Disney And More

Over in Tokyo DisneySea, the old New York style Tower of Terror is stunning with a layer of snow gracing its turn-of-the-century architectural details.

Sarah at A Jubilation! visited Tokyo DisneySea in January – along with 7 centimeters of snow. Read her wonderful recounting of the experience here.

Tokyo DisneySea Tower of Terror snow

Photo credit: A Jubilation!

It seems that Disney does not automatically shut its parks down on account of snow, although it may close down early.

How’d They Do It? Rod Serling’s Tower of Terror Appearance

Tower of Terror Rod Serling intro video

“This as you may recognize is a maintenance service elevator…” Photo credit: Designing Disney

When Disney’s Imagineers created a “new” episode of the Twilight Zone for fans to step into, they knew they’d have to nail the show’s trademark onscreen introduction by Rod Serling, the creator and on-screen host of the classic sci-fi show. But Serling died in 1975 – nearly 20 years before Disney began work on the attraction.  How could Serling appear in the video and Tower narration?

The answer is a mix of video editing and the voice talents of Mark Silverman – read on to learn more!

Tower of Terror Pre-Show Video

To fans of the original show who knew of Serling’s passing, Serling’s appearance the pre-show video about a haunted hotel from the golden age of Hollywood may have been a bit of a surprise.  His narration also punctuates various points in the ride experience itself, talking about things that were never a part of any pre-existing episode.

The Disney California Adventure version of the video is identical to the original, save for the shots of the Tower itself.

Video credit: Talk Disney Videos

Mixing Old and New

Watch the video closely – Rod Serling is only on screen for a small portion of the pre-show video.  While on screen he says “This, as you may recognize, is a m-“.  A cut occurs at the “m” and the narration continues “maintenance service elevator still in operation, waiting for you.” 

This footage of Serling came from the Twilight Zone episode “It’s a Good Life”.  In the original episode Serling says, “Tonight’s story on the Twilight Zone is somewhat unique and calls for a different kind of introduction. This, as you may recognize, is a map of the United States.”  Hulu has the video here:

Tower of Terror Rod Serling map of the United States

Rod Serling in “It’s a Good Life”. The footage of Serling was re-used in the Tower of Terror’s intro video.

The video cuts away as he says “maintenance” – but if you compare the Tower’s pre-show video (YouTube link) to the original “It’s a Good Life” episode (imdb Hulu link), there are subtle differences in Serling’s voice.  It stands to reason that Mark Silverman took over for this entire scene, even though the script remains the same.

Getting the video to look as if Serling is standing in front of the elevator was done with video compositing, which was already common in Hollywood and TV productions in 1993.  Care was obviously taken to match the quality of Rod Serling’s footage to the background he was added over, along with matching perspective and lightning.

Finding an Impersonator

Disney auditioned hundreds of people for the role of Serling’s off-camera narration. Mark Silverman, already an established voice actor, was chosen for the role after winning approval by none other than Rod Serling’s widow.  Silverman reprised the role again a decade later to record a few new lines (including the new “Wave goodbye…” sequence) for the Disney California Adventure version of the ride.

Mark Silverman Tower of Terror Rod Serling impersonator

Mark Silverman’s impersonation of Rod Serling won him the role of the Tower of Terror’s ominous-sounding narrator

Growing up, Mark Silverman was a huge fan of the Twilight Zone – and Disneyland. To help prepare for the role, Silverman practiced narrating mundane things in Serling’s signature Twilight Zone style.

I began to narrate everything like it was a Twilight Zone episode. If I was at a red light and a businessman walked across the street, I would say as Rod Serling “His name is Harry Diddlebert, he’s 47 years old. Mr. Diddlebert is on his way to a business meeting. He doesn’t know it yet, but that business meeting will lead him down a direct path, to the Twilight Zone.” I would just do that to anyone I saw.

The excerpt above is from a wonderful interview with Mark Silverman, where he answers questions about his career and his Tower of Terror role. It’s a very interesting “behind the scenes” look at a bit of Disney magic!

Catch up on the Twilight Zone with a free week of CBS All Access – stream hundreds of episodes of The Twilight Zone, plus hundreds of other CBS shows. (affiliate link)

Tower of Terror FastPass

Back in the day, all four Tower of Terror attractions offered FastPass, Disney’s popular “virtual queuing” system that allowed guests to grab a pass and skip the long standby line by returning at a later time.

The FastPass tickets looked something like this, depending on which park you get ’em at:


Disney souvenirs only a die-hard fan could love: Tower of Terror FastPasses printed on my birthday!

Wait, what is FastPass?

The FastPass system was introduced in 1999 to help reduce line waits and some guests enjoyed the challenge of finding the most optimal use of the passes.

Guests inserted their park ticket into an attraction’s FASTPASS machine to receive a pass granting access to the (usually much shorter) “FASTPASS line” during a 1-hour window later that same day. AllEars has the full scoop on Disney’s FastPass system.

Tower of Terror Fast Pass return window

Disney’s not kidding about that one-hour window anymore: late arrivals are no longer accepted into the FastPass line.

FastPass Strategies

(These ‘strategies’ are from a bygone era but I am keeping them here for the purpose of historical preservation. – M. Booley)

Grab a FastPass for the most popular ride(s) early!

Despite its age (20 years in Florida, 10 years in California, and a bit younger elsewhere) the Tower is still a massively popular ride. Tower of Terror FastPasses run out by mid-day even on off-peak weekdays!  But standby lines are shortest in the morning, so if you want to get in a lot of Tower, get to the park early.  Grab your FastPass for an even more popular headliner (in DCA that’d likely be Cars Land, and in Hollywood Studios that would be Toy Story Midway Mania and/or Rockin’ Roller Coaster) and hop onto the Tower a few times before it fills up.

Use FastPass for repeat rides

Even if the standby line is short, consider grabbing a FastPass anyway – the line might be long by the time you’ve exited the ride, and your FastPass guarantees you’ll get to go again as soon as you’re in the time window.  Sometimes the opportunity for a new FastPass ticket will begin within 5 minutes of just having received a ticket!

DCA Tower of Terror FastPass

A collection of Tower of Terror FastPasses from DCA

Tower of Terror FASTPASS Locations

All four Towers of Terror offer FastPass.  The tickets are dispensed from covered kiosks located near the Tower itself.

Hollywood Studios Tower of Terror Fast Pass

FastPass Location: On the pathway leading to the Tower of Terror’s entrance gates


Photo credit: Jack Spence

Hollywood Studios Tower of Terror FastPass machine

The Hollywood Studios Tower of Terror FastPass dispenser is remarkably plain compared to the others. Photo credit: Disney Every Day

Disney California Adventure (DCA) Tower of Terror Fast Pass

FastPass Distribution: Directly across from the Tower’s entrance gates


Guests line up to grab Tower of Terror FastPasses in DCA. Photo credit: Mint Crocodile

Tokyo DisneySea Tower of Terror Fast Pass

A note for those curious about Tokyo DisneySea – FastPass is apparently a little more competitive in Japan.

FastPass Distribution:  To the right of the Tower’s entrance


Tokyo DisneySea Tower of Terror FastPass dispenser machine

Tokyo DisneySea’s ornate Tower of Terror FastPass dispenser. Photo credit: Meandering Mouse

Disneyland Paris Tower of Terror Fast Pass

FastPass Distribution: To the right of the Tower’s entrance


DLRP Tower of Terror FastPasses have run out for the day. Photo credit: Incredible Coasters

Paris Tower of Terror FastPass dispenser

Tower of Terror (Paris) FastPass dispenser. Photo credit: House of Secrets

What About FastPass+?

Disney is in the process of replacing the existing Fast Pass system with the new Fast Pass+ system.  The new system lets guests use computer kiosks to choose FastPass attractions and, to an extent, times (the computer chooses the times for you but you get a couple choices to pick from).  Unfortunately, as of my most recent visit to WDW in December 2013, guests are limited to just three FastPasses total per day.  And there’s no loading up all your FastPasses for one attraction to ride repeatedly.  And, sadly, there’s no more little tickets to hold onto – just a snapshot of your times taken with your camera or phone, assuming you brought it with you into the park.

There’s no hiding it – as a big FastPass ticket user, I am bummed about this change. But Disney is continuing to experiment with the system, so there’s hope that it will improve and maybe some of the aspects of the old ticket system will come back.

Either way, Disney is quickly gearing up to make MyMagic+ and FastPass+ the wave of the future, so enjoy the old FastPasses while you can!

Tower of Terror Construction Hollywood Studios Florida

Contrary to what the attraction’s story might want you to believe, the Tower of Terror was not built in 1917. 🙂  Disney’s construction crew cleared the site and broke ground in 1992. Discovery of a sinkhole necessitated a slight relocation of the build site. Construction continued until the ride and Sunset Boulevard opened together on July 22nd, 1994. (Source: Wikipedia article)

Tower of Terror Construction Hollywood Studios Florida billboard advertising

Early 90s Tower of Terror billboard advertising the upcoming attraction. Photo credit: Jack Spence

Exterior Construction

This aerial shot of the Tower of Terror’s construction is the earliest one I’ve fond.  It gives a good sense of the scale of the building. The gardens are just a pile of dirt, and the building itself is little more than a steel skeleton.  This photo is particularly noteworthy because it offers a rare glimpse into the area between the back lift shafts and the front drop shafts.

aerial photo of Tower of Terror construction in Hollywood Studios Florida

Photo credit: Vintage Disney parks

This next photo, depicting the building’s left side (which is the side guests enter and exit) was probably taken shortly after the previous photo – now the rooftops are more complete.

Tower of Terror construction Hollywood Studios florida

Scaffolding surrounds the Tower during its construction in 1993/1994. Photo credit: Disney Parks Blog

Tower of Terror MGM original construction

The lightning-scarred facade becomes recognizable in this construction photo.


Interior Construction

Taken just months before the attraction opened to the public in July, this May ’94 photo shows the hotel’s lobby midway through its own construction.  The walls have been painted and textured, and the light fixtures added, but the floor tiles have yet to be grouted and none of the dusty decor has shown up yet.

Tower of Terror construction hollywood studios Florida

The Tower’s hotel lobby under construction – May 1994. Photo credit: Disney Parks Blog

Cranking up the Thrills

Disney legend has it that a ride designer rode an early version of the Tower and said, “If my tie doesn’t fly up in my face, it’s not good enough”. A descent at normal “freefall” speed wasn’t thrilling enough, so the ride’s design eventually came to feature a “faster than gravity” pull. That’s right – you aren’t freefalling in the Tower, you’re being pulled down (at about 30 mph).


Opening Day

The Twilight Zone: Tower of Terror officially opened on July 22nd, 1994 featuring one gigantic drop. Reception was overwhelmingly positive, and the ride became an instant favorite for thrill-seekers and Disney fans. Over the following 20 years, the ride was reprogrammed a few times to add more drops, rumbles, and an element of randomization to differentiate repeat rides.

Disney soon started work on a second Tower of Terror…

Tower of Terror Pins


Disney California Adventure cast member pin with the letters “TOT” erroneously imprinted on the back. This pin line was discontinued and “TOT” was replaced with “HTH”, which presumably was to make the folks in the legal and licensing department happy.

If you’ve been to a Disney park in the last 15 or so years you’ve seen these artsy little bits of metal pinned to Cast Members and guests alike.  At $7-$12+ a pop, pin trading isn’t a hobby for the weak of wallet, but it can be fun to hunt down favorites and complete collections.  And before you get any hopes of collecting them all, just know that Disney has created over 90,000 unique pin designs.

For an excellent introduction to Disney pin trading, visit Peanut Blossom’s Disney Pin Trading 101.

Many collectors like to focus their collection around a particular theme.  My primary collection’s theme is the Tower of Terror (of course!), and I focus my collection on pins that only depict the Tower itself.  This helps keep the hunt exciting and the costs sorta-reasonable. 😉 

There are well over a hundred Tower of Terror related pins – way too many to list here.  Disney’s been pumping out pins for the Tower of Terror pretty much forever, and there’s more added all the time. The very nicely organized PinPics’s Tower of Terror pin gallery is a great place to browse Disney’s vast pin catalog.

Where to Find Tower of Terror Pins

My pins are from the parks and eBay, but for more advanced traders there’s a few more options:

  • Search for Tower of Terror pins on eBay is great for all pin collectors. Check back often and you might see some rare ones pop up.
  • PinPics is the web’s biggest site for the serious collectors
  • The Disney Parks – Pin racks can be found throughout the 11 parks – check ’em all, the stock varies by location, park, and season.  Tower of Terror pins are found all over the parks, not just at the Tower’s own gift shop.
  • Cast Members oftentimes have pins that cannot be bought directly but must be traded for – check their lanyards and ask politely to see their pins, and you might find a Tower of Terror pin that isn’t available in the gift shops.
  • Disney’s online store – Buy ’em directly from the source.  (Alas, no Tower of Terror pins are on the Disney store site last I looked.)

Tower of Terror Pin Designs

Tower of Terror pin designs usually take the form of iconic Disney characters on the attraction and/or dressed as bellhops, the Tower by itself, and hotel props such as hotel room keys and “Do Not Disturb” signs.

DCA Tower of Terror pin grand opening 2004

This blue and purple DCA Tower of Terror pin is one of my favorites.

In my experience, it’s been easier to find pins depicting the California-style Tower of Terror.  (And yet if you press a penny in the California Tower of Terror, the impressed design is that of the Florida Tower!)

DCA Tower of Terror pin Disneyland 2004

The top half of this Tower pin changes as you tilt the pin left and right, revealing a lightning bolt at some angles.

Tower of Terror Games

Can’t get enough Tower?  Try some of these official and fan-made Tower of Terror games!

Clue – The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror Theme Park Edition

“Clue” gets a Twilight Zone makeover in this special edition of this classic board game. When the power goes out in Hollywood Tower Hotel, you’re the only one who can discover who’s missing, where and with what!

This game was still sold in the parks as of 2013, but if you’d rather not try to squeeze it into your luggage the best place to buy it is the online Disney Store.

Disney Clue Tower of Terror game

Tower of Terror DCA Promotional PC Game

This adventure-style PC title promoted the new Tower of Terror attraction at Disney’s California Adventure.  As the player advances through the game, the player accrues rewards that could be redeemed at the park.

According to the YouTube summary, the project was led by Roger Holzberg (creative director), Terry Dobson (creative producer), Ed Haro (art director) and Allison Mills (web graphic designer), Humberto Kam (project manager).

Tower of Terror Simulation

This cute Flash-based browser game created by and hosted by lets you operate the Tower of Terror from the comfort of your own chair.  I like this game because it’s no-fail, you can just sit back and have fun with it without fear of losing or falling behind.

The interface is a little tricky at first, so here’s a walkthrough to get you started:

  1. Click Open/Close frontgate button in the upper right.  This will bring guests into the waiting queue.
  2. Click the “Maintenance” tab and turn on the second TV room – you’re gonna want this sooner than later. Go back to “Main Control” once you’ve got both TV rooms operational.
  3. Under “TV Room 1”, click “Empty Queue” to bring guests into the TV room.
  4. Once they’re inside, press “Start TV”.
  5. When the show’s over, use “Empty Room” to advance guests to the boiler room.
  6. After you’ve got guests waiting for the elevator, go to the “Elevator 1” section of the control panel and click “Doors” to open the doors and “Board Elevator” to pop all the guests into the ride car.
  7. (By now you probably have lots more guests piling up at the TV rooms – use “Empty Queue” for TV Room 1 and TV Room 2 to keep the line moving.)
  8. “Start Elevator” to get to the part you’ve been waiting for – the big drops!

Vintage Tower of Terror Promotional Videos

These 90s-era Tower of Terror promotional videos are pretty cheesy.  Sit back and enjoy!

I think my favorite “curiosity” about these videos is the way they often portray the guests as standing during the drop sequence.  Disney does a good job of hiding the fact that you’ll be sitting – in fact, I still remember being surprised by having to sit down and buckle up when I first rode as a 10 year old.

Regis Philbin’s 1993 Tower of Terror Preview

Christmas 1993 – the Tower wouldn’t open for another 7 months, but Disney’s marketing machine was already drumming up interest in the new attraction.

Gilbert Gottfried’s Tower Tour

90’s comedian Gilbert Gottfried takes us on a tour of the Tower.  It helps to imagine him as Jafar’s parrot as you watch this video.