/ Monday, September 17th, 2007

Mickey Checks Into The Hollywood Hotel: There are several “Hidden Mickeys” tucked away in the deserted hotel. During the opening scene in the library, look for the little girl getting on
the elevator — she’s holding a vintage Mickey Mouse doll. Also, quick-eyed thrill seekers will spot a Mickey Mouse head that is formed by the swirling stars as the elevator car reaches the “fifth  dimension.”

Hidden Messages: On the glass-encased hotel “directory” in the lobby, some of the letters have fallen to the bottom of the case. The fallen letters create an ominous warning that reads “evil tower u r doomed.”

‘The Good Life’ Comes to Life: Rod Serling’s opening scene in the hotel library was taken in part from a 1961 episode of The Twilight Zone series entitled “The Good Life.” The episode told the story of a little boy who could use his mind to change things.

Garage Sale, Anyone? Walt Disney Imagineers searched Hollywood auction houses for the hotel furnishings. French bronzes by the 19th century artist Moreau are found in the attraction, as well as furniture pieces that graced Hollywood clubs and hotels throughout the 1920s.

Who Has the Remote Control? Walt Disney Imagineers spent countless hours screening all 156 episodes of The Twilight Zone to capture the overall mood and feel of the series. All of the episodes were screened at least twice, and some were screened three or four times to carefully study the props, furnishings, music and settings.

No Vacancy: A closer look at the upper floors of the Hollywood Tower Hotel reveals “guest room” lights and lamps that are illuminated. The lights are meant to resemble hotel guests who have
been lucky enough to avoid the “fifth dimension” fright of their fellow visitors.

That Sinking (Fast) Feeling: Guests aboard Tower of Terror fall faster than gravity. That is because the elevator car doesn’t “free fall” — the ride’s mechanics actually “push” and “pull” it up and down.

Play It Again…: Attention to detail extends all throughout the ride, and even outside in the queue area. Walt Disney Imagineers built the landscape to resemble the chaparral-covered hills of the Elysian and Griffith Parks in Los Angeles. Background music from the era is played in the queue area, including Glenn Miller’s “Sleepy Time Gal” and “Mood Indigo” by Duke Ellington.

  • As the story goes, on the night of October 31, 1939, there was a thunder storm in Hollywood Hills, and the elite of the film industry sheltered in the Hollywood Tower Hotel’s lobby. A child actress & her governess, a young couple & an over-worked bellman were among those in the lobby that night, & they were last seen heading for the elevator. After they stepped into the elevator, it vanished, along with the passengers & several sections of the upper hotel. When the Tower of Terror was being built, it was struck by lightning.In 1966, Walt Disney was diagnosed lung cancer, contracted after years of smoking cigarettes. His illness and its connection to cigarette smoking caused Imagineers to remove Rod Serling’s signature cigarette from the pre-show video in Twilight Zone Tower of Terror The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is 199 feet tall. While it was being built, it was struck by lightnin.
  • If it were 1 foot higher the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror would have to have red Airplane blinker lights to comply with FAA regulations, and the Imagineers did not want to ruin the effect of an old Hollywood hotel from the 1930’s, (which would not have had to have the lights).
  • The ride vehicles were designed with the help of a major elevator manufacturer. Disney Imagineers have calculated that if both towers were to drop at the same time that Rock’n Roller Coaster launched it would bring down the Studio’s power grid. This is prevented because the Imagineering department decided to build a power sub-station that services just this section of the park. The Mah Jongg game in the lobby was actually played by two championship players for one hour. Then they just stood up and walked away. This way nobody who knew the game could claim that the game was in any way inaccurate The elevators are actually pulled downward faster than the acceleration of gravity (9.8 meters/second/second)The corridor scene uses the same theater trick as the Haunted Mansion’s ballroom scene, known as “Pepper’s Ghost” where an image is projected using a mirror onto a scrim (a thin, translucent screen) to make the image look as though it’s right in front of you when it’s actually above or blow your vehcile. The four load towers are named (from right to left) Alpha, Beta, Charlie, and Delta. The two drop towers are named (left to right) Echo and Foxtrot.