Twilight Zone Tower Of Terror: Do You Dare?

A fan of Disney?

That’s me!

A fan of heavy duty thrill rides?

Not me.

So when The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror first opened in 1994, I had no interest in riding. But my dear friend and fellow Disney nut encouraged me to join her. Her son, a Cast Member, had been one of the lucky ones to “try it out” during the final testing phases and he was going to join us.

Hollywood Tower Hotel - Twilight Zone

At the time, there was only one sequence. You entered the car, rode around for a bit then one short drop, one hefty drop and you were finished. My friend’s son assured me I would be fine. And I was.

Flash forward a few years later and I was visiting with my parents. My dad was in his sixties and like me, not a huge fan of thrill rides but a big Disney fan. AND a big Twilight Zone fan. He really wanted to experience the ride and I assured him that there was only one big drop and it was over in seconds. Reluctantly, he agreed to try it out.

My father loved the décor and the attention to detail. A jokester himself, he tried to get the Cast Members to break character, to no avail. Finally, we’re strapped in and ready to go.

Little did we know, Disney had tweaked their popular attraction. Gone were the predicable drops. Now, a random sequence was in play. My dad shot a look of anger and…...(dare I say terror?) at me while I (also in a bit of a panic) tried to convey with my eyes that I had no idea Disney was going to trick us like this. Looking back, I so wish we had a picture to capture that moment. Because now, years later, we can finally laugh at our predicament.

Head to Twilight Zone Tower of Terror as soon as you enter the park in the morning if you want to ride without a FastPass.
Head to Tower of Terror as soon as you enter the park in the morning if you want to ride without a FastPass.

Things you need to know before you ride:

  • This attraction has a 40” height restriction and is typically recommended for children 8 and up. But you know your child best. Two of my children were uncomfortable with the scare factor of Haunted Mansion. Until they conquered that fear, we didn’t let them attempt Tower of Terror.
  • The building is 199 feet tall, just under the 200ft limit that would require a beacon to alert air traffic.
  • You “fall” approximately 13 stories. And it’s actually not a “free fall” ride. Riders are pulled down slightly faster than an actual free fall, adding more thrill to the attraction.
  • This attraction typically requires a FastPass, unless you make a beeline for it as soon as you arrive first thing in the morning. Most of the queue is shaded or indoors, however, so if you have time to spare mid-afternoon, its a great queue to escape the Florida heat. (For more “crowded day” tips, click here.)
  • This is another attraction that takes on a whole different dimension (pardon the pun) at night. We try to ride at least once during the day and once at night for two completely different experiences.
  • From pre-show to exiting the ride, allow approximately 15 minutes.
  • Check out your “terror” face as you exit the ride. This is a Disney attraction that takes your picture at an opportune moment. (And I’m not saying when.)
  • And if you’re like my dad and would love to experience the Twilight Zone effects without the ride, you can enjoy the pre-show and exit the “chicken door” just before other daring guests board the ride. (Shhh. Don’t tell my dad this was an option!) Just ask a Cast Member at the elevators to point you in the right direction.

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