Drawing on the classic television show “The Twilight Zone”, this attraction makes you a part of the storyline itself. The result, full immersion into the experience. This is why I believe the attraction to be so perfectly designed. It achieves the very thing WDW attempts to do on a macro-level. Moreover, the use of “Hollywood Tower Hotel” firmly places the setting in tinsel town, while the use of the “Twilight Zone” draws directly on the entertainment industry. Thus, a perfect thematic fit for the park itself.
You’ll enter the story as a tourist, examining this relic from the long gone golden age of Hollywood. As the story goes, the Hollywood Tower Hotel was forced to close after an incident forced its closure in 1939. You’ll meander through an extremely well designed lobby, complete with little details that bring the story to life. Then, upon entering the hotel library, you’ll find that you’ve entered – “The Twilight Zone”. I strongly urge you to stop for a moment and fully appreciate two things: (1) the extreme detail of the setting (2) the fact that Rod Serling actually died in 1975. This was 19 years before the attraction opened. Yet, the Imagineers – along with the help of voice artist Mark Silverman – made another seamless experience. Rod will explain the backstory further, telling of the horrific event with the hotel elevator. Even if you decide not to ride in the hotel elevator, this queue is worth experiencing.
From the library, you will journey through the boiler room and finally onto the elevator. The cast members, still in character, seal the door and the deal with their delivery of the lines. Then – up you go.
As the door opens, you are exposed to some of the absolute best special effects in any WDW attraction. You travel down a hallway toward spirits that have materialized. Those spirits, the ghosts of those guests who rode the elevator on that fateful day in 1939. You are traveling into the Twilight Zone itself.
Suddenly, you spring upward again – until you land on the 13th floor. For me, this is yet another point of design that highlights the genius of the Imagineers. The attraction changes from one of special effects to an all-out thrill ride. As with those riders who met with their doom in 1939, you find your elevator suddenly dropping toward a fatal end. What follows is a mixture of pushes and pulls as you yo-yo up and down through several stories. The doors to the outside open allowing a completely unique, but brief, view of the park and the world outside.
Finally, you land safely – back from the Twilight Zone.
In all, the ride is actually very brief – as are most of WDW attractions. Nevertheless, it is absolutely worth every moment of the wait. Now, if I can only convince my oldest son of that fact!
Want a quick preview? Here's a quick video: http://youtu.be/_ZdvnB7HQQ0
Do you like this attraction? What is your favorite part? We would love to see your comments below!