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Nightmare Fuel / The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

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"Come stay with us...it's nice here...you won't want to leave...ever."note 
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What do you get when you combine a show known for its dark imagery and plots and a theme park that's not afraid to frighten parkgoers? One creepy ride.


  • The "elevator" is actually on a belt (rather than rigged with a counterweight like a traditional elevator), and it can (and will) push you down faster than the acceleration due to gravity. In Florida, it's randomized every time, so the number and length of drops is different even on back-to-back trips, so you never will get the same ride experience twice. The only thing about the drop sequence is that you will be guaranteed at least one "false drop" and one drop through the entire ride structure.
    • Most of the shaft takes place in total darkness, with the only lights visible at times being things like ghostly visions of the elevator passengers. The only exception is when the doors open at the top, just so you can see how far off the ground you are (and so that you can have your picture taken). Florida's version adds an extra bit of surrealism in that your view of the park is obscured by the Hollywood Tower Hotel sign when the doors open, meaning the sign is where a corridor should be.
  • The Tower of Terror itself is a very creepy ride, but it was intended to be one (not for small kids). Still, one of the scariest parts is when you're merely walking up to the "hotel". You're completely surrounded by lush, overgrown forestry and the walk is at least a minute or two. Doesn't sound too scary right? Well, imagine you're walking up there—by yourself as old music from the 1930s is playing around you. God... that isolation really gets to you and almost makes you feel likes something's going to jump out at you any second. Not only that, but the entrance walkway up to the hotel is tilted around 2 to 4 degrees, an effect done by the Imagineers to enhance the sense of unease.
  • There are many easter eggs and Twilight Zone references, which are very fun for the die-hard fans, but can also be unsettling depending on if you do or don't know the context.
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    • As the ride comes to an end, there is a creepy ventriloquist dummy that you can only see if you are in the back row, all the way on the left (or right depending in which shaft you're in), then look to the left (or right) as the elevator reaches the unloading door. The dummy just sits there, but he could startle you. The dummy in question is said to be "Caesar" from the episode "Caesar and Me".
    • Another easter egg that's fun for Twilight Zone fans but can seriously freak out the uninitiated is in the gift shop, where there's a display of typewriters as decorations. One of them has paper in it with "GET OUT OF HERE FINCHLEY" typed over and over. Very unnerving if you haven't seen "A Thing About Machines".
    • One that gets even creepier with context: the telephone previously seen in the Anaheim lobby, with a card saying, "Perfect for the children's room and those late night calls from Grandma". Sounds perfectly innocuous...unless you're an original series fan, in which case you may recognize it as a reference to "Long Distance Call", where a boy's dead grandmother calls him on a toy telephone, urging him to commit suicide so they can be together again.
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  • It's gone now, but there used to be an ominous message. The bulletin board in the queue is missing a few letters. Originally, if you walked up to the board and looked at where the letters fell, they would spell out "evil tower u r doomed." The letters were removed at some point after the 9/11 attacks. The effect used to be great though, because you probably would've found it on accident.
  • If you chicken out before getting onto the Tower of Terror, don't expect to get off without a little fear! If you decide to not go on the ride a cast member will lead you to another elevator with an entrance identical to the ride itself, making you think that there was a misunderstanding and that you were brought to the ride. However, the scary doors open to reveal a brightly lit elevator to the exit. It's a nice prank though, since the cast member always says that he or she will take you to "the elevator" rather than "to the exit"!
  • In the boiler room of the California version, you might've found a random plaque of a quote from Ella Wheeler Wilcox's poem, "The Man Worth While" reading: It's easy enough to be pleasant when life hums along like a song; But the man worth while is the man who can smile when everything goes dead wrong. The fact that the quote is there for no real reason other than to vaguely foreshadow the horror riders are about to experience is sort of unsettling. However, it also kind of doubles as a bit of a Funny in it's own way.
  • Just the thought that the only thing keeping you in the ride vehicle while it's falling is a nylon seat belt and the strength of your own two hands.
  • The very fact that this ride is set in the dark and very un-Disney like world of The Twilight Zone, where Anyone Can Die or suffer horrible fates, and you're in an episode!
  • With most amusement park rides, whether at Disney Parks or elsewhere, you at least get to see the people before you get off the ride, so you know everyone made it safely (most of the time). With this one, there is no way of seeing everyone before you get off the ride. So as far as you know, they really did disappear forever on the ride. And that's what's going to happen to you.
  • Imagine the scenario that trapped the ghosts in the elevator in the first place. You're on vacation (or doing your job in the case of the bellhop or the nanny), just expecting to take a normal elevator ride to your room and relax. Then there's a lighting strike, shocking you and your companions into an unknown time and space and sending your elevator car crashing to the basement below. Then you're trapped in said unknown time and space...and slowly come to the realization that there's no chance of escaping or finding rest for all of eternity and the only thing you can do is beckon others to join you. And I Must Scream indeed!
  • In Florida, your car moves through the Fifth Dimension, a nightmarish Hellscape involving various symbols from the opening sequence, including the clock, opening eye and window before turning into a star field. Then the stars fade into the center of the center and part as the elevator shaft doors open, revealing nothing but absolute blackness. And then you hear Rod Serling's voice deliver one last ominous message, before you start the drop sequence:
    "You are about to discover what lies beyond the 5th Dimension, beyond the deepest, darkest corner of the imagination—in the Tower of Terror."
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