The Tower of Terror

Florida Guide > Hollywood Studios

The first time I decided to ride Tower of Terror I was with my two children. My daughter and I reached the lift doors and chickened out. Feeling highly embarrassed we were escorted to the shop, where we waited for my son to return from the Twilight Zone. As we waited we watched dozens of small children passing by, grinning from ear to ear as they excitedly chattered about just having been on Tower of Terror. We both felt like Class A wimps. It was really embarrassing. Here we watched small children totally unafraid, whilst we, both adults, could not overcome our fears.

In fact, my daughter did manage it later in the day, but I stayed resolutely chicken.

Until a couple of years later, when visiting the park with my husband (who is an even bigger wimp than me! ) and a friend. Now, strangely enough, I simply adore Mission Space, which has grown men blanching and feeling sick, but my friend had refused, so far, to be tempted onto this amazing simulator.

So we made a bargain. I would go on Tower of Terror with her (she had been several times before and loved it! ) if she would accompany me on Mission Space.

So it was that Elaine, my son and I marched up the entrance to that rather blackened hotel, ready for my trip into the unknown. Actually, the front of the hotel looks scorched as it was apparently hit way back in 1939 by lightning. It was after this occurrence that a number of guests disappeared in mysterious circumstances. . . . . .

I have to admit I hung back a bit, looking at the beautiful gardens, but there was no way out. This time I had to do it. We entered the reception and were greeted by a uniformed bell boy. It was pretty gloomy and covered in grey, dusty cobwebs. I could see a wheeled trolley with a teapot and cups set ready for afternoon tea. In front of a huge fireplace there was a many sided table with a statue of an eagle on top, covered all over in swathes of cobwebs. Dusty old leather suitcases lay scattered around as if their owners had just arrived. So far so good, I thought.

We were escorted to the pre-show area which was a wooden panelled library, with no windows, where in the dim light, a TV with ‘Twilight Zone’ music began. The presenter, Rod Serling started to tell the tale of the missing guests. After a couple of minutes doors opened in the rear of this room and we shuffled off towards the hotel basement, which was dimly lit and full of machinery, just like a real hotel. As the line snaked around we found ourselves in front of our lift door. A uniformed ball boy waited to load us into the lift. As the doors opened we could see rows of seats, and we were directed to our seats, back row first, then middle, then front, until the whole lift was filled. It was quite reassuring to see so many children – if they could do it then surely I could? I was thankful to see that there was a fairly basic seatbelt, and I snapped it shut before the bell boy came to check that we were all strapped in.

The doors slammed shut, and suddenly the lift went up. Not too scary I thought, but, nevertheless, I grabbed my son’s hand in a vice-like grip and my palms began to sweat. My stomach was turning summersaults and my fear was almost palpable. Then, after a short trip upwards, the doors opened and we saw a corridor, lit by wall lighting. Suddenly there were ghosts, five people walking down the corridor – they must be the ones who disappeared the night of the storm. The lift doors closed and we went up again, before the lift doors opened and the whole lift starts to move forwards – this can’t be happening!

The lift came to a halt in front of a wall, and large doors opened, revealing the park below for just a second before to my horror the lift plunged rapidly downwards. My heart was in my mouth, and my hands were soaking wet. Oh the horror of it, my biggest nightmare coming true.
Then, without warning, we were hauled swiftly upwards, before a series of random drop sequences left me visibly shaking. Who was that screaming, I think, then I realise it was me! But I am in good company because almost everyone is screaming, too!

Then suddenly it is all over and the lift doors open and we were back on terra firma. Oh my goodness. What a relief. I was trembling, and could hardly walk back along the corridor, but I had done it. I had faced my greatest fear and survived.

Just.

Would I be brave enough to do it again. . . . . . . . oh yes!

Bring it on!
Rita Fraser

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