The Tower of Terror at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is a popular ride that gives Guests a thrilling, yet unique, experience. The thrill ride drops Guests directly into the Twilight Zone every few seconds — and, it is obvious as you can hear the screams coming from the top of the tower as you walk down Sunset Boulevard.
Well, one time a Guest was so scared, they actually jumped out of the moving Tower of Terror elevator.
In case you aren’t familiar, the official description of Tower of Terror at Disney’s Hollywood Studios reads:
Step uneasily inside the infamous Hollywood Tower Hotel and find a dusty lobby frozen in time. Even the subdued hotel staff seems strangely out of another era.
Suddenly a television set springs to life and Rod Serling welcomes you on a journey into the Twilight Zone. He reveals that on a gloomy Halloween night in 1939, some hotel patrons were riding the elevator when a violent storm struck the building… and they were never seen again. The hotel closed down and has stood empty ever since.
Enter the rickety, elevator-style lift, strap yourself in and prepare to discover what lies beyond the darkest corner of your imagination.
Shriek in terror as you’re suddenly propelled up and down the abandoned shaft—unexpectedly dropping and rising—as you hear the sound of cables snapping and metal clanging overhead.
In 2016, I was part of the Disney College Program and took a backstage tour of the iconic Tower of Terror attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Not only did we learn about how the ride works, the backstory, and see the ride from different floors, but we also learned about stories from over the years.
Our tour guide, who has been working at Tower of Terror since opening day, explained that when the attraction first opened, it did not have seatbelts. Instead, the ride featured a lap bar, which would go across the entire row, meaning if one Guest was “pooh sized”, it could affect how snug the lap bar fit other Guests in the row.
Well, on one ride, a middle aged woman was terrified as she loaded the elevator. She was asked if she wanted to skip the ride, but she insisted on going on. The row pulled the lap bar down and the ride began.
When the elevator hit the first scene, showing the family in the hotel lobby, panic completely took over the Guest and she squeezed her way out of the lap bar and ran right into the hotel lobby scene.
The attraction stopped immediately and Cast Members were able to get the woman to safety. After a few minutes passed by and the Guest had medical attention, she came to and admitted she had no relocation of jumping out of the elevator! It can be scary what fear and panic can do to a human.
Now a days, Tower of Terror features seatbelts so this cannot happen again, but if you are ever too scared to ride a ride, or want to pass for another reason, just inform a nearby Cast Member and they can escort you off and out of the attraction safely.
Did you know that Tower of Terror once had lap bars? Let us know in the comments below.