Walt Disney World Resort has a wide variety of rides, from family-friendly ones like Dumbo the Flying Elephant, “it’s a small world”, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Peter Pan’s Flight, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, and Living with the Land, to more thrilling rides like Expedition Everest, Kali River Rapids, Splash Mountain, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Mission: SPACE, Test Track, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.
Millions of families visit Walt Disney World Resort each year to make memories that’ll last for a lifetime, and while most of them are joyful and magical, some can be traumatic, scarring Guests for life.
Such was the case for MitchMan (@mitchmancan), who recently shared a video on TikTok showing how he enjoyed a Joffrey donut while patiently waiting for his family to ride the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, a ride he almost died on as a kid.
The video quickly became viral, with many Guests sharing their own traumatic experience on the ride, while others begged to hear his story.
You can check out the original video down below!
I refuse to ride the Tower of Terror after almost dying on the ride. #towerofterror #neardeathexperence
Fortunately, Mitch didn’t keep his new fans waiting, as he uploaded a storytime video the very next day. In it, he details his first time entering The Hollywood Tower Hotel building in 2002, while barely being tall enough to ride the famous attraction. It is important to notice that at the time, the Tower of Terror didn’t have individual seat belts but instead had a lap bar that went across the entire row of seats.
He mentions sitting between his dad and his uncle, thinking it would be the safest place to be. As expected, with him being a six-year-old, the bar ended up being at about his chest height, causing him to slip right under the bar on the very first drop. Fortunately, his father and uncle quickly reacted, grabbing him and holding him down on the seat for the rest of the ride, or as Mitch states, “for what felt like an hour”.
You can check out the full video down below:
Reply to @eartoearmagic as requested! My near death experience on the Tower of Terror! Feel free to ask anything Disney! #neardeath #towerofterror
As Mitch states, it can be assumed he wasn’t the only Guest who had an experience going under the bar on the Tower of Terror, as Disney changed the system circa 2003, using individual seat belts on the Hollywood Studios location, as well as at Disney California Adventure and all later versions of the ride.
As we mentioned earlier, many Guests also shared their own experiences while riding the Tower of Terror, some being forced on the ride by their family, others having the time of their lives, and one even being stung by a bee that had flown into the ride when the doors opened.
While the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror may not be an attraction for everyone, we are excited to see what is to come for the iconic building, especially after seeing how Disney California Adventure revamped the attraction as Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!
More on Tower of Terror
After the success of the first Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in 1994, Imagineers were able to create a version of the ride for most Disney Resorts around the world, in some cases dramatically changing the storyline, but always making the attraction a great hit, custom made for Guests of each location.
Opening its doors to travelers in 1994, the original Hollywood Tower Hotel quickly became a fan favorite attraction, creating a signature ride that spread worldwide. The official Walt Disney World Resort site describes the ride as follows:
Next Stop: The 5th Dimension
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.
Will you make it back to the real world… or will you become a permanent resident of the Twilight Zone?
Based on the Television Series
This attraction is based on the popular television series which originally aired from 1959 to 1964. Created, hosted and written by Rod Serling, the award-winning show—with its imaginative storylines and unexpected twist endings—was wildly successful.
The Twilight Zone® is a registered trademark of CBS, Inc. and used with permission pursuant to a license with CBS, Inc.
Too Terrifying for Kids?
This attraction includes sudden, fast drops in a dark, enclosed space which may be frightening to some Guests.
Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!
The Disney California Adventure version of Tower of Terror opened in 2004 but was later replaced with the Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! in 2017. Currently, the attraction is part of the Avengers Campus area of the Park, and the official Disneyland site describes it as follows:
Step Inside a Towering Citadel
Taneleer Tivan, a.k.a. the Collector, has brought his unique collection of fantastical fauna, relics and species from across the cosmos to earth for the very first time. He offers to show you his newest acquisition… the Guardians of the Galaxy.
Star-Lord, Gamora, Rocket, Drax and Groot are held captive in electrified glass cases that dangle perilously over an abyss.
Join a Rockin’ Rescue Mission
When Rocket escapes, he commandeers a gantry lift and enlists your help on a harrowing mission to rescue his fellow Guardians. Prepare to unleash intergalactic mayhem from the top of the fortress to the bottom, as one of Star-Lord’s awesome mixtapes blasts a classic tune!
With incredible special effects, appearances by popular characters, music inspired by the soundtracks from the movies, thrilling free-fall drop sequences and 6 different storylines to experience, this adventure breaks out all the big thrills!
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disneyland Paris Resort
Located at the Walt Disney Studios Park, the Hollywood Tower Hotel has welcomed Guests through its doors since 2007. This version is currently the most similar to the original Tower of Terror, and the official Disneyland Paris website describes it as follows:
Are you brave enough to enter The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and face its three hair-raising new horrors: The Malevolent Machine, The Shaft Creatures and The 5th Dimension? Prepare to scream your soul out as you plummet to darker depths than ever before. Mwah-ha-ha-ha-ha!
Three new horrors to fall for
The Malevolent Machine
A little ghost girl haunts this elevator. But she is the least of your worries. Because as soon as you take your seat, this malevolent machine only has one thing in mind – to trap you in its mechanical prison and clank and screech with glee as it catapults you up and plummets you down at its wicked will.
The only thing you can do is hold tight. And scream!
The Shaft Creatures
“They know you’re here. Whatever you do, don’t scream!” Some demonic creatures have control of the elevator and they’re preying on the cries of human souls – the louder your pleas for mercy, the more powerful they become. Can you stay silent while plummeting 13 unlucky floors at the speed of fright?
The 5th Dimension
Don’t get lost in this dimension! A sinister spectre has opened the 5th dimension and wants to take your soul with it. Prepare to question everything you think is real as you’re dropped into a terrifying psychedelic journey between worlds.
Tower of Terror at Tokyo DisneySea
Imagineers dropped the Twilight Zone theme for this version of the ride, making it the most unique when it comes to its storyline. While the official Tokyo DisneySea website doesn’t share much detail on the attraction, the following description can be found:
In New York, 1912, stands the hotel known as the “Tower of Terror,” so called after the mysterious disappearance of its owner in 1899. Now, the New York City Preservation Society has finished restoring the infamous hotel, and started giving tours to the public. But what happens when you take the elevator to the top floor…?
Is Tower of Terror a must-do when you visit Walt Disney World Resort? Let us know in the comments below!
Let the expert team at Academy Travel help you plan your next magical vacation to Walt Disney World Resort’s four theme parks — Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios — and the Disney Springs shopping and dining district!
While you are at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, you can enjoy Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith on Sunset Boulevard. By the Chinese Theater, Guests prepare to ride Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway. In Toy Story Land, Slinky Dog Dash always boasts a long line with others shooting their shot on Midway Mania or spinning their brains out on Alien Swirling Saucers. Of course, you have to visit Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge for some blue milk, or green milk, and ride Rise of the Resistance and Smuggler’s Run!