How Scary is the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror Drop?

As you stroll around Disney’s Hollywood Studios, you can’t help but notice the ​abandoned Hollywood tower hotel in the distance. The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror attraction is the landmark attraction of the park nowadays, but it’s one that many people are still scared to have a go at riding. Today, we’re going to take a deeper look into the question of how scary is the Tower of Terror Drop?

View from the ground of Tower of Terror in Hollywood Studios .(Photo by Bayley Clark/
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View from the ground of Tower of Terror in Hollywood Studios .(Photo by Bayley Clark/

How Scary is the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror Drop?

We have put together a list of frequently asked questions about this favorite ride at Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park. It is one of the most intense rides in the park. You can decide for yourself if this is an attraction you are going to brave on your next vacation.

How Fast Does The Tower Of Terror Drop?

A huge part of the question of how scary is the Tower of Terror drop is the speed at which the attraction drops. The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror stands at 199 ft tall (61 m). It is the tallest building in the park and the second tallest attraction in all of the Walt Disney World Resport.

It has a drop of up to 130 ft (40 m). The maximum speed at which the ride goes is 39 mph or 63 km/hour, with a G-force of 1.3. As you can tell, the ride goes at a pretty high speed, making it even more thrilling than some other similar rides at other theme parks.

How Long Does The Tower Of Terror Drop Last?

The Tower of Terror has various drop sequences, which make this a varied ride for people who return over and over again. The fact that the service elevator falls faster than the speed of gravity says a lot about how quickly you are going, with the attraction pulling you up and down in a random drop sequence.

Your ride will have multiple drops in a row, which are done in a random sequence. The highest you will fall is 130 feet or 13 floors, this is the big drop, which will happen at least once during your ride.

The attraction has four different drop sequences, and one is selected before each ride begins. Sometimes you’ll have a short fall first, then a long one, whereas other times, it’s the other way around.

One of the highlights of the ride is when you get to the very top of the structure. Here you’ll enjoy amazing views over Disney’s Hollywood Studios and other parts of the resort. You’ll also have your photo and video taken at this point from the Disney Photopass Service, creating more fun memories for you and your family.

One thing we love about this attraction is that Disney continues to update the ride sequence over the years. Even if you’ve been on the ride many times before, you’ll find that there’s always something new and unexpected about riding the Tower of Terror. This is why it’s hard to answer the question of how scary is the Tower of Terror Drop, as you never know what you are getting into when you board the ride.

Is Tower of Terror a Straight Drop?

The wait for Tower of Terror in Hollywood Studios.
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The wait for Tower of Terror in Hollywood Studios an elevator drop dark ride.

The Tower of Terror goes up and down in a vertical line. However, you’ll go up and down a few times during the ride, as opposed to just doing a single drop to finish the attraction. The start of the ride features other movements, which place you in the elevator shaft and set the scene for the attraction. We love the incredible theming of this ride, which really helps to immerse you in the story of the Tower of Terror and get you ready for the free fall at the end of the attraction.

The Tower of Terror uses an Automated Guided Vehicle, which will follow a path through the floor until you head to the point where the drops begin. Each ride vehicle is identical, with three rows of seats and a walkway in the center of each vehicle. The vehicle moves horizontally to begin with, before moving into its vertical movements for the main part of the ride. You may feel like you are free-falling on the attraction, but this isn’t the case at all.

Instead, you are pulled down the elevator shaft, which still gives you the weightless feeling that’s often associated with this type of ride.

How Many Times Do You Drop On Tower Of Terror?

The number of times you drop on the Tower of Terror is dependent on the random ride sequence that is selected for your vehicle. There is not one single answer to this question, as you never know which sequence you will get until you are falling through the air.

Most riders enjoy a combination of short and longer sudden drops, so there’s a lot of variety on the ride. This is why people come back over and over again.

Has Anyone Ever Died On The Tower Of Terror?

As far as we can tell, no one has ever died on the Tower of Terror. This may come as a huge relief for anyone wondering how scary the Tower of Terror drop is.

There was one incident that’s notable on the ride back in 2005. A British guest complained of a major headache after riding the attraction, which later resulted in two heart attacks and surgery. Before the incident, she had been in pain, and it turns out there may have been an underlying medical condition.

Keep in mind that the ride does have a height restriction, and generally it’s best for adults and teenagers and those in good health. If you have any type of medical condition such as high blood pressure, back or neck problems which could be aggravated by the attraction, you should certainly avoid it on your vacation. It also not recommended for expectant mothers.

Is Tower of Terror at Disney World Closing?

A rumor we commonly are asked about is whether the Tower of Terror is closing at Walt Disney World. The reason this is a concern for guests is the fact that the west coast version of the ride underwent a Guardians of the Galaxy makeover a few years ago, at Disney California Adventure.

Walt Disney World locals often wonder if their version of the attraction is heading the same way. At the current time, there has been no announcement about anything changing in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

The ride is still incredibly popular today, so it’s very unlikely that we’ll see it go away anytime soon. We certainly hope it isn’t removed from the park, as it’s a ride we like to go on over and over again during our trips to Walt Disney World.

Is Tower of Terror Based on a True Story?

The Tower of Terror was inspired by The Twilight Zone television series created by Rod Serling. It’s not based on a true story at all. The Imagineers took the time to watch 156 episodes of the show so that they could truly immerse their guests in the atmosphere of the show during the ride.

Originally, it’s believed that they hoped to make a real hotel from the attraction, as well as having a ride as part of it. Sadly, this never came to be, but we imagine it would be extremely fun to stay inside the attraction for the night. Of course, we’re not sure you would have sle pt so well here, but it would certainly have been a unique addition to the park.

Read Also: Enter The Twilight Zone with 17 Tower of Terror Facts

Twilight Zone Tower of Terror Scary Details

While most people are so focused on the thrill ride element of this attraction and discussing how scary the actual Tower of Terror drop is, there’s a lot of detail that went into this ride. This is what truly sets Disney apart from other theme parks.

The backstory revolves around the fictional Hollywood Tower Hotel that was abandoned after being struck by lightning in a violent storm on a gloomy Halloween night. This event caused a supernatural event that resulted in the complete disappearance of an elevator full of passengers.

You’ll find that there are many details related to The Twilight Zone, which fans of the TV show absolutely love to notice on their way around. As you walk through the lobby there is so much to take in. It truly looks like an abandoned haunted hotel. You will weave your way around to the boiler room to board the service elevator.

The cast members do such a great playing the subdued hotel staff. The ride does pass you by quite quickly, so make sure you return a few times to notice the minor details which set this ride apart from your typical elevator car drop ride. You will really feel like you are a part of a real Twilight Zone episode.

Here’s the video of my husband’s first time riding the Tower of Terror back in 2015. I wish you could hear the screams he released!

Architectural Details of the Infamous Hollywood Tower Hotel

A cool detail we love about this ride is that the building was created with the idea of it blending into the Epcot pavilions, especially the Morocco Pavilion. While the hotel is inspired by Los Angeles hotels, it also had to blend into the World Showcase from a distance.

When you are next in Epcot, look over to this area, where you’ll see the Tower of Terror in the distance. It does look slightly Moroccan from a distance, ensuring that you aren’t pulled out of your immersion into World Showcase when you are in that park. You can also notice these details when you are riding the skyliner!

Complete guide to Disney's Tower of Terror Hollywood Studios
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Final Thoughts

The question of how scary is the Tower of Terror drop will very much depend on your personal fears and whether you have been on this type of ride before. This is an attraction we recommend everyone tries once, and as long as you meet all of the requirements, and don’t suffer from motion sickness, you should be safe to ride.

The experience is never exactly the same for every rider, adding to the fun and excitement of this attraction. No matter how many times you visit, there’s always something new to see, which is why locals come back to the Tower of Terror each time they are in the park.

The next time you are in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, take the time to admire all of the details of this attraction, which the Imagineers spent years researching and planning to make the ride we know and love today.

This ride is very popular and can see long wait times so we suggest rope dropping or getting a Disney Genie + so you can hop into those lightning lanes.

Read Also: Hollywood Studios Early Entry and Rope Drop Strategy

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