Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Walt Disney World

One of my favorite attractions in Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World in Florida is the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. I usually have to drag my family folks on it with me when we are there, but during our December 2016 visit they all went along with me. Twice. It must have been my lucky day.

Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Walt Disney World

As you walk up to the Hollywood Tower Hotel, the home of the Tower of Terror, it is difficult not to be impressed by its size, because the building is huge. It would have to be huge, of course, to have a 13-story drop inside of it, but you still do not realize just how tall that is until you are standing underneath it. And being close to the tower also gives you a good look at the elaborate theming on the outside of the building, such as where the walls have crumbled where the former elevator towers supposedly used to be.

I remember overhearing a conversation one time way back around the time that the Tower of Terror first opened. One guy was telling his friends, “That must have really been a hotel at one time, because they wouldn’t have built something that big just for a ride, would they?” Yes, they would. And they did. But that is still somewhat hard to believe at times when you are there looking right at it. That just shows how good of a job they did in the design and construction.

Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Walt Disney World

This view from the opposite end of Sunset Boulevard from where the Tower of Terror stands helps to show its size. Those palm trees in the foreground seem tall when compared to the people standing next to them. But as your eyes follow the trees on down the street, you can see that the trees are not tall at all when compared to the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. While the design of the exterior of the Tower of Terror itself is pretty impressive, as we have already discussed, the design of the street leading right up to it is really cool, too, I think. It all works really well together. And then when you reach the end of the street, there is the bonus of also having the Rock N Roller Coaster right there, too, even though it is not easily visible as you walk down the street like this.

By the way, for those of you playing the “Where’s Laura and Jaylin” game occasionally here at Burnsland, as they tend to end up in my wide angle photos often (I don’t mind), ten points if you spotted Laura at the very far right of this photo, with her Minnie Mouse ears on.

Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Walt Disney World

After you exit the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror (and the Disney-required gift shop at the end), you can get this view of the tower from top to bottom if you turn around and look behind you instead of just walking away. The fisheye lens does bend things slightly, so here is another view from a past trip, if you prefer.

You may not realize it at the time, but you actually exit the ride one level below where you started the ride. While the exit (and gift shop) are on this lowest level, you actually entered the building on the level above it. I suppose they needed that space underneath the tower to get in all of the 13 stories for the drop, and it probably also helps with traffic flow to have the exit in a completely different place than the entrance. Nice thinking to actually have them stacked like this.

Once again, that is one of those details that many do not realize about the ride, and while it does not affect your enjoyment of the ride, it is still pretty interesting to know. For me, the more I know, the more I enjoy it!

Come, children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. Who is the man who delights in life, loving a long life to enjoy what is good? - Psalm 34:11-12

About the photos:

I actually had a problem with the original version of the first photo. It was too happy. The sky was a perfect blue. The trees were nice and green (which was strange to us, because everything back home was dead due to winter). The sun was lighting everything up nicely. All of that is usually desirable. But to me it just did not fit with the whole Twilight Zone Tower of Terror theme, which to me is dark and mysterious. It would have been much better if the sky had been overcast and cloudy. But it wasn’t.

At first, I thought about converting the photo to black and white, but that really did not fit all that well, either. So instead, I decided to give it a slightly faded, retro look, because sometimes some of us associate old things with being creepy. I don’t know why that is, but I think it works. Here is a before-and-after comparison:

Twilight Zone Tower of Terror before and after

The photo still looks a bit sunny and happy, but in an old, faded way. Just as the old big band songs almost sound creepy as you are waiting in line, even though they are perfectly happy songs, this old, faded treatment also has a slightly creepy look to it, too. And that is perfectly fine with me.

Photos: Each photo is a single Raw exposure, processed in Photoshop. Read more about photography tips, photo software, camera gear, and more at Steve’s Photography Tips.
Camera: Olympus OM-D E-M10
Lens: Olympus 14-42mm IIR and Rokinon 7.5mm f/3.5 Fisheye Lens
Date: December 22, 2016
Location: Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Florida

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Burnsland is Steve Burns, with generous help from his lovely wife Laura. Steve is a husband, father, photographer, webmaster, writer, podcaster, artist, Christian. Steve enjoys sharing his photography, art, and stories through, from the Burnsland World Headquarters in Tennessee.