Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Fun Facts: Disney Hollywood Studios Tower of Terror

The Tower of Terror located at Disney's Hollywood Studios (formerly MGM) is probably my all time favorite Disney attraction. Here are some fun facts about the attraction from a mechanical engineering perspective that you may not have read before.


The library show doors are hydraulically controlled from their own hydraulic supply which is
electrically controlled from the control panel in the library area. The exit doors from the library are pneumatic and are electrically controlled by actuators. There are two sets of sliding wall doors.

Located throughout the boiler room queue are steam leak effects. The system utilizes air water atomization nozzles to simulate leaking steam to create a creepy atmosphere.

The two elevator machinery props are located at the load level between load queue A and B
and load queue C and D. They simulate a failing elevator drive motor.

The Ride

The ride consists of six elevator lifts: four in the back and two main drop towers in the front. Cars from two of the back lifts feed into one of each of the front lifts via a hallway. The back four lifts are named A, B, C, D and the front two lifts are called E and F respectively. If one of the two main lifts is broken the ride's capacity is essentially cut in half (one of the reasons all the other versions of the Tower of Terror throughout the world have three lifts- if one goes down capacity is only cut by a third instead of half).

The ride vehicles are automated, wire guided and powered from battery banks. They crawl from one of the back lifts down a hallway to the other set of lifts. This is called the "fifth dimension." There are five charger stations to convert induced AC power to DC power in order to maintain a steady power supply for the ride vehicles.


The two sliding screen effects are located on the fifth dimension level and are controlled

The star field doors are located on the fifth floor. They consist of two doors on E-Lift and two doors on F-Lift where the guests look out on the fifth dimension.

The pneumatically controlled Sparker special effects are used on the Hollywood Tower sign on the outside of the tower building, which looks really cool at night.

The projection equipment includes video, fiber optics and film projectors.

The Horton doors are located in electric equipment room, to the right of the service elevator on the
second floor. They consist of three doors on E-side and three doors on F-side where the guests look out on the park.

The two eyeball effects are located on the fifth dimension level and are controlled pneumatically.

Props and special effects are used throughout the attraction. Most run on 110 V supply and are
powered by local outlets. Other effects include: Ghost figures, E=MC2, Clock, and breeze fans which create a ghostly effect located in the corridor scenes, show area, and elevators. 

I've included a really great diagram of the layout of the Tower of Terror attraction. This is a great illustration of how the cars negotiate from the back to the front set of elevators and back again.  Do you have a specific attraction in mind to learn more about? Comment below to request it. Stay tuned for more!

What Would Walt Do?


  1. Excellent post I like it,
    Thanks for sharing a nice information,
    Props from the movie sets can come from a variety of sources.

  2. This is awesome! Always wondered how this worked, the building looks so small but they're cramming a lot in there.


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