Since the invention of the elevator, society has become dependent on their presence. After all, they are a staple in shopping centres, hotels, apartment buildings and even residential homes. When the facts are laid out, it is clear to see that it was only a matter of time until the humble elevator became the focus of a theme park roller coaster, and in 1994 The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror ride opened at Disney’s Hollywood Studios! Read on to find out more…
The Twilight Zone Influence
The roller coaster was inspired by a Rod Sterling’s anthology television series called The Twilight Zone which aired in 1959 until 1964. The ride takes place in the fictional hotel, Hollywood Tower, with a fictional backstory entwined in order to accompany the illusion. In fact, there are also many references to The Twilight Zone throughout the ride such as a door with the number 22, signs with the Rod Sterling phrase ‘Picture If you Will’ that can be found at the on-ride photo collection point and the sound of a little girl calling out for help in the boiling ‘waiting’ room.
The Coaster Development
The ride uses specialised technology that was developed by the Walt Disney Imagineering company in order to move the ‘elevator’ in and out of a vertical shaft. The cabs are called automated guided vehicles and are able to move both vertically and horizontally. In order to implement the effect of weightlessness, cables were attached to the bottom of the cabs in order to pull them down as this is faster than the speed of a genuine free fall. Interestingly, Otis Elevator Company designed the vertical system that is implemented in the rollercoaster.
The Ride Experience
Before actually riding the rollercoaster, riders are ushered into a ‘library’ and are shown a fictional story on a TV that depicts a stormy night in 1939 when a lightening bolt hit the top of the hotel and caused 5 people to vanish from inside an elevator. Following this, the riders are led to the maintenance elevator to await their turn. When the ride begins, the elevator rises slowly as the doors open and close at several instances. Roughly 40 seconds into the experience, the drop sequence is initiated and riders plummet at least 13 stories at an average speed of 39 miles per hour. The elevator rises and falls several times, with the doors opening at the very top to show a view of the theme park from 157ft high. After around 2 minutes, the elevator comes to a halt and the riders disembark.
It is safe to say that Disney’s Tower of Terror roller coaster is not for the faint hearted. Luckily, the ride is thought to be one of the safest around and riders are kept in place with a strong seatbelt. Whilst our elevators may not be as thrilling, they will certainly get you to the floor you require promptly. To find out more information about our product range, get in contact with the best lift company around today!