Tower of Terror is a high speed thrill ride, that sends you falling down 13 stories. The premise of the ride is you hear about a story of some other unfortunate people who checked into the Hollywood Tower Hotel and when they entered their elevator, a lightning strike caused the elevator car to fall down the shaft and disapear.
The Tower of Terror begins with a preshow, holding area in the library of the hotel. The Twilight Zone music hits and you watch the narration of the story. It is then indicated that you will join the story (big surprise!) and to go to the service elevator. A door opens on the opposite end of the room where you entered and you wait in line for the elevator. The queue should not take more than 5 or 10 minutes and you're lined up before you know it. Some good advice is to take whichever line is shorter when you leave the preshow (there almost always is one).
You enter the elevator at the basement level, get locked in, and enjoy a little show and gear up for what everyone is expecting. Not to ruin the ride, but I'm sure you know what happens next.
Tower of Terror could be the best ride in all of Walt Disney World. The standby line takes you through a lush, overgrown garden and really begins to set the mood. When you pass by the little pool in the courtyard that is empty, broken and rusting, you know you're in for something big. Once you enter the Hollywood Tower hotel and wait to be sent into the preshow, the hotel lobby is outstanding. My only gripe is they should let us wait there and enjoy it more. The big issue with this ride, and pretty much any other thrill ride, is the "Is this too scary for me?". Unlike its big-drop cousins (Hellavator in Six Flags or Dr. Doom in Islands of Adventure), this is more tame in that you never feel like you're going to die, or fall out of control. I have yet to be on this ride with someone crying afterwards. Admittedly, I have yet to also see someone under the age of 8 or so.
One of our readers, had this to say though, "I have and her reaction was worse than the ride. I had to sit and hold her for over half an hour until the shivers went away and she calmed down somewhat. I will never ever urge someone to do the ride again."
Another reader had a better experience on the Tower of Terror with their wee one, "I was with a 4-1/2 year-old on Tower of Terror! The last thing her mom said as we left for the Studios was "don't take her on that tower" so when mom stayed back at the hotel we showed little Maria the tower. We explained that all those people were screaming because the elevator dropped *all* the way down, came back up, and then did it again. So the question was "Maria, do you want to ride that?". "Yes!" She loved it, laughing all the way down and out the door and said "can we go again?". No Maria, once a day is enough for me!"
I think the anticipation on the Tower of Terror is what scares guests the most and the reason why many people don't ride the Tower of Terror. They give themselves ulcers thinking about it and after going on(if they do), realize it wasn't that bad.
The best time to ride the Tower of Terror with a minimal wait will be in the first hour the park is open. Wait times usually peak around lunch time and see-saw for much of the afternoon. The wait times for Tower of Terror aren't as bad as they had been in years past and that's due mostly to other new popular attractions in Hollywood Studios taking the crowds away as well as the ride itself being very efficient with it's load capacity. If you find a wait greater than 40 minutes, consider coming back later or grab a FASTPASS. In my opinion, if you go to Hollywood Studios (or even Walt Disney World) and don't ride Tower of Terror, you're not getting your money's worth.
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