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The music of the Tower of Terror

July 22nd is the anniversary of the Tower of Terror's opening in Hollywood Studios so I'm trying this month to focus on this magnificent attraction and give you a deeper look at why the Tower of Terror is the best attraction in Walt Disney World.  Like so much of what makes the Tower of Terror great, we have to look at the little things, or rather, hear the little things.

There's something about the music of the Tower of Terror that's always struck me as creepy and perfect.  The musical selection for the Tower of Terror is no accident, Imagineers poured over the music of the era to pick the right songs that aren't just of the time period but also help set the tone for the attraction.  Imagineers want park guests approaching the ride to start thinking something isn't quite right.  

To the Imagineers credit, they don't go for the cheap effects that other theme parks do.  Subtly is the key and just like a scene in a movie, Imagineers are telling you a story with the music.  Think of any thriller film you've seen and in the parts where the protaganist character is learning clues as to what's happening, the music mirrors the mood of inquisitiveness as well as fear.  The music of the Tower of Terror does just that in creating that sense that this isn't just some abandoned hotel.

There's a lot of great tracks from the Tower of Terror background music that you can hear.  Most of the music starts when you'reapproaching the attraction and there's some notable singers such as Glenn Miller Band, Johnny Hodges and Duke Ellington.  But the artist that really sets the mood perfectly in my opinion is Vera Lynn.

Vera Lynn is a famous British singer who had a lot of big hits during World War II and she has two songs that I can listen to over and over again.  Wishing is a great song about, well, wishing for what you want most but even better than that is We'll Meet Again and to me it's the epitome of what makes the music of the Tower of Terror great.

We'll Meet Again was recorded in 1939 and is really about servicemen in World War II who are off fighting the war and the song tells the soldiers that they'll get to see their loved ones again.  But in the context of the Tower of Terror, it conveys the message of those that are trapped in the Twilight Zone (the Fifth Dimension) in the hotel and we, the new hotel guests, will quickly be seeing them.  

There are other great tracks as well such as Jungle Drums and Another World but what you need to make sure of is on your next trip to the Tower of Terror, take some time to listen to the music being played.  It's hauntingly creepy and yet perfect for the atmosphere you're seeing.  While waiting in the standby queue isn't ideal, I really love looking around as I focus on the music being played.  It's a testament to part of what makes the Tower of Terror so darn good.

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A regular look into Disney's Hollywood Studios, both past and present, with commentary and analysis from Matt Hochberg.


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Posted: Wednesday, July 13, 2011 by