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The music of the Tower of Terror

A Studios Central reader Brenna wrote in to ask if we could explain the music played in the Tower of Terror and I thought it was a great idea because of the richness of the music in and around the Tower of Terror.  The music for the Tower of Terror consists of a carefully selected playlist of 1930s music, mostly jazz, that really help set the mood for the attraction.

Music is a really import aspect of any good attraction and nobody incorporates music in attractions better than Walt Disney World.  Imagineers use the music like a soundtrack in a movie.  With the Tower of Terror, you hear these slow tempo jazz hits of the era that the back story of the ride took place.  As you may recall, the incident that is depicted in the preshow video happened in 1939, so the music is the exact music you would have heard if it was still 1939.  Since the attraction is frozen in time since that incident, it's only fitting that we hear those same tunes.  It's as if by setting foot on the grounds of the Hollywood Tower Hotel we are whisked back to that fateful date.

What's interesting is if you pay attention to the music that you will hear on your way to the Tower of Terror, there's a progression made and it's all part of that story.  As you walk onto Sunset Boulevard, you'll hear the music of the 1940s and it's largely upbeat, big band songs that support the era.  But as you get closer and closer to the Tower of Terror, that upbeat music is slowly drowned out by that slower, almost creepy music until it's the only thing you hear. This is part of what helps establish the idea in the minds of guests that something isn't right with this hotel.

There are definitely certain tracks that stand out.  A favorite is "We'll Meet Again" by Very Lynn.  Ms. Lynn's music was quite popular for the time and it may be familiar to Stanley Kubrick fans, as it's the song heard in the film Dr. Strangelove  when it's played as many nuclear explosions are set off, showing it is the end of the world.  This is the sort of great song to set the mood just right.

Whether you're a fan of the music, can't remember it or need to hear it once more to get a better understanding of what I'm talking about, you can find the complete Tower of Terror loop to listen to on our sister site, TowerofTerror.org.

Coincidently, our good friends at Main Street Gazette also wrote about the terrific soundtrack found on the Tower of Terror a couple weeks ago and you should definitely give that a read.


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About this column

Ever seen something in Hollywood Studios and wondered why it was placed there by Disney's Imagineers? Matt Hochberg leads you on a regular look at the hidden details in Hollywood Studios and explains why it's there.


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Posted: Thursday, September 09, 2010 by
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