Recently my able assistants Poor Gail Jr. and Poor Rose decided that we should bite the bullet and ride some of the thrill rides so that we will be able to say we’ve ridden them at least once. We picked the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror for our first experience.
As usual, the theming is perfect. From the outside, you could easily envision the building as an old hotel, the sort built decades ago to satisfy the luxurious cravings of rich travelers. The queue winds you through lush gardens, and signs point you towards the band pavilion and grand terrace. Inside the building you are shuffled past cobwebbed decor showing yesterday’s version of luxury – though air conditioning is the luxury you’ll appreciate the most!
Finally you arrive in a small room to watch an introductory video by Rod Serling which gives you the premise for the ride – a group of people in an elevator were lost after lightning struck the hotel. Then you enter the boiler room to use the same freight elevator that doomed the past group.
Everything past this point could be considered spoilers. You have been warned.
The freight elevator rises up then opens so we can view a long hallway. The ghostly flickering images of the vanished people beckon you to come with them, then the corridor fades away. A window at the end of the hallway stays visible and floats in a spooky effect.
Then it’s time to move again. We go up some more, then the doors open onto a maintenance room that turns into a strange collection of images and sounds to follow with the Twilight Zone theme. But the part that surprises people is that our seats move out of the elevator shaft and into the room. We wind through the room and enter another elevator shaft.
Here is where the ‘real’ ride starts, at least for thrill seekers. The ride vehicle goes through a series of super-fast movements, either rocketing upwards or plummeting down. While the sequence is described as random, actually what happens is the ride computer picks one of four different patterns to follow. The drops can range from small startles to full hurtles down the shaft.
This part is important to know if you are on the fraidy-cat side like, well, me. On the longer drops, your seat belt is loosened so that you float in the air, and then it retracts back to normal near the bottom so that you don’t smack down into the seat. This is actually very fun if you know it will happen. But Poor Gail Jr. was terrified at first because she thought her seat belt had malfunctioned and she was about to be thrown around the ride vehicle. She was all right by the time we left the gift shop (yes of course there was a gift shop at the end) but it shook her up quite a bit.
All in all we enjoyed it. Poor Gail Jr. is willing to give it another go sometime in the future now that she knows what to expect. I know it is heresy to say you wish a ride was shorter, but I confess that towards the end I was thinking, “Okay, that’s enough… I’m good…. lot’s of fun but…. ah crap, it’s going back up again.” I’m sure the thrill ride fans wish is was ten times longer.
To sum up, we had fun. I would recommend it for the faint of heart to try, because except for the length I enjoyed it more than I thought I would.
This was originally posted on my old blog, Middle Class Poor.