The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror opened in 2004 in Disney's California Adventure Park at the Disneyland Resort. It is similar to the Disney-MGM Studios version at Florida's Walt Disney World except that the elevator cars only move vertically and do not move horizontally. Since I never have ridden the Walt Disney World's version I cannot judge if the Disneyland Resorts version is better or worse (most comments I've read said worse) but I can say that after 3 rides it has become my favorite ride in California Adventure.
The hotel looms over the Hollywood Pictures Backlot in California Adventure. 183-foot-tall building is now the largest structure in the Disneyland Resort. The outside portrays the run-down 1939 Hollywood Tower Hotel. The story is that you are entering a "lost episode" of the Rod Serling television series, where hotel guests are enter the fifth dimension when a lightning strike drops their elevator into oblivion.
You enter the ride through the front door of the hotel into the lobby. The stand-by line is outside in an un-themed queue and once you enter the lobby the Fastpass and stand-by waits are the same… about 20 minutes.
The interior is beautifully themed furnished with many period pieces. The ride is a multi-staged queue much like the Haunted Mansion and Soarin' over California. After you pass through the lobby groups of 21 enter the library where you view the opening scenes of the 'lost episode' from the Twilight Zone where Rod Serling tells the story of the Hollywood Tower Hotel. You then walk through the realistically constructed boiler room to the 'service' elevators. This room has 2 levels with 3 elevators each.
21 guests at a time enter the elevator… seating is 3 rows of 3 and 3 rows of 4. The elevator then proceeds to rise and fall several times in the 13-story building. After various drops the doors open to give a view into the various floors of the hotel. Several times the doors open to overlook Disney's California.
The rise and drop sequences between the 3 elevators are different. The drops are powered to be faster than gravity giving an incredible feeling of weightlessness. (In the dark) Although the speed feels fast the ride is not jerky. The storyline, graphics and motion are all wonderful.
As mentioned above; this ride is now my favorite in Disney's California Adventure. After riding it another 5-10 times on our next trip I do expect my enjoyment of it to drop down to the level of Soarin' over California and Screamin'. But for now I'll enjoy it; happy that Disney has added yet another great reason to spend an afternoon in California Adventure when Disneyland becomes to crowed.