The Hollywood Tower of Terror turned 21 yesterday. To this day, it is still considered one of Disney’s, and even Orlando’s, best attractions. It was on July 22, 1994 when guests began entering the “5th dimension” and opened in what was then Disney’s MGM Studios park. The ominous tower has served as an icon for the park, and Disney as a whole, ever since.
Never before had there been such a combination of eerie themeing, incredible detail, immersive story-telling, dark-ride elements and a second-to-none thrill to cap it all off. It was the first real thrill ride that the park had, and maybe the biggest thrill in all of Disney. Sure, thrills had been done before at Disney Parks; but the Tower of Terror is truly something else. It quickly became a fan-favorite, and still is today. The attraction is so successful, Disney has cloned the attraction at 3 other parks around the world in an effort to help boost attendance. The Tower of Terror also is one of Disney’s few attractions to hold the distinction of having a movie based off of it.
One could argue that the Tower of Terror is Disney’s last truly groundbreaking new attraction. A lot of attractions have popped up since 1994, including an entirely new park, but none have been nearly as innovative or immersive as this one; or even set the bar as high. Expedition Everest could have come close, but it’s been plagued with some issues; and at the end of the day, it is just another roller coaster. Tower of Terror doesn’t fit into any one category – it’s in a category all its own.
21 years later, it is one of the best rides Orlando has to offer. Even with all the new attractions that Disney Parks and Universal has put out, Tower of Terror still ranks up there with the best of the best.
It stands today as Hollywood Studios’ icon, and probably its biggest and best attraction. It’s hard to believe that it has been around for this long, and hard to imagine Disney without it.