Wait, The Twilight Zone Tower Of Terror Was Almost An Actual Hotel?

Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney's Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is one of the most popular thrill rides at Disney's Hollywood Studios. It's one of the most thrilling drop rides around and fans love it so much that when California the version of the attraction was changed to Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: Breakout, a lot of people were quite unhappy. The version at Walt Disney World has remained largely untouched since it was completed, sitting at the end of Sunset Blvd., looking like an ancient, vacant hotel. But it turns out at one time the Tower of Terror was going to be situated inside an actual hotel.

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror was part of the first major expansion made to what was then called Disney/MGM Studios, and in addition to expanding the attractions on offer, there was a desire to add resort hotels to the area. As the new Disney+ series Behind the Attraction reveals, it was suggested that Disney could could kill two birds with one stone by building a hotel that would be directly attached to the theme park, that would feed into the classic Hollywood vibe of the park, and also include a thrilling new attraction.

Staying in a hotel that has an actual thrill ride inside it might sound cool at first, but if you stop to think about it for longer than a second, alarm bells might start to go off. Do you really want people screaming in your hotel all night while you're trying to sleep? As Imagineer Gary Landrum explained...

When I think of staying in a hotel, I think of [a] restful, quiet, peaceful, place to sleep. In contrast to the screams that you might hear from a thrill attraction.

And so the idea of incorporating a thrill ride into a hotel attached to the park were dropped. However, this idea of using a hotel as the location for the drop ride, and having it all based on a runaway elevator, was born from the initial hotel concept. And everything else about the Tower of Terror would remain.

If you don't like having a room near the elevator in a normal hotel, imagine what it would be like in this one. Still, the idea of staying in the Hollywood Tower Hotel, a place that had both the glitz and glamour of Hollywood and more than a little spookiness, actually sounds like it could have been pretty fun.

In its own way, the idea of integrating a resort hotel with an attraction at Walt Disney World maybe never really went away. Right now Disney is building the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser, which is a hotel, but it also a Star Wars attraction, offering guests experiences they won't get in a theme park. And like the original Tower of Terror concept, the Galactic Starcruiser is attached to Disney's Hollywood Studios.

There's no thrill ride element, as far as we know, so when it comes to sleep, guests should be able to get their rest without difficulty, but there will also be a great deal to see and do, like lightsaber training, that will likely feel very similar to some of the experiences in the theme parks.

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.