How Disney’s Tower of Terror Works: From Before The 5th Dimension To The Fall

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror opened at Walt Disney World’s Disney-MGM Studios (now Disney’s Hollywood Studios) in 1994. The attraction was inspired by the old The Twilight Zone TV series and takes place in the fictional Hollywood Tower Hotel in Hollywood, California.

The attraction uses a variety of special effects, as well as a thrill/fall aspect that makes the ride fun, exciting, and, even 25 years after it opened, popular. In fact, the attraction proved to be so well-liked that similar versions were built at Disneyland’s Disney California Adventure (2004), Tokyo Disneyland’s Tokyo DisneySea (2006) and Disneyland Paris’ Walt Disney Studios park (2007).

^^^ L to R: Walt Disney World, Disneyland (before it was reimagined as the Guardians of The Galaxy attraction), Tokyo Disneyland, Disneyland Paris)

When the TZTOT originally opened at WDW, it used what was then state-of-the-art technology. Although technology has improved a bajillionfold in the past 25 years, learning how the ride works – loading, the ghosts, the breaking window, the star field, the fifth dimension, and the elevator ride itself, is still pretty interesting, and a fun look at how a Disney attraction operates.

Continue reading “How Disney’s Tower of Terror Works: From Before The 5th Dimension To The Fall”

Seeing The Stuff That Only Disney Cast Members Are Usually Supposed To Be Able To See

Disney parks have always had a bit of mystery to them, and that’s done on purpose. Using terminology from the concept of “putting on a show,” the areas that customers (called “guests”) can see is called “on stage” and anything that’s behind the scenes or areas that guests can’t otherwise see, is called “backstage.” For decades, only Disney employees (called “cast members” [CMs]) could go and see backstage or views that guests would never have access to, but over time, things (read: rules, adherence to same, and technology) have changed and, for better or for worse, guests can see stuff like this:

Continue reading “Seeing The Stuff That Only Disney Cast Members Are Usually Supposed To Be Able To See”

Adventures By Disney: Bringing Disney Magic Around The World

The Walt Disney Company has always been trying to expand the Disney brand experience outside of their theme parks. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Disney unsuccessfully tried to build different types of theme parks with the unrealized Disney’s America concept and the Port Disney project, which eventually morphed into Tokyo DisneySea. After these missteps and the eventual failure of the DisneyQuest concept, (which eventually lead to the closing of the final location at Walt Disney World), the company smartly changed course. Instead of trying to build Disney around the world, why not take people around the world “the Disney Way?”

The first step of this initiative was Disney’s launch into the cruise business in 1998, with Disney Cruise Line. The executives noticed the success of the cruise division and looked for a way to replicate the model, but somewhere they didn’t have to build multi-million dollar cruise ships. There are iconic places around the world that people want to visit, why can’t Disney take them there. IRL.

That’s how I imagine Adventures By Disney was born. Continue reading “Adventures By Disney: Bringing Disney Magic Around The World”

How To Find Out How Crowded Travel Destinations Are

We recently wrote about when are the best times to go to Walt Disney World but that’s only one travel destination, of thousands upon thousands, in the U.S. Trying to find out how crowds are at a particular location, to help in planning a visit, can be an effort in futility if you don’t know where to look.

Well, we found out where to look, at least for a bunch of places in Southern California 😉

Continue reading “How To Find Out How Crowded Travel Destinations Are”

Get Into A Disney Park For $70 A Day? I’m In!

Unless you’re buying tickets for lots and lots of days, Disney parks rarely give “good” discounts. Sure, you may be able to save a few percentage points if you buy them with Target gift cards, or get them at a big box outlet. But in general, the only time Disney gives a substantial discount is when they’re working the angle to get more people into the parks, or they’re trying to pocket gate money ahead of time. Or both. I suspect both of these are coming into play for this sale, but really, who are we to look a gift horse in the mouth, right? 😉

Continue reading “Get Into A Disney Park For $70 A Day? I’m In!”