While similar in concept and theme to the original attraction in Florida, the West Coast version of this attraction at Disney California Adventure does have some differences. This version of the ride opened in 2004, 10 years after the opening of the original Tower of Terror at Disney's Hollywood Studios. The main focus of this attraction was to lure guests into the struggling, at the time, Disney’s California Adventure park.
In order to conserve space and money, Imagineers redesigned the entire ride system for the attraction at Disney's California Adventure, and made some general changes to the show scenes. The attraction features three elevator shafts with a mark where the lighting stuck on it. Each shaft, in theory, is its own separate ride with its own separate operating system. Doing this made it easier to repair individual areas of the attraction without causing the entire attraction to go down. Each shaft has two vehicles and two load levels. It is designed so that the lower vehicle can be in its ride profile while the upper vehicle is loading, giving the attraction the ability to move its line much faster. Since each vehicle loads and unloads from the same point, it ended up saving space.
When the horrific show cycle starts, the vehicle pushes backwards away from the elevator door while a starfield appears around it and a purple spiral appears on the doors. The narrator (Rod Serling) says, "You are the passengers of a most uncommon elevator, about to take the strangest journey of your lives. Your destination...unknown, but this much is clear, a reservation has been made in your name for an extended stay." A door closes, placing riders in darkness as the elevator rises.
The first stop for the elevator is a large mirror. Rod tells riders to "wave goodbye to the real world." As they do, lightning strikes and electricity begins to arc around the mirror and the reflection of the riders is replaced by a ghostly silhouette of themselves. The passengers' reflection then disappears with the narrator saying "For you have just entered ... the Twilight Zone!" The elevator shudders as the door closes and the elevator slowly descends to the next show scene. As the door opens, it reveals a corridor of the hotel, with an elevator door located on the far end of it. Here, the narrator says, "What happened here to dim the lights of Hollywood's brightest show place is about to unfold once again," which is followed by an appearance of the hotel's permanent residents. Electricity courses through the hallway after their disappearance as Rod Serling continues his narration: "One stormy night long ago, five people stepped through the door of an elevator and into a nightmare...."
The hallway slowly fades away into a starfield with the permanent residents standing in the now open elevator that was at the end of the hallway. Serling then says "That door is opening once again, but this time, it's opening for you." Then the elevator at the end of the hallway with the permanent residents has a little "show sequence," when it shows them standing helplessly in the shaft then their elevator drops. Then the "ghostly" projected passenger elevator drops, followed a second later by the actual passenger elevator beginning its drop sequence: a drop from the show scene to the first floor, then a rise to the "13th" floor. After flashing strobe lights and the photo opportunity, the elevator has a short drop, followed by a longer one, then a rise that goes up 2/3 of the way up to the top and an immediate fall down to "B3." The lights flicker as the elevator goes all the way back up to the top; it is then that the top floor doors open and riders are treated with a sky-high view of both Disneyland and California Adventure. The elevator pauses there a moment and falls to a place between the load levels (so that both load levels give the same ride) and a door opens again and passengers see an elevator door. The vehicle begins moving toward the door. The Twilight Zone theme begins again as Rod Serling says, "The next time you check into a deserted hotel on the dark side of Hollywood, make sure you know just what kind of vacancy you're filling or you may find yourself a permanent resident of...The Twilight Zone." The door opens, and a bellhop is standing in the doorway to greet departing passengers.
Goofy seems to be the ‘unofficial’ mascot of the Tower of Terror in the USA parks as he seems to be on all of the ‘original’ merchandise in the Bellhop uniform.
Original logo pins for the attraction in California, similar to the Disney’s Hollywood Studios version.
Unlike in Florida, many of the Tower of Terror pins do not feature the elevator like this pin showcases the elevator.