Return to the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror...
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror (aka "It Ain't the Tower of Puppies and Bunnies") at Disney's California Adventure is still going strong (at least for a little while). Yeah, there is scaffolding up around the structure here and there, and it is clear that Disney is more than anxious to start making changes to the place to turn it into a Guardians of the Galaxy attraction. I am not against a new attraction going in at all – sometimes you need to mix things up a bit to keep people interested in the park – but I am going to miss the Tower of Terror.
While I have been on it several dozen times, it is still clear to me that I have not ridden the Tower of Terror enough over the years, even if it does make my stomach drop out on occasion (but only after I have partaken of a big meal in the park somewhere). I love big, scary rides, and this one definitely counts for most people within that category. Unfortunately, I live with a couple of weenies (my dear wife and her mother) who don't go beyond Indiana Jones as far as bumpy and scary rides go, or even beyond Big Thunder as far as coaster thrills. They don't ride things like California Screamin' (my favorite attraction in the parks), Splash Mountain (that ultimate drop makes it a no-no), or the Matterhorn (hell, even I ride that one sparingly, since that ancient rust-bucket is a body bruiser for a person of my size, no matter how they may have updated it).
These pictures are from a trip to the park that we made in mid-September, when my mother-in-law Sande's best friend Mary was staying with us. Mary likes fast and scary rides, in general, and so has become my scary ride buddy over the past decade or so when she is in town. We were visiting the Tower after there was a bit of a freakout on social media about the Hollywood Tower Hotel sign having been taken off the outside of the tower a couple of days earlier (the one visible to the public driving past the park along Harbor Boulevard). People starting thinking the ride was closing down even sooner than the announced January 2, 2017 closure date because of this. I didn't see what the big deal was since the sign directly in front of the hotel, which bears the actual attraction name, is still lit up and changes back and forth mysteriously as it did before, so no one had taken that one down. Also, there was advertising all over the park telling people to ride it before January 2nd, so I was pretty certain they weren't going to jump the date on everyone.
The ride, of course, is still the same, just as eerie and fun as always (if you are into that sort of thing). It will be a shame to see it go (I am unsure of its status in Florida at this date). We got a little bit of extra fun on our wait as a trio of songbirds stood on a small stage in the lobby done up in period garb and warbled like the Andrews Sisters. They ran through at least four songs while we stood in the lobby, including Beat Me Daddy, Eight to the Bar and Bei Mir Bist Du Schön (Means That You're Grand). They mostly stuck to the style of the day, though everyone once in a while, you could hear some more modern mannerisms slip into their voices.
I wish you were allowed to explore more of the lobby on your own instead of being stuck in between the stanchions. I know that everything you see if rather a forced view, and that closer examination would reveal there is likely not any more "there" there. But it sure is tempting to want to get closer to the tables and chairs and lobby desk and read, touch, and see everything even closer.
Because I can at least sound authoritative when I discuss things in public, people kept asking me in line (and on a subsequent trip) what the reasons were for switching the ride. More than once I have been asked if perhaps Disney lost the rights to use The Twilight Zone trademark for the attraction, and I have been unable to answer this with any accuracy. I just assumed that Disney wanted to maximize their resources by promoting internal copyrights, such as Guardians, over borrowed/outside ones, and also wanted to get a jumpstart on working more Marvel properties into their parks. But if anyone knows if the TZ copyright is involved in its dissolution, please pass that along.
Luckily for me, I have friends coming down in a little over a week, so I know we will be hitting the Tower when they get here (or at least a couple of us will), and then a few days later, my brother, sis-in-law and nephew get here for some Disney fun, so I hope they take advantage of riding the Tower before it closes as well. I plan to visit DCA as much as possible between now and January 2, and fit in as many Tower visits as I can. I'm not going to be one of those to gripe about it going away, but I do want to make sure my memories of the place are solid before it does.