Thrill Ride: The Mystery of the Tower of Terror


Roller coasters have definitely come a long way since 1884, when admission to the first noteworthy, commercial roller coaster began. The Switchback Railway was the located at Coney Island in New York and designed by LaMarcus Thompson. It only cost 5 cents to ride it and went at a great speed of 6 miles per hour. We travel about two times faster than that on a bicycle and ten times faster than that in a car. Today, roller coasters reach heights of 300 (+) ft and speeds of 90 (+) mph. Thousands of people still visit these rides and pay a significant amount of money for an experience that often lasts less than a minute. Why is that? For one, it is the thrill and anticipation involved. The anticipation of waiting in line, getting buckled in, climbing the slow ascent to the top of the first drop and finally, the anticipation of the seemingly long pause right before you descend. Our hearts beat faster and there are butterflies in our stomachs, and we cannot seem to get enough. Also, what makes a roller coaster so popular is the story behind it, or the theme. It gives us thrill seekers something more to connect to on an emotional level and therefore, making the ride more riveting.


The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror







Location: Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disney California Adventure Park, Tokyo DisneySeaWalt Disney Studios Park in Paris

Thrill factor: 7 out of 10


The popularity of this ride is surrounded by its spooky and haunting atmosphere. The chilling exterior of the ride itself adds an element that most rides lack. The mysterious story behind the Tower of Terror plays on rider’s imaginations, especially since riders are shuffled into a dark, closed in hotel room to watch a pre-ride video. The video features Rod Sterling from the Twilight Series and explains the background of the hotel and the incident that apparently happened on Halloween in 1939. The theme is continued on throughout the rest of the building, with ghostly images and park attendants managing the ride dressed as hotel employees. The height of this attraction is also pretty intimidating. At a height of 199 feet, it can be seen through trees at other various Disney locations. But my personal favorite part of this roller coaster is the free fall. The anticipation of the drop is honestly one of the most intense ones I have ever experienced. You can feel your “elevator” slowly rise to the top and then the doors open to reveal that you can see over the entire park. As you are beginning to enjoy this view, almost forgetting that you are on a roller coaster, the elevator falls. Not to mention, it falls at a rate faster than the speed of gravity and you are unaware of how many times it is going to drop. All of these factors make for a perfect roller coaster that always attracts more people back.

5 thoughts on “Thrill Ride: The Mystery of the Tower of Terror

  1. You wrote a captivating, yet unique piece on the art of roller coasters. It was interesting how you incorporated statistics from the past and integrated them within the context of modern rides. I’d like to learn more about some of the user experiences and why people are so fascinated with the concept of going on thriller rides – waiting for hours for less than one minute in the air. Using anecdotes or videos would be a way about doing this.

  2. I love the topic of rollercoasters. It is such a creative idea! I liked how you began the article with a description of the history of the first roller coaster. I have never learned about that so it was interesting. The statistics were also helpful. I also liked that you included where the ride was located. I didn’t realize it was located at theme parks all over the world! However, I think as a reader, it would have been easier if you had included the backstory of the tower of terror in the article, instead of including a link to the backstory. If I were reading this article on line I might not click on the link to read it. Finally, how do you think the Tower of Terror compares to other free-fall rides at theme parks? It would have been interesting to hear this perspective as well.

  3. I personally love the topic! I love roller coasters and am always willing to get on the largest one in the park. I’ve enjoyed the thrill of Carowind’s Intimidator (232 ft. tall, 85 MPH), King’s Dominion’s Intimidator 305 (305 ft. tall, 94 MPH), and can’t wait to board the Fury 325 (325 ft. tall, 96 MPH). Your rhetoric was artistic and visual, giving explanations to your claims of why the Tower of Terror is so amazing. Unfortunately, the shortage of words became slightly a blessing and a curse. By the end, you left me wanting to read more, and that’s good! But I think that also indicates that you could possibly shorten the elaborate rhetoric for the sake of putting in more information, visuals, and/or comparisons. Again, I attribute this to the length requirements, not your writing ability. Great job!

    • I’m glad you enjoyed the article! I completely agree with your suggestion of lengthening the article. I need to go into more detail about why people are willing to wait in line for hours for such a short thrill. I also think adding a video from the rider’s perspective would be an interesting use of media!

  4. Very much enjoyed reading this post. I have ridden the Tower of Terror, and I completely agree. The way I was shuffled in to the small elevator and the video they played really added to the whole effect. I thought you made a good point about how the way the ride is presented correlates to the anticipation and thrill of the ride. The link imbedded to the USA Today article was a helpful addition to the article. It shows where you got your information and confirms the points you made. I was wondering if you could explain how to calculated the “thrill factor”? I think it would be helpful to readers to be able to see some sort of rubric.

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