Disney World's 'Tower of Terror' Malfunctions, Lights Go On

While it's not unusual for rides to break down, it's a little special when guests get a behind-the-scenes look at attractions with special effects.

Published Jun 8, 2021

 (Expedition Neverland (TikTok/YouTube))
Image Via Expedition Neverland (TikTok/YouTube)

Theme park rides break down all the time. However, an evacuation from Walt Disney World's "Tower of Terror" resulted in behind-the-scenes videos that showed a rare glimpse of the classic attraction's special effects.

Lights On, No Drops

In mid-May 2021, the Expedition Neverland TikTok channel published four videos that showed the lights turned on inside the ride after a purported malfunction. "The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror" would normally take riders up, down, and through a tall structure made to look like a 1930s Hollywood hotel. It operates somewhat like a crazy elevator ride gone wrong, except these riders had to disembark into part of the ride to find the emergency exits.

On May 27, a longer video was posted that showed most of the "Tower of Terror" evacuation content in one clip:

A man who appeared to be a maintenance worker noticed the camera. "That's a good idea because you probably won't see this again," he said. "Take as many pictures as you can before the bellhops come up."

In comments under the videos, the TikTok user described the moment the "Tower of Terror" bellhops arrived. "As soon as the bellhops got there they were yelling at me to put my phone away," @Expedition_Neverland commented.

According to comments from @Expedition_Neverland, guests were waiting 15 minutes in the dark before the lights came on. At that point, they began going in reverse. The ride stopped working just before the thrilling drops began.

The 'Tower of Terror'

While the videos posted on TikTok only showed the "Tower of Terror" with the lights on, there are plenty of YouTube videos that capture the intended experience.

Located within Disney's Hollywood Studios in Orlando, Florida, the "Tower of Terror" ride thrusts guests into a frightful and thrilling experience inside the Hollywood Tower Hotel.

Next Stop: The 5th Dimension

Step uneasily inside the infamous Hollywood Tower Hotel and find a dusty lobby frozen in time. Even the subdued hotel staff seems strangely out of another era.

Suddenly a television set springs to life and Rod Serling welcomes you on a journey into the Twilight Zone. He reveals that on a gloomy Halloween night in 1939, some hotel patrons were riding the elevator when a violent storm struck the building… and they were never seen again. The hotel closed down and has stood empty ever since.

Aside from Orlando's Walt Disney World, "Tower of Terror" was once also a part of Disney California Adventure Park in Anaheim, California.


While the "Tower of Terror" is officially no more in Disneyland Resort, the same ride is basically still there.

In 2017, "The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror" was replaced by "Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!" While the ride might look different on the outside, the outer shape still somewhat resembled the old Hollywood Tower Hotel. The new upgrade was well-received.

If guests look closely, they might even spot an Easter egg inside of the ride.

In sum, a few videos on TikTok showed the lights on inside Disney World's "Tower of Terror" ride during an evacuation. It was a rare glimpse at how all the magic comes together to make the experience so special.

Jordan Liles is a Senior Reporter who has been with Snopes since 2016.