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  1. #1

    • We Go On.
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    Our Tower of Terror Has So Much Potential

    I love Tower of Terror. It's one of the best attractions on Disneyland Resort property. Every time I ride, I savor the immersive queue setting, detailed props, and the masterful job Disney does of building anticipation in me. I love the ride.

    Still, I see the Towers around the world and know that Disney was capable of maximizing DCA's version. For example, here are the budgets for ToTs beyond California:

    Walt Disney World: $140,000,000
    Disneyland Resort: $70,000,000-$90,000,000
    Tokyo Disney Resort: $190,000,000
    Disneyland Resort Paris: $180,000,000 (No one knows exactly the budget for DLRP, but this is the most believed number)

    So, we have the cheapest Tower. Half the price of WDW's. Most of that is because the concept was already in place, much of the show's media was re-used, and the entire structure and ride system was cloned from Paris' plans. Still, even with a new story and new architecture, TDS' Tower of Terror has the cloned structure and ride system and is a whopping $190 million dollars. I normally try not to compare the TDR to another resort in terms of quality, because I know the funding from the OLC is much more generous. Still, more than 150% of a budget for another Tower over ours is huge.

    I don't want to complain about how terrible our Tower of Terror is. Budget aside, I enjoy it enough that it may as well have cost $190 million. Still, I think about how much more amazing it could have been if it received a bit more love than would a quick-fix for a suffering California Adventure.

    So this brings me to a new point. What are the specific issues of the WDW and DLR Towers?

    WALT DISNEY WORLD

    Tower of Terror at WDW uses a wire-guided track system in the fifth dimension and end scenes that are a bit delicate. But the main problem with constant delays and e-stops, as with some other Disney attractions, is the issue of the elevator ahead being too slow. There are four lift shafts, and two drop shafts each shared by two of the first four. Therefore there are two separate, independent rides in the attraction. Each of those two has two paths that merge into one. There are four elevator cars (AGVs) in each ride, but only two exit scenes. This means that there can be a backup in the exit and the other two AGVs will not be able to continue in the ride.

    With this Tower, the first floor is actually the basement, containing the exit floor and the gift shop. The second floor is the lobby, libraries, and boiler room. To accomplish this, a hill was formed around the first floor to give the illusion that the second floor was truly ground level, and guests ascend the hill in a winding path through the gardens before reaching the lobby. There are two libraries, and each library leads to two loading areas on a single-boiler room. Since the lift shafts are located behind the tall wing of the tower and the AGVs travel over the other floors forward into the drop shaft, the bulk of the building is in the back.

    DISNEYLAND

    In an attempt to simplify the ride system in order to accommodate more guests with fewer break-downs, WDI disposed of the fifth dimension scene, ride path merges, and the wire-guided track. Instead, there are three shafts, each their own independent ride with two AGVs each. When one AGV is in the ride, the other one is in unload/load position directly in front of the shaft on one level of the boiler room. When the other AGV is done, it is pulled out of the shaft by a pulling/pushing arm into the load area on the other floor of the boiler room. The other AGV, now loaded with new guests, is pushed back into the shaft and begins its ride while the other is unloading and loading guests.

    With this ride system, one AGV cannot be delayed in-ride by the other, as there is always an open load zone to which it can return. Still, unique features had to be show up in order for this ride system to take place.

    First, there is no need for a separate unload floor. This means no hill and no gardens. Just a direct entrance to the lobby and switchbacks to the side. Also, because there are two loading areas in each shaft, one on top of the other, the boiler room must be dual-level. This makes for a dramatic boiler room, but a contradiction in storytelling. The boiler room is depicted on basement level in signage around the hotel, but some guests are made to travel upstairs to this basement.

    The exit is achieved by placing a hallway in between the boiler room and the AGV load zone. During unloading, the boiler room elevator doors are closed and the doors to the AGV open, letting guests spill out into the exit hall. When all the guests have unloaded, the hallway lights dim and the boiler room doors open and the loading process begins. Guests pass across the exit hall through two sets of elevator doors to load into the AGV. Though many guests don't notice the hallway, there are still many who do (I did on my first visit), and it's a bit confusing.

    Since there are no extra lift shafts behind the Tower, the drop shaft must serve this purpose and so all the show scenes and boiler room are in front. This doesn't make it aesthetically inferior to the WDW Tower, but you should log that info away for later.

    THE TOWER THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN

    Now, aside from what I have just mentioned, I have always found our Tower to be immensely uglier than the WDW original. It isn't the architecture, but the frequent use of stucco and concrete in large, non-detailed chunks. One thing I believe our Tower has over its predecessor is its believability in size. The wider frame of the building causes me to see more "hotel" in the Hollywood Tower.

    In my musings, I have designed a re-worked Tower. Before you make comments on how ridiculous a modification like this could be, I fully understand and know that TDA would probably not do this unless A) They were obsessively desparate to have the best ToT, B) The building was utterly falling apart, or C) Both.

    But it's fun to think.

    So a few things I wanted to accomplish were getting all the parts I love from the WDW Tower, keeping all the parts I love from our Tower, perfecting all those parts, beautifying the exterior, and adding a few of my own ideas.

    I'll save that explanation for later. But until then, here is my design for the front elevation:



    Sorry for the low quality. My scanner has been acting up so I had to take a photo.

  2. #2

    • Goofy
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    Re: Our Tower of Terror Has So Much Potential

    not bad. thanks.

  3. #3

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    Re: Our Tower of Terror Has So Much Potential

    Another note: In drawing that up, I tried to keep the integrity of pseudo-pueblo art deco architecture yet still embellish it with detail. I'm creating this like it could work around the existing tower, but getting rid of the front half and adding onto the back.

  4. #4

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    Re: Our Tower of Terror Has So Much Potential

    I think that's a really gorgeous and appropriate design that incorporates the best elements of the DCA and WDW versions. Very nicely done!


  5. #5

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    Re: Our Tower of Terror Has So Much Potential

    ^Thank you! I actually re-drew the back part so it's higher up to accomodate the height of the shafts back there. I'm working on the side elevation now.

  6. #6

    • Minion
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    Re: Our Tower of Terror Has So Much Potential

    Excellent!!! I would LOVE for this to be implemented, as it fits better thematically than the current ToT. Very good job!

  7. #7

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    Re: Our Tower of Terror Has So Much Potential

    If only Disney would do this!



    Quote Originally Posted by williamtheking View Post
    CaptainEO,ATIS: Have you ever heard that rumor that Elvis is alive, and well, and owns a bakery in Seattle? Yeah, that's total crap. Now if you where to tell me Michael Jackson was alive, and well, and owns a MiceChat account in Las Vegas, that I would believe!

  8. #8

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    Re: Our Tower of Terror Has So Much Potential

    Nice drawing.

    I believe a significant portion of TDS's Tower of Terror's budget is due solely to its unique construction on a landfill in Tokyo Bay. I've heard they've had a lot of difficulties with construction there, so in that respect I don't think their tower cost more due to superiority (though part of that may be true) but more due to the fact the land they were building on was very unstable.

  9. #9

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    Re: Our Tower of Terror Has So Much Potential


  10. #10

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    Re: Our Tower of Terror Has So Much Potential

    Wow.

  11. #11

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    Re: Our Tower of Terror Has So Much Potential

    I don't know where you got your numbers, but I find it hard to believe that WDSP TOT was that much more expensive than DCA because WDSP TOT is exactly, and I mean exactly the same as DCA. :-)

  12. #12

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    Re: Our Tower of Terror Has So Much Potential

    I actually think that the WDSP ToT is made out of cement rather than a steel structure. I could be wrong but just my thoguhts.
    "There was.....blood on the saddle, and.....blood all around, and a great big, puddle of .....blood on the ground."

    -Big Al-

    Come visit my blog Disney in Review over at
    http://disneyfanreviews.blogspot.com/

  13. #13

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    Re: Our Tower of Terror Has So Much Potential

    Quote Originally Posted by MrPotatoHead View Post
    I actually think that the WDSP ToT is made out of cement rather than a steel structure. I could be wrong but just my thoguhts.
    And hence the huge cost
    "There was.....blood on the saddle, and.....blood all around, and a great big, puddle of .....blood on the ground."

    -Big Al-

    Come visit my blog Disney in Review over at
    http://disneyfanreviews.blogspot.com/

  14. #14

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    Re: Our Tower of Terror Has So Much Potential

    Quote Originally Posted by MrPotatoHead View Post
    And hence the huge cost
    Im pretty sure its cause of the design and development were added to there cost.
    Remember DCA's is Paris's design.
    Smiley Productions

  15. #15

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    Re: Our Tower of Terror Has So Much Potential

    Thanks for the explanation of the ride system It's stuff like that I really enjoy reading. Your design looks really well done and thought out

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