Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Favorite Queue

Welcome to those of you joining me from Mandas Disney Blog and those of you just hopping aboard. I am your Final stop on our Magical Blogorail.

I was so excited to hear our topic for this month’s Blogorail:  Most Entertaining Disney Line/PreShow.  It’s one of my favorite “hidden gem” experiences in the parks.  I am fascinated by the detail that Disney puts in to their pre-shows and attraction queues; and I think for the majority of guests it is overlooked and that is a shame.  The level of storyline and detail that is put into some of these attractions is really quite amazing and lends itself to putting you inside the “story”, which is really what most attractions are about:  storytelling.  In addition to weaving the theme for an attraction, the entertainment you’ll find in the queues allows your wait time to seem less dull.  No one likes to wait in lines and during peak times, wait times for certain popular WDW attractions can be lengthy, if not down-right crazy (yeah, Toy Story Mania, I'm talking about you!).  The implementation of the FASTPASS system has helped mitigate some of these longs waits, but unless you plan properly, you’re bound to be stuck in a queue at some time or another.  It’s nice to have something to look at besides a sea of humanity entangled by ropes and chains.  
Because I enjoy this topic so much, I’ve blogged on my top ten attraction queues before, which made this topic was easy for me.  But rather than bore you with my top ten, I’m going to jump directly to my #1 on the list.  Arriving at number 1 on my Top Ten list of attraction queues is Tower of Terror in Hollywood Studios.

The story of the hotel, adapted from elements of the Twilight Zone television series, includes the hotel being struck by lightning on October 31, 1939, mysteriously transporting an elevator car full of passengers to the Twilight Zone and causing an entire wing of the building to disappear.  Disney Imagineers create an atmosphere that transports the guest from the hustle and bustle of Sunset Boulevard to the eerily abandoned Hollywood Tower Hotel in the Hollywood Hills.
According to Disney lore, the Hollywood Hotel opened in 1919.  It became a famous place for Hollywood and film star elite.  One day, on Halloween in 1939, the hotel was struck by lightning.  Part of the building was destroyed and 5 guests who had just entered the elevator disappeared.  All of the other guests ran out of the building in terror leaving all of their belongings behind. The Tower of Terror is left empty until 1994 when it mysteriously re-opens. To the bellhops and porters that work the hotel, it’s as if the hotel never closed.  While all this is never thoroughly explained during the attraction, you can easily see how the queue and pre-show ties itself into the backstory behind the Hollywood Hotel.  It’s quite an eerie atmosphere.
Guests enter the Hollywood Tower Hotel though the main entrance gate. The outdoor queue winds through the overgrown gardens of the hotel.  The outdoor queue takes you through gardens of broken stoneware and decaying plants.  

An empty fountain and cracked fountain awaits you at the entrance to the hotel. In the background you're listening to haunting melodies from the past by Glenn Miller, Duke Ellington, Vera Lynn, and other notables from that era.  And your eyes haven’t deceived you, that is fog rolling through the gardens.  Once inside the lobby, it is dimly-lit and covered in cobwebs and dust. There is a yellowing copy of the Los Angeles Examiner dated October 31, 1939, a table set with tea and stale pastries, several suitcases, and a cobwebbed owl sculpture surrounded by a circle of dead flowers that appears to be the centerpiece of the room.

Photo courtesy of Crystal Young Photography
Photo courtesy of Crystal Young Photography
Photo courtesy of Crystal Young Photography
Behind the front desk is a broken elevator, a sign still reads "Out of Order". Everything in the hotel has apparently been left undisturbed ever since it mysteriously closed decades ago. Guests are informed that their rooms are not quite ready yet. For the time being, guests are asked to simply enjoy themselves in the hotel's library. The library is full of not only books, but exotic antiques, a television, and plenty of Twilight Zone memorabilia. Through the window, you observe that there is a thunderstorm going on outside.  At this point, the pre-show starts with a lightning strike and the television coming on, apparently of its own accord.  The opening sequence of The Twilight Zone plays, followed by a supposedly "lost" episode. 
The attention to detail throughout the queue is amazing here.  Even if you can’t or don’t want to ride the attraction, please take time to traverse the queue and watch the pre-show.  Don’t worry, there is a chicken-out door for you.  Just ask any cast member.  As you travel the queue, you’ll feel as if you’ve entered into a hotel that was long since abandoned.  
So, the next time you are at Disney World, please take a moment to soak up the environment and entertainment of attraction lines and pre-shows.  I hope you will find them as enjoyable as I do.
Thank you for joining Magical Blogorail Black this month. We will be back in May with an all new theme.  Keep checking in with our blogs in between loops to keep up to date with our Disney news, photos and stories. If you are looking for more Disney magic, you can make your way over to The Magical Blogorail website to see all our members and their blogs, as well as all our previous loops.

Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail should you happen to have to make a stop along the way and want to reboard:
1st Stop ~ The Disney Point
2nd Stop ~ The Disney Chick
3rd Stop ~ Mandas Disney Blog
Final Stop ~ The Magical Mouse Pad


  1. Love this post! I just wrote about the TOT recently on my blog. How it is a "complete" attraction from start to finish. I argued that the theming of the attraction is the best at WDW.

    I always fastpass Rock n Roller Coaster but wait at line at TOT. I love the line so much here! (within reason, of course!)
    Rosanne @ The Disney Point

  2. Great post! I love the queue and pre show but I am a wimp and I don't actually ride the attraction. I still go through the the line though because it is too cool to miss.

  3. This was almost mine too!! I adore the queue area and pre-show for TOT ... it's just awesome! :D x