Wednesday, March 01, 2006
Cutting a line...
Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney MGM in Orlando is a masterpiece of imagineering, bringing the best technology, theming and visual storytelling to the table. And it all starts when you hop in line.
Moss covered oaks, fog shrouded hillsides, ornate columns suffocated by vine growth, a bone dry fountain cracked at its foundation. And somewhere in the distance, perhaps only in our imagination, the haunting sounds of a 1930's ballroom orchestra echo through the courtyard. Before we even enter the decrepit sad remains of The Hollywood Tower Hotel a powerful mood has been masterfully created.
So when the faltering California Adventure ordered up its own version of this attraction you'd have thought that at the very least this Tower of Terror would live up to the original.
And you would have been wrong.
Gone the ornate pre-show entry, gone the ethereal music and even worse, gone the jaw dropping ride OUT of the elevator shaft and into the surreal fifth dimension setpiece, a moment so genuinely unexpected and seemingly impossible that the effect threatens to make the actual freefall an anti-climax.
Don't believe me? Well, go ahead, get in line.
Imagineers are almost always afforded the opportunity to re-jigger and plus attractions that are ordered up at other parks and often the results are spectacular. Later editions of Haunted Mansion, Splash Mountain, Space Mountain, Star Tours, Big Thunder and arguably Pirates in Disneyland Paris are all superior versions of the originals. But cost-cutting and corporate greed made sure that any blue sky aspirations current imagineers had for spinning California's own Tower of Terror to an even higher level of showmanship remained forever in the Twilight Zone.