It was 15 years ago that the Hollywood Tower Hotel opened its doors and welcomed guests to Walt Disney Studios Park. And to this day, the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror continues to be an iconic attraction at Disneyland Paris. For its 15th Anniversary, we met the teams who every day take you back to 1939 and ask them to tell us about their daily lives.
Are you brave enough to go through the doors of the Hollywood Tower Hotel and enter… the Fourth Dimension?
The first Cast Members are in at 6:30 a.m. for a team briefing inside the attraction before starting their day at the Hollywood Tower Hotel. After receiving instructions from their Team Leader, the seven Cast Members present head to the control centre to begin the procedures for opening the attraction. They will be quickly joined by other colleagues in the morning. A minimum of seven Cast Members is required for the attraction to function properly.
Everyone knows their position and makes their way there to carry out checks and make any adjustments for operating the attraction, which only opens at 8:30 a.m to the public. With a check-list ready, as every detail counts. Safety of the visitors within the attraction is the priority, so the Cast Members go up and down several floors of the Tower to ensure the proper functioning of equipment and show elements. From the control centre, Alison, and her trainer Marc assist their colleagues with their checks and start up the equipment. Meanwhile, another colleague inspects the outside of the attraction to check the different accesses and the good functioning of the show.
“It’s great to be able to work in this attraction; there’s something for everyone,” says Alicia between floors. “Some of us love welcoming guests while others prefer technology. There’s never a dull moment!”
Cyril, still at the control centre, ensuring that the control screens, sound, and vehicles are working properly. From checking that the equipment is working to ensuring that the seat belts are okay, Cyril meticulously follows his list of tasks before setting in motion the first empty wagon for a test. These safety measures are carried out simultaneously by several Cast Members on all the attraction’s vehicles. Once all the vehicles have been checked and tested, it’s Cast Members’ turn, like every morning, to see how well the special effects work!
“I love this attraction and its storytelling, the whole story created by the Imagineers which literally immerses us in the atmosphere” says Alexandra excitedly as she returns to the control centre.
With everything in place, at 8:30 a.m. the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror Cast Members are ready to welcome the first guests. Rémi, the greeter, says “good evening” and a queue begins to form.
“It’s always surprising for guests to hear ‘good evening’ when it’s 9:30 a.m., ” jokes Rémi, “because we, the Hollywood Tower Hotel Cast Members, were stranded on the evening of 31 October 1939, we say good evening to them! ”
Malika, the first concierge of the day, is already welcoming her first guests who enter the library where they can find out, during a particularly immersive pre-show about the history of the Hollywood Tower Hotel before their trip into the Fourth Dimension. Meanwhile, Alison and Marc regularly inform the control centre of the evolution of the waiting time, with their eyes glued to the camera screens inside the attraction.
The further the guests walk into the attraction, the darker the atmosphere becomes and the more unsettling the Cast Members they meet.
“Normally, when it’s their first time in the attraction, guests are anxious and the way we act doesn’t help them!” laughs Cyril, “this worrying atmosphere is deliberate, the deeper guests go into the attraction, the more intense the role we play becomes.”
Alexandra and Elodie, the porters, invite guests to the lift and show them their place for their terrifying journey.
Finally, a Cast Member is located at the exit of the elevators to greet visitors after their journey. His or her role is also to welcome guests with disabilities who cannot wait standing in the traditional queue.
Regularly, all Cast Members change position and replace their colleagues at their locations. “We rely on a rotation system throughout the day,” says Sheila, the attraction Team Leader. “Depending on how many of us there are, we stay in position for more or less time, but they are very varied.” So, in fact, there could be 25 people in the operating teams at the same time!
The reason why so many positions are needed is that the attraction has a high capacity and receives many visitors who pass through several reception areas, from the queue to the libraries, the boiler room and finally the boarding areas. For an optimal experience, there are up to six lifts that operate at the same time. The operating teams strive to ensure that the waiting time rarely exceeds 20 minutes. “We reckon that a waiting time of more than 20 minutes is too long for guests; we do our best to be as efficient as possible.” says Cyril.
For 15 years now, the talented teams at the Hollywood Tower Hotel have been dedicated to giving guests an immersive and unforgettable experience. These talented individuals work day and night to make our guests’ experience magical and it’s a success! Happy birthday and a huge thank you to those teams who bring the Hollywood Tower Hotel to life every day!