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Disneyland Article
California vs. Paris: Tower of Terror

Haunted Mansion
Hugh Allison
June 9, 2014
June 9, 2014
This month, as part of my mini-series of articles comparing Disney California Adventure (DCA) to Walt Disney Studios Park (WDSP) in Paris, I will be looking at The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.

Of the four versions of this attraction in the Disney parks worldwide, these two are by far the most similar. However, there are some very subtle differences. For example, the former is built out of steel, whereas-due to French construction laws-the latter was built with concrete. Also, although the two share several hidden references to episodes of The Twilight Zone TV show, some (such as the "22" in the Lobby in DCA) are unique to just one park.

Prior to the opening of the DCA Tower of Terror, the cable from the Charlie lift shaft broke. The original cable is now hanging from the ceiling in the boiler room. Obviously, WDSP does not have an equivalent of this detail.

The opening ceremony for the Tower of Terror in WDSP was, in my opinion, the more interesting of the two (both visually and aurally), although the recently-discontinued annual Halloween changes to the DCA version is something I have often felt would work beautifully in the Paris location.

Nevertheless, due to issues of sightlines, angles, theming and crowding, I have never liked the physical location of either the WDSP or the DCA iteration of Tower of Terror. However, both do try to make the most of the surrounding area, with Hollywood Tower Hotel-themed restrooms, characters and trash cans.

Both versions feature FastPass, and neither have a Single Rider line. When there is no queue for the standby line of the attraction, WDSP's version will estimate a wait time of five minutes, so as to cover the preshow and the amount of walking guests have to do. In DCA, the default wait time in such an instance is the more-thematic thirteen minutes.

I am told that the backstage areas of the Tower of Terror in WDSP are different to their DCA counterparts. Personally I have not been backstage at either, although WDSP does run an hour-long tour of the attraction, twice a week, before the park opens. This costs extra and is only available in French. In DCA, backstage trips of the attraction are rarer, and tend to be linked to special events, such as marathons.

In terms of languages, obviously the DCA Tower of Terror is entirely in English. In WDSP, all the written theming is in English, such as the "Picture if you will" signage in the gift shop, and the Tip Top Club posters. Likewise, the audio from the radio in the boiler room is in English. Obviously the warning posters are in both English and French, as are the Cast Members' spiels and the audio warnings heard before Guests enter a library and an elevator. The preshow video is sometimes in English, with French subtitles, but more often than not it is the other way around. The on-lift audio is always solely in one language or the other.

Although the gift shop at the end of Tower of Terror in WDSP is almost identical in layout to its DCA cousin, it has-in my opinion-much better merchandise. Both stores are called "Tower Hotel Gifts" and both also sell on-ride photos. For some reason though, the WDSP version also tends to sell goods relating to Stitch and to Phantom Manor. Likewise, Tower merchandise is available throughout much of the resort, perhaps due to the attraction becoming its park's official icon.
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