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Despite all my investigations, I've never been able to prove anything, but I've come to this conclusion: the hotel is cursed! There is no other explanation.
―Manfred Strang, 1912

Tower of Terror is a simulated freefall drop tower thrill ride at Tokyo DisneySea in the American Waterfront area. The attraction opened on September 22, 2006.

The attraction takes place within the long abandoned Hotel Hightower, built by Harrison Hightower III to store his collection of antiquities from his various expeditions around the world. After a catastrophic event on New Year's Eve 1899 caused Hightower to disappear, the hotel was closed for 13 years until the New York City Preservation Society began to offer tours of the hotel to highlight the value of Hightower's collection and potentially solve the mystery of Hightower's disappearance.

Unlike its American counterparts, this version of the Tower of Terror isn't themed around The Twilight Zone due to Japanese audiences being unfamiliar with the show, in conjunction with The Oriental Land Company being unwilling to pay both CBS and Disney royalties to use the show in the ride. Instead, Tower of Terror features an original storyline utilizing the Society of Explorers and Adventurers that already exists within the park.


In regards to the building's overall structure, the Tower is very similar to the versions of the attraction found at Disney's California Adventure and Walt Disney Studios Park, with a central T-shaped tower that houses the attraction itself and a extended section in front that houses the attraction's entrance and pre-show scenes. In contrast to the other Towers, this Tower's design is based on a mishmash of Gothic Revival and Moorish Revival architecture (or Neo-Moorish), popular with American and European architects during the 19th and early 20th centuries to match the new location and backstory of the ride.

Attraction Storyline[]

From the 2006 Press Release:

Anyone who visits American Waterfront will soon find their gaze irresistibly drawn to the unique form of the lofty Hotel Hightower. The building's unusual design and extraordinary proportions were symbols of the wealth and power of its notorious creator, antiquities collector Harrison Hightower III, and indeed the stories of the man and the hotel are inextricably linked.

After inheriting his father's mansion, Harrison Hightower III decided to renovate his home, adding gardens, a pool and spa, the five-story "Caliph's Tower", the eight-story "Indian Tower" with its many guest rooms and a ballroom, and finally the 14-story "Great Tower" in which Hightower kept his personal apartments in the penthouse suite. Although the overall style of the hotel is Gothic, to a certain extent there are elements of other architectural styles from all over the world. Also, as a further testament to his greatness, Hightower installed many artifacts he had acquired during his globe-spanning expeditions in various places around the hotel.

Harrison Hightower III was a collector of cultural antiquities. Accompanied by his valet, Mr. Smelding, he travelled to every continent to collect his curiosities, including Asia, Europe, South America and Oceania. Once he found an artifact he wanted, he would use any method available to acquire it, including on occasion outright plunder.

In 1899, Hightower embarked on the most hazardous expedition of his life, heading up the Congo River and into the dangerous parts of uncharted Africa. Though his intention was to collect the art and craftwork of the region, Hightower soon found himself the object of attacks by hostile local tribes, and many members of his team lost their lives.

Then one day, Hightower's severely reduced party was chased into the area of the dreaded Mtundu tribe. Though greatly feared by neighboring tribes, the Mtundu welcomed Harrison Hightower's ill-fated expedition quite cordially, and actually invited the adventurers to eat with them.

During the meal, Hightower learned of the existence of the tribe's protective idol. The statue was called "Shiriki Utundu" and Harrison Hightower wanted it for his own. He tried to persuade the village headman to sell him the idol, but was refused, which only served to increase his desire. He then told his men to prepare for battle, and grabbing Shiriki Utundu from its altar, stole the idol and escaped the village.

The expedition was nervous and afraid that the many warriors of the Mtundu tribe would pursue and attack them, but strangely they only stood by and watched expressionlessly as Hightower took their idol. Some thought they may even have been slightly smiling...

On December 31, 1899, Harrison Hightower III was back in New York and held a press conference in his private office at Hotel Hightower to unveil his latest "find". Manfred Strang, a reporter from the New York Globe-Telegraph, asked if Shiriki Utundu wasn't really cursed, but was then thrown out of the building. After that, Hightower was his usual bombastic self, giving a heroic description of his adventure and allowing no real questions. That evening, he gave a spectacular New Year's Eve party to celebrate his return from Africa.

Though the party was a success, Hightower left early to find a place for Shiriki Utundu in his penthouse apartment. As Hightower boarded the elevator, Mr. Smelding warned him to give proper respect to the idol. Hightower refused to pay heed, and, sneering in defiance, even put out his cigar on Shiriki Utundu's head!

As the clock struck midnight, all lights in the hotel went out and the party was plunged into darkness. People outside witnessed a dazzling green light bursting out from Harrison Hightower's rooms at the top of the hotel. From the top floors to the bottom, the benighted hotel was pierced by hundreds of thousands of volts of electricity. The arched windows in front shattered with a loud crash, causing broken glass and other debris to rain down on the onlookers below. Small fires had broken out, and panicked party guests scrambled to escape, with many injured in the rush.

However, the most astonishing thing of all was that Harrison Hightower III, who should have been in his rooms at the top of the hotel, abruptly disappeared without a trace.

With the explosion on the top floors, the cables of the hotel elevator were also cut, and Harrison Hightower III was heard screaming in fright. The only thing that was found in the remains of the shattered elevator, though, was Shiriki Utundu. Harrison Hightower was gone. Had Hightower somehow escaped from the elevator unharmed, or was he not even riding it when it crashed? Could he have been transported away somewhere? No one knows the truth.

After Mr. Hightower's mysterious disappearance the hotel was closed down. People in New York began calling it the "Tower of Terror". For 13 years, no one dared to enter the hotel until the New York City Preservation Society, led by its president and founder, Miss Beatrice Rose Endicott, began a plan to offer tours of the building to the public. The Society hopes that through its efforts people will again appreciate the architectural beauty of the hotel and the cultural value of the treasures in Harrison Hightower's collection.

Still, dark rumors persist amongst the people of New York. Some say how they saw the "strange, green lights" on that fateful night, while others recall hearing "a terrible scream". The passage of time seems only to have increased the mystery surrounding Hotel Hightower.

Attraction Walkthrough[]

The queue area winds through Hotel Hightower's gardens, filled with statues from many different countries, before guests then enter the lobby. On each ceiling arch is painted a mural of Hightower on one of his adventures, portraying his escape from native people with a valuable artifact or item in his possession. At the end of the lobby is the hotel's main elevator in its destroyed state, its doors blasted open from the impact of the crashing elevator car. Guests are then ushered into a room filled with many photographs of Hightower, his expeditions, and his hotel.

Afterwards, guests enter Hightower's office, which features a large stained glass window depicting a confident Hightower in front of the hotel. Shiriki Utundu sits on a pedestal nearby the stained glass. A tour guide talks about Hightower's exploits, eventually playing a gramophone recording of Hightower's 1899 press conference where he dismisses the idea of a curse as ridiculous. Suddenly, the lights dim and the stained glass window changes to show a frightened Hightower holding the idol. Hightower's voice is heard echoing throughout the office, warning guests the curse is real and urging them to leave while they can. The window plays out the events that condemned the hotel, showing Hightower boarding the elevator before it suddenly crashes, breaking the glass. At that moment, Shiriki Utundu comes to life, laughing mischievously at the guests before it vanishes from its pedestal into a star-field.

Guests are then ushered into an enormous storage room where Hightower kept his treasures, where Shiriki's eyes can sometimes be seen peering out at them as they move through the queue. They are eventually ushered onto an elevator

As the ride begins, a flash of electricity suddenly causes the elevator to move backwards as Shiriki's eyes stare at them from the darkness. Hightower is heard again, explaining what happened to him before the elevator ascends to the private apartments of Harrison Hightower. Hightower's ghost appears beside Shiriki resting on a table, reaching out to touch it before it suddenly comes alive. The idols blasts Hightower back towards a set of open elevator doors as the room dissipates into a field of stars. Hightower screams as he plummets out of the sight, as the idol turns toward the guests and laughs.

The elevator ascends again, and the doors open revealing a large, ornate mirror. Hightower tells the guests to wave and say "good bye" to themselves. As they do, the lighting of the hotel is replaced with an eerie green glow, and the reflections of the guests suddenly turn ghost-like. The reflections of the riders disappear as Shiriki suddenly appears, laughs menacingly before suddenly shooting forward towards the guests.

The elevator vibrates, then begins the drop sequence. This sequence is identical to the drop profile used on the original versions of the California and Paris Towers, though is missing the starting two drops and has the final plunge happen from the lower set of exterior doors rather than the top of the shaft. At the end of the drop sequence, the elevator returns to its loading level, where the idol's green eyes glare one last time as Hightower warns to never return.

Special Versions[]

In addition to the original ride experience, Tower of Terror has offered two other variations of the ride with unique drop profiles and special effects.

In 2016, Tower of Terror: Level 13 was introduced as a temporary overlay to the attraction. While the pre-show elements remain unaltered, the ride experience was changed in a few ways:

  • After the penthouse scene concludes, the elevator suddenly begins to ascend only to fall before it reaches the top of the shaft.
  • When the elevator arrives at the mirror scene, the ghost effect is absent save for the lighting and Shiriki simply appears and lunges toward the guests as before.
  • After Shiriki's "attack", the elevator drops before racing to the very top doors of the shaft. It begins to slip from this floor before it plummets completely through the tower. The elevator then has one final ascent and drop before the ride ends.

In 2018, Tower of Terror: Level 13 "Shadow of Shiriki" was introduced with even further changes compared to the original Level 13:

  • After Shiriki disappears during the pre-show, the idol's shadow can be seen flying across the stained glass window.
  • The penthouse scene plays out the same way as the other versions, but does not dissolve into a starfield when it ends.
  • After Shiriki lunges at the elevator during the mirror scene, the elevator drops twice, pausing briefly to illuminate the idol's shadow cutting the cables to the elevator against the doors. The elevator then ascends to the top exterior doors, "faux" drops once before rising again, then drops all the way through the tower. The elevator rises and drops before before it briefly pauses on the floor of the penthouse scene. Now covered in stars, Shiriki's head is seen emerging from the black before the elevator drops again. The ride ends with one final ascent and fall.

Both versions of Level 13 have been routinely reintroduced to the Tower as seasonal enhancements since their debut. Sometimes the overlay is the only available ride experience for the duration of its run, while other seasons sometimes use all three possible ride profiles depending on which ride shaft is chosen.



  • One of Tower of Terror's unique features is a special effect that occurs whenever the exposed elevator doors reveal riders. The large window at the top of the tower, Hightower's private penthouse, sparks with green electricity and arcs through the hotel façade to "strike" a guest elevator before it drops, coinciding with when riders' pictures are taken. This same effect is present during all possible variations of the Tower's current ride profile.

External links[]

v - e - d
Tower of Terror logo
Tower of TerrorBook"Lost Episode"Tower of Terror
Disney Parks
The Twilight Zone Tower of TerrorTower of Terror Fiddler, Fifer & Practical Cafe
The Hollywood Tower HotelThe Tip Top ClubThe 5th DimensionThe Manhattan Tower HotelHotel HightowerSunset BoulevardHollywood
Twilight Zone Tower Of Terror: The BellhopsThe NarratorSally Shine Carolyn CrossonEmeline PartridgeDewey ToddGilbert LondonThe Silver Lake Sisters (Ethel Bounds, Dolly Bounds and Dottie Bounds)

Tower of Terror (Tokyo DisneySea): Harrison Hightower IIIShiriki UtunduArchibald SmeldingBeatrice Rose EndicottManfred Strang • Kibwana • Kijanji • Kijanji's grandfather (Kibwana's great-grandfather)
Characters from Spinoffs: Great Grand DudeAbigail GregoryChris ToddBuzzy CrockerAnna PettersonPatricia PettersonJosh WinslowJill Perry

We'll Meet Again • Kokoko tribe • Mtundu tribe

v - e - d
Linked Attractions
Fortress ExplorationsTower of TerrorMystic ManorBig Thunder Mountain Railroad (Magic Kingdom) • Oceaneer Lab (aboard the Disney Magic and Disney Wonder) • Miss Adventure Falls (Typhoon Lagoon) • Soaring: Fantastic FlightJungle CruiseAdventureland TreehouseAdventurers Suite (Disney Explorers Lodge)
Magellan'sJock Lindsey's Hangar BarSkipper CanteenExplorer's Club RestaurantThe Tropical HideawayColonel Hathi's Pizza OutpostCafe HyperionAbracadaBarTrader Sam'sClub 33
Harrison Hightower IIILord Henry MysticBarnabas T. BullionJason ChandlerCaptain Mary OceaneerJock LindseyDr. Albert FallsMerriweather Adam PleasureCamellia FalcoProf. R. BlauerhimmelCharlton J. TaboretDr. J.L. BateristaMaestro D'ElfmanDr. Kon ChunosukeProf. Garrett Reed • Luana Teixeira • Chef Tandaji • Shango Sio
Associated Characters
Alberta FallsAlbertArchibald SmeldingArielBeatrice Rose EndicottCaptain BrieuxCaptain Nemo • Charlie Allnut • Colonel Critchlow SunchbenchConstance HatchawayCornelius Endicott IIDuncan the ParrotEmil Bleehall, Jr.Felix Pechman XIIIFletcher HodgesGeorge HightowerGiant SquidHathaway BrowneHoward StarkCliff SecordFrank WolffIndiana Jones • Hammerhead Fred • Kimballum HorriblusMadame ZarkovManfred StrangMaraMarion RavenwoodMickey MouseMinnie MouseOtis T. WrenPacoOtis BigelowPamelia Perkins • Rose Sayer • RositaSallah Mohammed Faisel el-KahirSalty the ParrotSamantha SterlingTheodore RooseveltTrader SamUrsula • Victoria Marie Falls • Yeti
Backside of WaterBalinese Music BoxDead Man's ChestFountain of YouthHyperion AirshipMedieval Crossbow • Jujus • Monkey King StatueShiriki UtunduTreasure of CortésSnarfblatt • Ursula's contract
Other Associated Attractions
Raging SpiritsAdventurers ClubWalt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room
See Also
Disney KingdomsShinji Takahashi and the Mark of the CoatlLeague of AdventurersAdventure Isle Discovery BayDisney Springs

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Seasonal: The Villains World

Tokyo DisneySea Hotel MiraCosta