According to Disney lore, the Hollywood Tower Hotel first opened its doors in 1928 and quickly became the place to be seen in the Hollywood film community. At the height of its popularity in 1939, a mysterious occurrence forced it to close when one stormy night, as the hotel elevator ascended, lightning struck the tower. The elevator plunged, carrying five unlucky hotel guests to certain doom. But this was no ordinary storm or stroke of lighting. Before it reached the bottom of the shaft, the elevator and its passengers vanished.
Today, guests to Disney California Adventure Park can venture to Hollywood Land and chose to brave the hotel’s remaining service elevators. Once in the elevators, they may even take a detour into the fifth dimension, where they spot those ghostly passengers…and even experience their terrifying plunge.
Brave visitors who explore the hotel see a lobby that appears to have been hastily vacated decades ago, along with an “Out of Order” elevator with bent and damaged doors, and a dark and spooky library where the old-fashioned television suddenly comes alive with the voice and image of “The Twilight Zone” host Rod Serling. They’ve just crossed over into The Twilight Zone™ Tower of Terror.
While in the lobby area, however, guests are able to see those the items left behind from afar while waiting in the queue to experience those fabled service elevators. Recently, however, I was granted exclusive access in the lobby to photograph the fine details of the articles hastily left behind by the hotel’s guests more than 70 years ago.
|A variety of artifacts fill the hotel lobby, all items “left behind”
by guests who suddenly disappeared on that fateful Halloween
day in 1939, including this doll and copy of the
“Wizard of Oz.”
|Guest must have left the hotel quickly! Left
behind at the registration desk are a number
of personal items, including an umbrella
luggage, cigar case and more.
|Typically out of sight of guests is this table where two hotel guests were enjoying tea and left immediately everything behind when the elevator “incident” took place–including a half-written postcard! This is a very small detail that is rarely seen!|