Tower Of Terror is one of the best rides at Walt Disney World (and Disneyland, before it was redone into Guardians Of The Galaxy theme). The noir Hollywood glamour of the storyline combined with ghosts, The Twilight Zone, and, of course, stomach-dropping thrills made it a favorite for guests. But with a ride that intense, servicing thousands of guests a day, what makes it tick? And how is something seemingly so unsafe actually very safe? The YouTube channel Art of Engineering made a fascinating video about how the ride works, one packed with diagrams and HD videos.
The video centers around the original Tower of Terror at Walt Disney World’s Hollywood Studios. It opened in 1994 and is definitely the most intricate of the ride’s four iterations. Though it digs into the ride’s architecture, one of the most interesting bits focuses on its extreme safety measures. After explaining the pulley system of the elevator, the narrator lists the several levels of emergency mechanisms the ride has, each one set in place in case the method before it also fails. If all is lost, there’s one final sliver of hope built upon physics, a cushion of air, and shock absorbers. They note, however, that that worst case scenario has never occurred on any of Tower of Terror attraction—knock on wood—thanks to the “over-engineered design” and “redundant safety systems.” Those won’t make you feel too safe when the free-falling starts, but it’s nice to know that’s there in the back of your mind.