Tokyo DisneySea – Tower of Terror

Tokyo DisneySea - Tower of Terror / clear skies

Tower of Terror is the tallest and most majestic building at American Waterfront, Tokyo DisneySea. Also known as Hotel Hightower, this exquisite hotel is owned by eccentric millionaire Harrison Hightower III.

Tokyo DisneySea - Tower of Terror / Hotel Hightower

Harrison Hightower is known to spare no expense – building a grander vision of his hotel over and over, finishing with the Grand Tower with his penthouse at the highest floor. The tower now exhibits a fusion of various architecture styles, with Moorish Revival as a central theme.

Tokyo DisneySea - Tower of Terror / Hotel Hightower Entrance

As a member of the illustrious Society of Explorers and Adventurers, Hightower has spent much of his time discovering rare and sometimes sacred artifacts and ruthlessly retrieving them for his collection…at any cost.

But, Hightower mysteriously vanished one night after hosting a lavish party at his Hotel. He was last seen at an elevator…which took a deadly plunge from the hotel’s highest floor. Only one thing remained in the elevator- a supposedly cursed idol.

The Shiriki Utundu, an idol from an African tribe in Congo, was Hightower’s last conquest.

After the incident, the larger-than-life Hotel Hightower was closed by the city and left abandoned for decades. It earned its name – Tower of Terror.

Tokyo DisneySea - Tower of Terror / CLOSED

It was due to be demolished, until the New York City Preservation Society worked its way into restoring the Hotel and keep it a significant historic and culturally important site.

Tokyo DisneySea - Tower of Terror / Daily Tours this way please

To fund the restoration efforts, the Preservation Society organized paid tours of the Hotel. The organisation spinned stories of the Hotel owner’s mysterious disappearance and a king’s ransom’s worth of treasure to entice the affluent and curious in New York to join the tour of the hotel.

Tokyo DisneySea park guests are invited to join such tours.

As part of the tour organised by the New York Presevation Society, guests will be brought around the hotel’s many rooms and discover Hightower’s private collection of art and artifacts from around the world. The highlight of the tour is a visit to Hightower’s Penthouse at the highest floor. But what other mysteries would tour guests uncover?


Hotel Hightower Gardens

A tranquil garden area, with statues that seem… a little out of place.

Tokyo DisneySea - Tower of Terror / Outdoor queue

The standby line starts here and will extend out to the gardens if wait time is long enough.

Tokyo DisneySea - Tower of Terror / Statue in the Gardens

Tokyo DisneySea - Tower of Terror / a portrait in progress

An unfinished painting of a woman rests in the middle of the gardens.

Tokyo DisneySea - Tower of Terror / a portrait in progress 2

Tokyo DisneySea - Tower of Terror / Outdoor queue

Tokyo DisneySea - Tower of Terror / Outdoor queue 3

The many banners promoting the tour organised by the New York City Preservation Society:


NOW on Exhibition! Harrison Hightower’s Private Collection
Art & Artifacts from Around the World

WELCOME ONE AND ALL to the “TOWER of TERROR” Tour
of the celebrated HIGHTOWER HOTEL.

What really happened “THAT FATEFUL NIGHT”?
Where is Harrison Hightower?

Tokyo DisneySea - Tower of Terror / Outdoor queue 4 / NYC Preservation Society

Sidetrack a little. Have a look at the Tower of Terror Fastpass Ticketing machines:

Tokyo DisneySea - Tower of Terror / Fastpass machine


New York City Preservation Society
A Guided Tour of the MYSTERIOUS “TOWER of TERROR”
A Baffling Mystery of Epic Proportions

Tokyo DisneySea - Tower of Terror / Fastpass machine detail

Tokyo DisneySea - Tower of Terror / Outdoor queue detail

Tokyo DisneySea - Tower of Terror / Outdoor queue detail 2

You can find the Harrison Hightower’s initials, H.H, almost everywhere. This emblem, of a sword, shell and pearl, will be explained later on.

Tokyo DisneySea - Tower of Terror / Fastpass and Standby

The tour’s lines are split to Fastpass and Standby at the entrance and stay this way at the Lobby.


Hotel Hightower – Lobby

Guests step in the elegant Hotel lobby, where tour groups gather and gaze at the opulent furnishing and exhibits.

Tokyo DisneySea - Tower of Terror / The Grand Lobby

Around the lobby, guests can appreciate the fine fixtures and rare artifacts. Among them are Egyptian sarcophaguses, and an Asian themed seating area with a fireplace.

Tokyo DisneySea - Tower of Terror / Sarcophagus

Tokyo DisneySea - Tower of Terror / ornamental window

Tokyo DisneySea - Tower of Terror / luggage

Tokyo DisneySea - Tower of Terror / bell captain

The Bell Captain’s desk, now deserted and dusty.

Tokyo DisneySea - Tower of Terror / mail and key slots

Tokyo DisneySea - Tower of Terror / guestbook

Tokyo DisneySea - Tower of Terror / stained glass - the world is mine oyster and I with sword shall open


The World Is Mine Oyster Which I With Sword Shall Open
– William Shakespeare

Tokyo DisneySea - Tower of Terror / Chinese lounge

Tokyo DisneySea - Tower of Terror / Chinese lounge 2

Be sure not to miss the metal screen that is adorned with dragons and calligraphic detail 「高塔」, which means “High Tower”.

Tokyo DisneySea - Tower of Terror / Lobby Elevator

Tokyo DisneySea - Tower of Terror

Hightower’s majestic mural, showing his completed hotel and his ship docked at American Waterfront. Unloading his latest acquisitions, of course.

Tokyo DisneySea - Tower of Terror / Lobby Elevator 2

The elevator that Hightower was last seen entering – completely destroyed and left to crumble.

Tokyo DisneySea - Tower of Terror / Hightower's Adventures

Several murals around the lobby chronicle Hightower’s brave adventures into the exotic. From ancient Mayan ruins to Pyramids in the sands and African tribes – he has pretty much seen, and collected them all.

Tokyo DisneySea - Tower of Terror / Hightower's Adventures 2

Tokyo DisneySea - Tower of Terror / Hightower's Adventures 3

This looks… rather familiar.

Tokyo DisneySea - Tower of Terror / Deserted Lobby

If you return at night (and hopefully the lobby is deserted), it will be easier to view the murals and props around the lobby.

Tokyo DisneySea - Tower of Terror / The merge

This is the point where the Fastpass and Standby lines merge. While you wait here (which can go up to 15-20 minutes from this point for Standby), you can admire another portrait of Harrison Hightower.

Tokyo DisneySea - Tower of Terror / Harrisson Hightower, a portrait

Tokyo DisneySea - Tower of Terror / a waiting room

The NYC Preservation Society Tour guides usher us into a cosy room.

Tokyo DisneySea - Tower of Terror / a waiting room 2

Of course, there are more photos showing Hightower’s many adventures, including some familiar places. Looks like he has been to Adventureland and Lost River Delta.

Tokyo DisneySea - Tower of Terror / a waiting room 3

Our Tour Guide then formally introduces Harrison Hightower III and his last acquisition from an expedition at the Congo River – the Shiriki Utundu. On a poster, there is a photograph showing Hightower holding the idol beside the Mutundu Tribe Chief, who looks absolutely disgruntled.

Tokyo DisneySea - Tower of Terror / Hightower's Private Study

We then enter High Hightower’s private study, where the Shiriki Utundu idol is resting.

As our tour guide plays an old phonograph recording of Hightower’s last press interview, guests hear about Hightower’s antics and more importantly, mocking the idol. He brushes off the curse of Shiriki Utundu, saying that it’s nonsense.

Suddenly, the stained glass window comes alive. The spirit of Hightower, now feeble, warns guests that the curse is indeed real and has claimed his life.

The lights in the room go off, and as the ghost of Harrison Hightower warns guests leave the tour and hotel immediately, the idol vanishes…


Secret Passageway

A large portrait in the room slides away, revealing a secret passage to the Hightower’s greatest stash of stolen treasure.

Tokyo DisneySea - Tower of Terror / The secret storage chamber

Tokyo DisneySea - Tower of Terror / The secret storage chamber 2

Tokyo DisneySea - Tower of Terror / The secret storage chamber 3

Tokyo DisneySea - Tower of Terror / The secret storage chamber 4

Tokyo DisneySea - Tower of Terror / The secret storage chamber 5 / egyptian statues

The loading area is quite interesting. There are 6 loading rooms, 3 pairs that are stacked on each other. For some reason we always ended up on the lower floor.

Tokyo DisneySea - Tower of Terror / The secret storage chamber 6 / egyptian artifacts

Tokyo DisneySea - Tower of Terror / The secret storage chamber 6 / hanging statue

Something’s… looking back at us.

Tokyo DisneySea - Tower of Terror / The secret storage chamber 8


The Tour splits

Our tour guide leads us into a small chamber filled with artifacts and art. There are six different chambers, each with its own unique theme and are decorated very differently.

Tokyo DisneySea - Tower of Terror / TOUR waiting chamber

Tokyo DisneySea - Tower of Terror / TOUR waiting chamber 2

Tokyo DisneySea - Tower of Terror / TOUR waiting chamber 3

After a short briefing on elevator boarding procedures, our tour guide disappears. Lights in the chamber flickers, and suddenly, a hidden wall slides away. With a cheeky grin, our tour guide reveals the elevator and instructs us to board.

We then board the elevator and say our farewells to the tour guide.


Tower of Terror

In near darkness, the elevator slides backwards. We see a pair of menacing green eyes.

The elevator ascends, and at an unknown level, the doors open and we see the ghost of Harrison Hightower.

Shriki Utundu stands on a nearby table. Hightower taunts the idol again. Shortly, the idol comes to life and throws him to the end of the corridor, into an open lift shaft. Hightower falls and disappears. The entire level fades into a field of stars.

The elevator doors close and we move to another level. When the doors open again, we see an large mirror as wide as the elevator.

We see our own reflections, slowly turning green, before disappearing entirely in the mirror. Shiriki Utundu suddenly appears in the mirror and charges towards us.

The elevator shakes violently and begins to rush to the top.

The doors open again, but this time we see shattered windows and a bird’s eye view of Tokyo DisneySea.

Tokyo DisneySea - Tower of Terror / Darkness descends

There was a flash of green lightning. The elevator jerks and drops a floor.
There was an uncertain pause.

With no warning, the elevator falls into darkness.

A few seconds later, we hear the evil laughter from Shiriki Utundu and the elevator starts to shake. It races to the top again.

We see the park once more, for a moment. The elevator plunges, now at a speed so fast and totally unexpected, into complete darkness once again.

As the elevator finally falls silent, Hightower is heard once again, commenting on our narrow escape from the vengeful idol. We see the same pair of green eyes in the dark again, before elevator doors appear before us.

Tokyo DisneySea - Tower of Terror / tour exit
Exit corridors – plain but fits with the backstage theme.

Tokyo DisneySea - Tower of Terror / tour exit 2

Tokyo DisneySea - Tower of Terror / tour exit 3

The exit corridors lead to the Hotel’s indoor pool in the Indian wing of Hotel Hightower. The pool has been boarded up and the entire room converted into a souvenir store – Tower of Terror Memorabilia.

Tokyo DisneySea - Tower of Terror / tour exit 4

Tokyo DisneySea - Tower of Terror / tour exit 5

Tokyo DisneySea - Tower of Terror / photos

See your on-ride photos among other pictures of Harrison Hightower.

Tokyo DisneySea - Tower of Terror shop / photos for free

And snap them for free! The park doesn’t force you to buy prints.

Tokyo DisneySea - Tower of Terror shop

Even the check-out area is designed to fit the theme.

Tokyo DisneySea - Tower of Terror shop / Shiriki Utundu keychain

Sadly, the park has taken off the life-sized Shiriki Utundu plush toys. All that’s left is the keychain.

Tokyo DisneySea - Tower of Terror shop 3

Tokyo DisneySea - Tower of Terror shop 4

Tokyo DisneySea - Tower of Terror shop 5

Tokyo DisneySea - Tower of Terror / Exit

This is probably the world’s most elaborate design for a Drop Tower ride. The attraction promises a tour of the Hotel and they do deliver – there is a lot of things to see. In fact, I think the experience of the tour overshadows the “ride” element of this attraction. The abundance of cast members, guiding and showing guests around, help enforce the illusion that guests are on a paid tour at the Hotel.

In my opinion, this is one of the best attractions at Tokyo DisneySea, and by extension, one of the best attractions in the world.

Tokyo DisneySea - Tower of Terror / haunting

The entire pre-show stage takes about 15-20 minutes from the point where the Fastpass and Standby lines merge. For this I mean not just the pre-show room, but the period from the pre-show waiting room to boarding the elevator itself. The ride experience is less than 2 minutes. The lengthy show experience (give or take 20 minutes) is important to note if you are holding on to Fastpasses with short windows and hoping to pass the time while waiting at Tower of Terror.

Tokyo DisneySea - Tower of Terror / haunted

Thrills-wise, I would say this is the most thrilling attraction in Tokyo DisneySea just for the negative g-forces at the ride’s last drop. It is accelerated freefall, going quite fast that things in your bags might start to float.

This attraction is obviously not suitable for young children. Even some young adults were noticeably disturbed. There is a guest height requirement of 102cm for this attraction.

Tokyo DisneySea - Tower of Terror / haunting at night

Even non-riders can experience the curse of Shiriki Utundu from outside. Watch this video to see (and hear) the effect of green lightning surging from Hightower’s Penthouse and striking elevators to make them drop.


An Introduction | Getting There and Around | Pocket Wi-Fi | Tips and Tricks

Tokyo DisneySea

Mediterranean Harbor | Mediterranean Harbor at night | Fortress Explorations
Magellan's | American Waterfront | Tower of Terror | Toy Story Mania!
Port Discovery | Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Crystal Skull
Lost River Delta & Raging Spirits | Sindbad's Storybook Voyage
Arabian Coast | Arabian Coast at night | Mermaid Lagoon
Mysterious Island | Journey to the Center of the Earth
Mysterious Island at night & 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

Tokyo Disneyland

World Bazaar | World Bazaar at night | Adventureland | Pirates of the Caribbean
Westernland & Big Thunder Mountain Railroad | Splash Mountain
Haunted Mansion | Pooh's Hunny Hunt | Fantasyland | Fantasyland at night
Cinderella's Fairy Tale Hall | Toon Town | Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin
Monsters, Inc. Ride & Go Seek | Star Tours: The Adventures Continue
Tomorrowland & Space Mountain | Happiness is Here Parade


Subscribe to dejiki.com or Like our Facebook page for notifications of updates:

, , , , , , , , , ,

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Links | TowerSecrets - December 22, 2013

    […] Dejiki.com: Can’t afford a trip to Japan?  Dejiki’s post is the next best thing!  This extraordinarily detailed and photo-rich English-language tour of the Tokyo DisneySea Tower of Terror is almost like being there. […]

Leave a Reply