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End of an icon: Disneyland drops the sign on its Hollywood Tower Hotel

September 20, 2016, 8:21 AM · As first reported by Matthew Gottula on Twitter yesterday, the Disneyland Resort last night removed the "Hollywood Tower Hotel" sign from its Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.

On Twitter this morning, the snark came swiftly.

Disney is not actually demolishing or removing the ride. Instead, it is removing the Twilight Zone theme for the attraction, replacing it with a Guardians of the Galaxy storyline that's quite similar to the Harrison Hightower narrative for Tokyo DisneySea's Twilight Zone-free version of Tower of Terror.

Disney California Adventure's Twilight Zone Tower of Terror will close January 2 and its replacement, Guardians of the Galaxy Mission Breakout, will open sometime this summer. Before the Twilight Zone version goes away, Disney is offering a "Late Check-Out" promotion where the ride operates in total darkness each day after sunset.

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Replies (25)

September 20, 2016 at 9:00 AM · Sad day indeed. I'm almost glad I'm skipping DCA when I go to Cali next month.
September 20, 2016 at 9:23 AM · I might just visit the new Tower ride when its finished. Hurray!!!
September 20, 2016 at 9:25 AM · This is appalling. The art of the show is a thing of the past.
September 20, 2016 at 3:08 PM · I'm not a Disney fanboy BUT would Walt approve of this? Of course not!
September 20, 2016 at 12:19 PM · I know I'm in the minority here, but good riddance. Hopefully DCA will finally have an icon worthy of a Disney park instead of a husk of a burnt out hotel.
September 20, 2016 at 1:06 PM · I always try to be optimistic when changes happen. I love this ride, but change, as well as a lack of change, are 2 things that keep me coming back for more. I love seeing the old stuff... it brings me back to my childhood. We thrive on nostalgia! But then again, the new stuff is often revolutionary and wonderful, so it's all worth it in the end. Yes, I lament the loss of World of Motion and Horizons (so it's true, some closures/replacements are not a good thing), but I also love new things like Everest and Cars Land. Sometimes good rides get closed, but that's the business for you. They've obviously got the area planned for a different purpose, so we'll just have to wait and see. I hated the idea of Cars Land at first, but now I love. I'm sure I'll feel the same way about Avatar. And yes, this will be sad to see, but I'm sure it will be awesome.
September 20, 2016 at 2:03 PM · I can see that switching off the Tower of Terror sign means more than just the sign is turned off. Little by little, more of the ride experience is disappearing. They should consider having the ride in total silence and no lighting effects. Call it "Mission Breakdown Never Checkout".
September 20, 2016 at 2:20 PM · I realize that Disney wants to get the new attraction up and running as soon as possible, but if they're saying ToT will be open until January 2nd, it should be fully open until January 2nd. Taking down that iconic sign certainly diminishes the atmosphere and mystique of the ride... especially considering Disney has launched an entire SoCal marketing campaign alerting the public that it's their "Last chance to check in." Some guests might visit DCA just for ToT, only to find that the opportunity to take that final photo (yes, I know they've created other photo opps, but...) in front of the ride with the ominous "Hollywood Tower Hotel" sign looming in the background has already crossed over into The Twilight Zone...
September 20, 2016 at 3:01 PM · >>>>I'm a Disney fanboy BUT would Walt approve of this?

Using a paid-for IP that is well past its use-by date, which goes unrecognised by younger guests? No.

September 20, 2016 at 3:30 PM · Well since Walt Disney died like 38years before this attraction opened I'm pretty sure no one can say they know what Walt Disney would think of this. In fact, no one can say for certain what he would think of any of the changes that have occurred since his death since he was a real person who's ideas changed/evolved over time. He may have hated the whole Twlight Zone theming and would of loved the Guardian of the Galaxy's Collector idea much more. Who knows?
September 20, 2016 at 4:06 PM · Disney literally just turned off all of the ride content and called it a "new experience." They are now just taking the theming right off the ride. I understand the need to change rides, but if you can do that overnight, just wait until January 3rd to do it! This is just ridiculous! I usually don't get too mad at Disney for closing rides, and I didn't really like ToT @ DCA much anyway. However, this made me legitimately angry. Just wait till the ride is closed.
September 20, 2016 at 4:08 PM · As the removal of the sign does not affect the ride experience at all, I see no reason Disney should be forced to leave it intact until the ride closes. My guess is 90% of the visitors either won't notice or won't care about its absence. If the removal of the sign angers you, I suggest staying away from DCA because the attraction is going to get more and more obstructed as its closure nears.
September 20, 2016 at 4:21 PM · So what? The ride was originally supposed to close this month. Tearing it down bit by bit will allow people to ride it for FOUR EXTRA MONTHS. Everyone should be shocked that this new theme won't take TWO YEARS!! People complain that Disney never does anything new, and then they start doing something new, and everyone's going to complain about how exactly they're doing it. The same kind of whining is happening across the esplanade. "WAH! The boat I never go on is out of commission for a year! The island I never set foot on also! All for a new land that everyone is going to love! WAH!"
September 20, 2016 at 5:39 PM · This is just the first of many changes to happen very soon. Scaffolding and scrims will be going up all around the Tower (while still operating). It was most likely easier to just remove the sign now before the scaffolding went up around it. If you're lucky, the Hollywood Tower Hotel sign will reappear by being printed on the scrim that goes up in it's place.
September 20, 2016 at 9:54 PM · The anonymous poster above is the one who's whining. What we dislike is when Disney replaces something that was popular and embraced by the guests. At the same time, they stubbornly cling to unpopular attractions.

By the way, quite a lazy assumption to talk about Mark Twain Riverboat and Tom Sawyer Island as if no one does those attractions. We always take a ride on the Rivers of America, and also enjoyed Tom Sawyer's Island.

September 20, 2016 at 10:31 PM · To be fair I think the point of his post is pretty spot on. How many times have we seen near hysterics and a barrage of outrage like people declaring they will never set foot in such and such park again because one attraction has been closed or altered? And how many times have we seen the same people do an about-face once they realize the change is not nearly as bad as they had imagined and/or they are in fact thrilled with the new? Forgive us who choose to take a rational wait and see attitude instead of a rush to judgement one. But I will concede that Disney did a really bad job of rolling out the announcement and if possible should have waited to remove the sign until they were closer to the closure date. They should have presented a more complete concept for the whole Marvel Land with an official announcement for the ToT -even a rudimentary one that would have likely changed quite a bit would have been better than nothing as all.
September 20, 2016 at 10:43 PM · Edward: The "Late Check-Out" only happens at night. The ride experience during the day has not changed. As AJ notes, the external sign's removal doesn't affect the ride in any way.
September 21, 2016 at 4:50 AM · So happy this is becoming gaurdians of the galaxy .
September 21, 2016 at 5:27 AM · Tone deaf move, but what do you expect from Igor and Chapek?

California Adventure is now officially dead. The park needs a new name. How about Bobby Igor's Frankenpark? Bob Chapek's Money Land? The Bobs' Superhero Nerd World?

September 21, 2016 at 7:52 AM · When it was announced that the attraction would close in January for the re-theme, re-opening next summer, the cry was Disney was only taking a few months for the project; proof that this would be a cheap, shoddy conversion. Disney then decides start early on the exterior work so enough time is spent to do a good job, BUT will keep the attraction running so people can get those last rides in, the cry is Disney disrespects the ride and the fans. And if Disney shut it down tomorrow to work on the ride and not be disrespectful, I would expect moaning over not being able to ride.
September 21, 2016 at 10:14 AM · My understanding is that they had to remove the sign because they no longer own the rights. And that this was one of the drivers behind the entire ride IP change. I will miss the old Hollywood theming; which fits better in uh HollywoodLand. What do I know. :)
September 21, 2016 at 10:30 AM · I don't take a wait and see attitude when I know that they're jettisoning something great and popular, just to support their latest pet franchise. That's what's happening here. If they want to build a Guardians of the Galaxy ride, they should build one from scratch.

As another example: if they wanted to make a ride or show based on Frozen, why did it have to come at the expense of losing Aladdin, the best stage show I've ever seen in any theme park, and which was still wildly popular?

September 21, 2016 at 11:54 AM · So basically, Still a fan you don't like change. The older you get the more you realize change is an unavoidable fact of life and learn to live with it, or not. But this is a fight you will not win, obviously. Of course, not all change is for the better (Stitch's Great Escape, Mission: Space come to mind) but I'll take BVS over Sunshine Plaza any day. Cheer up it may turn out to be totally awesome. The thing is we have no idea if the the new GoGMBO attraction is going to be better or worst that the TZToT. But it's not hard to understand why they would want to re-theme a "great and popular" attraction to an IP they actually owned rather than continually having to pay a competitor for its rights. Also if DCA is going to get a fully fleshed out Marvel Land/Studios then it makes sense to change it because this is the only area of DCA that has enough room for it and what's there right now is so underutilized. Hollywood Land is pretty much a failure and the whole fake movie studios concept is really tired. It also makes sense to change the stage show up if the whole area is going to eventually change.

The thing I do wish for is that, in the USA at least, Marvel park attractions remain exclusive to DLR. WDW has so many things that DLR doesn't I think it would be only fair to grant them this.

September 22, 2016 at 7:14 AM · Not all change is progress. Bob Iger's record of shoehorning IP into classic attractions is abysmal. Guardians of the Galaxy Tower of Terror is going to stink.
September 22, 2016 at 5:35 PM · Hopefully this will change Hollywood land

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