A quick review here. I rode it 7 times in 2 hours this morning, then I had to go to work.
The doors opened at 9:45am and I was about the 20th person in line. They let us into the lobby and we queued up through the left side which has the check-in reception for the hotel. Across the lobby is the actual fallen elevator from the night of Hightower's disappearance. It has not been "restored." Many elements of the lobby are as they were on the last "fateful night." There are some chandeliers and murals depicting Hightower in his worldwide travels.
Once passing the check-in counter the queue turns left towards a CM who separates the guests into two groups. In either side, each group is taken into a waiting area. The walls of the room have framed pictures of items Hightower has "collected." It is here that another CM explains who Hightower is and introduces the "Shiriki Utundu" idol. Next they are lead to the study. We see Hightower's desk, the idol perched either to the left or right. A large stained-glass looking picture can be seen on the wall behind the desk.
[ NOTE: Left side waiting room = desk is on the right in study room = idol is to the right of the stained glass display = boarding on second floor. Right side waiting room = desk is on the left in study room = idol is to the left of the stained glass display = boarding on first floor.]
The story of Hightower's disappearance is told. The idol's eyes light up green as the stained glass changes images and shows how the elevator fell and the hotel was abandoned thereafter. At the end, the idol mysteriously vanishes from its perched location.
The other side of the study's doors open to a hallway leading to the storage area of Hightower's collectibles. At the point, the groups from the left and right side run parallel for a short distance before the left side goes up the stairs and the right remains in the first floor. The top floor contains items from Asia and Latin America. The bottom has items from Egypt, Africa and tropical locales.
There are three waiting rooms on each floor. Each is themed to a different geographical location. One of the rooms, for example, has graphics and items from the Temple of the Crystal Skull. Another has tapestries from Arabian countries. When guests area assigned a seat location number, they don't necessarily tell you where to face, so the doors to enter the elevators are kind of hidden until they actually open.
Once inside the elevator itself, guests use 3-point safety belts that attach from the right and go across the chest to your lower left. Guests are asked to make sure seats belts are fastened in two points. We are seated in rows of:
111S666 (S = no seat)
The CM closes the doors and we begin:
[NOTE: I'm not very good at describing these scenes, so please bear with me.]
* The elevator darkens and moves backwards.
* We see a pair of green eyes in front above us.
* The elevator rises slowly and stops. We see the disappearance scene with Hightower standing next to the idol.
* The idol's eyes flash and zaps away Hightower, he disappears.
* We go up further and see our reflections on a large mirror. Then the "morphing" (???) effect takes place. Idol appears again and flashes its eyes towards us.
* We race up, until we are at the top and the doors open. We are high above the Park and can even see Tokyo way out there! Photo taken.
* The first drop. It's a short quick drop down one floor. We see the outside again. Then...
* The second drop, all the way to the bottom.
* We go up to the lower opened doors.
* Final drop, all the way down. Idol's green eyes appear once more. The ride ends and elevator doors open.
The hotel employee hallways lead us out towards the attraction photo location and the "Memorabilia" souvenir shop.
Well, that's my first report. I'll have video and photos later today. I'll also include more details and translation since the whole ride is in Japanese.
My thoughts: Great queue, story, effects, waiting room, etc. The ride itself is rather tame and I couldn't feel the "drop" effect as well as I did at DCA's this past May. Overall, "A++" for presentation, "B-" for thrill factor.
Well, I guess there has to be one thing that is better in the U.S. than in Tokyo!
Means I've fought the guidelines...
There's an onride video in www.jtcent.com, however, if you want the onride video only, there's already one in YouTube. Just search "TDS TOWER of TERROR".
I think it's creepier!