Falling Short in Appreciation Until It's Gone for Good - Hollywood Tower Hotel, DCA - Twilight Z
On the morning of January 3rd 2017, I woke up with a feeling of emptiness as if an old friend had gone away for good and I didn't realize how much they meant to me until they were now gone. Never again would I get to experience the ghastly glitz and glamour of the Hollywood Tower Hotel at Disney California Adventure. Never again would I feel the adrenaline of knowing the heart-stopping plummeting I was about to experience being slightly attenuated by a corny joke told by the ghoulish bell hop as the elevator doors closed. Since the announcement of its impending closure, this morning was the first time it truly bummed me out, perhaps now because it's too late to visit and soak it all in before the hotel lobby closes for good.
Three weeks prior on December 12th, 2016, I was fortunate enough to visit, say my own farewell and enjoy the "Late Checkout" promotion where, after dark, the ride was operated in total darkness and with most of the sound track muted. Definitely a fitting and creepy way to say goodbye. However, now that it's gone, I regret not soaking it in more. I wish I took more pictures. I wish I spent more time in the souvenir shop upon exiting the attraction. I wish I rode it more than just once. Above you can see a couple of my edited pictures from that evening which I will always cherish. Man, I miss this attraction already! As I reflect back, it is amazing to me that Disney could take a non-Disney property like the Twilight Zone and put so much of it's own magic in, essentially making something so special that people of all ages could enjoy time and time again in true Disney spirit. Everything about this ride - the line ques, the hotel lobby, the story line, the thrills, the souvenir shop upon exiting - it all oozed the same Disney Imagineering magic that I am completely enamored with. You didn't have to be a Twilight Zone fan, or a Disney fan for that matter, to completely fall in love with this attraction. From the day it opened back in 2004, it was always a must-do attraction when visiting California Adventure.
Another casualty of the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror's closing, is that an amazing voice talent (and huge Disney fan) no longer has a presence at the park. Mr. Mark Silverman voiced the character of Rod Serling in the ride's introduction video. I am told that Mark Silverman is the only individual who has the blessing of Rod Serling's estate to voice his character. Yes - his impression is that good. I have to imagine that Mr. Silverman is a little bummed about his presence leaving California Adventure which is encompassed together with Walt Disney's original park as part of Disneyland Resort. In fact, he said as much when I had the privilege of meeting him at a signing hosted by Creature Features back on November 19th, 2016. (Details of this event are found in my blog entry HERE) I knew ahead of time he would be there as part of the signing so I brought my most prized Hollywood Tower Hotel possession to see if he would sign it - an electronic service bell from the grand opening of the attraction that when pressed plays some eerie sound effects. Also, Mr. Silverman had brought along a HTH lithograph to give out and sign. Given the impending closure of this attraction, this meeting could not have taken place at a better point in time. A little bit of Pixie Dust must have been sent my way once again. Photos can be seen above of the items Mr. Silverman graciously signed. When it came time for me to interact with Mr. Silverman, we had casually discussed the disappointment in the attraction's closure and how there is now even more motivation to visit Walt Disney World Resort in Florida where the original incarnation of the attraction still remains for now at the Disney Hollywood Studios park. We even kind of chuckled that the same is true of the Country Bear Jamboree - Florida is now the only place my family can get to experience such a special show and classic attraction that once existed at Disneyland.