Orlando, FL

Don't be rude to this (potentially) haunted doll at the Hollywood Tower of Terror

Evie M.

The famous Hollywood Tower of Terror at Disneyworld, OrlandoAlexf Creative Commons Attribution 3.0

I’ve said it before and I will say it again, but Disney World rules Orlando. Even before moving here when I scored a gig performing on the Disney Magic almost ten years ago, when I first rolled up to Orlando for Traditions at Disney World, you could tell Disney World is the city, no matter how many other incredible attractions there are to see that tourists have no clue about.

Now that I’ve lived here for about a year, I have at least an idea of just how much Orlando and Florida as a whole has to offer beyond Disney World, but of course I was pulled back in when I started to remember all the creepy stories I heard during my time with the company.

Any Disney Cast Member (or Crew Member, as we were called aboard the ship) knows at least a few of the weird lore that comes out of the park. With a company as prestigious (and historic) as Disney, there are bound to be things in the shadows, or at least rumors. However, there are several unexplainable stories that have stuck past the initial shock phase, and have many reports from patrons and cast members alike that maybe there is indeed some merit to them.

Bring in the famous Hollywood Tower of Terror. My favorite ride besides Indiana Jones at Disneyland in Anaheim, the Tower of Terror is a Disney Icon if there was one. Sadly, though the new ride is a lot of fun, Disney World (Hollywood Studios, to be more precise), is the only home for the Tower of Terror after the one in California Adventures turned into Guardians of the Galaxy Mission: BREAKOUT!

(In response to the popularity of Guardians of the Galaxy, Disney World made an excellent decision not to touch the Tower of Terror and instead released a brand new ride in EPCOT called Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind.)

I can honestly deal with the loss of the California ride, though devastating. And that’s because at least the original in Orlando is fine. That’s right, this is the original Hollywood Tower of Terror, which means, of course, there’s history.

The Hollywood Terror of Terror is a relatively new ride to Disney World, opening to very excited Disney fans in the summer of 1994. Considering it’s not a real haunted hotel, the incredible Disney Imagineers had a task on hand, working hard to not ruin the fantasy of this creepy other-worldly hotel and staying within state law. The incredible history of the ride laid out by Orlandovacation.com points out that the reason the Tower of Terror stands at 199 ft. tall instead of a full 200 ft. is because buildings that “reach or surpasses 200 ft must have an aircraft beacon be placed on top.” It's the second tallest ride in the park next to Expedition Everest at Animal Kingdom.

So clever and cool! I had no idea about this. Or that there was an apparent haunted doll that likes to ruin days unless you are polite to him.

Now, for anyone who’s even at least seen a picture of the interior of the Tower of Terror, the dusty but elegant hotel motif is littered with several props. One of those props, which I’ll admit I am mad I didn’t see, is a ventriloquist’s dummy, and I just rode it like last month, so I’m extra annoyed.

The Doll, named Caesar, is from an episode of the Twilight Zone titled “Caesar and Me”. In the episode, the 5th dimension brings Caesar to life, and he takes over his master, a ventriloquist named Jonathan West, making him do horrible things until he was arrested, where he possessed a girl named Susan. Caesar is placed in the basement of the Tower of Terror Hotel and kept down there. The End. Or…?

Dun, dun, dun.

Caesar on the Tower of Terror in Hollywood Studios, which I am so mad I missed, can be seen in the basement of the ride and is, in fact, a jump scare. When the lights come on at the end of the ride. But Caesar is (apparently) a lot more than just a fun nod to the Twilight Zone. Cast members say if Caesar isn’t greeted, he will “cause trouble around the attraction.” Interesting.

And, as a bonus, while looking for info on Caesar, I ran across another story about the potential ghost of a cast member bellhop who could be haunting the ride, but I’ll write that article later. As for Caesar, could it be the ghost of George ride-hopping? A trick of the light? Superstition? Let me know what you think.

I can’t wait to go back to Disney World and see for myself. Who’s coming with me?

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Orlando, FL

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