Origin

The Tower of Terror has its origins 3000 miles away in Paris. Part of the original plans for Disneyland Paris was Geyser Mountain in Frontierland - just past Phantom Manor, next to the geyser that exists today (the only part actually built.) This would have been a mine train ride through a mountain, with a geyser bursting out from the tracks and catching your train from below... then pushing it up a chasm and out of the top of the mountain - and dropping you back down onto the tracks. The water jets would have hidden an elaborate free fall mechanism. Sound familiar?

This attraction never got off the planning stage, but the idea stayed in Paris. Discovery Mountain was to be built soon after DLP opened in April 1992, being twice as large as the present Space Mountain. As well as housing the space rollercoaster, there was to be a Journey to the Center of the Earth attraction (all based on Jules Verne.) This was way before the DisneySea version (or indeed the MGM tram tour version) and had a freefall ride vehicle. At least 2 versions of this were looked at - one had a vehicle with a `drill` underneath it to plunge straight down into the floor (volcano), the other was a more elaborate steel rig where the ride would either start or finish with the passenger vehicle on its side in a curved spur off of the main drop shaft. Due to DLP`s financial issues, Discovery Mountain was shrunk into Space Mountain, and so the idea was mothballed again.

About this time (1990-1) TWDC were looking to expand the over popular studios. The Disney-MGM Studios was built as a half park a) to beat Universal and b) due to EPCOT Centers doubling of budget. The first major expansion was Sunset Blvd (to compliment Hollywood Blvd) and to add some much needed D or E rides to the park, and even out traffic flow away from the relative excitement of The Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, Star Tours and Muppetvision 3D.

All early plans for Sunsets attractions were scrapped - Mickeys Movieland was pretty much covered in the Animation tour, Roger Rabbits Hollywood was embroiled in copyright issues, and Dick Tracey had flopped at the cinema (plus the Crimestoppers attraction was scrapped since Eisner didn`t want guests shooting guns at `real` targets in the parks - how things change with Buzz Lightyear!!). What was needed was a major E Ride, and preferably one to act as a weenie, to move guests past (and through) the shops of Sunset. Space was reserved for future attractions on Sunset (Rock 'n Roller Coaster`s plot, Fantasmic!'s plot, the third plot between these two and the Farmers Market area - always planned to

Sunset Boulevard Concept Art
be a temporary structure.) Until these spaces were filled, the Disney-MGM Studios needed a must see at the end of Sunset. And out of the archives came the freefall ride.
Construction on Sunset Boulevard