Monday, April 16, 2018

A Tale of Two Towers: In The Twilight Zone

          If you believe the hype, Tokyo DisneySea is the best thing since sliced bread, or at the very least since Walt first dedicated the original Disneyland in Anaheim. Chock full of densely detailed environments and original attractions, it is often lauded as the quintessential modern take on the theme park genre. So much of the praise for the park goes to its willingness to take risks and try out new concepts, but I think there is another element at work here that is often overlooked: DisneySea's penchant for taking things that worked well and making them even better. Tokyo's reworked 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea attraction is a prime example of this approach, taking a beloved (now extinct) ride and altering ride systems and show scenes to create an experience that may even outclass the original. A strange creature, this sub ride. 

          Yet it is not the only one, for the Tokyo Tower of Terror is an even stranger creature. While not a unique attraction thanks to its Twilight Zone predecessors, it nevertheless feels like a true original. It lives and breathes in ways that shouldn't be possible for simple stone and mortar. Each segment of the attraction flows seamlessly into the next in ways that the original Twilight Zone Tower cannot. I've thought long and hard, and now finally come to the conclusion that it is Tokyo's Tower of Terror - not the Twilight Zone original - that is the definitive version of the ride. 

          What sets the Tokyo Tower apart from its Twilight Zone-flavored cousins is more than just a matter of different theming. No, what sets this attraction apart are its powerful dual senses of story and ambiance, interwoven so closely that a confluence occurs, transforming the two into one and the same...

          But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's go back to the beginning. In fact, let's turn it into a tour. Yes...a tour through a haunted hotel sounds like a fabulous idea. After all, what's the worst that could happen?