Tower of Terror, 2005

Tower of Terror, Disney Studios, WDW, February 4, 2005

We have been to Studios many times since our first trip in ’99 but we have never ridden the Tower of Terror. We’d heard so much about the theming that we have toured the outside and gift shop, one of our favorite gift shops with Twilight Zone bath robes, towels, and front desk bell. But the Tower of Terror (ToT) has become a symbol for Kathy facing her fears. In the middle of the night, she sometimes awakens, feeling like she’s riding the Tower of Terror. This usually happens at night on the day she sends one of her manuscripts to a New York literary agent. In order to conquer that fear, she wanted to make a point of going to Studios just to ride the ToT.

What’s so scary about the ToT? It has something to do with that falling feeling, the feeling of letting go of control, feeling weightless or helpless. For, in this ride, you board an elevator with several other guests and then it goes up 13 stories and falls. Kathy hates freefall. She imagined it would be like The Edge at Great America, a local amusement park in Santa Clara, California. Rich loves to ride The Edge but then he doesn’t have those falling fears. Having watched enough episodes of Starting Over, Kathy knew she had to face her fears by riding the ToT.

So, one Friday morning, February 4, to be exact, Kathy dropped Rich off at work and continued on to Disney Studios at WDW. It was an unseasonably cold day so she stopped into one of the gift shops and purchased a pair of Minnie Mouse socks to wear with her Straprunners to keep her feet warm. Then she headed straight to the ToT. There wasn’t time to chicken out because the line was quite short. Noticing that there were a lot of kids waiting to ride, she figured she could be brave. Before she knew it, she was strapped in the ride, going up, up, up, out, and down, down, and down again. And you know what? It felt good to face her fears and it not only wasn’t nearly as scary as she thought it would be, it was fun!!! Exhilarating, even. In fact, it’s now one of her favorite rides. She can’t wait for Rich’s eye to recover enough so that he can ride it with her.

While she was at it, she also rode Rockin Roller Coaster, but wasn’t all that impressed with that ride. It made her nauseous. Next was The Great Movie Ride for a nostalgic look at old Hollywood musicals like Singin in the Rain and Hollywood heroes, like John Wayne. She headed for a tour of New York Street. After touring the park, popping into gift shops and absorbing the atmosphere, Kathy had lunch at The ABC Commissary and then went back home. She had accomplished her mission and, while it was fun to get in touch with Hollywood nostalgia reminiscent of her childhood, it wasn’t as much fun without Rich.

February 19, 2005

We made a return trip to Studios on this Saturday, although Rich would still not be able to ride the ToT until the gas bubble dissipates from his eye. But one thing Kathy discovered on her solo trip was 50s Prime Time Cafe—a popular restaurant in Studios where you are seated at old kitchen tables and booths and the waiters are family members such as “Mom”, “Dad”, “Brother”, etc. and you are scolded if you don’t eat your veggies, have your elbows on the table, etc.

We walked past 50s Prime Time and peeked in so Rich would know what to expect. He was just as impressed as Kathy so we were looking forward to lunch. In the meantime, we headed past the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular and visited a part of Studios left mostly untouched by us. It was like visiting a new park. We did Drew Carey’s Sounds Dangerous for the first time. This was a sound effects show that you experienced in the dark. It was fun experiencing something new. We then wandered down New York Street, the Star Tours gift shop, rode The Great Movie Ride, and back to the Tower of Terror gift shop. We purchased 3 ToT beanies: Mickey in a ToT costume, Pluto wearing one of the bathrobes and Goofy as a bellman. They are adorable. We’ve added them to our other Disney beanie collection on our dresser.

Before long, it was lunch time: the main reason for our visit. With our Disney Dining Card, as Annual Passholders and Florida Residents, we save 20% at select restaurants. We headed back to 50s Prime Time and were seated before long, and told to set the table. The fun had begun. Brother was pretty easy on us so Kathy let her guard down, which she would regret later.

50s Prime Time Lunch

We told “brother” that “dad” was gouging us with these drink prices and he recommended ordering them without the “electric ice cubes” and save $2 per drink. Good idea. Thanks for the tip, bro.


Rich: Dad’s Electric Lemonade – Dad whips up an electrifying blue drink with Rum, Vodka,
Blue Curacao, Sweet & Sour Mix and Sprite… it is to die for

Kathy: Mowie Wowie – Dad brought this drink back from the Pacific… made with Malibu rum, melon liqueur, peach schnapps, orange and pineapple juices


Rich and Kathy (shared): Smoked Trout Dip – fresh smoked trout, herbs and spices accompanied with baked tortilla chips


Rich: Aunt Liz’s Golden Fried Chicken – served with mashed potatoes, chicken gravy and green beans

Kathy: Old-Fashioned Pot Roast – slow-roasted until fork tender, mashed potatoes, carrots, celery and onions

We shared bites and everything was delicious but the pot roast was especially tasty. Rich, usually the one to leave veggies on his plate, made sure he had eaten every last bite. Kathy, however, didn’t give it a second thought when she left the finely shaven carrots on her plate. She usually loves carrots but not these. These were more like a garnish. Uh, not so fast, missy. Brother was right on it, asking why she hadn’t eaten her veggies? He scooped up a bite of carrots on Kathy’s fork and said, “Come on, one more bite. Yes, one more bite.” Turning totally red, Kathy did finish her one more bite of carrots.

Having accomplished everything we had set out to do, including using our Rewards Card points for the beanies, we headed home.

About Kathy

Novelist & Music Producer