Posts tagged: video

The Tower of Terror at Tokyo DisneySea

Come, let me tell you a tale of adventure and intrigue, of foreign lands and exotic places, of danger and mystery.  Let me tell you the story of the greatest mural project I have had the pleasure to create.

It all begins in Orlando Florida, at Walt Disney World.  To be exact, the Disney MGM Studios theme park (as it was called then).  In 1994, a brand new ride was introduced to the theme park public.  The Tower of Terror.  I remember watching the progress in the years and months leading up to it’s grand opening.  I was working at the Walt Disney Feature Animation Studios which were located at the MGM Studio Theme park, right next door to the Tower of Terror.

The Tower of Terror attraction in Tokyo

That ride has become very popular and has since been recreated in Disney parks around the world.  The Tokyo Disney-Seas attraction opened in 2006.  It needed a different back-story since the Japanese were not interested in using the story line from the american TV series, “The Twilight Zone” on which the ride was based in the US.  I was commissioned to paint eleven murals that would help tell the story to the guests that arrived at the Tokyo “Hotel” attraction.

One description explains it like this:

“Guests then enter the lobby, a very elaborate and well-decorated room filled with lush furniture and beautiful art. Across each arch near the ceiling is a mural of Hightower* on one of his adventures. If one looks closely, they will notice that he is actually escaping the people in some way with a valuable artifact or item in his possession. At the end of the lobby are the elevator doors, broken open slightly and held in place by a plank of wood. The broken cable is visible inside. Guests are then ushered into a room filled with many pictures of Hightower, his expeditions, and his hotel.”

* Harrison Hightower is the main character in the story line, a wealthy New York hotel baron that travels the world collecting rare artifacts and antiquities.

You can see the ad for the attraction on YouTube.

My task was to paint murals in a victorian style that depicted Harrison Hightower and his travels.  He was always accompanied by his trusted assistant and valet, Smelding.

Hightower and Schmelding in Egypt.

Egyptian treasures.

These treasures were always brought back to the grand Hightower Hotel, located on the waterfront in late 17th century New York City.

Unloading the goods.

Unloading at New York's Waterfront.

In future installments, I shall describe the grand exploits of  Hightower in places such as Mesopotamia, Japan, Transylvania, and Africa.


In a small dugout canoe, Hightower transports his discovery.


The show poster that was used for the grand opening in Tokyo, 2006.