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The "Creeping Lightning" effect.


Well-Known Member
Original Poster
One of my favorite effects at Disney is at the Tower of Terror...when the doors open on the ghost scene, a lightning strike causes the ghosts to fade out into static....but then the lightning lingers, and creeps across the walls. It does this again in the 5th Dimension room.
The same effect is used at the new Test Track (lightning bolt hits in front of you at the old "antilock brakes" test) and at the Indiana Jones Adventure rides at Disneyland and DisneySea when the riders pass the Eye of Mara/Crystal Skull reveal.

So...how does Disney do that? I always thought it was laser projections, but I've heard some people swear that it's fiber optics.


Well-Known Member
My guess on things like Indy and Tower of Terror is that the lightning bolts are either a) projected onto the walls using gobos (patterns) in lights focused on the walls and are flashed in rapid succession, or b) the walls have lightning pattern sections that can be back-lit in rapid succession.

I've only ridden Test Track once since the change to 2.0, so I didn't get a good look at the lightning effect.

Modern versions of the Tower effect wuld probably use video projectors mapped to the walls to project the lighting. (Similar to the new witch transformation scene in Snow White in Disneyland)



Active Member
It's been awhile since I've really looked on those things. There was this stuff we used to use at an old haunt I used to work at that was similar to fiber optic that worked really good for that sort of thing and was really intense. I doubt it's lasers since those tend to give a "shaky" effect. They were too crisp looking in my opinion to be a gobo. I want to say the stuff was called "fyre wire," (not like the computer cable) or something like that. It's similar to a L.E.D.


I'll look at those effects when I am next there to try to be sure. But they could be done many ways. EL tape (Electroluminescent tape cut to a pattern) then lit elsewhere with a peppers ghost effect would work. So would a projection. If I were building it and already had the glass set up for a pepper's ghost gag, I'd place the effect there where it can remain very hidden. Fiber optic placement within the walls would be pretty expensive for an effect you could do as well "on the cheap".


New Member
Sorry for bringing back this thread to life after a while (if it was bad to up a thread from lon long ago said it to me)
SO for the Tower of Terror, as it was exactly the same for DCA (now diying :( ) and the DLP one wich i have the Show Set, i can affirm that it's EL wire in the looking glass scene
For the haunted hallway, there is EL wire on the beam (english for "poutre"? not sure) on the wall, cutting the hallway in 3. Onto the walls are EL wire too.
Sorry for the word wich in french is "poutre" that i wroted beam, i'm not sure but my dictionnary show it was it... a "poutre" is a element wich usually support a structure, so if the word beam is right, that's great :)

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