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Tower of Terror Basement Elevator recreation at my home

Tower of Terror Theater

Active Member
Original Poster
CHECK OUT THE NEWEST UPDATE VIDEOS in the past week of November Below!!!

So over the past months after nearly a decade of thought, I have made significant progress in recreating a version of the Tower of Terror Basement elevator using a regular sliding glass door which is the entrance to my home theater.; hence the name of my Youtube channel is Tower of Terror Theater. The channel documents the progress of the project in which the goal is not only to recreate my version of the elevator entrance, but also to add special effects such as thunder/lightning, exploding/smoking/on fire/short-circuiting fuse box, simulated rain, working steam pressure gauge and bursting steam pipe, functional elevator lighted dial and multiple other special effects. Additionally I have made an effort to even expand on the story of the tragic night in 1939, and the journey you take as you enter the Twilight Zone. I am thrilled to have gotten Mark Silverman, the voice talent who does the voice of Rod Serling in the real Tower of Terror, agree to do some custom voice scripts for my recreation (in the near future once I finalize the script) . Check it out, especially if you are a lover of the Tower of Terror

Tower of Terror Theater

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Tower of Terror Theater

Active Member
Original Poster
Wow! Excellent!
So one nice thing about the Tower of Terror is that there are/were multiple versions both in terms of the looks of the elevators, the actual rides, special effects etc. Of course the actual story is fictional. With that in mind I felt more freedom to make the set, the props, and even the story I am telling to basically be my own unique version. For instance although it would have been possible to fabricate almost exact duplicates of the service elevator sign, and the elevator dial, I was able to find antique elevator replicas that kept with the overall theme, and were relatively inexpensive, so I went with those. There are videos on the channel documenting the testing of the special effects (i.e, rain bars, flipping table, elevator dial, bursting steam pipe), some the earliest development videos and diagrams I thought would not be of interest to most viewers so I did not include it. Some of the early testing of the CO2 cannon used for the bursting steam pipe I regret to say were not recorded but VERY impressive, in which I literally sent a multitude of props sitting on a table flying, and turning 25lb stereo receiver sideways from 5 feet away and pointed 30 degrees away from it. Perhaps once I get the first version of the programmed scene together, I will go back and create playlists for the development of individual props from concept drawing stage, to successful/failed initial tests, to finished successful prop for those that may have an interest. I hope others get a kick out of this since it is a dream come true for me. We are still actively making additional special effects yet to be shown in videos, and there still are some exciting concepts in the back of my mind for some really impressive additional special effects, but I wanted to get to a working version of what we have together currently before adding more to the plate.
 
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Rodj

Well-Known Member
So one nice thing about the Tower of Terror is that there are/were multiple versions both in terms of the looks of the elevators, the actual rides, special effects etc. Of course the actual story is fictional. With that in mind I felt more freedom to make the set, the props, and even the story I am telling to basically be my own unique version.
What I meant was with video effects like the preshow for example, will that be showing the Florida tower or the DCA/WDSP tower? I noticed in your testing videos you were using the ride video and preshow from the DCA tower.
 

Tower of Terror Theater

Active Member
Original Poster
This is absolutely insane -- incredible. Can we inform everyone over in the Imagineering threads about this, they're sure to get a kick out of it.

@Tower of Terror Theater any way you can show a behind the scene look of how you rigged the Simulated Rain? I'd love to have a look at it.

There are (4) individual 3/4" PEX lines running from the 1" water line in the garage each with their own individually controllable valves and a motorized 1" valve to be controlled with the scene controller. Each of these lines runs through the Faux steam pipe in the ceiling of the set, and then enters the interior stucco soffit and then runs to the area above the middle of each 10foot patio glass door span where they exit. One of the line feeds a 10ft long "rain bar," which is a 1" x 1" aluminum U tube with 3/4" irrigation pipe inside with small adjustable sprinkler nozzles placed about every 2". The second 3/4" PEX line above each patio door feeds an individual spray head to cover and moisten the entire patio so that it appears there is rain over the whole area and not just in front of the patio doors.

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Tower of Terror Theater

Active Member
Original Poster
What I meant was with video effects like the preshow for example, will that be showing the Florida tower or the DCA/WDSP tower? I noticed in your testing videos you were using the ride video and preshow from the DCA tower.
Not married to any particular videos from particular tower. Still in process of trying to get best quality video and trying to mix multiple sound tracks for voice, elevator noises, thunder, and output through same set of speakers and subwoofers. Fortunately the set builder is also an audio engineer so he tells me the sound mixing should not be that big of a deal.
 
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Epcot_Imagineer

Well-Known Member
There are (4) individual 3/4" PEX lines running from the 1" water line in the garage each with their own individually controllable valves and a motorized 1" valve to be controlled with the scene controller. Each of these lines runs through the Faux steam pipe in the ceiling of the set, and then enters the interior stucco soffit and then runs to the area above the middle of each 10foot patio glass door span where they exit. One of the line feeds a 10ft long "rain bar," which is a 1" x 1" aluminum U tube with 3/4" irrigation pipe inside with small adjustable sprinkler nozzles placed about every 2". The second 3/4" PEX line above each patio door feeds an individual spray head to cover and moisten the entire patio so that it appears there is rain over the whole area and not just in front of the patio doors.

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So these aren't rigged from a hose or something, they're hooked into a water line in the house -- wow that's a lot of work. Makes it look a lot cleaner though, I'll give you that. Any reason you decided to point the holes upward? I'm assuming it gave the rain a more realistic look of running down the house instead of being sprayed right at it.

Any chance I can have a peek at the show controller?
 

Tower of Terror Theater

Active Member
Original Poster
I looked at all the rain simulation devices I could find on Youtube. It seemed the ones other than commercial ones that use high volume water sources, had the best results when the stream of water pointed upward because of the random unpredictability of how the water shoots up and then comes back down and splashes or doesn't splash, creating more variability in droplet size and location. I think it is the randomness that may be the most important factor in realistic-looking rain. Also we placed the "rain bar," 1/2 inch away from the surface of the house so that some water will drip on the house side of the bar, and some will drip on the exterior side of the bar creating more potential for layers of rain rather than just a single layer if we simply shot water up against the surface of the house and let it drip down. After prototyping my rain bar, I gave my original concept drawing to the set designer/builder/special effects guy who did the set, and he actually made the rain bars mounted to the house. He opted rather than drilling small holes in the tubing to place little spray heads in the top of the plastic irrigation tubing inside the U tubing. These little spray heads shoot out 5 or six little streams of water horizontally. I actually dont think this approach is necessarily better, but by adjusting each spray head, I think it looks reasonably realistic to me, and I cant simply remove the spray heads from the irrigation tubing because the hole it leaves squirts so much water that there is not enough water pressure to supply 20 feet of tubing over both spans of patio door. So I am going to likely leave it. The controller we are intending to use is a Boo Box Flex max which is probably most commonly used for haunted house props. boobox-flexmax.html
 
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Phonedave

Well-Known Member
There are (4) individual 3/4" PEX lines running from the 1" water line in the garage each with their own individually controllable valves and a motorized 1" valve to be controlled with the scene controller. Each of these lines runs through the Faux steam pipe in the ceiling of the set, and then enters the interior stucco soffit and then runs to the area above the middle of each 10foot patio glass door span where they exit. One of the line feeds a 10ft long "rain bar," which is a 1" x 1" aluminum U tube with 3/4" irrigation pipe inside with small adjustable sprinkler nozzles placed about every 2". The second 3/4" PEX line above each patio door feeds an individual spray head to cover and moisten the entire patio so that it appears there is rain over the whole area and not just in front of the patio doors.

So the rain scene is actually a real outdoor area, and not a simulated outdoor area.

In other words, the night rain scene only works at night.

At first I thought you had built a rain scene inside the house, and I was wondering what you were doing to remove the water. Since it is outside I assume you just let it drain naturally.
 

Tower of Terror Theater

Active Member
Original Poster
So the rain scene is actually a real outdoor area, and not a simulated outdoor area.

In other words, the night rain scene only works at night.

At first I thought you had built a rain scene inside the house, and I was wondering what you were doing to remove the water. Since it is outside I assume you just let it drain naturally.
Yes the simulated rain does occur in a real outdoor patio opposite glass doors from the Tower of Terror Theater set. The simulated rain does work during the day, but the backlighting provided by the lighting strobes highlights really accentuates the effect.
 

Epcot_Imagineer

Well-Known Member
Yes the simulated rain does occur in a real outdoor patio opposite glass doors from the Tower of Terror Theater set. The simulated rain does work during the day, but the backlighting provided by the lighting strobes highlights really accentuates the effect.
Finally watched your other videos that you posted in the Imagineering forum -- The fuse box and smoke is incredible. Can you explain how that was done? A flickering lamp, CO2, and a little motor? Also again if you could share anything about a show controller I would love to see it. I'm trying to think of building something of my own -- just need to figure out how to configure it all to work with the flick of a button. I'm a programmer by trade, noooot as good with the hardware side of it.
 

Tower of Terror Theater

Active Member
Original Poster
Finally watched your other videos that you posted in the Imagineering forum -- The fuse box and smoke is incredible. Can you explain how that was done? A flickering lamp, CO2, and a little motor? Also again if you could share anything about a show controller I would love to see it. I'm trying to think of building something of my own -- just need to figure out how to configure it all to work with the flick of a button. I'm a programmer by trade, noooot as good with the hardware side of it.
If you are a programmer, and you are asking about the hardware side of things, my knowledge of both is none to meager. 3 months ago, I had not even heard of this type of equipment. Thus after first becoming aware of these types of show controllers used in escape rooms and haunted houses, and having no experience in either coding or electronics I knew that at least for this first attempt at a good show I would need some help. I placed a Craigslist ad, and had a response from someone experienced in designing escape rooms, and designing props that lived in my hometown, and got him on board with the project. In subsequent months I have gained a rudimentary knowledge about how these controllers work. So for the BOO Box line of controllers, there is no coding. Essentially they can have inputs and 12 or 24 volt outputs. Dependent on the model, they can have onboard sound recording and amplifier, DMX control for lighting (or control of the CO2 cannon in Tower of Terror Theater). They have a simple button to place in learning mode, and once in learning mode and then they just learn and memorize the sequence and timing of devices you turn on. Then you just can "play back," that sequence when you hit play button. On the website FrightProps.com, they have instructional videos demonstrating the way they can by "programmed," and how they interface to props.

For the exploding fuse box prop, the main part of the prop being the fuse box it is an available prop made on demand by Frightprops including "electronic firecrackers," that make the loud crackling noises and the sparks, and a pneumatic cylinder (need to have a separate air compressor to power the cylinder) to power the opening and closing of the fuse box door. The prop has a controller inside the box that as mentioned previously you teach to open and close the door and when to discharge the firecrackers. I added additional features of the fire simulation and smoke and scent and achieved this (or the technician made it happen) by incorporating the "flame LED board" taken from a LED flickering flame lightbulb, and we obtained a Microfogger 2 (currently unavailable, but reportedly will be re-available in the future) which is a modified vaping device and produces the smoke effect, and lastly I put a pneumatic hose in the box to connect to a scent emitting device again available on Fright Props. GOOD LUCK IN YOUR PROJECTS!
 

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Epcot_Imagineer

Well-Known Member
If you are a programmer, and you are asking about the hardware side of things, my knowledge of both is none to meager. 3 months ago, I had not even heard of this type of equipment. Thus after first becoming aware of these types of show controllers used in escape rooms and haunted houses, and having no experience in either coding or electronics I knew that at least for this first attempt at a good show I would need some help. I placed a Craigslist ad, and had a response from someone experienced in designing escape rooms, and designing props that lived in my hometown, and got him on board with the project. In subsequent months I have gained a rudimentary knowledge about how these controllers work. So for the BOO Box line of controllers, there is no coding. Essentially they can have inputs and 12 or 24 volt outputs. Dependent on the model, they can have onboard sound recording and amplifier, DMX control for lighting (or control of the CO2 cannon in Tower of Terror Theater). They have a simple button to place in learning mode, and once in learning mode and then they just learn and memorize the sequence and timing of devices you turn on. Then you just can "play back," that sequence when you hit play button. On the website FrightProps.com, they have instructional videos demonstrating the way they can by "programmed," and how they interface to props.
Okay interesting. This is a lot better than I imagined. For some reason I figured this would all have to be rigged to some sort of computer system to all sync up, I had no idea these sort of controllers even existed. I've never really been in the world of 'DIY' when it comes to projects like this, so I figure if I look around I'll stumble upon some of it. Thank you!

For the exploding fuse box prop, the main part of the prop being the fuse box it is an available prop made on demand by Frightprops including "electronic firecrackers," that make the loud crackling noises and the sparks, and a pneumatic cylinder (need to have a separate air compressor to power the cylinder) to power the opening and closing of the fuse box door. I added additional features of the fire simulation and smoke and scent and achieved this (or the technician made it happen) by incorporating the "flame LED board" taken from a LED flickering flame lightbulb, and we obtained a Microfogger 2 (currently unavailable, but reportedly will be re-available in the future) which is a modified vaping device and produces the smoke effect, and lastly I put a pneumatic hose in the box to connect to a scent emitting device again available on Fright Props. GOOD LUCK IN YOUR PROJECTS!
Wow, so you have a scent device included in this as well? Fantastic! A couple questions: 1) Does the electronic firecracker require pellets as I'm aware of some cold sparks equipment needing? I'm hoping it's not legitimate sparks and a fire waiting to happen. 2) Where are all of these additional behind the scenes things like the controller/fogger/scent emitter/air compressor? Are these all in the box connected to the fuse box below? Behind the wall? Thank you for answering all of these questions!
 

Tower of Terror Theater

Active Member
Original Poster
Well the electronic firecracker does have a disposable component, and they are designed for only short (few seconds at most) and not continuous bursts of discharge. Are there sparks? Apparently so as per the safety warning in the descriptive video.


So you bring up a good point about fire safety. I did a search for any reports of injuries or fires as a result of flash crackers, electronic firecrackers and did not find any, but of course this does not mean there are none. So it would obviously be wise to have this device isolated from potential curious hands or flammable items. In the case of my set, the entire system rests in a depowered state which can only be turned on by deliberate turning on via the home automation system of the home that only I know about, and then the actual electronic firecracker is only programmed and can only discharge after the depression of the elevator button, and after the preprogrammed length of time after the elevator button push which I will always be present. My device is enclosed in a metal enclosure, high up enough to keep out of reach of children, and I intend to place a "Out of Service" sign reproduced from the sign in the Hotel lobby in the TOT to block the pathway to both the exploding fuse box and the location of the bursting steam pipe. I think It will be wise to also have a fire extinguisher within a few feet as well. Thanks for raising my awareness.

Virtually all the equipment including the controller, the air compressor, the CO2 cannon, the AV receiver, sub amp, the scent pneumatic solenoid, Media players, the lightning/thunder simulator, the water valves controlling the rain devices etc are located on the other side of the wall you see on the right side of the set in the garage. All the 110V voltage lines are running either on the inside in stucco walls or through appropriate conduit for safety and all junctions are in appropriate junction boxes.
 
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