The Iconic Disney World Rides That Offer A Different Experience Every Time

One thing that keeps certain Disney attractions, even old-school ones, fresh is the variations they offer, ensuring no two experiences onboard are alike. This goes beyond boat or dark rides that provide different views depending on where you sit. Even with rides like those, you might get bored with what you see when you've visited Disney World enough times. Before you board "It's a Small World" for the umpteenth time and its music loops endlessly through your head — driving you insane — head over to Disney's Hollywood Studios. There, classic rides like the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and Star Tours — The Adventures Continue are designed to be different each go-round.

Though the Tower of Terror welcome sign on World Drive was removed in 2022, the ride is still inside Hollywood Studios, where it's been a mainstay of the Sunset Boulevard area since 1994. Inside the cobwebbed Hollywood Tower Hotel, the bellhops will usher you through the library and boiler room onto a haunted service elevator. Along the way, you'll be greeted by voice actor Mark Silverman's impersonation of "Twilight Zone" TV host Rod Serling.

The elevator has been known to go into freefall when lightning strikes. Pulling you down quicker-than-gravity through a 20-story tower, it's one of Disney's fastest thrill rides. Even if you know the drill, you may not know that Tower of Terror's elevator drops are randomized. You won't know when exactly they're coming or how long they'll last.

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror employs 'random' drops

The official line on Tower of Terror (via Disney Parks Blog) is that it subjects you to a "drop sequence that is randomly selected by the 5th dimension." In reality, these pre-programmed sequences aren't completely random. It isn't a social experiment where there's some mischievous, power-tripping Disney Cast Member just pushing buttons on a whim to make you fall 199 feet. Since the early 2000s, there have reportedly been four drop sequences in Tower of Terror, ensuring it's "never the same fear twice" for repeat guests.

Unless you're a frequent rider who has experienced each pattern multiple times, you're not likely to have all four perfectly memorized. This adds suspense to the ride and gives it an unpredictable edge. The bellhops in the hotel pre-show can also ham it up and help make each trip through Tower of Terror's queue unique.

Outside Tower of Terror, Hollywood Studios has fewer rides than parks like the Magic Kingdom. This, coupled with longer lines, may be why it's the worst-rated Disney park. Arguably, though it costs more, the best way to experience Hollywood Studios is After Hours. This is one of those special Disney events for shorter ride waits, where the number of nighttime visitors is capped. When I attended the event one "Star Wars" Day, Tower of Terror was a walk-on with no wait. Under conditions like those, you could conceivably ride it once, then turn right back around and board it again.

The adventures continue (250 times) in Star Tours

Thanks to the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, what Hollywood Studios lacks in ride quantity, it makes up in rides that always feel fresh. Yet more than one vintage attraction here could be said to offer a different experience each time. After you're done riding (and re-riding) Tower of Terror, you can find more randomized ride sequences aboard Star Tours — The Adventures Continue.

Star Tours bills itself as a ride where there's "always a new adventure" to be had. When your Starspeeder takes off for a simulated 3D flight through the "Star Wars" universe, it shuttles you around to various planets — and you'll never know which worlds you'll see. Some are from the original movie trilogy, and others are from the prequels and sequels. In April 2024, Star Tours also added some new locations from the Disney+ shows, "Ahsoka," "Andor," and "The Mandalorian."

In theory, this attraction is infinitely re-ridable because it mixes and matches different planet combos for over "250 storyline variations," per Disney. One minute, you are on the ice planet Hoth from "The Empire Strikes Back." The next minute, you may be on the scavenger world of Jakku from "The Force Awakens" — or somewhere else entirely. Re-ride this attraction and Tower of Terror enough, and your head may start spinning like that door in the Twilight Zone. Beyond it is a vacation where you'll maybe never have the same ride experience twice at Disney's Hollywood Studios.