Display intended to promote new attraction

The “Twilight Zone Tower of Terror” float in Thursday’s Rose Parade was designed to advertise a Disney thrill ride.

But the name evokes grim memories for some people who lost loved ones in the terror attacks on the twin towers of the World Trade Center.

“It’s disturbing to me,” said Sally Regenhard, whose son, Christian, was one of the firefighters killed in the terror attack. His death prompted her to form the Skyscraper Safety Campaign in New York, which aims to improve safety in tall buildings.

Regenhard said the float might be “trivializing injury and possible death.”

“I’d much rather see something that’s positive and would give a good feeling to the American public … connected to our history or honoring our armed forces,” she said.

Bill Doyle, a resident of New York City, doesn’t object to the float. But merely hearing the word “tower” reminds him of the Sept. 11 tragedy that claimed the life of his son Joseph.

“I’d like to see a different name,” he said.

The float depicts a 100-foot-tall Hollywood hotel that’s struck by lightning and an earthquake, causing an elevator to fall. Stunt performers plunge with the elevator.

The float also features Disney characters such as Mickey Mouse and is covered with roses, carnations and daisies.

It’s patterned after a ride that opened in 1994 at Disney MGM Studios in Florida and has become one of its most popular attractions. A similar ride opens May 4 at the California Adventure park in Anaheim, which has struggled with attendance since opening in 2001.

Disney officials said the float is merely intended to promote the new attraction. Anyone who sees a connection to the terror attack may be “pushing it,” said Disneyland Resort spokeswoman Ruthie Flores.

“The whole intention of the float is to create some interest in what we think is going to be a fun new attraction,” said Disneyland Resort spokesman John McClintock. “We’re all about people enjoying themselves.”

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