Harrison Hightower III is the main protagonist of Tokyo DisneySea's version of the Tower of Terror and a minor character in the Mystic Manor. He is a wealthy explorer and entrepreneur, as well as a member of the Society of Adventurers and Explorers.
His performance model and voice were provided by Joe Rohde.
Hightower is an elderly man with white hair, beard, and mustache. He is commonly pictures wearing fur coats, leather boots, vests, travel pants, white gloves, and decadent fezzes adorned with jewels and tassels.
Hightower was born in New York in 1835. He would attend Boarding School at the age of 12, where he bullied fellow schoolmate Cornelius Endicott III. Even after school, the two would row into business rivals.
Hightower inherited a large amount of wealth from his parents and used it to turn the old family manor into Hotel Hightower, where he would store valuables and antiquities that he collected from around the world. He eventually joined the Society of Adventurers and Explorers.
Hightower became infamous for his greed and his extreme methods of acquiring precious artifacts, including paying outrageous prices and, as rumor told, even theft.
At some point in his life, Harrison and a group of explorers were wandering around the jungle when one day they stumbled upon a 5,000-year-old temple with two idols and altars, one of fire, one of water. Harrison attempted to take one of the head shrines but caused the gods to wreak havoc on the temple.
Trip to the Congo
Hightower and his crew eventually explored the Congo. while there, they were attacked by hostile natives. During their escape, Hightower and his men encountered the mysterious Mtundu tribe, who took them in and treated them with hospitality and invited them to join them in a meal, to which Hightower accepted. During the meal, he became interested in an idol that the tribe had on display. The chief's son, Kibwana, told Hightower that the idol was that of Shiriki Utundu, a violent deity that inhabited the idol and killed and tortured those who disrespected it.
Hightower was intrigued by the story and offered to buy the idol from the tribe in exchange for valuables. The tribe refused, angering Hightower. Hightower stole the idol and escaped with his men in their canoes, though the tribe made little effort to chase or stop him.
For the remainder of his expedition, Hightower mounted the idol on the tip of his canoe. All tribes that saw the idol showered the canoe in gifts, not out of respect, but of fear.
Hightower returned to Hotel Hightower in New York and threw a New Year's Eve Party to boast about his latest find. He showed off the idol, falsifying how he obtained it and even had reporters who questioned the idol's magic thrown out.
The celebration was a success, and at the stroke of midnight, Hightower got into his hotel's elevator and began going upwards towards his suite for bed. However, he disrespected the idol by extinguishing a cigarette on its head. This awakened Shiriki Utundu once more, and it proceeded to use magic to drop and crash the elevator, killing Hightower. His body was never recovered.
Shiriki Utundu then forced Hightower's ghost into eternal limbo by making his ghost haunt his own hotel for all time.
Years later, the journalist Manfred Strang and the head of the New York Preservation Society, Beatrice Rose Endicott, returned to the hotel hoping to preserve it as a landmark. Strang was cautious and fearful of the legend of the Shiriki Utundu idol, but Endicott mocked the legend and the idol, even pushing the idol around when she found it in an office. The phone then rang, with the person on the other end warning them about the idol, but Endicott thought it was a prank.
The two made their way to Hightower's Suite, finding the idol had mysteriously moved up there with them. The phone rang again with the same person warning them of the idol. Strang realized this caller was the ghost of Hightower, who alerted them that Shiriki Utundu had once again been awakened. The two saw the idol's eyes open and fled. Though they both escaped, Strang begged Endicott not to proceed with preserving the hotel or giving tours. However, she ignored his pleas and went ahead with her plans anyway.
Tower of Terror
The attraction is the result of the tours given by the New York Preservation Society. Guests enter the hotel, they are shown the idol on a pedestal next to a stained glass window portraying Hightower. The tour guide then explains to the guests about Hightower, then winds up a gramophone that plays Hightower's last interview. As this occurs, the lights dim and the window changes to show Hightower holding the idol, entering the elevator, and dropping to his death. The Shiriki Utundu idol then comes back to life, grinning and cackling maliciously at the guests before him, He then vanishes in a wave of stars, creating a dark fog and turning the stained glass image of the hotel green.
After guests board the elevators, they can hear Hightower's spirit explaining the idol to them, while Shiriki Utundu's glowing green eyes are seen peering through the darkness. The elevator arrives at a floor with the idol and the ghost of Hightower, attempting to warn the guests. However, Shiriki Utundu uses magic to force Hightower into another elevator and drops him, similar to the event that took his life. Shiriki Utundu cackles at the guests and teleports away.
As guests reach another floor and see a mirror, Shiriki Utundu appears in the mirror laughing. He then lunges at the elevator wielding magic, causing the elevator to sharply rise to the top of the building and bob up and down. As the elevator reaches the top of the shaft, guests can see Shiriki Utundu's shadow as the idol reaches the top of the elevator and uses his dagger to cut the cable, causing the elevator to drop. Shiriki Utundu cackles and mocks the doomed passengers as they fall, his face lunging at them from a star-field. The elevator lands and the guests survive, but Shiriki Utundu's eyes are seen glowing in the darkness once more before he cackles and vanishes, leaving the guests to escape.
- Hightower may be related to George Hightower, one of the last owners of the Haunted Mansion and the last unfortunate husband of Constance Hatchaway.
- Hightower's exhibition to the gods' temple and attempted theft of the water idol caused the gods to wreck havoc on the temple. This is the backstory of the Tokyo DisneySea ride Raging Spirits.