Much of the film was shot at the actual attraction at Disney-MGM Studios. The rest was filmed on a closed stage in Hollywood, California.
Buzzy Crocker is a journalist who was fired from the Los Angeles Banner (where his then girlfriend Jill worked) for publishing a news story which turned out to be fake. He now writes for a supermarket tabloid, "The National Inquisitor". Buzzy is close friends with his young niece Anna.
An elderly woman named Abigail Gregory comes to visit Buzzy, and explains that on Halloween in 1939, she was witness to an amazing incident in the Hollywood Tower Hotel, when five hotel guests - singer Carolyn Crosson, her boyfriend Gilbert London, much-loved child actress Sally Shine, her nanny Emeline Partridge, and bellhop Dewey Todd, - mysteriously disappeared when they were in an elevator on their way up to a party at the Tip Top Club.
Abigail says that the nanny, Emeline, was a witch who tried to put a curse on Sally, only for the curse to misfire, trapping all of the five people who were in the elevator as ghosts, who haunt the hotel. Buzzy however reads in a book of spells that the curse can be reversed by its opposite. Abigail also explains that items belonging to the passengers must be found, and what happened in 1939 must be repeated. Buzzy and Anna enlist the help of Chris "Q" Todd, the grandson of Dewey, the bellhop. Q is reluctant, but he decides to help his deceased grandfather and the four guests, especially as he stands to inherit the hotel if the curse can be lifted.
Entering the hotel Buzzy and Anna meet an actress named "Claire Poulet", who had been hired so Buzzy could take fake pictures of the "ghosts" for the supermarket tabloid. Buzzy vainly tries to develop a relationship with Claire, to which the latter also expresses her feelings. Fearing an intrusion, some of the ghosts appear and attempt to frighten off Buzzy and Anna, but Anna bravely offers to help the ghosts escape the curse. Finally the ghost of Carolyn appears. It is immediately apparent that she is the same "Claire Poulet" that Buzzy already talked to. Anna accuses Emeline of cursing the other guests. Shocked and dismayed at being put to blame, Emeline states her innocence, to which the other ghosts agree.
It is then revealed that Abigail is the sister of Sally Shine. Abigail was jealous of her younger sister's talents. Although Halloween was Abigail's birthday, no one seemed to have remembered: no presents, no party. Abigail was the one who cursed her sister. Abigail has been in a sanitarium ever since, but is allowed out on day release.
Buzzy realizes that finding the personal effects of the other guests and repairing the elevator has given Abigail the means to complete her spell. Jill has joined the group, and they rush back to the hotel, but they are too late. The ghosts are boarding the elevator. Anna runs in, and Sally runs out of the elevator. The elevator moves up. The group confronts Abigail, who then tearfully admits her wrongdoing.
The elevator continues to move up, but gets stuck on the eleventh floor, with only minutes left before the final phase of the curse comes into effect. Sally explains that the big party in the 12th-floor club was a surprise birthday party for Abigail. Sally apologizes to Abigail for not being able to get to the party. Sally has kept the present she wanted to give to Abby: a golden bracelet with two hearts engraved with their names. Abby, Buzzy, Q, Jill and Sally board the service elevator, catching up with the others on the eleventh floor. Anna manages to escape from an emergency escape hatch, rejoining Buzzy and the others in their elevator. At exactly 8:05pm, lightning strikes the hotel again, as happened in 1939, and both elevators plummet downwards. Amidst the chaos, Sally forgives her sister, and as they lovingly hold hands, they both dissolve into a shower of golden sparkles, breaking the curse and safely stopping both elevators just as they were about to crash.
Buzzy and his group accompany Gilbert, Sally, Dewey, Carolyn and Emeline up to the party in the Tip-Top Club on the top floor, restored to its former glory. One by one, the ghosts then ascend to Heaven, along with the other partygoers. Abigail, now a child again, appears with Sally, and thanks her for the present. The sisters then hold hands and vanish into golden sparkles, reversing the curse on the hotel. With the spell broken, the Hollywood Tower Hotel is re-opened to the public, with Q taking charge as the new owner.Steve Guttenberg – Buzzy Crocker
Kirsten Dunst – Anna Petterson
Nia Peeples – Jill Perry
Michael McShane – Chris 'Q' Todd
Amzie Strickland – Abigail "Abby" Gregory
Melora Hardin – Carolyn Crosson / Claire Poulet
Alastair Duncan – Gilbert London
Lindsay Ridgeway – Sally "Sally Shine" Gregory
John Franklin – Dewey Todd
Wendy Worthington – Emeline Partridge
Lela Ivey – Patricia Petterson
Richard Minchenberg – Dr. Daniels
Marcus Smythe – Surgeon
Don Perry – Great Grand Dad
Michael Waltman – Reporter
Ben Kronen – Mr. Galvao
Bill Elliot – Bandleader
Shira Roth – Young Abigail
Lynne Donahoe – Chloe
Dean Marsico – Photographer
In 2015, it was announced that a remake of the film was reportedly in development, written by John August and produced by Jim Whitaker.