Breaking news out of Comic-Con: Guardians of the Galaxy are dropping into Disneyland Resort. Announced at Marvel’s massive panel in Hall H, Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! will be coming to Disney California Adventure in summer 2017. If the picture above looks somewhat familiar, that’s because this ride will replace DCA’s Tower of Terror and use the same building and ride system.
So, what does Disney’s plan to transition from Rod Serling to Rocket Raccoon in Hollywoodland mean?
As it turns out, this announcement had bigger implications than the rumors that initially indicated. While early rumors indicated that the Guardians theme might be a temporary overlay that would come to both Disneyland and Disney World, this is very much a permanent change coming only to Disneyland. The Tower of Terror will give its final bow in Anaheim in January. During a preview video shown at Comic-Con, project lead Joe Rohde mentioned that the Guardians of the Galaxy ride would be the first step in bringing a much stronger Marvel presence to the park. It seems like a Marvel-themed land is very much in the works. It should be interesting to see how this plays out, with Tower of Terror being sandwiched between the new Frozen stage show and It’s a Bug Land. No matter what the future holds, California Adventure will now be the first stateside Disney Park with a full Marvel ride.
The premise and the concept art for Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! look so promising that I don’t mind how awkward it is to type the official name. The Collector has imprisoned the Guardians in a massive fortress. Guests will join Rocket Raccoon to try to escape the fortress and get the Guardians of the Galaxy to safety.
The ride will still feature the same freefall system as Tower of Terror, and the drops will still be randomized. The most exciting part will be the different classic rock soundtracks that Imagineering will be including, giving the ride multiple/random profiles. As someone who visits the parks multiple times a year, something this small can go a long way in making the ride more repeatable.
There are two big questions: Is Disney smart to replace Tower of Terror with Guardians? I come from a somewhat spoiled perspective of someone who gets to visit both Disneyland and Disney World every year, so to me this move has very little downside. Walt Disney World has a superior version of the Twilight Zone: Tower of Terror with greater theming and the 5th dimension room, and that version of the ride is going nowhere. I’d feel much more conflicted if Disney was tampering with the original theme of the original ride. However, since DCA’s Tower of Terror was by all accounts somewhat of a slapdash copy to add a thrill ride to the park in its early years, I actually think it’s a good move for Disney to differentiate this ride and give it an identity of its own. Considering Joe Rohde has an impeccable track record and Marvel is such a huge deal for Disney, I have faith that this will be a very well-done retheme in the vein of Frozen Ever After.
The other question pertinent to readers of this site: What does this mean for Walt Disney World? Well, in the short-term: nothing. Tower of Terror will continue to be themed to the Twilight Zone at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Rumors are still swirling about the Guardians of the Galaxy coming to Epcot, either replacing Mission: SPACE or Ellen’s Energy Adventure. Although I kind of like the symmetry of there being a Mission: BREAKOUT and a Mission: SPACE ride themed around the same IP, I’m hoping these rumors wind up being false. Guardians are very much science fiction, and while that works in an Adventure-themed park or even Tomorrowland, Future World should veer closer to science fact.
Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! opens at Disney California Adventure in summer 2017.