How long does it take to remove a beloved attraction and turn it into something else? Five months. That’s the length of time it took Imagineers to strip the Tower of Terror of its Twilight Zone theme and install a brand new Guardians of the Galaxy ride in its place. Of course, they were working for months on the project before any changes happened in the park, but that’s still an impressively rapid construction schedule by Disney standards.
One thing is for sure, fan sentiment about the pipes covered fortress of the Collector has not been overwhelmingly positive. (Poll results below)
There seems to be three main schools of thought on this new attraction:
- Not happy with anything replacing the Hollywood Tower Hotel – The main argument being that Disney should have built the Guardians ride elsewhere in the park and left the popular Tower of Terror alone.
- Not happy with the aesthetics of the Fortress – The thought behind this philosophy is that the Pipes and chaotic design of the fortress do not mesh with the carefully thought out theme of Buena Vista Street and Hollywood Land. Many of these folks have no problem with a new ride going in, they just don’t like the look of it. (This is sort of the camp I’m in)
- Change is good – Walt said that Disneyland would never be complete and therefore, any change is good. Bob Chapek was giving this quote to a lot of reporters at the press event.
Of course, there are a million versions on the above and I’m simplifying, but while many fans are very excited about the new ride, concerns about its design outweighed just about any other conversation about the attraction while it was being built.
But now it’s time for Disney to face the music. Has all their effort paid off? Does the new ride meet or exceed the entertainment value of the ride it replaces?
Thoughts on the exterior aside, I really enjoyed Mission Breakout. I didn’t go in with high expectations. And, although there is clearly some corner cutting inside, it’s mostly a solid experience and a thrilling ride.
Some of you are going to absolutely love what you are going to see below. But, I know there will be many of you who just aren’t going to like what you see. . . mainly because of what it replaced. Let’s take a quick tour.
SPOILER ALERT – If you don’t want to know what the interior of Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! looks like, please do not read any further.
I was able to ride Mission Breakout 6 times on Saturday morning. I had heard that there were 6 different songs and that there were 6 different scenes as well, and I wanted to see as many as possible.
Let’s start with my video walk-through, it’s the most efficient way for you to experience the sights and sounds of Mission Breakout. We’ll follow up with some photos.
The exterior queue is very similar to how it was before. Many of the old items are still there, they’ve just been repainted. But there are some surprises.
The layout of the attraction is familiar. Everything is where it was when it was Tower of Terror. However, now everything looks different. You enter into the lobby of the collector’s museum.
The space is filled with the items collected by Tivan. There’s also a new pre-show element here as a big screen at the back of the room includes all sorts of info and funny bits. Watch for Stan Lee and even Howard the Duck.
Then you move to the Collector’s study, which looks very much like the old pre-show room . . . but with stranger objects. The main enhancement here is a Rocket animatronic. I was pleasantly surprised by the entertainment value of this pre-show and of the new animatronic.
You then enter the old boiler room, which now looks like . . . um . . . the old boiler room . . . There are changes to the theme and new props, but it’s a very similar look.
the highlight of the entire experience is the ride itself. They were very clear that they didn’t want us to record that portion. However, I’ve embeded some video from KTLA channel 5. It’s a hilarious look at reporters Sam Rubin and Henry DiCarlo’s reaction to the ride. Again, warning, there are spoilers and story elements in this video.
The ride empties you into a gift shop. There’s isn’t much Guardians merchandise for you yet. But they’ve filled in the reminder of the space with Marvel merch.
Is this attraction perfect? No. But the attempts to dazzle with props, lighting and special effects goes a very long way in hiding the flaws. And the ride itself is high energy with fun music, beautiful digital animation, and a new set of drop sequences which will help keep guests engaged and wanting to return.
The story is a simple one. The Guardians are trapped in cages by the Collector. Rocket has escaped and needs our help to free his friends. What could go wrong?
Is this attraction better than Tower of Terror? That’s very hard for me to say, and I’m going to need to let some of the dazzle of this shiny new object wear off a bit before making a decision. But, whether it is better or not, it is fun. I REALLY enjoyed myself. They’ve managed to create an experience which is similar to the previous ride but with more energy, solid storytelling, and is relevant to a younger generation than the Twilight Zone.
The ride opens to the public today and Disney is planning for epic lines (I heard they are prepared for 6 to 7 hour waits).
We’ll have more for you from Guardians of the Galaxy Mission: BREAKOUT on Monday, along with shots of the new Summer of Heroes campaign.
If you get a chance to visit DCA this weekend, please pop back in here and let us know your experience and your thoughts on the new attraction.