Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: Breakout and Summer of Heroes
On Friday, May 26, I was able to attend the Guardians of the Galaxy Mission: Breakout Galactic Premiere Party. It was an extra cost event, but thought I'd take advantage of it as I knew the lines would be long on opening day and that I might be able to experience the attraction more than once. Also, the event promised an exclusive meet and greet with Hawkeye.
I was really glad to have gone. I felt it was worth the money. As anticipated, I was able to experience the attraction four times and, luckily, experienced four different iterations. I was also able to meet all 5 characters available to meet.
I even got to meet a trio of the Collector's Krylorian assistants!
I even got a cool AP pin and swag!
Now, on to the main event - Guardians of the Galaxy Mission: Breakout!
I had my reservations about the Guardians of the Galaxy attraction. I'm not one resistant to change, but I did think the Tower of Terror was perfect for the theme of the area and time period. Exterior wise, it does seem a little awkward when you see things like this where two worlds collide:
But, the proof in the pudding is how the attraction holds off on the interior. And, in that sense, the attraction succeeds ten fold. The lobby of what was once the Tower of Terror has now become a showcase for some of the Collector's antiquities. There are some really fun items in here, including Cosmo the dog and Stormbreaker, the hammer wielded by a character named Beta Ray Bill from the 80s Thor comics. Also, more noticeable from the FastPass line, hanging high overhead, you see Figment from Epcot.
In the back, a welcome video plays where the Collector talks about his latest acquisition - The Guardians of the Galaxy!
From there, guests are quickly ushered into the Collector's office. Before the Collector is able to continue with his welcome, a very amazing audio animatronic Rocket Raccoon interrupts and enlists guests in his effort to free the Guardians so they can rendezvous with Mantis aboard the Milano. Rocket explains he can't get access to the gantry lift that will take guests to the Guardian exhibit. Once we let him in, he'll blow the generator and all the containment units will open.
We then enter...the boiler room of the Tower of Terror? This was one of the most disappointing areas of the attraction. They added a few digital displays, but, for the most part, it still looks like a boiler room. An it doesn't even make any sense that the Collector would usher his guests through such a dank and dark place to see his prized collections. We get a glimpse of Harold the Adominable Snow Man from the Matterhorn, which is a fun Easter Egg, but doesn't make any sense why he would be in this dark place and not in a containment unit.
Once you board the Gantry Lift, the magic begins. Rocket Raccoon starts the tunes and the escape begins. The Gantry Lift shoots up and free falls down similarly to the Tower of Terror, but, unlike Tower, the ride is completely unpredictable. Are you going to go up or down? When is Rocket going to fix this crazy thing? But, with catchy soundtrack and the random scenes of the Guardians making their escape, you don't care. You are just enjoying yourself too much. The soundtrack really does make you feel like you are part of a Guardians movie and is an excellent way to differentiate itself from the previous creepy theme of Tower of Terror.
That said, the attraction does have some areas in need of improvement. As I mentioned, the boiler room area needs to be upgraded to something that makes more sense. Perhaps less pipes and more antiquities. Also, one of my biggest complaints is that the queue that contains some of the Collector's antiquities is way too short. By the time you get to that section, the line moves pretty steadily and its difficult to look around and appreciate all the fine details and Easter Eggs throughout. It doesn't make a great deal of sense to have a courtyard like the Tower of Terror. I would enclose that area and add more of the collection. I would even move the Collector's welcome video into that area so people can actually watch it in its entirety.
That said, it is a solid attraction! Some people have asked me if I think Guardians of the Galaxy Mission: Breakout is "better" than Tower of Terror. I can't say "better" because I will always love Tower of Terror. It was one of my favorite attractions in both parks and was one of my go-to rides. I also think what one thinks of "better" is subjective. What one person likes, another person might not. However, if you ask me which attraction I enjoy more and rhink is more fun, it would be Guardians. The music and unpredictability just pumps up you adrenaline and makes you smile and laugh so much more.
To celebrate the opening of Guardians of the Galaxy Mission: Breakout, the Disneyland Resort has proclaimed the summer to be the Summer of Heroes with offerings featuring Marvel Super Heroes.
First, there is the Guardians of the Galaxy Awesome Dance Off featuring Star Lord and Gamora. I'm not usually a fan of dance parties, but this is more of an audience participation show than pure dance party. And, because music is so tied to Guardians of the Galaxy, it seems like an obvious thing to have, even though the storyline seems a little convoluted. But, it doesn't matter how convoluted it can be, it seems to be popular with more people (boys, girls, men and women) flinging themselves up with enthusiasm rather than begrudgingly being pulled up. And, after the dance off, Groot comes in and stays to take pictures with guests. I wish Star Lord and Gamora would meet with him!
Over at the Hollywood Studios Backlot area, the Avengers Training Initiative takes place featuring Black Widow and Hawkeye. Think of it as the Marvel version of the Jedi Training Academy. Like Jedi, you have to register your little ones early to participate. But, the problem with this show is, unlike Jedi, it does not feature a cool villain to defeat. There is no Darth Vader or Kylo Ren that the kids can battle. There is this weird robot bomb instead. And, sadly, like in the movies, Hawkeye does very little, except for to help the young cadets use their skills. The highlight of the show are the numerous times Black Widow kicks ass and takes names.
Speaking of Black Widow, to me, the best part of the Summer of Heroes has to be that Disney and Marvel is finally promoting Black Widow in a major way. I've long been critical that the Disney Parks have not had women characters in either the Star Wars or Marvel Universes meeting in the parks. At the same time, I'm seeing more and more little girls wearing Star Wars and Marvel themed wardrobes just as much as the Disney Princesses. So, it was great not only seeing Black Widow come out and meet, but that she has a whole procession and plays an integral part of the Avengers Training Initiative. The stores even have cool Black Widow merchandise in the form of shirts, purses and dolls.
Also being offered was the Super Hero Action Center (which I inexplicably took no pictures of) where you can take a test to see what quality in a hero you most represent. It's a simple thing in which you get a sticker representing your quality as well as a Summer of Heroes comic book. I really like the idea, especially in regards to handing people a comic book. Marvel is succeeding in its Marvel Cinematic Universe and has brought in so many new fans, but everyone needs to remember that it all started with comic books. And, comics are becoming a dying art. So, it was nice to see Disney promote the reading of a comic.
I know a lot of people still have a difficulty with Marvel being at the Disney Parks, but for me, it's like a dream. It makes me tear up when I see little kids dressed up as their favorite Marvel characters and when I see adults wearing Marvel themed shirts at Disneyland. While the offerings might not be perfect and could definitely be expanded on, I'm so excited about the Summer of Heroes