On Tuesday I had the opportunity to take a hard hat tour of the new Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! attraction. This was a media preview and members of the creative team from both Disney and Marvel took us into several areas of the new attraction, though we did not get to ride it. No photos or video were permitted, so I have just a few photos that Disney provided on this awesome thumb drive, and yes it was in a cassette tape case.
(All unattributed photos courtesy of Disney.)
Once we were behind the construction walls we donned our protective gear – safety vests and goggles, and hard hats.
Before we went inside Imagineers Estefania Harbuck (Creative Producer) and Danny Handke (Creative Director) shared some of the backstory of the attraction. The Collector (Tanaleer Tivan) has brought his Fortress to Earth, and has invited Terrans to be his VIP guests and see his collection – particularly his latest acquisition, the Guardians of the Galaxy. But Rocket has already escaped, and recruits guests to help him free the rest of the Guardians.
Without spoiling anything, I will say that I was encouraged by what I saw and heard. As announced in the press release, there will be six different ride scenarios, where the Guardians encounter different challenges as they make their escape. The visuals and the attraction’s motion in each will be synchronized to a different classic rock/pop song. These include selections from The Jackson 5, Elvis Presley, and Pat Benatar. Estefania Harbuck mentioned that they are pushing the ride system and what it can do. There’s lots of unpredictability in what you feel. She said: “This experience is high energy, it’s fast, it’s chaotic, and it’s funny.” The word “irreverent” was used a lot, also.
The attraction opens on May 27. The spaces we toured are still very much a work in progress, and a lot of finishing touches still need to be applied.
The Lobby already contains cases of artifacts all around the room – including overhead. Some of these are not necessarily from the Guardians movies and will be recognizable to Marvel fans. There are over 2200 props in the attraction. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)
We also saw the Maintenance Bay – the gantry loading area. It didn’t really look a lot different to me from when it was the Service Elevator area of the Tower of Terror – it’s still very industrial.
The final space was the “Collector’s Warehouse” – a merchandise location by any other name. No merchandise yet, of course. And it might have been the most complete simply because most of what goes in there is merchandise displays.
During the Q&A, someone asked how this attraction will appeal to those who may not be familiar with the Guardians of the Galaxy movies. Estefania Harbuck had this to say: “That’s one thing that’s really important to us. That you be able to walk in the front door with no prior knowledge of the Guardians of the Galaxy and be able to understand it and have a good time….And the ride experience is going to be so fun and thrilling too with the awesome soundtrack that even if you don’t know who the Guardians are I really do think guests will have a good time.”
Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! opens on May 27.
WARNING – SOME ATTRACTION SPOILERS BELOW. IF YOU DON’T WISH TO KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THE ATTRACTION, DON’T READ ANY FURTHER.
The exterior of the building is also part of the story. All of those colorful pipes on the outside of the Fortress contain organic matter that powers the generator which keeps the collection locked up. At night these pipes will appear to pulse and glow.
The outdoor queue contains items from the Collector’s plant collection – Tivan’s Oasis, aka The Gardens of the Galaxy (groan). It will have lots of strange and unusual plants – we could see the top of one of the trees over the wall. I’m sure the horticulture department has had lots of fun with that.
There’s also an audio collection of music and sounds from all over the Galaxy that will play in the outside queue.
In the Lobby, some of the artifacts are inanimate and some are alive. One of the cases contains Kree artifacts from Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. show. And recognizing the huge annual passholder fan base, there are a lot of theme park Easter eggs, though it wasn’t clear to me whether those are in the Lobby or all throughout the attraction.
From the Lobby, guests will go into Tivan’s office (a space we did not see) before going to the loading area.
The ride starts with a launch straight up – and then Rocket disables the generator. That also causes the vehicle to lose power and behave unpredictably as guests experience one of the six different scenarios.
The six versions were titled “Escape”, “Abilisk Attack”, “Drax vs Beast”, “Anti-Gravity”, “Quill vs Orloni”, and “Drones.” The songs (we don’t know which song goes with which) are: “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” by Pat Benatar (1980), “Give Up The Funk” by Parliament (1975), “Born To Be Wild” by Steppenwolf (1968), “I Want You Back” by The Jackson 5 (1969), “Free Ride” by The Edgar Winters Group (1973), and “Burning Love” by Elvis Presley (1972).
When exiting the attraction, in addition to music there are creature sounds from some of the escaped exhibits.
Guardians of the Galaxy composer Tyler Bates wrote original music for the attraction.
In the Collector’s Warehouse there will be some interesting artwork, like a map showing where items came from, and a sign showing the number of items collected.
Cast Members will have new roles in the attraction. They are playing the part of working for the Tivan Group as greeters and VIP tour guides. But they know they are being watched all of the time and have to be very careful of what they say and do – and while they want to help Rocket free the Guardians they can’t appear to be doing so. We had a first look at the costumes – inspired by the patterns and textures from the film.
From the Q&A:
There will be Fastpass, the length of the ride feels longer than Tower of Terror.
There is a new character original to the attraction.
Some cast members rode early on and a few changes were made based on their feedback.
When asked how the attraction fits into the theme of Disney California Adventure, the response, I believe from Danny Handke, was: “Bringing the Collector’s Fortress to the edge of California Adventure was a way to welcome guests, welcome Terrans to take his VIP tour and see the Guardians on display. And it’s also a mystery, you might have noticed an alien language throughout the facility, and there’s some mystery elements here to decipher and give you clues of other reasons why the Collector is here as well.”