Guardians Of The Galaxy – Mission: Breakout is Disney’s re-theming of the Twighlight Zone Tower Of terror Ride in Disney California Adventure. We are huge fans of the original tower of terror (or at least I was) and were seriously worried about how the new theme would translate. We headed to Disney California Adventure to ride the new version to bring you our Guardians Of The Galaxy – Mission: Breakout Review to see if the updated theming, visuals, and ride sequence make this thrill ride favorite better or ruin the carefully crafted drop tower experience?
- Location – Disney California Adventure – Hollywood Land
- Type – Accelerated Drop Tower
- Duration – 2:10+ Mins
- Height Restriction – 40 In
- Average Queue time – 20 mins – 40 Mins
- Fastpass – Yes
- Single Rider – No
- Additional Info – 130ft drop, speed up to 39mph,
What is Guardians Of The Galaxy – Mission: Breakout
In the most basic sense Mission: Breakout is a Drop Tower Ride. That means it rises up to 186ft and then plunges back down leaving the riders’ stomachs floating somewhere above their heads. But the manner in which Mission: Breakout achieves that is anything but basic.
The Automated guided Ride Vehicles (basically robots) Drive themselves to the elevator shafts before entering, where you are propelled skyward, and dropped from great heights over and over. It is a remarkable system and one that really should be experienced.
This is tied in with an immersive and exciting theme taken from the Guardians of the galaxy films and features all the favorite characters from the films, including a fantastic animatronic Rocket and digital versions of Starlord, Groot, Drax, Gamora involved in a daring escape from the collector.
It is an impressive achievement from the moment you hit the queue right up to the staggering ride experience and only has one real drawback, The old Theme was just SO good, but we will come to that later, first more about the current ride.
Queue And Theme
The Ride operates 3 lift shafts each capable of running two cars simultaneously with 21 Riders in each car. This allows for an impressive throughput meaning queues for what is one of the top attractions at the park are sparingly quite shot, certainly when compared to Radiator Springs Racers for example. Most of the time you don’t even need a Fast pass as along with a short queue there is plenty to see and do in the queue line itself including a cool pre-show.
The Pre-text is we are on a visit to the Collector to view his, um collection. This includes his latest exhibit the actual Guardians of the Galaxy! As you make your way through the collection there are many artifacts from the Marvel Cinematic Universe in display cases including Storm Breaker, Cosmo the Dog, Kree Battle Axe, an Ultron Guard, and many more cool items and Marvel Easter eggs. There are also a few “Disney” Easter eggs too including a Bellhop’s hat and luggage tags, as a reference to the old theme and a Doll from It’s a Small World. All the while a Video Plays showing the Guardians inside their special containment exhibits.
You enter the next area by allowing your bio-metrics to be taken as a kind of pass to get around the exhibit and are then allowed to enter the Collectors office where there are even more artifacts and then the collector addresses you via a video link. Where he is rudely interrupted by Rocket!
The Rocket animatronic is fantastic and barely distinguishable from the real (err, Cgi) thing. The Voice acting is by Bradley Cooper himself no less. Rocket invites you to be part of his elaborate escape plan for the Guardians and runs you through the plot. Which is basically to use our clearance to ride to the top of the elevator shaft to blow up the generator that controls the containment before being rescued by Mantis and their ship.
You then pass through an elaborate boiler room filled with more artifacts including an abominable snowman from the Matterhorn ride in Disneyland. You then Board the Gantry Lift.
As you board the ride vehicle the only restraints are the lap belts and you sit in one of three rows with Stadium-style seating. There are no real good or bad seats, but nearer the middle on any row offers moderately better views.
The Ride Car then sets off on its automated journey to the elevator shafts. This little piece of design is really quite staggering as the whole process is completely automated and is a seriously impressive achievement and it is bearly noticeable as you simply drive up to the door of the chosen lift shaft.
At this point, Rocket Takes over again and plugs in Quills Walkman and the fun begins. At this point, one of 6 random songs will start playing and this divides the ride sequence and which cut scenes will be shown. List below. The first stop is the generator room where Rocket takes down the containment generator and the ride system starts its sequence.
- I Want You Back – The Jackson 5
- Hit Me With Your Best Shot – Pat Benatar
- Give Up The Funk – Parliament
- Free Ride – The Edgar Winter Group
- Burning Love – Elvis Presley
- Born to Be Wild – Steppenwolf
The Six Sequences are all similar and feature a number of fast lifts and accelerated falls, with stops at a video screen window where one of a number of cutscenes play all featuring Guardians interacting with the various creatures inadvertently released by Rockets destruction of the containment Generator. These are all typical Gaurians style and very funny. The Random nature of these makes re-rideability high.
At least once in every sequence the ride will climb to its maximum height, open the bay doors to the outside world, 183ft above the park, and subject you to a full accelerated drop, mostly out of your seat held by the lap belt, the full 130ft of the elevator shaft…Which is a lot of fun!
Naturally, by the end, the Guardians have escaped and the collector left to rue the unfortunate events of the day, as the ride vehicle makes its way back to the loading bay.
It really is an incredible ride. The Theming is really good and naturally, as a Guardians of the Galaxy ride, there are a lot of laughs along the way. It is fair to say we really loved the ride. The Re-Theme has certainly not ruined anything. However, it is not quite that simple. The Tower of Terror was a true masterpiece of ride engineering so while it has not ruined it we have another question:
Is it Better than The Twighlight Zone Tower of Terror?
This ride really needs two reviews. One for people who have not ridden the Original and one for those that have. If you have never ridden the original, then you are probably going to love this ride! It is a fantastically fun yet thrilling ride with great theming and an immense ride system of the highest technical prowess. There is a lot to like. However…
If you did ride the original, either here or at one of the other Tower of Terror Locations, then you are in for a major disappointment. Or not, depending on your perspective. Simply put, the original Tower of Terror was frightening. Really frightening. I do not get scared on rides, I will happily jump on anything and throw my arms in the air! The Tower of Terror, however, Sacred the Bejeebus out of me. Kate, Point blank refused to go near it. The Experience was so well crafted and the whole queue process, theming, pre-show everything, was just perfect psychological fear.
The Ride itself was also far more intimidating, yes it is the same ride and the same drop. But the delivery was so much more impactful in the original format. It plays on one of our biggest fears, an elevator falling and plunging us to our doom. Simulating real-world fears is the best way to scare people! Also as the drop tower is indoors there is very little reference to how far or how fast you are falling, apart from the feeling in your tummy! This didn’t matter in the elevator format, You were plunging to your doom, who cares how far or fast, the ground is still hard!
The new Format loses all that. The nerves, the anticipation, the doors opening to the park below, and the terrifying plunge, all gone. It is a terrible shame! The flip side, however, is the ride is now far more fun and far more accessible. Kate happily got on Mission: Breakout, where the Tower of Terror was a HARD PASS. So for many, the ride will be better as they simply didn’t want that level of fear and dread in their lives.
While the loss of the Tower Of Terror is a big one, the old format exists at other parks (and will hopefully remain that way) and the Guardians theme is really fun. We are huge Guardians fans and we really enjoyed the many artifacts, characters, and tie-ins the ride provides. It will be even better when the Avengers Campus Opens next year. The ride is still up here as one of the best in the park.
The ride tech is so impressive, nothing could ruin it, the power and speed of the lift are remarkable and even an unthemed barebones version would be astounding and seriously fun, The Guardians theme, however, really does add a lot to the experience. The theme has managed to tame a beast and turn it into a fun and exciting ride for a wider audience.
However, We liked the beast, it was approaching a perfect ride, and while only suited to big ride junkies we always feel there is a place for “that” ride in any park. It really is a shame to see something so finely crafted replaced for some cheap thrills and a movie tie-in. Even if those thrills and that movie are really really good.
Have Yor Say
Let us know your thoughts on the Guardians Of The Galaxy – Mission: Breakout? Did you find it too scary? Did you find it more or less scary than the tower of terror? Do you agree with us that is a downgrade or think we are utterly mad and the ride is better in some way? Let us know in the comments below. We would love to hear your comments. If you have any questions again just fire away in the comments below.