By David Platt, your Mouse Master specialist
Rocket and Groot have finally made their debut at Disney California Adventure® Park with last weekend's debut of Guardians of the Galaxy- Mission: BREAKOUT! The hot new ride, anticipated since its announcement months ago, opened May 27, and this Mouse Master was on-hand that very first day.
First, let's get over the big elephant in the room: yes, it's essentially the same ride as the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror™. You get in an elevator, you shoot up to the top of the tower, drop, rinse and repeat. But Disney has re-themed Twilight Zone Tower of Terror with Peter Quill, Gamora, and all the other Guardians to create a thrilling new headliner attraction.
The new concept of the ride: the tower is home base for Taneleer Tivan (the Collector), who true to his name has amassed a collection of artifacts from all over the galaxy. He's decided to add the Guardians to his collection-- but Rocket escapes and has enlisted your help to break out his compatriots.
While I was a disappointed to see Twilight Zone Tower of Terror go and had a lot of initial reservations about the new Guardians ride, I couldn't be happier with the result. They've taken what was a very good ride, and amped it up into an excellent, not-to-be-missed experience. The story is comprehensive from start to finish-- while Twilight Zone Tower of Terror was creepy and thrilling, I never felt it had a particularly strong or comprehensible storyline. The queue is spectacular, allowing riders to view Tivan's collection up close-- and there are LOTS of hidden easter eggs among the collection for not only Marvel fans, but Disney fans too.
The new ride features six different songs and lots of different scenes that can be intercut to tell the overall story of rescuing the Guardians (similar to how Star Tours intercuts several different scenes to give you different experiences). Repeatability is a big factor on how popular this ride will be-- I heard park-goers comparing notes all weekend about how many of the six songs they had experienced so far. My daughter and I experienced three of the six songs and can't wait to ride again to hear 'I Want You Back' by the Jackson Five and 'Hit Me With Your Best Shot' by Pat Benatar.
Lines? They will be long for quite some time to come. On day one, the standby line topped out at five hours, and FASTPASSes were all gone within two hours of park opening. They're letting people into the park early to queue, and I'd expect waits of *at least* an hour, even on slower days. Riding Guardians with a short wait will hinge on two key factors: FASTPASS and early entry (and remember-- only guests staying on-property get early entry to Disney California Adventure Park!). Using those two things in conjunction, my daughter and I were able to ride Guardians three times within two hours of the park opening for early entry.
Bottom line: this one is a huge hit in my eyes. It's going to be the linchpin for the upcoming rumored 'Marvel Land' expansion plans for Disney California Adventure Park. If it's any indication of what's to come, I can't wait!
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I'm David Platt, your Mouse Master Disney Destination specialist. I'm delighted to bring you the latest news on Disney Destinations.