INSIDE LOOK: How Disneyland turned its aging Hollywood tower into a ride packed with Marvel mayhem for the ‘Summer of Heroes’

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Disneyland Resort fans have already had a few days to enjoy the incredibly fun Marvel-inspired Summer of Heroes seasonal event currently going on at Disney California Adventure, but what did it take for Disney to transform a classic attraction into a more contemporary hit?

During last week’s grand opening celebration of the new Guardians of the Galaxy Mission: BREAKOUT! attraction, I discussed the creation of the new attraction with Imagineer Joe Rohde, who provided creative guidance on the development of the ride.

“Those movies cut loose with a joyful, chaotic zoom,” Rohde said about the “Guardians of the Galaxy” film franchise that inspired the attraction. “And this ride has that. It’s high-speed, it’s action packed, but it’s funny and approachable.”

In the video below, learn more about how Rohde and his Imagineering team transformed the former Tower of Terror into Disney’s first-ever Marvel ride in the United States.


To take a closer look at the many Marvel elements featured in the new attraction, I also spoke with Ryan Gallego of Marvel Themed Entertainment, who gave me a guided tour of part of the Collector’s Fortress queue area inside Mission: BREAKOUT!. Gallego shared with me some of the intriguing artifacts The Collector has on display, an example of the level of detail the collaboration between Imagineering and Marvel can bring.

“The Collector has intricate taste, so he’ll go all around the galaxy, even here on Terra, [to collect artifacts]…” Gallego told me. “Some things that people might recognize.”

Discover more in the video below.


Every great Disney attraction is based on a story. Walt Disney Imagineering show writer Steve Spiegel was happy to tell me about the process of developing the plot lines and the script that enabled the frenetic “Guardians of the Galaxy” films to be culled into the “Mission: BREAKOUT!” attraction.

“We don’t have the luxury of a two hour movie,” Spiegel said about writing the attraction. “Some of the scenes on this are eight seconds, twelve seconds [long]. It’s almost like a haiku poem. We just really have to boil it all down.”


The attraction’s opening is the kickoff point for Disneyland’s “Summer of Heroes” event, bringing more Marvel characters into the fold, including Black Widow and Hawkeye of “Avengers” fame.

And like any good Disney attraction, Mission: BREAKOUT! is supported by plenty of new merchandise to be purchased during the event, tied both into “Guardians of the Galaxy” and the broader universe of Marvel superheroes.

I spoke with Disney’s Ashley Cortez about what guests can expect to see in the gift shops this summer and how it all connects.

“We have plush Groot and Rocket, and they do come in the cases similar to the attraction. If you’ve been on it, you’ll see The Collector has captured our Guardians and he actually holds them in cases just like this. [Howard the Duck] is super popular and we also have Cosmo [the Spacedog] as well, so some characters that aren’t out there as much.”


All great Disney experience appeal to all senses and while the new “Guardians” ride is high on sights, sounds, and thrilling physical sensations, it wouldn’t be complete without something a little sweet and savory.

Caine from the Disney’s Food and Beverage department brought us a look at what goes into making some of Summer of Heroes’ most delicious meals – and showed me how to make meatball falafel.


While the Tower of Terror was indeed a classic, there still exist several versions of the attraction around the world, including the superior original at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Throughout the course of the grand opening celebration event, I was able to ride Mission: BREAKOUT! more than ten times in a row, to see all the different variations it offers. I had a blast – which you can now see.

On one of the rides, I had a camera trained on me throughout the experience. See my reactions to the thrilling ride and get a better idea of what to expect on your visit to The Collector’s Fortress in the video below.


Summer of Heroes is currently underway and Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! is now open at Disney California Adventure in Anaheim, California. Be sure to visit the park’s official website for more information and advance ticketing resources.

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