As with most of you, I am currently limited to experiencing the new Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout from the safety and comfort of my home. Much like what I've done with Pandora, I've absorbed as much as I can to understand the attraction and present some informed opinion.
From what I can tell, Joe Rohde and the Imagineers did as much as they could given the constraints they had to transform the much loved Twilight Zone Tower of Terror into a worthy Marvel themed replacement. Did they succeed?
Here's a couple of videos, below, before I continue:
The building itself is a mixed bag. Even as Tower, it was one of the ugliest structures to ever be found in a Disney theme park. It's always been the cheaper version of the elegant one found in Disney's Hollywood Studios and the much embellished structure found in Tokyo Disney Sea.
The revised Marvel based thrill attraction at California Adventure carries over a heritage it cannot be distanced from. It still suffers from the same ill-placement of its predecessor. This time, it's only worse and more intrusive. No, Joe Rohde, all the backstory its given does not make its intrusion any more appropriate. I respect you have a job to do and a job to keep. I get that. I can almost sense the tug of war you're in every time you speak of the project.
Once the exterior shock subsides, I find the attraction itself to seem pretty enjoyable. And I'm not really a fan of the films. They're not bad; they're just quirky and not likely to become a beloved masterpiece in the Marvel canon of films. That said, the attraction holds a cohesive (if somewhat contrived) storyline, rich layers of detail throughout the queue, a first class Audio-Animatronic that Tower never had, and finally it makes good use of all those previous unused ride profiles.
Had this attraction been built from scratch and had Tower never existed, my guess is hard core Disney park fans would embrace it wholeheartedly. As it stands, the response is much like the outcry heard when Adventure Thru Inner Space gave way to Star Tours- which means within a generation, Mission: Breakout will become a much loved, much accepted attraction.
Ok, Disney suits. Mission accomplished. Now go in whole hog and turn Hollywoodland into Marvel. But go in hard, do it well and not on the cheap. Be sure to give us park fans a first class "E Ticket" attractions and an immersive environment. Make it rich and compelling. And please move the animation exhibit somewhere else instead of just bulldozing it.
(Top photo copyright Orange County Register.)