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Since 2008, the Marvel Universe has been expanding in a big way. In the years since the launch of Iron Man, the franchise has extended to network television, streaming services, and most recently theme parks. Disney's California Adventure park in Anaheim, California now offers fans the opportunity to take a step into the Marvel Cinematic Universe via the new Guardians of The Galaxy: Mission Breakout! ride -- and I can tell you from first-hand experience that the whole thing is rather amazing.
Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout! was first announced at San Diego Comic-Con 2016, when it was revealed that the ride would be taking over the location that previously housed the Twilight Zone: Tower Of Terror. Late last month I had the opportunity to attend the world opening of the ride, and having had the chance to go through it all, I can tell you that it is a whole lot of fun.
As you enter, the aesthetic (specifically a giant golden statue of Benicio Del Toro's Tanaleer Tivan a.k.a. The Collector) immediately gives away the premise: Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout! is modeled after The Collector's lair, first featured in James Gunn's original Guardians of the Galaxy. Walking in, there are screens that feature Tivan as well as the various members of the titular team in cages -- but that's really the last thing you notice. Instead, your eye is drawn to all of the very real artifacts/creatures/props that are featured in cases all around the area where you wait in line. Naturally, this includes a very adorable animatronic Cosmo The Spacedog:
If you look close enough and have a deep enough knowledge of the source material, you will also find plenty of amazing Marvel Easter eggs scattered everywhere (and I'm not just talking about the secret alien language that is scattered throughout the ride). I was personally very excited to see the Asgardian War Hammer wielded by the "worthy" Beta Ray Bill in the comics, but there is also an amazing painting hanging on the wall -- specifically of Jeff Goldblum's The Grandmaster (from the upcoming Thor: Ragnarok) looking all kinds of pissed that his brother, The Collector, has managed to best him at a board game.
At the end of the tour through the outer part of the ride, you are then led into Taneleer Tivan office, where the initial idea is that Tivan is going to take you on a standard tour through his museum. In the middle of a video presentation, however, this plan is hijacked by none other than Rocket -- represented as an amazingly realistic animatronic raccoon voiced by Bradley Cooper. He proceeds to tell you what your mission is -- which is to use human bio-scans to free the other Guardians of the Galaxy and take them to Mantis, who is waiting by the Milano. For the full scoop, you can watch the video below:
From The Collectors office you are then to a series of staircases -- which are located in what could be described as the bowels of the museum, where all the work not meant for public eyes is done. When you reach the landing platform for the actual ride, "guards" give you a position to stand in, and when the gantry doors open you move to your assigned seat. Then the fun begins.
Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout! operates physically exactly like the Twilight Zone: Tower of Terror, which is to say that it rockets you multiple stories into the air before letting you drop in free-fall. What's different, of course, is both the footage that you watch at each stop, and (because it's Guardians of the Galaxy) the music that is playing. While I personally listened to "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" by Pat Benatar when I was on the ride -- watching Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), and Drax (Dave Bautista) escape the clutches of The Collector and various dangerous monsters -- there are actually a total of six different experiences. The rest of the soundtrack includes "I Want You Back" by The Jackson 5 from the first movie, as well as "Give Up The Funk" by Parliament, "Free Ride" by The Edgar Winter Group, "Burning Love" by Elvis Presley" and "Born To Be Wild" by Steppenwolf.
While probably not recommended for anybody with a sensitive stomach, the Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout! ride is definitely a great experience for any Marvel fan, and is the rare theme park attraction that will legitimately have you laughing out loud. Check out the large crop of photos I took while on the ride in the gallery below, and if you've had the chance to experience it for yourself, share your own thoughts in the comments section!