Disney recently announced that they are in the middle of plans to phase out their popular Twilight Zone Tower of Terror attraction at California Adventure, and re-theme the ride to the brand new “Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout.” What is now a spooky, chilling experience straight out of 60s television is now going to be a multi-faceted, colorful escape ride organized by the popular characters from the recent hit Marvel film. It’s an exciting yet not so surprising announcement, but Disneyland guests seem to be split on reactions. Sure, it always hurts when a beloved attraction goes away, but here’s why replacing Tower of Terror with Mission Breakout is a phenomenal move for Disney and their guests.
First, let’s address a few issues with the Twilight Zone brand and theme. Disney doesn’t own the Twilight Zone brand, unlike Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, and the plethora of other small companies they’ve purchased over the years. This means they have to pay a licensing fee in order to keep the Twilight Zone name attached to Tower of Terror. Seems rather obvious that Disney would want to instead implement a franchise that they already own instead of renting out another.
Then there’s the issue that some travelers will understand and some won’t: the Tower of Terror attraction at California Adventure is a poor-man’s version of the original at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando. If you’ve never been to Orlando or if you just haven’t seen the original attraction, it is exponentially better and more thrilling than its counterpart. Not only is the ride longer, but it is scarier. As someone who had ridden both, I can honestly say that the Tower of Terror at California Adventure is always a little bit of a disappointment.
But then comes the obvious point to this article, and a reason that most fans of the current attraction can’t even argue against: Marvel is one of the hottest properties in entertainment right now, and it would be foolish of Disney to not capitalize on Marvel more in its theme parks across the globe. Turning Tower of Terror, based on a classic but rather outdated television show, into a raging, exciting, and currently relevant attraction is a no-brainer. It banks on the popularity of Guardians of the Galaxy and the creative universe that James Gunn, Kevin Feige, and the rest of the creative heads at Marvel have developed, and it also opens the doors for more Marvel attractions down the line (can they just confirm Marvel Land already?).
In short, Disney made the right move in deciding to rebrand one of their more popular attractions. The sooner pass holders and guests realize this, the better. Disneyland and its sister theme parks are always going to change and evolve, and we’ll always be ready to throw our money at whatever new and exciting attractions they whip up.