Fire up your Walkman and start practicing your best 'I am Groot': Guardians of the Galaxy is coming to Disneyland

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Fire up your Walkman and start practicing your best “I am Groot”: Guardians of the Galaxy is coming to Disneyland.

Later this spring, Disney will unveil its new ride Guardians of the Galaxy — Mission: Breakout!, replacing the old Tower of Terror in the Disney California Adventure theme park. Ahead of the release of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (and in celebration of our new cover story on the film), EW caught up with lead designer and Disney Imagineer Joe Rohde to get some details on the ride — and talk about bringing the Guardians to Earth.

“The rule book is very thin,” he says with a laugh.

The ride’s storyline finds the Guardians captured and imprisoned by the nefarious Collector Taneleer Tivan (played in the films by Benicio Del Toro). Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) has already managed to get himself free, and now, he’s recruiting parkgoers to help him shut off the power to the Collector’s Fortress and free his friends.

Guardians of the Galaxy Mission: Breakout!
Credit: Disney/Marvel
Guardians of the Galaxy Mission: Breakout!
Credit: Disney/Marvel

Mission: Breakout! takes place within the existing structure and ride system that used to house the Tower of Terror, but while that was a spooky, Twilight Zone-inspired mystery, Mission: Breakout! promises a madcap thrill ride with multiple randomized storylines — and plenty of drops and adrenaline rushes.

“The entire escape scenario plays out against this insane chaos, to the tune of vintage rock ‘n roll music,” Rohde says. “So basically, we crank up this thing and turn it loose into this really funny, really irreverent, really fast-paced, really chaotic kind of thrill experience that just zooms once we let it go.”

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Guardians ride without a killer Awesome Mix. Rohde is keeping tight-lipped about exactly which songs parkgoers can expect to hear, but he did tease that at least one song from the original Guardians soundtrack will be a part of the playlist: the Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back.”

Guardians of the Galaxy Ride at Disneyland
Credit: Disneyland Resort

For Rohde, a big part of designing Mission: Breakout! was taking the original Guardians characters and placing them in an all-new situation, rather than just recreating plot points from the films. To do that, he worked closely with Guardians director James Gunn, Marvel president Kevin Feige, and film composer Tyler Bates to perfectly capture the same irreverent feeling. (Gunn also directed all the scenes and media seen during the ride.)

“We’re working with the filmmakers on color palette, on texture, on typographies, on all the little Easter eggs and things and things that lock it in, so it becomes an extension of a world that you’re familiar with — and not merely a Xerox of that world,” Rohde says.

Part of that extension involved building the Collector’s Fortress, the imposing structure where he’s holding the Guardians. Some of the Collector’s most prized possessions will be on display inside — including more than a few Easter eggs for eagle-eyed Marvel fans — and the entire building is a power-plant-like tower, surging with electricity.

“[The design] needs to make it clear that a vast amount of power is being consumed because the premise of the story is that we’re going to shut this power off,” Rohde explains. “So the first time you hear that story point, we want you to already think, ‘Whoa whoa whoa, wait a minute. You’re gonna do WHAT?’”

Guardians of the Galaxy Ride at Disneyland
Credit: Disneyland Resort

The result is a randomized, chaotic jailbreak plot that feels straight out of the Guardians universe.

“This is kind of tweaking the nose of an arrogant and powerful person, the Collector,” Rohde says. “So the building has to express this kind of arrogance and pride that cometh before the fall… no pun intended.”

Guardians of the Galaxy — Mission: Breakout! will open in Anaheim on May 27, while Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 will hit theaters on May 5.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

  • Movie
  • PG-13
  • James Gunn