Breaking In to Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: Breakout!by Todd Pickering, contributing writer
This past Monday, April 25, Disney and Marvel let us take a walk-through around the construction zone for their newest collaboration: Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout! This will definitely be the most immersive attraction yet in the Disneyland Resort. The energy was decidely high from all of the personnel from Marvel to Disney. The excitement was felt from Disney Casting to the Music Department. And the word heard bandied about the most from everyone was "irreverent."
Donning hard harts and orange safety vests, we got to enter a live construction site via the Gardens of the Galaxy. This is the outdoor queue, and we got to see a model of the attraction as well as the logo of the attraction, which is an upside arrow in a triangle that indicated the Collector's mining planet of Knowhere that pumps energy into this building via all the pipes. At night, the building will pulsate with lights, indicating all of the energy it takes to keep his live specimens locked up securely.
The first place we were ushered into was the lobby of Tanaleer Tivan/the Collector's collection. It is set up like a museum, with display cases and placards—and with 2,200 props at Imagineering's fingertips, we learned that, like a real museum, the collection can be ever-changing. Kree artifacts, Present on our tour included Cosmo the Dog, Ultron, and a brazier from Dr. Strange. We even got to try on some virtual reality headsets that created 360-degree views of the props. The designers used these to envision how things might look, while the construction crew could continue doing its job. This method is a real time-saver, and allows you to add a full queue of people to check out sight lines.
We were treated to a rough cut of a video of the Guardians of the Galaxy in their cages. Yet to be finished were sound, music, and color, but the video begins to tell the story and we see Rocket Racoon making an escape.
We got a sneak peek at the costumes worn by cast members, and learned that this will be the most immersive attraction ever because the mood changes throughout the adventure. Those who have yet to enter have no idea of the pandemonium that is taking place inside. The cast members outside merely welcome you into a simple museum for a look. The Collector has put this attraction on Terra (that's what our planet is called—we are Terrans) for our viewing pleasure.
The cast members inside are seeing things happening with you and the next step is to get us into the back offices. These were being worked on heavily so we were taken backstage. The floor room was where the lobby of the Hollywood Tower hotel was and the offices were where we watched the TV of the Twilight Zone with Rod Serling. The backstage was the same backstage where the service elevators were.
Here, the least amount of changeover is necesarry. The structure remains very much the same, as we are now backstage in the back warehouse where cast members have turned on their boss the Collector and are now helping Rocket Racoon to free his team-mates. We learned that Disney and Marvel worked very closely together in making this attraction fun for lovers of the comic books, television show and films. But the story is happening in real time and is very clear for those who are busy watching foreign films and don't give a hoot about the comic book world. For you fans of Disneyland Resort, it appears that the Collector is also housing a lot of things from certain theme parks. Our hosts mentioned this without pointing it out at all but if you looked directily above, her there was a certain abominable fellow I might have seen over at another park across the way climbing a Swiss mountain. This queue promises to be amazing.
We were then ushered up to the lifts for boarding the attraction elevators, and we got to talk with John Dennis, executive director of music with Walt Disney Imagineering. There will be some original music playing in the lobby composed by Tyler Bates, the films' composer. And then he let us play Name That Tune with the six songs that were chosen for the actual ride from a vast list of 100. They donned headsets and rode the ride up and down listening for the best to fit with the show. The final six songs chosen to accompany six different ride experiences are:
- "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" – Pat Benatar (1980)
- "Give Up The Funk" – Parliament (1975)
- "Born To Be Wild" – Steppenwolf (1968)
- "I Want You Back" – The Jackson 5 (1969)
- "Free Ride" – The Edgar Winters Group (1973)
- "Burning Love" – Elvis Presley (1972)
"A strong identifiable back beat and a memorable hook were key points" said Mr. Dennis. "For example 'Free Ride' has an iconic guitar hook to open the song, a killer bass line and, in the chorus, the backing vocals have this great ascending line. The rock and roll music playing on board the ride is just plain fun. The songs, each paired with its own ride profile, give us six unique experiences."
We got to look at the ride vehicles as we passed them, but again, it was apparent that not much change is needed; so far, they look remarkably similar.
Even the gift shop gets in on the storytelling. With Rocket Raccoon having freed not only the Guardians but the entire collection, they are having an "Everything Must Go!" sale, and I am sure you will see folks wearing and snatching up all sorts of goodies here. I know the "exit through gift shop" mentality can be obvious, but it seems to be a delightful, and—dare I say it—"irreverant" way to end this new adventure.
We learned that each of the random six stories will also have random lines and bits within them, and that the elevator will always immediately shoot straight to the top so Rocket can shut off the power to free his pals. Wait? But what happens when he cuts that power? For die hard fans of Easter eggs, they seemed to be silent on the supposed shot of the Collector's fortress in the Thor: Ragnarok trailer.
Cast members got to ride early versions of the attraction and their feedback actually gave way to changes. James Gunn (the writer and director of both films) also helped out with the story and dialogue. They did let us know that if we look closely at a forest scene in the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 film, we may see an Easter egg.