The Summer of Heroes

by Lisa Stiglic, contributing writer
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Disney California Adventure's (DCA) newest "E-ticket" attraction opened to the public this past weekend at The Disneyland Resort. The queues for Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout! were reported on social media to be at least six hours long at one point, which translates into a busy time for the summer.

But don't let the wait for the tower take over your visit — DCA's "Summer of Heroes" has plenty of action-packed feats to fill your Disney day.

Space Jam

Of course,  Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout! is the beacon for Disney and Marvel fans alike this summer. Replacing the beloved Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, mixed reviews have since turned into thumbs up for this upbeat, comedic romp through the galaxy as Rocket Raccoon helps The Guardians escape from the clutches of The Collector — Tanaleer Tivan.


Drax, Gamora, Starlord, Baby Groot, and Rocket the Raccoon (trash panda) are the newest additions to The Collector's assemblage.  Photo by Lisa Stiglic.


Rocket urges visitors through The Collector's office to aid him in his friends' escape.  This vintage Walkman is a key component.  Photo by Lisa Stiglic.

And what would a Disney attraction line be without Hidden Mickeys or some old friends?


A predecessor of the Matterhorn's iconic monster has retired to DCA. Hi Harold!  Photo by Lisa Stiglic.

But, if you're like me and not ready for such a space odyssey, you can still meander through the queue in hopes to spot more hidden Disney gems, then exit out before the actual elevators. MousePlanet writer Todd Pickering fearlessly braved the drop many times, which he depicted in his article earlier this week. 

Awesome Dancing

The beat from Starlord's nostalgic mix of rock-n-roll classics follows you out of the attraction to lead you to none other than Peter Quill himself ready to dance in Awesome Dance-off! The 10-minute show, which plays six times daily, is held in front of the Mission Breakout! tower with Quill arriving to the mix of "Come and Get Your Love" by Redbone. Gamora, his ever-present partner, shakes her head in disdain as she tries to find a solution to get the pair off the planet, which is the premise of the storyline.  Starlord believes energy is needed to break free and that comes from dancing.


Peter Quill brings out his vintage boombox in hopes of swaying the audience to dance with him. Quill's laser detector on his belt looks an awful lot like a vintage electronic game from the 1970s.  Photo by Lisa Stiglic.

Starlord and audience friends shout, jump, and dance to the beats of "Fox on the Run" by Sweet, and The Jackson Five's "I Want You Back" among other Guardians of the Galaxy awesome mixes. Luckily, the dancing provides the needed break in order for The Guardians to escape. Just before our heroes leave for the stars, one of their own sticks around for a bit.


Groot makes his entrance to download the directive from Starlord.  Photo by Lisa Stiglic.

Avengers Assemble!

If saving the world instead of the galaxy is more to your superhero capabilities, then join forces with Black Widow and Hawkeye in the Avengers Training Initiative (or just take a rest and watch if you're of adult size). Similar to the concept of Disneyland's Jedi Training Academy, young, would-be heroes sign-up in advance to fight next to The Avengers to defeat Hydra. Recruits ages 6-12 register at a marked kiosk near Stage 17 in Hollywood Land, and the sooner the better as spots fill up quickly. Only 24 assigned soldiers can train for each of the six available shows taking place at the Hollywood Backlot Stage.

Once the recruits are chosen, Black Widow and her team captains take the young heroes through chosen defensive moves.


Recruits prepare for a possible infiltration of Hydra. It's best to be prepared!  Photo by Lisa Stiglic.

During the mission, The Avengers find a double-agent among them who has let Hydra penetrate the system, so now our would-be heroes have the opportunity to use their new moves.


Captain Steve Rogers would be proud of the new Avengers using his shield to defend.  Photo by Lisa Stiglic.


Our young soldiers prevail!  Avengers assemble!  Photo by Lisa Stiglic.

See the daily entertainment guide for specific show times.

Avengers Close-Up

If you miss the Avengers Training Initiative but still want to see your favorite, Black Widow and friends are out and about meeting the public.


Black Widow arrives in the Hollywood Studios Backlot atop the Avengers vehicle.  Photo by Lisa Stiglic.

Agent Romanoff is available for her meet-and-greets six times daily. Make sure you queue up early for a great photo-op.

If your Spidey senses are tingling, wait until later in the day to meet your favorite web slinger. Both Peter Parker and Captain America can be found beginning at 2 p.m. at the corner of Sunset and Hollywood boulevards. 

Holding Out for a Hero

Now that you've just saved The Guardians, danced with Starlord, and defeated Hydra, you might consider yourself a hero. But which one? Well, at The Hero Action Center, you just might find out. This fun, interactive area allows you to answer questions on a touchpad, such as asking your favorite dwelling or leadership style, and then reveals your true superhero idenspidetity. Along with your results, you'll receive a corresponding sticker to that particular hero and a one-of-a-kind comic book, only available at The Hero Action Center.


My loyalty wins out for Team Cap!  Photo by Lisa Stiglic.

Just around the corner from the center, you can display your new persona with free face painting! Stations are set up on Sunset Boulevard for heroes of all ages to proudly wear the superhero of choice.


Choose from Rocket, Groot, the Hulk, and other Avengers for your profile.  Photo by Lisa Stiglic.


A Spider-Man fan patiently awaits his spider persona application.  Photo by Lisa Stiglic.

Marvel-ous or Not?

As I mentioned earlier, there has been some controversy regarding the infiltration of The Guardians of the Galaxy and other Marvel characters in DCA. Some have alluded that DCA is becoming Universal Studios. Although it's only been a week or so since the debut of "Summer of Heroes," it seems to have an overall positive vibe long since felt in Hollywood Land. Will it continute for the long run?  That remains to be seen, but for now, whether or not you're a superhero fan, the "Summer of Heroes" is simply Marvel-ous.