If you are like me you probably love Twilight Zone: Tower of Terror. Between the theming, the story, and the ride system, the Tower of Terror was truly one of the better E-ticket attractions Disney added to California Adventure. I have to admit I had my reservations (no pun intended) when Disney announced that the California version of Tower of Terror would be closing in January 2017 to be rethemed to the popular Guardians of the Galaxy franchise. I was doubly concerned given the time frame for the new attraction to be completed. After recently riding the new Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout I have to say that not only did Disney deliver another impressive piece of theme park artwork, they also made a much more exciting replacement to an already amazing attraction.
The Tower that was
In the Tower of Terror (Tower Secrets is a great site to check out), you come upon a scorched and slightly dilapidated old hotel at the end of the street. Is that screams you hear? What could have possibly happened here? As you enter the queue you stroll through what was obviously beautiful gardens once, long ago. Music from another time plays as if from an old radio in another room. Entering the lobby you see dust and cobwebs over vignettes of life that once took place here. Where did everyone go? Things are left in place as if everyone left in a hurry. You wander deeper into the cavernous hotel lobby and end up at the hotel elevators. They are obviously broken. In the hotel library, you find an odd collection of items. A book with the title “To Serve Man” (I think it’s a cookbook), a little robot, and a Mystic Seer toy are spread around the room which centers on an old tv.
The tv kicks on and the lights go out. It seems back in the 30’s the hotel was struck by lightning and several people disappeared along with a large section of the hotel. Your job is to try and find out what happened to them that night. You will board a service elevator and travel up to try and find out what really happened. A wall opens and you enter the hotel boiler room. The room is just as disheveled as the rest of the hotel. Was that a little girl calling for help from the radio?
You board your service elevator and it moves up a little too quick. It stops at a floor and the doors open to a hotel hallway. There, at the end of the hall are the missing, looking like they are on an old tv show. Lightning strikes again and they disappear in an arch of light as the hall is consumed by dark and stars. The doors close again and you begin to fall…
The loss of the Tower
When Disney announced that the Tower was closing during the 2016 San Diego Comic-Con I have to say I was disappointed. The Tower was one of the best attraction in California Adventure and one of the few E-tickets in the park. Though it was touted as an opportunity to check into the Tower Hotel one last time it was a little further from the truth. In truth, work began almost immediately. The once icon sign for the Hollywood Tower Hotel came down first and soon the Tower was wrapped in tarps and scaffolds. As work continued a new “feature” was added to the Tower, ride in the dark. The reality is work was being done to turn the Tower into the Tivan Fortress.The Tower dropped its last elevator in January 2017.
Welcome to the Tivan Collection
Where once stood a classic Hollywood Hotel now stands the alien fortress of the Collector, open for the first time for Earthling visitors. Check out the billions of items in the collection including the Guardians of the Galaxy. There are so many hidden items and Easter eggs in the attraction I won’t list them all here. Be sure to keep an eye out for Figment, Harold, and some Tower of Terror items alongside Howard the Duck and other Marvel Universe items. While you can Fastpass the attraction you will need to get to the park early to get one. The day I rode, Saturday oddly enough, I only waited less than 60 of the posted 75 minutes. If you can stand the wait go through the stand-by queue.
Some things to look out for…Rocket’s footprints, Rocket’s entry point into the Tivan building, where Rocket got the paint, alien writing (more on this in a bit), and Cosmo the dog. Bring a pad of paper and note the English/alien translated signs. Make a list from A-Z and note the symbol that matches each letter. This will help you translate the alien only signs around the Collector’s Fortress.
The ride itself has six different sequences, all timed to classic rock songs featured in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies. The version I had was: “Hit Me with Your Best Shot” by Pat Benatar, Additionally, the other songs included are:”Give Up The Funk” by Parliament, “Born to Be Wild” by Steppenwolf, “I Want You Back” by The Jackson 5, “Free Ride” by The Edgar Winters Group, and “Burning Love” by Elvis Presley. Each song features a different drop profile and some slight differences to the videos. Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout also features on ride photos that you can link to your photopass+.
While I will miss the Tower of Terror, Guardians are here to stay and they are rocking. Your thoughts? Have you ridden Guardians of the Galaxy yet? Which did you prefer?