Guardians of the Galaxy theme to replace Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney California Adventure

Posted Saturday, July 23, 2016 10:48 PM | Contributed by Jeff

From the blog post:

The new attraction will anchor a broader universe of Super Heroes that will grow over time at Disney California Adventure park. This exciting new presence will transform the structure currently housing The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror™ (scheduled to close in early 2017) into an epic new adventure, enhancing the breathtaking free fall sensation with all-new visual and audio effects to create a variety of ride experiences. Guests will experience multiple random, unique ride profiles in which the rise and fall of the gantry lift will rock to the beat of music inspired by the film’s popular soundtrack.

Read more from Disney Parks Blog.

Saturday, July 23, 2016 11:04 PM
slithernoggin's avatar

Fanboy Slithernoggin says: No! Tower of Terror is perfect as it is! Why fix what isn't broken?

Pragmatic Slithernoggin says: Great idea! If you own a powerhouse franchise like Marvel, bring it into the parks.

Pragmatic Slithernoggin wins.


Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.
-- Groucho Marx

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Saturday, July 23, 2016 11:13 PM
OhioStater's avatar

While I have never seen Guardians of the Galaxy, I can appreciate this. Unless the series is somehow revived, no one under the age of 30 probably has any appreciation, much less a clue, of what the "Twilight Zone" is.

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Saturday, July 23, 2016 11:15 PM
Jeff's avatar

I just hope it's better than the conversion of Maelstrom to Frozen. I was completely underwhelmed, though partly because one of the Olafs wasn't moving, and one Anna's face appeared to be peeling off.


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Saturday, July 23, 2016 11:52 PM
OhioStater's avatar

Thanks for the nightmare.

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Saturday, July 23, 2016 11:59 PM
slithernoggin's avatar

Disclosure: I have only ridden the original Tower of Terror in Orlando.

Ohiostater: I think that part of the genius of Tower of Terror is that the Twilight Zone aspect supports the attraction but isn't necessary to enjoy the attraction, if that makes sense. If you walk in with no idea what the Twilight Zone TV show was, you can still fully enjoy the ride.


Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.
-- Groucho Marx

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Sunday, July 24, 2016 12:05 AM
OhioStater's avatar

Oh I fully agree; but as you (and Jeff) alluded to, here's to hoping they can capture that same magic with a theme that more will connect to on a more direct level.

More disclosure: I have ridden none of the Towers of Terror. Damn kids.

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Sunday, July 24, 2016 12:19 AM

I think ToT is (arguably, of course) the best ride at Disney. And I'll qualify that by saying I've only been on the one in Orlando. As for the one in Anaheim, it wasn't for lack of trying. We went by 4 times. We could see from a distance it was operating but each time we got there we were greeted by bellmen advising us the ride was down.
I especially wanted to try it to compare it to the "long" version at Studios.

So... Can I say that Twilight Zone rings a clear bell with me while Guardians of the Galaxy means nothing? I'm clearly showing my age, but seriously- no clue. Hopefully it will also be a ride that's enjoyable whether one 'gets it' or not.

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Sunday, July 24, 2016 9:40 AM

RCMAC, I have to agree with you that Tower of Terror is my favorite ride at Orlando Disney. The first time I went on Tower of Terror in Orlando, I went in with no expectations other than a free fall ride. I was completely blown away with the level of detail and theming in the ride. I will never in my life go on a ride that exceeds my expectations to the extent that Tower of Terror did. While I have not been on any other versions of the ride, I will be disappointed if they were to completely revamp the version in Orlando.

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Sunday, July 24, 2016 10:16 AM

I've ridden both and I'm disappointed. However the west coast version is not nearly as good as it's east coast version. While losing the 4th dimension room and random drop sequence takes away the real deal breaker for me is a minor detail. You enter and exit from the same point, so when those basement elevator doors open you actually have to walk through a hallway to board the elevator, this completely kills the mood and takes me out of the theme. Call me a snob but it's the way I am.

In Florida ToT is tied for my favorite ride in Florida with Splash Mountain, due to the ride not being as good and other rides being better in CA the tower is in the middle of the pack for E-tickets (Pirates, Indy, Radiator Springs Racers are the best here.) That said, the Hollywood section of DCA is the least thematically sound area of the park with half of the area trying to evoke the golden age of film (ToT, trolley, as well as cohesion with Buena Vista Street) and the other half being modern age backlot. Guardians tower will loom large over this entire area and clash with both themes.


2017 Trips: WDW, Dollywood, Cedar Point, KI, SDC, BGW, BGT, SWO, Universal Orlando

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Sunday, July 24, 2016 10:50 AM

DCA's TOT is indeed a poorly executed version of the Florida version. As noted above, the ride system is different, ruining the effect of your elevator entering another dimension, an amazing effect that consistently blows away first-time riders in Florida.

A second difference is less noted but I find equally significant - the outdoor queue is almost an afterthought in California, nothing like the sprawling garden that make up the grounds surrounding hotel in Florida, injecting infinitely more eerie jazz-age vibes.

Lastly, DCA's TOT was shoehorned into a sad corner of DCA's Hollywood Backlot before the implementation of a $1 billion effort to correct the park's original sins. As a result, California's guests never gave TOT the love or reverence it still gets in Florida (that its in a park with multiple E-tickets, unlike MGM/Florida, also helps).

All that said, this just seems like a dumb gimmick and another signature DCA mistake.

Last edited by Jetsetter, Sunday, July 24, 2016 10:51 AM
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Sunday, July 24, 2016 11:59 AM

While the WDW Tower of Terror is much better than the DCA version, I don't like this. I have never see Guardians of the Galaxy and to me, the Twilight Zone theming is just superb on those rides. If they touch the WDW version, I will be super bummed.

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Sunday, July 24, 2016 12:09 PM

Rumors initially pointed to both towers being rethemed but the combination of fan outrage, operational problems with closing down another ride at DHS, and the rides not being identical (i.e. you can't design once, build twice) have apprently saved the Florida ToT for now.

Rumors currently point to Guradians landing at Epcot in a new building that will take the place of Universe of Energy. While I would prefer for Guradians to be in either DHS (behind Star Wars land) or in Tomorrowland I'm not that upset about Groot killing Ellen.


2017 Trips: WDW, Dollywood, Cedar Point, KI, SDC, BGW, BGT, SWO, Universal Orlando

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Sunday, July 24, 2016 12:46 PM
slithernoggin's avatar

I'll cop to being a WDW TOT fanboy. The entire experience, from walking through the decaying gardens to the amazingly detailed lobby to the boiler room to the ride itself, is just a spectacular example of Imagineering at its very best. I've said that if I waited on line through the garden and lobby and was then told the ride was down, I'd still be happy; they're an "attraction" in and of themselves.

I saw the GOTG movie and enjoyed it, but "my" Guardians will always be the team that includes Martinex, Charlie 27 and Starhawk, that fought the Badoon. :-)


Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.
-- Groucho Marx

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Sunday, July 24, 2016 1:16 PM
Jeff's avatar

I agree, the DHS ride is an achievement (if only I could get my 6-year-old on it). It's easily one of the best end-to-end examples of storytelling on a ride.

I didn't know about the boarding difference at DCA, but yeah, that would be pretty weird. I think this different theme could certainly work if they get the show right before the drop part, but I don't know the movie either.


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Sunday, July 24, 2016 1:28 PM
Vater's avatar

The movie was entertaining, but I found it one of the weaker ones of the Marvel arsenal. Maybe it's me, but there are a lot of recent films that suffer from too little editing; some of them need to be cut shorter and not drag as much. For example, I watched Max Max: Fury Road last night and man was it a challenge to keep engaged.

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Sunday, July 24, 2016 1:37 PM

It also seems like they are making it harder on themselves by retrofitting Marvel into existing park infrastructure. Sure it will save on capital investment but the result looks like you just reskinned the Hollywood Tower Hotel into something silly. If you're going to inject Marvel into the parks, give them a proper home of their own.

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Sunday, July 24, 2016 2:48 PM

This announcement is disappointing and pretty much removes any of my desire to return to DCA. I love both Tower of Terror and Twilight Zone. Not only is Tower a great ride, but it also fits the theme of the park. What do superheroes have to do with California? It almost seems like they are undoing the billion dollar placemaking effort in order to shoehorn Marvel crap in as quickly as possible.

Why does Disney always feel the need to mess with perfectly good attractions? Wouldn't it make more sense to spend the money to retheme an unpopular ride, such as the nearby Monsters Inc?

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Sunday, July 24, 2016 3:37 PM
Jeff's avatar

If the uber nerds had their way, nothing would ever change at all. I think it's fair to say that Twilight Zone isn't exactly the most recognizable IP to anyone but an aging audience. This re-do doesn't mean it's going to be terrible... I think we have to wait and see.

As for placement, read the blog post. It says this is likely to anchor a broader area of super hero attractions at DCA. That's insanely overdue, since they're not bound by the Universal problem that they have in Orlando.


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Sunday, July 24, 2016 5:31 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Jeff said:

I think it's fair to say that Twilight Zone isn't exactly the most recognizable IP to anyone but an aging audience.

But the IP isn't integral to the story. It's a pretty simple and timeless story...and that's why it so great. You could use any intro to create the backstory and that ride holds up.

GotG? It'll be even less relevant in 50 years time than Twilight Zone is now.

Plus, I didn't get Guardians at all. Really average middle of the road forgettable popcorn movie. In fact, this is how I know I'm getting old - most of the IPs that the large parks (Disney, Universal, etc.) are putting in are things that I don't care about.

And double plus, I'm another that thinks ToT is probably the best ride at WDW.

With all of that said, it's an obvious move in the Cali park as part of a larger Marvel area.


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