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Disney's Tower of Terror Replacement Just Got a Substantial Downgrade

It’s safe to say that the decision to convert the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney California Adventure into Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission : BREAKOUT has been very controversial among longtime Disney fans, with many condemning Disney’s apparent disregard for the overall theme of the park and lazy incorporation of Marvel characters into an existing attraction. However, despite very loud criticism from fans, Disney has been soldiering on with the project, going as far as to destroy parts of the iconic Twilight Zone Tower of Terror Building while it is still operating.

Earlier this week, Disney released another first look at this reimagined attraction, which revealed even more details about what guests can expect when they experience Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT when it opens next year. Unfortunately, the news isn't exactly great...

1. The exterior overlay just got a fairly big downgrade

Guardians of the Galaxy concept art

Image: Disney

The original Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission : BREAKOUT concept art (which you can check out above) showcased a building that, while still recognizable as the former Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, had a lot of exterior work done to it, with an almost Steampunk-like aesthetic. The design featured dark colors, alien designs on the front, and some interesting lighting fixtures near the top. In fact, the concept art was so ornate that we even wondered when this conversion was first announced how Disney could possibly manage to get so much exterior work done on this attraction building in just a few months. And now it looks like Disney executives must have shared our concern, as the most recent look at the plans for Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission : BREAKOUT show that the exterior work for this attraction has been scaled back quite a bit from what we first saw in the concept art. 

Image: Disney

As you can see in the scale model pictured above, the finished project has gotten quite the downgrade with just a few pipes, lights and satellite dishes now tacked on to the existing structure. In addition, it looks like the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror color scheme will remain, as this new model showcases only a small smattering of red paint around the middle of the building, instead of the more ambitious color scheme and painting design that was originally shown in the first concept art for this attraction.

And while the downgrade in visual look is a bit surprising (albeit, perhaps not totally unexpected), some additional details about the inspiration for this new(ish) attraction's refreshed look have also been released, and they are downright bizarre...  

2. The overall look for Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT' is inspired by…oil refineries? 

Image: Disney

Alright Marvel fans, when you think of the world Guardians of the Galaxy, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Classic rock tunes? A super-colorful universe filled with incredible beings? I am Groot? There are plenty of correct answers, but we'll bet there's one thing you didn't think of: oil refineries. 

According to executive director of Walt Disney Imagineering John Mauro, one of the biggest inspirations for the color scheme and overall look of Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT is oil refineries, which is a little strange considering it seems unlikely that The Collector, the alien being who owns this warehouse (according to the official story of this attraction), knows a lot about Earth's fossil fuel gathering system. In addition, Imagineer Joe Rohde has also described this reimagined structure as recalling the design of an old power plant, which, while perhaps related to the concept of an oil refinery, certainly isn't the same thing. 

Unfortunately, this type of theme confusion is exactly what worried guests about this project to begin with, and its just weird that Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT is now being described as taking place inside a warehouse that is inspired by power plants and oil refineries, that also exists on a distant planet in outer space. And you thought the story for Stitch's Great Escape was a stretch!

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There are 11 comments.

This fiasco is probably being brought to you by the same geniuses who thought a chain saw act was a great replacement for Off Kilter at the Canadian pavilion in Epcot. I think it's sad to say that we have entered the era of "profits above all" and "quality concepts and imagineering cost too much so slap some crap up and raise the prices". It's awful to watch the absolute degradation of something great into a cheap, low quality experience.

I couldn't agree more!!!

seems recently the biggest thing from Disney is hype and NOT performance. A good example was the Fantasyland expansion at Magic Kingdom.....yes it opened up traffic, but the rides are a major disappointment. About time Disney delivers something new and spectacular, instead of converting existing rides (Norway's log ride and now Tower of Terror at Hollywood Studios).....we're not amused by your cheap bait and switch and at the point neither of these changes will bring a significant increase in visitors as evidenced by this years low head counts.

I think it's rad. I've always wanted this.

it has not been confirmed that the tower of terror at hollywood studios will be changing, this article is about the one in california at disneyland...the one in hollywood studios is the original, and hopefully will not be changing...they're already getting ready to change rock'n roller coaster(so rumors say)

I feel that rides that try this sort of stuff fail. Nobody knew of Guardians of the Galaxy until the movie which shows how unknown the series is and plus I feel that Disney might back track on it since look what happened to 'Enchanted Tiki Room Under New Management' which lost its character overlay and Stitch's Great Escape possibly being removed and with people crying for ExtraTERRORestial to return.

I am absolutely disappointed to see Twilight Zone Tower of Terror go. And while I agree that some, if not all, of the latest Disney park efforts have been motivated by the almighty dollar rather than innovation and creativity, a very sore subject for some, myself included, I think this attraction has potential to be something really neat. I have faith that the Imagineers will create the best attraction they can with the resources at their disposal. If Disney wants to re-purpose attractions instead of starting from scratch, a move I am by no means happy with, then so be it. Onward and upward, I guess? No? No, I get it. This doesn't make a lot of sense in the context of the park, but perhaps in the future, it will be part of a greater whole.

As an aside, this article is confusing. First talking about how the exterior plans have gotten a major downgrade, then later talking about how subtlety has gone out the window? Make up your mind. You either want detail or you don't. The looming tower structure is already not subtle, so let's put things in perspective here.

Disney is so cheap. The billions they spend on Disney Springs, Avatar, Star Wars, etc. And for what? Months and months of construction, increasing ticket prices, and end result attractions that lack soul or story or experience. Epcot is a sham. Hollywood Studios is a half-day park at best.

This is why Universal is pulling ahead on nearly every front. They still have passion there.

Whoever is running Disney should be voted out. I could run it way better than they have. I understand needing new attractions but the word is new not rehabbed. This lacks imagination.


Great move by Disney! No one under the age of 40 knows what the twilight zone is. Guardians will be around a long time. Walt always wanted the parks evolving. Keeping the themes within the Disney universe just makes sense.

I hope this is as successful as Rocket Rods. This is the stupidest move in the history of the Resort by the self-styled Einsteins who run the company. Failure is practically guaranteed.


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