Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout, was the first step in Disney’s long-term plan to bring Marvel into their domestic theme parks. We are now learning that Guardians was not the only Marvel property considered for the drop ride in Anaheim, California, Imagineers also considered Spider-Man and Doctor Strange.
But first, the quick backstory.
Roughly four years ago the fragile sensibility of the Disney Parks community was shattered with the closing and re-theming of Tower of Terror in Disney California Adventure at the Disneyland Resort. Countless hours of sleep were lost, fingers callused over from rage tweeting, and while there was plenty and huffing and puffing, no house was blown down. The project moved forward, leaving the perpetually outraged behind to quickly become outraged about something else, like a font change or a bench being moved.
As is the case with most of the changes to Disney Parks, the original pearl clutching got replaced with screams of delight once the ride opened in 2017. The doomsday predictions were replaced with posts of lines snaking around the park. When you are consumed with chasing the clicks, there’s no time to worry about integrity.
The ride was closed, along with the entire Disneyland Resort, in March of 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. For nearly three years the Guardian’s themed ride was one of Disney California Adventure’s biggest hits. Thanks in part to the brilliant lead Imagineer assigned to the ride, Joe Rohde.
The recently retired Rohde worked as a Disney Imagineer for four decades and led many of the Parks’ most beloved projects. His biggest hits include: Disney’s Animal Kingdom at the Walt Disney World Resort, Pandora, Flight of Passage, Aulani Resort, and Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout!
In a recent interview with the official Disney fan club “D23,” Rohde explained that the three Marvel properties in the running to take over Tower of Terror were Guardians of the Galaxy, Spider-Man, and Doctor Strange.
He immediately could see how Doctor Strange could work with the ride system already in place. While brainstorming Spider-Man he felt the property needed a larger footprint. While Tower of Terror was a huge building, the majority of its size comes vertically, with a relatively small footprint. The team eventually landed on Guardians and so began the slow transition to the upcoming Marvel themed land, Avengers Campus.
Spider-Man will have his own ride, WEBSLINGER, in the new land and Doctor Strange will be featured in an interactive outdoor experience. So all was not lost for the two other properties.
Avengers Campus was expected to open last Summer, but has been postponed due fallout from the pandemic. Assuming the Covid-19 recovery is smooth and we see wide spread vaccine participation, Disneyland should reopen at some point in 2021. While many sites have proclaimed that Avengers Campus will open in 2021, that is actually unknown at this time. There is no reopening date for California theme parks like Disneyland and there is no assurance that even when the resort is allowed to reopen, that Disney will open Avengers Campus immediately.
We will be covering the actual and honest news about Disneyland and Avengers Campus here at The DisInsider. Stay tuned for the latest.