Inside Guardians of the Galaxy and Summer of Heroes


DISNEYLAND — It is dark inside the Collector’s towering citadel. Steppenwolf’s “Born to Be Wild” blasts through the gantry lift, as I brace myself to drop to my doom. Suddenly, the steel doors separate. Rocket Raccoon from Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” appears wearing a devilish grin. He has just escaped Taneleer Tivan’s glass cage, high atop the fortress. Now he needs my help to rescue the other members of his ragtag crew. Rocket loosens the cables. I squeeze my eyes shut. Whoosh!

Guardians of the Galaxy — Mission: BREAKOUT, a re-imagining of Disneyland’s Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, opened on May 27 inside California Adventure’s Hollywood Land. And whether or not you like that free-fall sensation — it is 130 feet of accelerated, sequenced drops — there’s no denying the ride’s epic mechanics, from the fortress tour through Tivan’s collection of stolen Knowhere fauna to the stunning visual surprises and awesome vintage pop.

Of course, the new ride was at the top of my to-do list. But it isn’t the only irresistible attraction here. All sorts of things are changing at Disneyland, where construction is underway on a new Star Wars Land that will open in 2019. Rivers of America is reopening this summer, beginning with Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island. There’s a new Summer of Heroes attraction, perfect for my 6-year-old son’s first trip to the land of the mouse. And the Main Street Electrical Parade has returned to the park for the first time since 2010, when it crossed the country to begin its run at Walt Disney World Resort. I haven’t seen it since I was a kid.

The first morning, I left my backpack of water, snacks and sunscreen with my family and sprinted to Guardians first thing when the park opened at 8 a.m. to avoid long lines (yes, even with FastPass you can expect to wait at least 30 minutes on weekends). After that, we made the most of our locale and headed straight to Summer of Heroes.

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