Theme Park Insider

First look at the exterior of Disney's Guardians of the Galaxy tower

October 3, 2016, 2:47 PM · Disney's Imagineers are sharing a new look at the construction model for the refurbished Tower of Terror in Disney California Adventure, which will close January 2 to complete its transformation next summer into Guardians of the Galaxy Mission Breakout.

The new exterior design adds color and decorative elements intended to make the nearly 200-foot-tall facade look less like an overgrown version of Pasadena's Castle Green and more like an interstellar gangster's palace.

From Disney's blog post:

This “warehouse, fortress-like power plant” (as described here by Joe Rohde, Creative Executive, Walt Disney Imagineering) is designed to be intimidating and imposing, but also shimmering and regal. It will be the ideal location for The Collector to secure and show off his most prized acquisitions, the Guardians of the Galaxy.

Disney's first Marvel-themed ride in the United States will replaced the Twilight Zone theme and storyline for Tower of Terror with a narrative adapted from the Harrison Hightower version at Tokyo DisneySea (which also was developed by Joe Rohde.) For this installation, the role of Hightower has morphed into Taneleer Tivan, aka "The Collector" from the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise, a similarly despicable rich guy with a passion for taking things he shouldn't.

This is just the first in what is expected to be many new Marvel-themed attraction at Disney California Adventure, as the Disneyland Resort works toward creating a new land themed to its popular comic franchises. Guardians of the Galaxy Mission Breakout opens sometime next summer. Disney has not yet announced a specific date.

Replies (34)

October 3, 2016 at 4:38 PM · This looks terrible. Looks like a kid has stuck spray painted pipe cleaners onto a cereal box.
October 3, 2016 at 4:58 PM · Looks pretty darn spectacular. I'm in.
October 3, 2016 at 5:18 PM · "Looks like a kid has stuck spray painted pipe cleaners onto a cereal box."

You might be surprised to find out just how many iconic theme park attractions had models that were built from pretty much that kind of stuff. One industry insider told me the reason why the spacecraft in the Disneyland Space Mountain queue has notches in its engine bells is because the model was built with tops from cans of spray paint.

October 3, 2016 at 5:51 PM · Reminds me of the Borg Cube. The top is enclosed. No more seeing Disneyland from the top.

Tried out Late Checkout yesterday night. Pretty amazing in the dark. The center shaft is out of order. Wonder why. The Standby line was backed up to 120 minutes. Thank goodness I had Fastpass, which was good all day long due to the breakdown.

October 3, 2016 at 6:21 PM · I am excited for this ride (despite the fact that I liked TOT [and I've ridden WDW's and think that one should remain as it is - perhaps the "one and only" Twighlight Zone going forward with its radical forward maneuvering]).

The comment about the cereal box made me laugh (it's true), and maybe when it's lit up it will make more sense. But right now, it looks like a reconstructed TOT building in the wrong thematic land. To me at least.

Thanks for update. Crossing fingers the reimagineering of this section(s) of DCA will eventually make immersive sense.

October 3, 2016 at 7:44 PM · I'm sorry but that sucks!
October 3, 2016 at 7:45 PM · This looks significantly better than I thought it would based on the concept art. That said, it doesn't exactly say "Guardians of the Galaxy" to me. I wish they would have gone with a design that resembled either the Kyln or Nova Headquarters, but I guess this is what the story calls for.
October 3, 2016 at 7:48 PM · Bugs Land will have to go soon to make way for a Marvel area. Either that or the empty lot south of Paradise Pier will be a Marvel park. Idk how they will transform the Hollywood area near Hyperion and Mad Hatter and Monsters Inc unless they rip it all out and start over.
October 3, 2016 at 8:22 PM · I think it looks fine. One thing I'm excited about with the new ride is what they might do with the queue. I like the idea of walking through, looking at the Collector's "collection".
October 3, 2016 at 9:06 PM · This is the Tower of Terror.
They took the tower and plastered a bunch of stuff all over it.
They couldn't even take the time and money to build a new building for their first Marvel attraction in the US.
This is a whole new level of "Disney cheap" we have entered.
October 3, 2016 at 9:07 PM · I think it looks fine. We'll know more the closer it gets. All the negativity isn't warranted as so many people are against change in the parks. It happens every time a beloved attraction is changed.
October 4, 2016 at 7:57 AM · This looks like it will 'almost' be a brand new attraction. Just like Radiator Springs Racers uses the same ride system as Test Track yet no one would mistake one for the other.

It's really hard to tell (from the model) how it will actually appear in the park, in different light and from different angles within the park. I'm surprised no one has tried to create a series of graphics attempting to show how it would actually look. Maybe they have and just I haven't seen them.

I'm actually glad they are enclosing the top. While it was fun seeing the park from that perspective it did kind of ruin the already weak storyline and the ability to suspend my disbelief.

October 3, 2016 at 10:25 PM · Definitely looks like crap.
October 3, 2016 at 10:30 PM · They'll need to re theme the land it's in also
October 3, 2016 at 11:16 PM · @Christian Alvarez. They have already announced their intent to do just that.
October 3, 2016 at 11:33 PM · I think it looks pretty darn awesome.

It's interesting to see such a wide range of reactions to the design. I guess one man's trash is another man's treasure. Or should I say "One Man's Dream" is another man's nightmare?

Anyway, I really do like it, and I think it might feel out of place initially, but once the surrounding area starts being Marvelized, it'll fit in quite well.

October 4, 2016 at 12:00 AM · Robert, I'm the pipe cleaner quote guy. I just hope the real thing doesn't look like someone has taken something and cheaply jazzed it up. That was more the point I was making. Thanks for the bit of history though, I love your site and writing.
October 4, 2016 at 3:45 AM · I don't recognise the building from the movie. Is this in Tomorrowland?
October 4, 2016 at 4:15 AM · I bet the facade will be done by the time it closes.
October 4, 2016 at 4:49 AM · A building that looks like an oil refinery? Still not sold on this...
October 4, 2016 at 6:09 AM · All the work and money that went into the transformation of DCA - and now this eyesore... (OK, I´ll admit that i would not like it even if it looked great - I just cannot stand that insipid Marvel nonsense...)
October 4, 2016 at 6:56 AM · Looks pretty good to me. If I lived on the west coast, I'd be looking forward to riding this re-vamped attraction when it is done.
October 4, 2016 at 8:04 AM · Marvel has no place in Disney's California Adventure.

There was a time when a "third theme park" was discussed. The time and demand for one is here. That's where Marvel and in many ways Star Wars belongs.

October 4, 2016 at 8:05 AM · I cant watch anything that guy talks about with that stupid silly band ear thing he wears. got 4 seconds in and stopped. Someone at Disney has got to end this. I know he is an artist, but I cannot take anything he says seriously with that rubber garbage ball bouncing off the side of his head.
October 4, 2016 at 8:32 AM · It looks OK. Way better tan what I expected. I still like the Tower's original facade.
October 4, 2016 at 8:35 AM · It looks OK. I like that it still looks intimidating from outside. I like the Tower's otiginal facade though.
October 4, 2016 at 8:57 AM · Wow.. that's an awful looking model, can't believe someone at Disney Signed of on this..
October 4, 2016 at 11:28 AM · I agree it's a "very striking building". Strikingly ugly. Total cluster-barf.

"Despicable rich guy with a passion for taking things he shouldn't." Bob Iger?

October 4, 2016 at 6:08 PM · I really don't like the model honestly (looks oddly cheap), but it could look pretty good in real life! My main concern is that the industrial look of it will take away from the park since it is very visible from many areas. I still don't like the idea of the plot of the ride, but I'm going to try and stay optimistic on this one since a far superior version to the original attraction exists across the country. I'm just glad that Disney is finally opening new rides again.
October 5, 2016 at 11:08 AM · To the anonymous commentor hating on Joe Rohde just because of his ear ring.... Do you even know who he is? I suggest you google him before making any more shallow comments. You should be praising him for all his outstanding work with Disney attractions instead of making judgemental comments about him.
October 5, 2016 at 2:05 PM · Funny, because I really never liked the Twilight Zone plot or storyline and I always thought the ToT was overrated. So I'm more that happy to exchange an inferior clone of an overrated attraction for something new. And the "new" part is an important distinction to make. From what I can gather this is not going to be just another version of the Tower of Terror (inferior or otherwise). So DHS will not have a superior version, it will have the only version of the Tower of Terror in the USA.
October 5, 2016 at 3:56 PM · Wow.. they must me kidding..
how anyone can think that taking inspiration from an oil refinery can be a good idea is beyond me.

it looks like a filthy factory and reminds me of air pollution...

I really don't mind that they want to let go of the twilight zone story line, but this looks dreadful

October 6, 2016 at 9:47 AM · People defending it should know it wasn't that much of an improvement to the original DCA park. Tower of Terror preceded the DCA makeover of Cars Land. Anything done prior to Cars Land is fair game for replacement. It's remarkable that people really want to keep it when it was not that great of an attraction. When I went on it this past Sunday, few people were impressed with the pre-show video. The aged hotel looked nice, but the Old Hollywood theming was an inch deep. The theme didn't extend before the attraction on the street and through the rest of Hollywood Land.

When I rode in the dark in "Late Check-Out", the drop is the only thing great about it. Twilight Zone's homage with its frequent references to old time Hollywood seems so outdated to the crowd who are not speaking much English in the queue lines. Superheroes would be more relatable.

As for the look, I wish they camouflaged the shape of the building to look less like a hotel. It needs more imposing alien antennas and décor. The colors seems like Discoveryland. Try a different palette. Add a large topper façade that appear to reach for the skies. I hope they alter the queue lines so guests can explore the museum and learn more about the story. I hope Chris Pratt makes an appearance, perhaps he should narrate the pre-show with a safety spiel.

October 6, 2016 at 5:41 PM · Pretty ugly...something I would expect to see at a Six Flags park, not Disney. Long live ToT at DHS.

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