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Will Disney’s ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ ride anchor a Marvel themed land?

One of the craziest and most improbable rumors ever to emerge from the secretive halls of Walt Disney Imagineering turned out to be true: The venerable Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney California Adventure will get a “Guardians of the Galaxy” overlay in time for the May 2017 release of the film’s sequel.

The 2004 Tower of Terror indoor elevator drop ride will be re-skinned with a back story based on the 2014 “Guardians” movie, which featured a mismatched team of intergalactic misfits who band together to save the universe.

The rumor was reported by Screamscape (“shocking”) in March, WDW News Today (“far fetched”) in April, MiceChat (“wild”) in May and then was picked up by numerous news outlets.

Mission: Breakout, as the new “Guardians of the Galaxy” ride will be known, will take visitors on a comical and thrilling ride on the indoor drop tower with new visual effects and music from the film’s soundtrack, according to a prepared statement by Disney.

The Hollywood Tower Hotel will be transformed into a fortress-like museum run by the mysterious Collector, played by Benicio del Toro in the first movie. The Guardians of the Galaxy have become the Collector’s latest prized possession, suspended in display cases over a vast abyss. Rocket Raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper in the original and the sequel) escapes and hatches a plan to rescue his fellow Guardians that involves park visitors and the museum’s elevator, according to details revealed by Disney and Marvel at Comic-Con in San Diego.

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney California Adventure will close in January.

Concept art shows the haunted hotel transformed into a space age fortress housing alien creatures in a museum-like setting. The “Twilight Zone” theme and the Rod Serling narration are gone, replaced by a back story that introduces visitors to the Collector and his unorthodox collection of extraterrestrials. The ride experience of the 13-story drop in the dark is expected to remain essentially unchanged.

Imagineer Joe Rohde, who is also working the “Avatar”-themed land at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Florida, will supervise the “Guardians” overlay.

Disney theme park fans have been clamoring for Marvel rides ever since the Burbank-based entertainment giant bought the comic book company for $4 billion in 2009.

Universal Studios owns the rights to use Marvel characters in its Florida and Japan theme parks, according to Theme Park Insider. Universal’s Islands of Adventure in Florida features a Marvel Super Hero land. Universal Studios Japan is home to an Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man dark ride.

The updated attraction will anchor a broader Marvel universe at Disney California Adventure that will expand over time, according to a prepared statement by Disney. An individual themed land dedicated to Marvel superheroes at Disney California Adventure has long been the subject of speculation.

The Tower of Terror ride sits north of the 4-acre Timon parking lot that represents the last significant parcel of unused land in the Disneyland resort.

The Comic-Con announcement did not include any mention of changes to the Tower of Terror attractions at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida, Walt Disney Studios Park in France or Tokyo DisneySea in Japan.

An Iron Man ride, similar to the Star Tours flight simulators, is undergoing pre-opening testing at Hong Kong Disneyland.

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