Disneyland Resort ditching Twilight Zone for Marvel superhero ride

SAN DIEGO – Disney California Adventure’s Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is disappearing into the fifth dimension – forever.

A new attraction will move into the building that the Anaheim theme park calls the Hollywood Tower Hotel: Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout!

Riders on the Marvel Comics-themed attraction will join forces with superhero Rocket Raccoon as they navigate through a fortress with creatures from the universe and try to free the other guardian heroes from the Collector.

Disney said in a statement that the new adventure will enhance the “free-fall sensation with new visual and audio effects to create a variety of ride experiences.”

Marvel and Disney announced the switch Saturday evening at San Diego Comic-Con International, the massive gathering for fans of popular culture.

Visitors have until January to ride Twilight Zone Tower, then work will begin to inhabit Guardians of the Galaxy, a newer-age group of superheroes, into the high-rise building.

The Marvel ride is expected to open next summer, about the time the next movie in the “Guardians of the Galaxy” franchise hits theaters nationwide.

“The incredibly talented Disney Imagineering team has found a way to harness the spirit, which drove ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’s’ success to create this immersive experience,” Kevin Feige, president of Marvel Studios, said in a statement.

The new attraction is another step for Disney in tightening its relationship with Marvel and comes nearly a year after Disney CEO Bob Iger announced that the company would build a 14-acre “Star Wars” land at Disneyland.

Disney purchased Marvel and Lucasfilm, the company that owns “Star Wars,” for $4 billion each in 2009 and 2012, respectively.

Disney California Adventure houses a meet-and-greet with Spider-Man and Captain America.

Perhaps telegraphing that a Marvel land is on its way, Disney officials said the new attraction will “anchor a broader universe of superheroes that will grow over time in Disney California Adventure.”

The Twilight Zone Tower opened in 2004. Visitors enter an elevator car that shoots riders up before dropping them as much as 13 stories, multiple times.

“Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout! is going to be an out-of-this-world experience,” Joe Quesada, chief creative officer at Marvel, said in a statement. “We’re just getting warmed up.”

Several attendees at Comic-Con reacted positively to the news.

“What an amazing overlay for it,” said Gregg Ziak of Mission Viejo. “I’m for the change and glad to see it go in.”

Natasha Olenick of Long Island, N.Y., liked that the superheroes are coming.

“Disney needs to do something to bring Marvel into the theme parks,” she said.

Contact the writer: 714-796-2443 or jpimentel@ocregister.com or follow on Twitter @OCDisney

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