What it's like to ride Disney's new Guardians of the Galaxy attraction, formerly the Tower of Terror

Disneyland in Anaheim, California. Photo: Sarah Kimmorley

Going to Disneyland is every kid’s dream.

It’s a chance to enter the fantasy world of their favourite characters that fill their television screens, movie screens and toy boxes.

And since Disney acquired Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm, the number of themes and characters under Disney’s repertoire has rapidly expanded.

As part of that expansion, the parks and resort division of the business has updated it theme parks to reflect diversification of the brand.

This includes the highly anticipated “Pandora Land” which opened in Disney World, Florida earlier in the year.

But more recently, Disneyland’s California Adventure theme park in Anaheim launched the new “Guardians of the Galaxy” ride to replace the former “Tower of Terror”.

While in the city for Disney’s D23 Expo, Business Insider visited the park to try to ride, which opened just a couple of months ago, and hear from the man who designed the experience, Joe Rohde, the portfolio creative executive at Walt Disney Imagineering.

“Everybody loves the Guardians of the Galaxy,” says Rohde. “We are going to attempt to tell a story that honestly leads to a ride that’s about two minutes long.

“We are making some kind of short story… very tight form of storytelling, [and] one of the principles of good storytelling is that you really start from zero.”

“We have no idea how much you know about the Guardians of the Galaxy when you walk in the door… We have to show you everything.

“[Doing so means] absolutely every individual who encounters the story can follow it from beginning to end without having to refer to some third thing.”

The premise of the story is a prison break.

“Everybody has seen a prison break movie,” says Rohde. “There’s always somebody with a thumb print or an eyeball who can open the doors. We’ve got people who are held inside. You have the bad guy who’s in charge.

“The Guardians are imprisoned in The Collector’s fortress and that we, as special VIP guests of The Collector, are going to be brought in by Rocket who has escaped and enlisted to use our security clearance to open the doors so Rocket can blow up the generator, which will shut off the power, which will open the cages and free the Guardians.

“Except of course when you open the cages, you open all the cages, everything gets loose, and it turns into complete chaos.”

Here’s what we thought of the Guardians of the Galaxy ride.

Welcome to Disneyland's California Adventure theme park

Sarah Kimmorley

As you can see, I'm pretty excited to be here

Sarah Kimmorley

The entrance. That's what we want

Sarah Kimmorley

Here's my ticket. Star Wars. Subtle promotion for 'The Last Jedi' which will be release in cinemas later this year

Sarah Kimmorley

The 3-Day Park Hopper will set you back around $AU400

Sarah Kimmorley

In we go!

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Everyone has their tickets scanned

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And when you first enter the park your photo is taken for security purposes

Sarah Kimmorley

Here's my mugshot. Thanks, Ken!

Sarah Kimmorley

And here it is: Disneyland's California Adventure theme park

Sarah Kimmorley

Oh look, a nod to Oswald the Lucky Rabbit -- Walt Disney's first successful cartoon

Sarah Kimmorley

There's a tram you can catch if you get tired of walking around, or want to do a reconnaissance of the park before you get started

Sarah Kimmorley

Before we get to the ride, there is one thing all entrants to Disneyland must do -- buy a pair of Mickey ears!

Sarah Kimmorley

Although it's difficult because there are so many to choose from...

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Like I said...

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There are a lot

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I found it hard to go past the classic Minnie Mouse design

Sarah Kimmorley

OK, time to get this show on the road. Speaking of... Hey, guys! There are street performers all around the park

Sarah Kimmorley

Walking down the main street of California Adventure, visitors have a plethora of stores to choose from

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See!

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And a cinema. Hmm, what's playing?

Sarah Kimmorley

Wow. Now, that's beautiful. It's hard to tell what's reality and what's fantasy in this place

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Even the weather is delightful. In July, it's nice escape from the Australian winter

Sarah Kimmorley

Oh, hey Summer of Heroes Land

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Look, it's Spiderman!

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People are lining up to see him

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Hmm... is that what I think it is?

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It is: Groot bread! This snack sold out within hours when Disney first introduced it

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It's pretty cute

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It's been also super popular on Instagram. Can you see why?

Sarah Kimmorley

Let's see how it tastes. This is the jalapeno and cheese flavour

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Yeah, no. For $AU11 it's not worth your while

Sarah Kimmorley

Moving on. There's the Mickey Mouse ferris wheel...

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And Cars Land

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It looks super cool

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And finally, there it is -- The Guardians of the Galaxy ride

Sarah Kimmorley

'Looking at the building that we have, looking at the mass of it... (we ask) what can I do with this?' says Rohde.

'What kind of story can I tell with this? I have a ride vehicle that goes up and down really fast. I have a great big massive building that's very big and imposing.'

It looks enormous. It used to be the Tower Terror, which I rode 10 years ago

Sarah Kimmorley

Back then it looked like this

Wikipedia Commons

Every detail of the ride is fitting with the film, starring Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper

Sarah Kimmorley

Woah, it has a 45-minute wait time. Lucky we have fast passes

Sarah Kimmorley

While there is still a line for those with fast passes...

Sarah Kimmorley

It seems to be moving pretty quickly

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At least there's heaps to look at to pass the time

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Disney really does go the extra mile to make visitors feel immersed in the experience

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Yay, almost in

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It looks cool already

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Disney spends a lot of time in the design process when creating these rides...

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To make sure that it is enjoyable for people who have and who have not seen the movie

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The design of the ride has to get newbies up to speed on the storyline in a matter of minutes, while still be engaging enough for fans

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We're next to go in. We're asked to raise out hands so they can be scanned and we can enter the next room

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It works! We're ushered into a room where to door closes behind us

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In here we are introduced to The Collector, who in the movie is the keeper of the largest collection of interstellar fauna. He has captured the Guardians of the Galaxy and we're here to help save them

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Rocket, one of the Guardians of the Galaxy, cuts the Collector off mid-speech and tell us how we can help him rescue his friends

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Look there he is!

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He tells us that he needs our handprints to help the Guardians escape...

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Because his paws don't work

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Here's his game plan

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Now that we know what we need to do, we get going

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The detail through the building as we make our way to our next destination is incredible

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There is so much to look at

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Which is a great thing if you're stuck waiting in a line for hours

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OK. We've made it to the next door

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We're told to line up in row number two

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The anticipation is building

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Yep. I think I am tall enough

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Now I am starting to get nervous

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After scanning our hands one more time, the doors open and we enter a cage with metal seats and seatbelts. This only puts me more on edge

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We're told to buckle in, and check that the seatbelt is secure. Check

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Yes, boss

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The next couple of minutes goes a little like this as we are brought to the top of the tower watch a short clip of the Guardians escaping. Then we freefall in complete darkness without warning. We go up and down multiple times

Sarah Kimmorley

Once the ride stops, the doors open. I don't not which way is up or down. I don't normally get motion sickness but that made me super dizzy

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We're then let out. I have never been so happy to see this sign

Sarah Kimmorley

I can barely take a photo because my body is still shaking from the adrenaline rush

Sarah Kimmorley

Before I leave I check out the photo taken at the peak of the ride's terror. Yep, sufficiently scared

Sarah Kimmorley

And of course we exit through a gift shop just in case we want to make a final purchase. Maybe a new pair of pants?

Sarah Kimmorley

The author travelled to Los Angeles as a guest of Disney.

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