Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! has been open for a few days, so we now know how Walt Disney Imagineering decided to tell the story of breaking out the Guardians. There’s an immersive queue filled with Easter eggs, the hilarious pre-show featuring Rocket the Raccoon, and finally, the actual ride itself. Guests who have successfully broken out the Guardians know that the ride makes use of screen technology, and it has been met with mixed reviews. Many people have brought up the use of screens in Mission: BREAKOUT! as if it were a weakness of the attraction. As someone who does not feel that way, here are a few reasons why I disagree:
Screens Allow for Storytelling
When it comes to drop rides in general, not too many of them even bother to tell a story, and for good reason. Dropping down from a high distance is enough of a thrill that for many guests, that’s all they need to have a good time. Disney attractions, however, are known for telling stories, and the use of screens make storytelling possible, especially in a drop ride.
“But wait, Tower of Terror didn’t use screens!”
No, Disney California Adventure’s Tower of Terror did not use screens, simply because they were not necessary to tell its story. Tower of Terror has a paranormal theme, and that allows for some great effects, such as making the elevator car riders seem to disappear, and ghostly figures appearing in a hallway. As for Mission: BREAKOUT!, riders follow a group of characters as they’re broken out of cells, and screens allow for the multiple scenes riders can experience. The same effects that worked for Tower of Terror don’t necessarily work for something like Mission: BREAKOUT!, although Mission: BREAKOUT! does a good job of making use of the room with practical effects, in my opinion.
Working With What They Had
If Mission: BREAKOUT! were being built from the ground up, I’m sure there would have been more than just screens to visually stimulate riders. In my perfect world, the gantry lift cars would be able to move through Guardians of the Galaxy scenes like the elevator cars move through “The Fifth Dimension” in Walt Disney World’s Tower of Terror. However, Imagineers who worked on Mission: BREAKOUT! had the difficult task of creating a permanent new attraction using a building that already existed. This made adding something new and exciting even more challenging, especially since adding anything extra to a drop ride is already so limiting. Since the gantry lift car is limited to a single shaft for movement, screens allow for guests to see many different things with each ride.
Use of Actual Actors
One of my favorite reasons they decided to use screens for Mission: BREAKOUT! is it allowed the attraction to feature the actual actors of The Guardians of the Galaxy film. The ride is so much more fun getting to see Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, and Pom Klementieff as their characters. Would it have been cool to see them as animatronics? Maybe, especially seeing how advanced the technology can get with what has been seen in Pandora – The World of Avatar. However, human animatronics modeled after actual people are tricky and would have limited what the characters could do in each scene (think Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean). Animatronics, although cool in theory, would not have allowed for the many ride variations that the screens make possible.
They Look Really Pretty
Pretty self-explanatory, but since they used screens, at least they went for really, REALLY good ones. Even the one in the queue looks too good to be real!
Yes, a lot of people think the use of screens in a ride is cheap and lazy, but I think they work well for what Mission: BREAKOUT! has to offer. Many people have come off the new ride very pleased, even if they were huge fans of Tower of Terror, so I’d say it was a successful move for WDI. What do you think of the screens? Let me know in the comments, or over on Twitter (@thealdywaldy)!
All images from Attractions Magazine