July 20, 2024

Music on Guardians of Galaxy Mission Breakout & New Vol. 3 Additions

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Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! has become one of our favorite rides at Disney California Adventure, slowly winning us over. In honor of the third movie's release, we wanted to share new additions

Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! has become one of our favorite rides at Disney California Adventure, slowly winning us over. In honor of the third movie’s release, we wanted to share new additions making limited-time appearances in the Avengers Campus Marvel land while also revisiting the ‘music and merriment’ that make this attraction so fun.

Let’s start with the latest additions for Summer 2023 in celebration of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 hitting theaters. For a limited time, Mantis is joining Star-Lord at Avengers Campus for “Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Dance Off!” The celestial siblings will get their groove on in front of the Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! attraction, as they recruit guests with the right skills to join their band of heroes.

Featuring Peter Quill playing classic rock from his boombox in an attempt to amuse an unimpressed Gamora, plus a late-arriving Groot, “Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Dance Off!” is a really good time. This is especially true by Disney dance party standards, which are often loud and empty. The appeal likely comes from characters and music and characters with all ages appeal, meaning that the “Awesome Dance Off!” is something that both kids and their parents can enjoy.

Inside Avengers Campus proper, there are other additions for Summer 2023 to celebrate the release of the third installment of the film franchise. Although no new free-roaming characters are coming to the Marvel land (those usually arrive to promote new Disney+ shows, meaning we’ll likely get something soon for Secret Invasion and Loki season 2), there are new foods being added to menus.

You can enjoy the taste of the Milky Fizz, a dessert pear-flavored soda water with cream, now available at Pym Test Kitchen featuring IMPOSSIBLE, along with the Orloni on a Stick and Experiment 1517: Cardamom & Caramel Churro Cold Brew. And next door at Pym Tasting Lab, enjoy the Zarg-Bits, a tasty snack inspired by the Zarg Nuts eaten in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3!

Admittedly, we were critical when Disney announced that Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! would replace the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney California Adventure. Even though the DCA tower was an inferior and simplified version of its counterpart at Walt Disney World, we loved it–the old Hollywood attraction was a perfect fit for Disney California Adventure.

Our concern with Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! was that it was incongruous with its surroundings and was insufficient as the first Marvel attraction in the US. Basically, that both the brand and Disneyland deserved better. While some of those concerns still hold, what we underestimated is just how ridiculously fun Mission Breakout would be.

Setting aside detail and thematic cohesiveness, Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! is flat-out, fantastic fun. It’s one of the most joyous attractions in all of Disneyland Resorts. It hits all of the right notes, and is just a non-stop hoot from start to finish. In large part, this is owing to the Guardians of the Galaxy characters, humor, and use of music. It leaves you laughing, moving with the music, and your heart pumping–it elicits an emotional response few (if any) other attractions at Disneyland Resort can match.

Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! also does a shockingly good job with storytelling considering that it’s a retrofit. Guests more or less buy into the conceit of the attraction–at least, just as well as they did with the Tower of Terror. The plot is entirely different, as are the queue and pre-show. Even as a diehard Twilight Zone fan, I have to admit that the build-up in Mission Breakout is better. The “hook” gets most guests, who are actively engaged and raising their hands when Rocket Raccoon instructs them to do so. (But we’ll stop with the plot details so as to avoid spoilers.)

With that said, it’s really the music that is what makes Mission Breakout. There are 6 songs on the playlist for Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! in DCA. We’ll share those here, but suffice to say, they shape the experience and are absolutely pitch-perfect. Between the playlist and the new drop profile of the tower, Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! is basically the “dancing” equivalent of a thrill ride. It’s impossible to explain, but if you know, you know.

To that point, let’s talk tunes. I’ve experienced Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! more times than I can count (it’s been open for over 5 years now). I’ve heard every single song on the playlist at least a half-dozen times, and have personal favorites that I think work better with the ride. Some of them just “dance better” with the motion of the drop profile, for lack of a better explanation.

Suffice to say, Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! really demonstrates just how fun an “Awesome Mix Tape” plus these Marvel misfits plus thrills can be. It’s a recipe for success and, frankly, there should be more rides following this formula.

In case you’ve never experienced it, guests aboard Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! at Disney California Adventure rise and fall to the tune of six famous classic rock songs throughout their epic adventure. These songs are played on the ride itself–once things get moving and during the drop sequence–not as part of the lengthy pre-shows or the queue.

Each time guests board a gantry lift to rescue the Guardians of the Galaxy from The Collector’s Fortress, they experience one of the six randomized scenarios created for Mission Breakout at DCA. Each ride profile utilizes the attraction’s hair-raising ascend-and-drop sensation, as Rocket hotwires the lift to play one of these awesome songs from the ‘60s, ‘70s or early ‘80s. Here’s the current song list for Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! at DCA:

  1. “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” by Pat Benatar (1980)
  2. “Give Up The Funk” by Parliament (1975)
  3. “Born To Be Wild” by Steppenwolf (1968)
  4. “I Want You Back” by The Jackson 5 (1969)
  5. “Free Ride” by The Edgar Winter Group (1973)
  6. “Burning Love” by Elvis Presley (1972)

The songs and drop sequences aren’t the only things that will vary among these randomized scenarios – each one shows a different version of the escape, with different action sequences playing out before rising and falling in the gantry lift.

According to Walt Disney Imagineering, the multiple experiences are the result of extensive research, experimentation, and ride testing by the creative team. Imagineers started with a list of nearly 100 high-energy songs, and narrowed that down to the final six by testing each one in action. Boarding a gantry lift, they donned their own headsets – just like Star-Lord – and played each track to see which songs worked best with potential ride profiles.

“A strong identifiable rhythm and a memorable hook were key points,” explained John Dennis, Executive Creative Director, Walt Disney Imagineering. “For example, ‘Free Ride’ has an iconic guitar hook, a killer bass line in the verse and, in the chorus, the backing vocals have a great ascending line. The rock n roll music playing on board the ride is just plain fun. The songs, each paired with its own ride profile, give us six unique experiences.”

The songs enhancing the adventure of Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! aren’t the only ways in which the attraction acknowledges the importance of music in the “Guardians of the Galaxy” movies. “Guardians of the Galaxy” film composer Tyler Bates wrote the music for The Collector’s Fortress lobby and office scenes, as well as for the attraction exit.

In addition to the 6 songs that play during Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!, there’s a special edition for Halloween Time at Disneyland Resort, which runs for most of September and all of October. Every night during Halloween season once the sun goes down, Guardians of the Galaxy — Mission: BREAKOUT! transforms into Guardians of the Galaxy — Monsters After Dark.

Monsters After Dark has a different plot, starting immediately after the conclusion of Mission: BREAKOUT when (spoiler alert!), the Guardians have successfully escaped the Collector’s Fortress. Unfortunately, Groot was accidentally left behind. So now you’re helping Rocket distract the creatures while he saves Groot.

For Guardians of the Galaxy — Monsters After Dark, there’s only one song, “Monsters After Dark,” created especially for this version of the attraction. As with the regular Mission Breakout, I’ve really come around on Monsters After Dark. Think of it as a campy Halloween b-movie, as the song as utterly absurd…but also, oddly, an earworm.

If you’re doing Disney California Adventure during Halloween season, we highly recommend experiencing Guardians of the Galaxy — Mission: BREAKOUT! during the day before doing Monsters After Dark. While both are similar in overall idea, the regular version is better. They’re also sufficiently different to justify doing both. (Honestly, the same could be said about the attraction in general–the 6 different songs and show scenes make the ride experience differ considerably, even though the pre-show remains the same.)

Next, my rankings of each song played on-board Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! (Note: Sarah does not have song rankings for this ride because it makes her sick…so she doesn’t do it nearly as often.)

  1. “I Want You Back” by The Jackson 5 (1969)
  2. “Born To Be Wild” by Steppenwolf (1968)
  3. “Free Ride” by The Edgar Winter Group (1973)
  4. “Give Up The Funk” by Parliament (1975)
  5. “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” by Pat Benatar (1980)
  6. “Burning Love” by Elvis Presley (1972)

Honestly, they’re all really good. There isn’t a single song on that list that I’m disappointed to hear, but I definitely like “I Want You Back” the most. The other rankings are mostly interchangeable, and probably depend more on my mood that day than anything else.

For the sake of comparison, below is a song list for Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind. That EPCOT attraction is a roller coaster, and nothing changes from ride to ride except the music. Here are the songs you can hear aboard Cosmic Rewind:

  • “September” by Earth, Wind & Fire
  • “Disco Inferno” by The Trammps
  • “Conga” by Gloria Estefan
  • “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” by Tears for Fears
  • “I Ran” by A Flock of Seagulls
  • “One Way or Another” by Blondie

Even if none of these songs are your jam, so to speak, they just “hit different” when played during a thrill ride. I don’t know how to explain it, but all of those tracks work really well on both Mission Breakout and Cosmic Rewind (well, except “Conga” for me, but others seem to love even that one).

Planning a Southern California vacation? For park admission deals, read Tips for Saving Money on Disneyland Tickets. Learn about on-site and off-site hotels in our Anaheim Hotel Reviews & Rankings. For where to eat, check out our Disneyland Restaurant Reviews. For unique ideas of things that’ll improve your trip, check out What to Pack for Disney. For comprehensive advice, consult our Disneyland Vacation Planning Guide. Finally, for guides beyond Disney, check out our Southern California Itineraries for day trips to Los Angeles, Laguna Beach, and many other SoCal cities!

YOUR THOUGHTS

What are you thoughts on the “Awesome Mix Tape” for Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! at Disney California Adventure? Think these tracks are good choices for the drop tower ride? Do you agree or disagree with our assessment? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!

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