This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six Reasons We Love DCA’s Summer of Heroes! When Disney announced that it would be transforming Hollywood Tower of Terror in DCA into a brand new attraction featuring the wildly popular Guardians of the Galaxy characters, the response was – at best – mixed. While no one is going to argue that DCA’s Tower of Terror could hold a candle compared to the version in Florida, it still had the iconic Hollywood Hotel facade, and was the perfect fit for the newly rebranded DCA and the park’s emphasis on Walt coming to Hollywood in the early 20th Century. The new ride would be called Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout! and the facade now looked like the old hotel got into a head on collision with a Crayola factory.
The debate on the new Guardians attraction raged on while it was being built (with even the SATURDAY SIX getting in on the fun.) On May 27th, the very same day Disney World opened Pandora – The World of Avatar – Mission: Breakout! was unveiled to the masses. However, unlike Animal Kingdom with Pandora, DCA also introduced a whole bunch of other Marvel related activities into the park to enhance the superhero experience. Today we’re going to take a look at some of our favorite parts of DCA’s Summer of Heroes, and let’s kickoff the countdown with…
# 6 – Marvel Super Hero Food and Drinks
Down here in Florida we may have more Disney hotels and overall theme parks than out in California, but one area they blow us away is with themed snacks. Believe it or not they are still making new and unique snacks just for the Main Street Electrical Parade. For the Summer of Heroes promotion DCA has introduced 30 new snacks and drinks themed towards superheroes. As a WDW Annual Passholder, this number is almost incomprehensible. Our favorite of the new food options is a piece of sourdough bread made in the shape of Groot.
By now, regular readers know we like theme park donuts. Scratch that, we like breathing, we LOVE theme park donuts. Imagine our surprise when a whole bunch of Marvel themed donuts made their debut including an appropriately SUPER SIZED one themed to the Incredible Hulk. Another thing that just blew our mind was what DCA did with the traditional glow cube. Normally we think these generic cubes are the biggest rip offs inside of a theme park. However, when you put that very same glow cube inside an Infinity Stone themed drink it suddenly becomes the Tesseract and thus ties in with a bunch of awesome Marvel movies.
# 5 – Black Widow and Groot Meet and Greets
While it has taken Disney quite a while to add Marvel attractions into their parks, one thing they have done over the past few years is introduce some pretty cool meet and greets over in California. Guests have been to able to meet Marvel heroes such as Spider-Man, Thor, and Captain America. For Summer of Heroes, two new meet and greets are available including the Avenger’s own Black Widow and Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy. Even Disney chairman Bob Iger had to get in on this action!
# 4 – Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Dance Off
We mentioned being able to meet with Groot above, and that opportunity happens after the fun Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Dance Off show. The show features Star-Lord and Gamora retrieving a special artifact from The Collector: an old school 1980’s era boom box. Lots of guest participation here, so be prepared to be a true hero like Kevin Bacon and teach an entire city that dancing is the greatest thing there is.
# 3 – Hero Action Center
Okay, we’re biased on this one. There’s only a couple of things to do at the Super Hero Action Center, but one of those involves a chance to get a copy of the exclusive Sumer of Heroes comic book. We here at the SATURDAY SIX have not just done one article on the best theme park related comic books, but TWO ARTICLES on them. If you don’t fondly remember the EPCOT Universe of Energy comic with Mickey and Goofy, we can’t be friends. At the Hero Action Center you can take an interactive quiz to discover your inner hero, and then pick up an exclusive DCA branded Summer of Heroes comic book (along with a neat Marvel sticker.)
# 2 – Avengers Training Initiative
In Florida, one thing that we love to watch is the Jedi Training show at DHS. In the Trials of the Temple show, kids get to do what we adults could only dream about growing up, interacting with Star Wars characters in a Star Wars themed environment. For Summer of Heroes, a similar experience exists with the Avengers Training Initiative. Here, kids ages 4-12 can sign up to be tested by the Avengers own Black Widow and Hawkeye. For our kiddos, who love to watch the Avengers Assemble cartoon, this is a dream come true.
# 1 – Easter Eggs in Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout!
We’ll save the debate on the actual Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout! ride for another time (but one thing is for sure, it is a lot more fun than the Tower of Terror ride it replaced. Granted, that’s a low bar, but still.) No matter what, one thing that will have great appeal to theme park and comic book fans is all the cameos, references, and Easter Eggs throughout the queue. From Cosmo the astronaut dog…to Harold from the Matterhorn…to Figment…to a reference to Country Bear Vacation… we’re going to have to paraphrase the hyperbole of the great Stan Lee by saying this queue literally has it all! It’s going to take an answer worthy of earning a Marvel No-Prize to explain how any of this makes sense,
HONORABLE MENTION – The Merchandise
I don’t care what side of the aisle you are on for whether or not the Mission: Breakout! ride should exist in DCA, one thing we can all agree on is that the merchandise in the gift shop is right up there with Disney’s best. The plush featuring Rocket Raccoon, Cosmo the dog, and HOWARD THE DUCK in their Collector boxes is unbelievably great. 10/10. Aside from shirts, cups and the other usual theme park stuff is retro-merch such as Simon, Lite-Brite, and those hand held football games that we could spend hours playing despite just looking at dashes on a screen. For those of us a certain age, this is nostalgia of the highest order and it works great story wise as it represents the part of Earth Star-Lord would remember fondly.
DOUBLE SECRET HONORABLE MENTION – The Pressed Pennies!
As much as we love our pressed pennies over here in Florida, it’s clear we are the proverbial red-headed stepchild as Disneyland and it’s “favored nation” status gets new pennies all the time while we still have a Mickey’s Jammin Jungle Parade penny at Animal Kingdom. The trend continues of Mission Breakout! has new pressed penny designs (with some really fun touches on them, such as “Peter Quill” scratched out) for collectors.
TRIPLE THREAT SECRET MENTION – The Marvel Land “Tease”
We alluded to earlier that the Mission: Breakout! facade now sticks out like a sore thumb in DCA. After a Billion dollar makeover which included the elaborately themed Buena Vista Street and old timey Red Car Trolley attraction, the larger than life Mission: Breakout! can best be described as garish. However, what we are led to believe is that this is only temporary, and once more Marvel attractions open in the area the
Tower Collector’s Fortress will fit in better. While we’ve been given nothing concrete about what may be coming, we did get our first “tease” with an Avengers hatch that appears to be bolted to the ground in order to prevent something from escaping.
So there you have it: Six Reasons We Love DCA’s SUMMER OF HEROES ! See you next weekend for the latest installment of the SATURDAY SIX, where we’ll look at something fun from the world of Disney and Universal. If you enjoyed yourself, be sure to check out The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! articles, or, for your listening pleasure, check out the E-Ticket Report podcast. You can also follow Your Humble Author on Twitter (@derekburgan).
If you enjoyed this article, you will surely like the following:
The Six Best Theme Park Related Comic Books (Marvel Superhero Island #1, Mickey and Goofy explore the Universe of Energy, Figment.)
A Look at Six MORE Theme Park Related Comic Books (Enchanted Tiki Room, Captain EO, The Haunted Mansion)
Special Thanks to crack staff photographer Brandon Glover, a personal favorite of mine on Twitter for theme park photos Attractions 360, Dateline Disneyland‘s own Brian Pinsky, the man who shoots all his 30 year old Pizza Hut magnets in landscape but only shoots theme park photos in portrait Guy Selga, and blogger to the stars Megan Stump for their invaluable assistance with this article. Be sure to also check out Brandon on The Park Blogger podcast with goofballs co-hosts Aengus Mackenzie and LitemAndHyde , while fellow Potterheads may enjoy Meg’s work on the Central Florida Slug Club.
FINAL PLUG! Did you know The 2017 Unofficial Guide to Universal Orlando has a special edition of the SATURDAY SIX in it? Finally, someone came up with an actual reason to read a book. ORDER this baby now!