Are Groot and Chris Pratt kicking The Twilight Zone out of Disney’s California Adventure Park?
For many patrons, it initially seemed strange that Disney, so full of their own intellectual properties, would purchase the rights to The Twilight Zone from CBS to theme their epic free-falling elevator ride, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. The ride walks you through the decrepit remains of a once-luxurious hotel, before Rod Serling himself sets up the story you are about to live. Then you step into an elevator, float in space, feel like a cat toy for about a minute, and leave quite nearly the same person you were when you entered, only with a slightly higher pulse and a giddier attitude. It really is a wonderful mix of tension, drama, atmosphere, and thrill. It shows Disney’s commitment to story above all else. What’s more, it has introduced a new generation to The Twilight Zone.
But these days, Disney isn’t as interested in introducing a new generation to an ahead-of-its-time science fiction program from the dawn of television. They are much more interested in what’s next and synergizing their properties. I talked to an Imagineer over the summer, for example, about why Disney passed on the rumored deal to make a Harry Potter Land (the deal that eventually went to Universal). He said, “Why throw money after Potter? Potter is finished, it’s in the past. We want to be looking towards what’s next. That’s why the new Star Wars features aren’t just focusing on the old films.”
It seems strange to many that with the multi-billion dollar purchase of Star Wars, Disney has set the parks aflame with the galaxy far-far away, but they have done next to nothing in the parks to honor their multi-million dollar purchase of Marvel.
It could be that by giving Tower of Terror a makeover, inside and out, they could be taking the first step towards making their first Marvel ride—just in time for Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2.
Imagineers have been spending an awful lot of time inside the Tower lately. They get there before the park opens and then they come back at close, taking careful looks around. Imagineers rarely make their purpose known, and they have been known to experiment with rides for a while before ditching whatever ideas they had and moving on (such as they did when outfitting a Jungle Cruise boat with a huge sound system, testing it for weeks, then returning it to the fleet the way they found it). But this focus on Tower has been long and concentrated.
When I spoke to a cast member who works at Tower about this, he said, “You’ve been reading Micechat, haven’t you?” Micechat, the online home for all rumors Disney, has all but confirmed to themselves that this GotG ride is a go. He continued, “We don’t know anything until you guys learn something. Micechat is a lot of fun, but they get stuff wrong more often than they don’t.”
Micechat, for their part, confirms that these are “talking points” that all the cast of Tower has been coached in. But as a spouse of a Jungle Cruise skipper, I can assure you that the cast knows exactly as much as the fans do about any project. The House of Mouse is very careful about how and when to leak information.
The initial Micechat rumor was that Tower of Terror was getting another the movie treatment, much like Pirates of the Caribbean did (Haunted Mansion did as well, but Disney would like you to forget that as best you can. There are rumors of a reboot for that movie, as well).
At the same time that Disney announced the Star Wars Land, Micechat and other online rumor mills were showing theoretical maps about a rumored Marvel Land. This land fits snuggly up to Tower of Terror, which is right at the edge of Hollywood Land right now. So maybe there is more up Disney’s sleeve than we see?
Disneyland and the other Disney parks have made their names on putting story first. The decision to expand DCA with Marvel characters would not be a light one. Nothing is official until Disney confirms it publicly, but the likelihood that this is being considered is very high. Entertainment Earth will keep you updated as news becomes available.
What do you think of this rumor? Would you want GotG to replace The Twilight Zone at this ride?