The 2017 summer movie season is quickly shaping up to be the Summer of the Guardians. The highly anticipated release of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is expected to continue the massive early success of Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, setting up the Guardians’ appearance in 2018’s The Avengers: Infinity War. Marvel Studios bet big to bring the relatively obscure Guardians of the Galaxy comics to the big screen, and it’s already paid off in a major way.

One way to gauge the popularity of a high-concept new film franchise is how far it extends beyond the cinema into other revenue-generating opportunities. One of Disney’s biggest cash cows, of course, is their theme parks. A new announcement signals the invasion of the Guardians of the Galaxy into one Disney park – and shows just how much the franchise has grown in three short years.

The Disney Parks blog announced a series of new initiatives on Wednesday, mostly gearing them toward the impending release of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Chief among the new attractions, starting on May 27, will be the “Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout!” ride coming to the Disney California Adventure park. An indoor motion ride that follows Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) as he busts the Guardians out of The Collector’s (Benicio del Toro) fortress, “Mission: Breakout!” is replacing the former Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and using the same free-fall ride mechanisms that made the original ride famous.

mission breakout begins construction Disney Reveals Guardians of the Galaxy Ride Opening & Summer of Heroes


The “Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout!” ride also boasts the unique feature of randomized audio/visual ride experiences, giving riders added incentive to give the attraction repeated runs. It also puts an emphasis on music, which will reportedly play a bigger role in Vol. 2. Disney also announced the Summer of Heroes, which will run a number of side attractions from May 27 through Sept. 10. In addition to Avengers-themed food and merchandise, a new “Heroic Encounter” attraction will find “Black Widow” randomly interacting with guests while the “Avengers Training Initiative” features “Black Widow” and “Hawkeye” recruiting young Avengers to join the team.

Disney Parks also announced new year-round initiatives that will kick off during the Summer of Heroes, including superhero encounters with “Captain America” and “Spider-Man” and the Guardians of the Galaxy “Awesome Dance-Off.” Disney parks are no stranger to giving young guests a chance to interact with employees dressed as their favorite characters; the Guardians of the Galaxy are simply the latest in a long line. But it’s a strong indicator of just how huge the heroes’ popularity has grown since the mega-popular Guardians of the Galaxy first hit theaters.

The big question, of course, is whether the sequel will live up to the original. If Vol. 2 doesn’t approach the quality of the first Guardians of the Galaxy, then it remains to be seen how successful Disney will be with its new theme park initiatives. But there’s little reason to doubt that James Gunn can come up with another acclaimed hit with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – and Disney’s parks will only continue to benefit from the franchise’s future success.

NEXT: What Makes Guardians of the Galaxy 2 Really Different?

Source: Disney Parks