California’s Disneyland park is removing one of its most popular attractions. The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror will soon close after 12 years of operation. Disney has now taken the first steps in removing it completely.

Disney announced in July 2016 that the Tower of Terror ride at Disneyland will transform into Guardians of the Galaxy — Mission: BREAKOUT!

The History of Tower of Terror

The original Tower of Terror opened at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World resort in Orlando, Florida. The ride opened its doors in 1994 and quickly became one of the park’s most popular attractions.

Ten years later, plans were made to open a version of the ride at its other parks across the globe. The company planned to capitalize on the ride’s popularity to help boost visitors to the other theme parks. There are now Tower of Terror rides at Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Tokyo Disney Resort, and Disneyland Resort Paris.

Though there are variances, the basic premise is the same at all four versions of the ride. Visitors are ushered into an “ordinary” hotel elevator, where many years ago some hotel guests mysteriously disappeared. The supernatural returns to haunt the elevator again, of course. The elevator propels riders up and down at breakneck speeds.

Prepare to Enter the Twilight Zone

The Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and Disneyland Paris versions of Tower of Terror are tied to the 1960s television series, The Twilight Zone. Created and hosted by Rod Serling, The Twilight Zone ran for five seasons on CBS from 1959-1964.

The classic series was an anthology, featuring different stories and characters each episode. Characters usually found themselves in a supernatural situation with a moral quandary to resolve. The show was famous for its shocking surprise endings.

In 1983, directors Steven Spielberg, John Landis, Joe Dante, and George Miller came together to create The Twilight Zone: The Movie. The series was later revived on television in two new incarnations: one in 1985 and another in 2002. Disney licensed the rights to The Twilight Zone from CBS for the Tower of Terror.

The Tokyo Disneyland version of Tower of Terror features an original story and is not tied to The Twilight Zone. Instead, it takes place at the fictional Hotel Hightower. The story involves a cursed African idol brought to the hotel by its builder and owner, Harrison Hightower III.

Here Come the Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy -- Mission: BREAKOUT! at DisneylandImage Credit: Disney

Guardians of the Galaxy — Mission: Breakout! will utilize the same building and ride, but will feature a new story. The new attraction will be based on the 2014 Marvel film Guardians of the Galaxy and its upcoming sequel, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Instead of a hotel, the building will become the home of the Collector, as seen in the original film.

The Collector has captured the Guardians of the Galaxy. But Rocket Raccoon escapes and asks the guests to help him rescue his teammates. Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, and Benicio del Toro will reprise their roles from the film series.

According to the Orange County Register, a large crane recently removed the Tower of Terror sign from the outside of the ride, signaling the end of an era. The renovations to the exterior will presumably begin soon, even as the ride continues to operate until January.

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