Disney’s new Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout ride at California Adventure offers a thrill of galactic proportions!

“Lord Almighty, I feel my temperature rising,” crooned Elvis Presley on the soundtrack. What I felt rising, however, was my ride vehicle as it shot like a rocket to the top of the tower and lifted me out of my seat for the first of many bouts of free-floating airtime. Before I had a chance to catch my breath, I plummeted precipitously. It was a tough assignment, but it served a higher purpose: to help free the imprisoned Star-Lord, Peter Quill, and his intergalactic buddies.

I was among the first to experience Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! at Disney California Adventure. It replaces the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and uses its faster-than-freefall ride system to deliver what felt like even wilder thrills than the original attraction. The first major Marvel-themed ride at a Disney park in the USA, Guardians opened on May 27.

Instead of the Hollywood Tower Hotel, the 13-story building is now the fortress of Taneleer Tivan, The Collector. The gaudy exterior, with its bronze and gold flourishes, is an imposing site on the park’s skyline. A larger-than-life gold statue of The Collector at the entrance is a testament to his vanity. Inside the fortress are display cases filled with artifacts and species he has collected. Visitors learn that they are V.I.P. guests who have been invited to view the exhibits.

As they wind through the queue in the initial presentation room, guests pass a number of vitrines both on the ground and suspended in the air. Some contain books, strange weapons, and other inanimate objects. One, however, contains a sad-looking dog in a space suit. As with puppies at mall…