'Sup! As the frog family's resident Guardians of the Galaxy and Marvel fan, I had been hopping (even more than usual) with excitement to experience the new Guardians of the Galaxy—Mission: BREAKOUT! attraction and Summer of Heroes in Disney California Adventure for months. 'Tis true that I am probably the target audience for this stuff, but trust me when I say that every member of the fam— from little Lily to the folks—had a great time at Summer of Heroes. We saw plenty of other young girls and boys—as well as adults—enjoying these new experiences too. This post will help you have a Marvel-ous time exploring Summer of Heroes in Disney California Adventure.
Marvel-ous tips for Summer of Heroes in Disney California Adventure
While Summer of Heroes is a limited time experience through September 10, you can easily spend all of your DCA day there. Be sure to be a man (or woman) with a plan. Having a strategy in mind to be able to maximize your time and still enjoy everything else Disney California Adventure has to offer— Radiator Springs Racers, Frozen Live at the Hyperion, Toy Story Midway, Soarin’ Around the World and more.
We hopped about the Summer of Heroes in Disney California Adventure, figuring out when to arrive, how to manage wait times, strategies for seeing a show, best days of the week to visit and places to meet a character. We learned about free souvenirs and face painting, which we hadn’t even known about before going. With our "Mission" complete, here are my top tips so you can plan a great journey of your own.
Tips for Riding Guardians of the Galaxy—Mission: BREAKOUT!
Let’s start with the most exciting part. Guardians of the Galaxy—Mission: BREAKOUT! is arguably one of the coolest rides in the park. It certainly has its ups and downs, and ups and downs, and ups and downs—get it? If you don't know who Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax, Groot and Rocket are, don't worry. You'll still have a good time …as long as you can handle the dark and unpredictable up and down movements. Just pay attention to the Collector talking about his new additions to his collection in his display room (the first room you’ll enter). Once in the Collector’s office, everyone will get the breakdown on the mission and what you are in for. All riders can groove to the retro 70s and 80s music on the ride (each ride plays one of six songs and has unique scenes of the breakout and drop sequences).
So let’s talk strategy. The only real downer—outside the free-fall drops—is the line to get in. Make a plan for riding. Can you get to the park before opening or perhaps even take advantage of Extra Magic Hour (usually Sunday, Monday, Wednesday or Friday) if you are staying on-site? If you do not have Extra Magic Hour, consider visiting on a Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday (arriving at the front gate at least 30 minutes before park opening) when there is no Extra Magic Hour in that park, so that you can be one of the first people on the ride. Riding this new ride first thing in the morning will save you time.
You can also obtain a FASTPASS right away when the park officially opens. The day I first rode was a Tuesday morning (not an Extra Magic Hour day) and all the FASTPASSES were completely gone less than three hours after park opening. I first grabbed a FASTPASS for later and then hopped in line to ride it despite the 200-minute posted wait because I just could not wait any longer. They may adjust the wait times to be more accurate when you visit, but don’t stress too much. When you get off the ride after helping save the day you’ll feel heroic, just like Kevin Bacon (just watch the movies already if you want to get my references).
Do you have a baby or small child that does not meet the height requirement of 40 inches in your group? Another strategy is to take advantage of Rider Switch so that three members of your group get to ride again. (It’s like having a FASTPASS that you can use anytime during the day). One adult can watch the child while the rest of the family rides, and then the other parent can have a turn to ride and bring two more people with them (for a total of three) without having to wait in line again. Thanks, Lily, for not being tall enough (that drives her crazy because she can't wait to be tall enough to ride too)!
Want to know more about the ride? Check out my toadally cool version of it on our YouTube channel.
Summer of Heroes in Disney California Adventure
If saving the Guardians of the Galaxy is making you feel extra-heroic, then roll that strength over into one or all of the Summer of Heroes in Disney California Adventure activities.
Show off your moves in the Awesome Dance Off
One of the best parts of Guardians of the Galaxy is the soundtrack. Get your groove on with Gamora and Peter Quill as “Star-Lord” blasts some tunes from his Boom Box in the Awesome Dance Off. This groovy show takes place in front of the Guardians of the Galaxy attraction sign. Stay until Groot arrives late to the party to introduce himself (again and again—“I am Groot!”) and then stays on to meet park guests (the line starts to the left of the show). For an unobstructed view of the show, just stand toes to the curb in front of the sign about 10-15 minutes before the show.
Meet Super Heroes
Watch Black Widow make a dramatic entrance near Guardians of the Galaxy Missions Breakout! with her formidable black Avengers truck as it drives towards the Hollywood Backlot, where she will meet guests until she’s called back to action. Wood you like to meet Groot? Then stick around after the Awesome Dance Off! Groot greets guests (say that three times quickly) in front of the Guardians of the Galaxy sign. You can meet Spider-Man and Captain America near the corner of Sunset Blvd. and Hollywood Blvd.Be sure to check the entertainment guide for meet and greet opportunities.
Get a Super Hero mask painted on your face
You can’t really wear a mask in the park, but you can get Marvel character masks or faces painted on your face. Whether you want to channel your inner Gamora or Groot, or aim for Avengers like Spider-man, the Hulk, Captain America or Iron Man, you can improve your aesthetic with free face painting in the Hollywood Backlot. MOMMY FROG NOTE - Face Painting is free! Best new bargain at Disney California Adventure!
Train in the Avengers Training Initiative
Think you have what it takes to become a member of the Avengers? Aspiring heroes ages 6 to 12 can take part in the Avenger Training with Black Widow and Hawkeye. You can sign up in the morning (including during Extra Magic Hour) near Stage 17 in the Hollywood Backlot for a show time later in the day. As with Jedi Training at Disneyland, participants have to be present with a guardian to sign up. The demographic was definitely leaning toward the younger side though. Your 12-year-old might be a bit too advanced for this training, but your 6 to 10 year old will love it. Just sayin’. Seating is limited. They save the first two rows of seats for one parent of each participant, so other audience members should arrive about 20 minutes early to get a seat for this show. I recommend purchasing an Avenger-themed shave ice at adjacent Bifrosties to enjoy while watching the show. A little Spider Venom or Spinal Fluid can be so refreshing on a hot day!
You can’t save the universe on an empty stomach. There are special Summer of Heroes food and treats at the Studio Catering Co. that will help you fuel up in case you have to go to battle. Creative bites such as The Most Dangerous Tacos in the Galaxy (barbacoa beef tacos with green onion slaw, purple cabbage, pickled onions, habanero salsa, and green tortillas) will hit the spot for a galactic appetite. Obviously Nachos have loaded chicken nachos (the obvious choice). If you like chicken street tacos, then try the Space Outpost Tacos. The desserts are out of this world: a Multiverse Parfait (chocolate cake, white and dark chocolate mousse, cherry jelly, and chocolate ganache) and The Milano (a Fanta Orange freeze with blue cream and topped with whipped cream). Don’t forget a Cherry Necroblaster (Cherry Coke freeze) to wash it all down.
Hopping back to the shave ice at Bifrosties, you'll find yourself with many delicious choices. Good luck choosing, and know that any of them can have a scoop of vanilla ice cream added:
Spider Venom—blue raspberry, cherry and condensed milk
Smash Ice— lime and grape
Ice Reactor—strawberry and banana
I am Shave Ice—rootbeer and vanilla
Whistle Blue—blue raspberry, lime and blue sugar
Spinal Fluid—banana, mango coulis and chili-lime spice
Other food stops include Knowhere Eats, serving the same food as the Studio Catering Co. Schmoozies offers themed smoothies too. Fairfax Market sells Groot sourdough bread— "I am Bread". Award Weiners sells two "winning" treats—Quiver of Funnel Cake Fries and the adorable Angry Little Pudding Cup. Adults can find themed beverages with alcohol at the Cosmic Canteen.
Reveal your inner Super Hero at the Hero Action Center
Enter your unique qualities into the program to find out what Super Hero you resemble and receive a free sticker and comic book! MOMMY FROG NOTE - we never get tired of free stuff at Disneyland.
You can purchase your own Super Hero gear at the Summer of Heroes Studio Store in the Hollywood Backlot. You can also find more clothing, costumes, collectibles, toys, action figures and more in the Collector’s Warehouse. It’s located at the exit of Guardians of the Galaxy—Mission: BREAKOUT! Too bad they don't sell Sony Walkmans or working Iron Man suits.
Take Time To See It All
One last tip for visiting the Summer of Heroes in Disney California Adventure is to plan enough time to ride the attraction, meet characters and see any shows that interest you. Check out the Entertainment Schedule to find out the times of shows you want to see so you don’t miss them. The Dance Off is earlier in the day, whereas there are multiple shows of the Avengers Training Initiative throughout the afternoon and evening. Plan out your strategy for riding Guardians of the Galaxy, whether your mission is to ride early or get a FASTPASS for later. You know you’re going to want to ride it twice, so get that FASTPASS early in the morning before they are depleted. Then obtain a FASTPASS for another ride in the park as soon as you are able to so you can experience more of the park. You can find more on FASTPASSES here.
Will you be hopping over to see Summer of Heroes in Disney California Adventure? What are you looking forward seeing? Let us know in the comments below!
Related - Disneyland Extra Magic Hour - When To Use And When To Avoid