Disney to unveil new Marvel-themed Avengers Campus in June
Thwarted, like many plans by the pandemic, was the opening of the Marvel superhero-themed Avengers Campus at Disney California Adventure in Anaheim. But now comes news that the land, which will include a family-focused interactive Spider-Man ride, is set to launch on June 4. The date was unveiled Thursday on a web conference hosted by Josh D'Amaro, chairman of Disney Parks, experiences and products, and featured Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige.
Discussing the land with Feige, D'Amaro joked that the opening date was chosen because it's close to Feige's June 2 birthday.
Disneyland Resort is set to reopen its two theme parks on April 30, with tickets going on sale to the public at large on April 15. A ticket, as well as an advance reservation, will be required to visit Disneyland Park or Disney California Adventure. Avengers Campus is in an area of California Adventure that once housed the kid-focused A Bug's Land and will include the thrill ride Guardians of the Galaxy — Mission Breakout!
Last year, just prior to pandemic-forced stay-at-home orders and nationwide shut-downs, Disney announced the land was nearly complete and would open in July of 2020. That date obviously came and went as the Disneyland Resort has been shuttered for more than a year.
Construction, however, was finished during the pandemic, and fans who have attended Disney California Adventure's food-focused event the Touch of Disney have been seen angling for photos of gleaming Quinjet, the sparkling-bright silver aircraft often used by the Avengers. It sits atop one of the land's key infrastructures and is partly visible via the outskirts of Cars Land.
In a slight pivot from towering re-creations of other universes — see the magical realms of Universal's "Harry Potter"-inspired lands, or Disney's own takes on the "Avatar" and "Star Wars" franchises, including the recent and especially alien Galaxy's Edge — Avengers Campus relies more heavily on the familiar. Its setting is essentially the real world — a place in Southern California for the Avengers to meet and recruit potential new collaborators.
The look is relatively modern, with the feel of a once-industrial area filled with brick buildings remade into a trendy communal spot, one complete with a beer garden themed to Ant-Man and the Wasp. Strike the oversized references to Spider-Man, and the land's anchor ride, Web Slingers: A Spider-Man Adventure — a family-focused attraction that's essentially a large-scale video game built on silly gesture controls — wouldn't look out of place in, say, downtown Los Angeles' Arts District.
That's not to say there won't be plenty of illusions, ranging from the technological to the gastronomical to some good old-fashioned magic tricks. While pandemic-era constraints and budgetary restraints may alter some initial plans during the land's first two weeks — California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a full reopening of the state's economy by June 15 if COVID cases continue to drop — Avengers Campus was pitched as an activity-focused land.
Long teased, for instance, has been an acrobatic Spider-Man, which is technically a robot that will perform stunts 60 to 65 feet in the air above the building housing the attraction. Expect the stunts to be visible throughout the land — and after soaring through the air, a very human Spider-Man will climb down the building and meet with guests.
Also previously in the works was a training show featuring the Black Panther's guards, as well as a mystical nook modeled after supernatural ruins where Doctor Strange can show off his magical abilities. Flanking the land will be the eye-catching silver of the Avengers Headquarters, believed to someday act as the entrance for a new ride, but for now home to an elaborate stunt show.
During the 30-minute web conversation between D'Amaro and Feige, the two spoke excitedly of the new Spider-Man ride, which features scenes with actor Tom Holland and has a competitive, game-like aspect in which guests will battle — or team up — for high scores in an attempt to wrangle out-of-control spider robots. On the attraction, guests will don 3D glasses and sling webs, aka fling arms like no one is watching, to capture the bots and manipulate the digital environments.
Think of it as a sort of next-generation Toy Story Midway Mania, as the ride will marry video game techniques with a more defined narrative. The setting of the ride will have guests traveling throughout Avengers Campus in a bid to help Spider-Man get his new toys under control.
But it's mostly about playing along with — or attempting to best — your ride companions.
As D'Amaro said of the ride: "It's super competitive."
The presentation ended with D'Amaro teasing upcoming product and technological innovations by flashing a lightsaber that appeared to materialize as it might in a "Star Wars" film — that is, sans a tube of plastic. "It's real," he said.