More than a year ago I wrote a column centered on the potential to have various Marvel properties enter the Disney theme parks. Not much has unfolded since that time, save for a few character meet-and-greet opportunities, merchandise, and a temporary sneak peek of Guardians of the Galaxy prior to its debut.
More ideas fill my head of what the Imagineers can accomplish in “winning” over both Disney and Marvel aficionados. Take these imaginary projects for the Disneyland Resort as food for thought.
Captain America Obstacle Course At Redwood Creek Challenge Trail
Unless you have a younger sibling or child in your life, you have probably never heard of this playground in Disney California Adventure Park. The outdoor space, across from the Grizzly River Run raft attraction, has experienced various themes over the years, including Brother Bear and Up overlays. This is set in the forest, of course, and unless Meryl Streep’s Witch from Into The Woods aims to take residence, why not see Steve Rogers and crew here? You might be wondering how Captain America fits into this area. Remember how in The First Avenger Rogers underwent training to get ready for serving overseas? Some simple thematic modifications could allow for an appropriate setpiece. Kids could explore this obstacle course (crawling through tunnels, walking on a little ropes course) as heroic music by Alan Silvestri, Henry Jackman, and Brian Tyler plays in the background. A photo opportunity with Captain America himself could exist nearby. View it as superhero training placed in an area somewhat reminiscent of where Tommy Lee Jones prepped Chris Evans in the 2011 hit.
Guardians of the Galaxy 4D Show In Tomorrowland
Characters cannot just be plopped down in a section of the Disney theme parks without any thought. Imagine how weird it would be to see Iron Man in Frontierland. However, Gamora, Groot, and Star-Lord certainly belong in Tomorrowland. If re-purposing the recently shuttered Innoventions (likely to house another experience soon) is not probable, another space would work. The Tomorrowland Theater, now staging a preview of Disney’s new Tomorrowland film, will once again be up for grabs. Sure, soon enough this may likely house a peek of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and other projects featuring C-3PO and crew. But Marvel’s space-themed personalities should have a presence, too, don’t you think? A 4D show would envelop viewers in Peter Quill’s ship (The Milano), with the giant screen depicting an intergalactic chase scene. Instead of “rats” from Honey, I Shrunk The Audience (a prior tenant of this space) surprising audience members in their seats, a rogue Rocket the Raccoon could appear to run around the theater, startling viewers with swift, furry swipes shooting out from under their seats. Ready to start the campaign for this? As Beauty and the Beast‘s Lumiere would say, “be our guest!”
Ultron Cameo In Pinocchio’s Daring Journey
He’s got no strings to tie him down, yet that does not mean Ultron would resist having a home in Disneyland. Various Disney attractions have paid tribute to other characters and experiences over the years. For instance, Disneyland’s The Many Adventures of Winnie The Pooh houses the three talking animal heads from the Country Bear Playhouse (its attraction predecessor) above the ride vehicles in one of the final scenes. Since Ultron seems to adore the lyrics from Pinocchio – and even a brief snippet of the original “I’ve Got No Strings” song appears in Avengers: Age of Ultron – the Fantasyland dark ride featuring Pinocchio should return the favor. A marionette-like figure of Ultron could maintain his robotic elements, yet capture the integrity of Pinocchio. This would not steal Pinocchio’s show, should Ultron exist amongst other characters, say in the Pleasure Island scene. Some ardent Disney fans would consider this blasphemous. I think a subtle nod that does not detract from the main purpose of the attraction would add some cleverness and increase rider interest. Needless to say, Ultron would not sing here, but this hilarious video by YouTube user SeÃ¡n Connolly suggests his vocal aptitude.
Marvel Madness Weekends At Disney California Adventure Park
An array of Disney-owned brands have possessed annual events at the parks. Star Wars Weekends continues to this day. ESPN The Weekend took place for many years at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Even ABC Super Soap Weekends occurred for more than a decade. The time has come for Marvel to host a yearly weekend (or set of weekends) of festivities for fervent fanboys. Disney California Adventure – primarily, in its Hollywoodland section – would encompass an ideal environment for an event of this scale. Nearly all of the attractions could have a Marvel-themed overlay. Picture Disney Animation, temporarily transformed into Marvel Animation. Urusla’s Grotto, where guests typically insert their voices into scenes from Disney animated films, could feature moments from the Marvel television programs on Disney XD. I suppose the grotto could be retitled as “Loki’s Lair.” The Character Close-Up area would be perfect for a photo opportunity with an animator from The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. As opposed to drawing Mickey Mouse in the Animation Academy, guests could draw Hulk and Thor. This video from Disney XD’s UK YouTube channel serves as some inspiration.
The Beast’s Library, where guests find out what Disney characters they are most like in fun personality tests, would simply experience Marvel modifications. Answering “fame” to the question of “What do you seek most in life?” would elicit “You’re most like… Tony Stark,” in comparison to “honor,” which would lead to a reveal of “Steve Rogers.” The main lobby of the building, which always shows artwork from Disney and Pixar animated features, could be replaced with concept art from the TV shows and film projects.
Moving over to the Muppet*Vision 3D theater, Kermit and Miss Piggy would step aside for a bit, in favor of a sneak peek of a forthcoming Marvel film. Over in the enclosed stage, often housing special events, could be a series of backdrops for pictures with Marvel’s TV stars, including, for instance, Clark Gregg from Agents of Shield and Charlie Cox from Netflix’s Daredevil. The Aladdin musical may feature some Marvel-themed jokes, thanks to Genie, and even a special appearance from Thor. Why not? The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror could include some projections of villainous characters as guests ascend the elevator. Each day of the event could conclude with a cavalcade of Marvel celebrities – Cobie Smulders, Hayley Atwell and Brett Dalton, among others – with a grand finale in Paradise Pier. Forget about World of Color, which everyone already adores. Take it up a notch with Marvel Cinematic Universe of Color! Disney and Marvel, you can make this happen.
What do you think of these ideas? More than that, what are your ideas of attractions or experiences that could come into the Disneyland Resort?
This is Brett Nachman, signing off. Follow me on Twitter for alerts of new editions of Disney In Depth, Thursdays on Geeks of Doom.