I Went to the New Avengers Campus at Disneyland and Now I Feel Like a Real-life Superhero
In 2019, Disney announced its plans to open the Avengers Campus at Disneyland within a year. But, you know what they say about making plans. Though the global pandemic delayed the launch of the new world, it did not deter the Imagineers, culinary experts, and Disney producers from finally delivering on their promise to bring the magic of the movies to life.
Walking into the Avengers Campus inside Disney California Adventure Park brings on a wave of familiar Disney emotion, only heightened by the fact that COVID-19 prevented many of us (this reporter included) from visiting the Happiest Place on Earth for more than a year. The land feels new, vibrant, and like visiting an old friend all at the same time.
"At Walt Disney Imagineering, our goal is to always deliver on adventure, immerse guests in a story, and really tap into their imaginations. One of the great opportunities with Avengers Campus was collaborating with our studio partners from the very beginning," Scot Drake, head of portfolio creative at Walt Disney Imagineering, shared in a statement. "It has been a truly dynamic collaboration. We've taken the famous Nick Fury line, 'You're a part of a bigger universe. You just didn't know it yet' into every attraction, heroic encounter, and experience in the land. This will make every guest feel like they are a part of something even bigger as they find the [superhero] within themselves at Avengers Campus."
At Avengers Campus, families can come face to face with all their favorite superheroes, including Doctor Strange, Thor, Black Panther, Captain America, Iron Man, and the Guardians of the Galaxy on their ride Mission: BREAKOUT. And now, you can join Spider-Man on a mission with the new ride WEB Slingers.
Upon entering the ride, guests meet with Peter Parker himself inside his lab as he explains his multiplying spider bots. Of course, things quickly get out of control — as things tend to do with Parker — and the bots begin to take over. Guests then grab their 3-D glasses and board the ride to help take down the mutant spiders alongside Spider-Man.
The ride is as interactive as it gets. Guests take part in the arcade-style game by slinging their own webs to kill off as many spiders as possible with augmented reality. It takes a second to understand the gameplay, but once you do, you'll be throwing your arms in every direction to watch your personalized web take down the bad guys. And, you'll certainly feel like you got in an arm workout by the end.
"WEB Slingers: A Spider-Man Adventure brings together physical sets, practical effects, and virtual set extensions to bring this adventure to life," Brent Strong, executive creative director of Walt Disney Imagineering, shared. "This attraction uses cutting-edge technology to let our guests sling webs like never before. It uses brand-new gesture recognition software adapted just for this experience, and it merges that with physical and digital sets. But all that technology disappears in the experience and lets you feel like a [superhero]."
Beyond the ride, guests will also get the chance to watch Spider-Man swing into action above Avengers Campus with a gravity-defying show that involves both a real man and a rather impressive animatronic that soars 65 feet in the air from one rooftop to another. Following the stunts, Spider-Man swings down to say hello to the new Avenger "recruits."
It's shows like this that make the Avengers Campus not only feel complete but also feel like a space that's about more than just the rides. Beyond Spider-Man, guests also get the chance to watch Doctor Strange as he steps through an interdimensional portal to engage guests with illusions. And, according to Disney, "He may even bring other heroes as he opens the portals, from time to time."
Guests will also get to meet the Warriors of Wakanda and take part in a training session with Dora Milaje. In the training, guests will not only learn a few moves but also learn the "wisdom from Wakanda."
"Avengers Campus will be a place where fans and guests can finally step into the universe they love and stand alongside some of their favorite heroes. The optimism inherent in Avengers Campus captures the diversity, power, and teamwork these extraordinary characters possess, and now they come together to unite people from all over the world under one guiding principle: We are stronger together," Dave Bushore, vice president of franchise creative and marketing for Marvel Studios, shared. "Now, fans of these movies and comics are getting to go to a place they've always dreamed of — and that is an incredibly powerful thing. You don't have to pretend anymore. You actually get to be."
Beyond the rides, the delicious Avengers-themed foods, and performances, the new land provides something more important: A hearty dose of Disney joy that fans have so longed for over the last year. The land celebrates science, optimism, and a sense of community above all else, which is something we need now more than ever before. Disneyand is currently open to California residents, and set to open to out-of-state visitors on June 15, so Avenger fans from all over can feel like a hero, too.