The Avengers Initiative is spreading from movie theaters into the real world, and soon fans will be able to interact with their favorite cinematic and comic book superheroes in Disney theme parks across the globe. The studio has confirmed several details about its Marvel theme park characters, and below you can find a breakdown of which characters are getting specialized rides or attractions at each Disney park.
The Avengers Initiative: Theme Park Edition
With the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, The Walt Disney Company has been eager to include its prized superheroes in its parks, and now they’ve announced a global “Avengers Initiative” that will “[expand] this epic story universe in a way that, for the first time ever, will allow you to take on an active role alongside these Super Heroes.” Here’s an official description:
There was an idea. To bring together a group of remarkable people, to see if they could become something more. It was called the Avengers Initiative.
That original idea has now evolved into a brand-new global Avengers Initiative. One that brings us—the next generation of remarkable people—together. To find our power and become something more. To see if we can work alongside the Avengers so we may all become stronger together.
The Stark Expo in Hong Kong was to be a first step: A world exposition whose theme of ‘A Better Tomorrow Today,’ was meant to inspire and motivate through technological innovation. However, shortly after it opened, the Expo was attacked by the forces of Hydra. When even more powerful forces threatened the entire planet, the Avengers realized that the Earth needs more heroes.
So today, to better defend the planet, the Avengers are setting up new Headquarters and technology sharing exchanges around the globe to empower and inspire all potential recruits willing to step up and become heroes.
In California and Paris, Tony Stark is retrofitting two of his father’s Stark Industries sites into new hubs for training and innovation. Through partnerships with S.H.I.E.L.D., Pym Technologies, Masters of the Mystic Arts and the new Worldwide Engineering Brigade, The Avengers and their allies will forge new global campuses to champion the next generation of heroes. Who’s ready to answer the call?
Marvel Theme Park Breakdown
Today’s announcement is confirmation of several aspects of a report we covered back in October. Here’s a list of the Marvel Studios rides/attractions that have been announced so far:
Hong Kong Disneyland: Iron Man Experience, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Nano Battle!, Avengers attraction
Walt Disney World (EPCOT): Guardians of the Galaxy roller coaster
Disney California Adventure: Guardians of the Galaxy –Mission: BREAKOUT!, Spider-Man attraction, Doctor Strange stage show, Avengers attraction
Disneyland Paris: Avengers attraction, Spider-Man and Doctor Strange attractions
The official Disney press release also says guests will “be wowed as Iron Man, Captain Marvel, Black Panther, Captain America and more leap into action on a moment’s notice.” Whether that means those characters will eventually be getting their own rides, be appearing in new stage shows or as meet-and-greet characters, or are simply going to be a part of the planned Avengers attractions remains to be seen.
An Interconnected Future
The rides/attractions are described as having “interconnected stories,” and putting the pieces together from previous interviews, it sounds as if these rides could end up being connected to each other – not just featuring the same actors, but potentially sharing story points and referencing other rides. We’ve already seen easter eggs from other rides appear in Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!, and one of the creators of the ride said this in an interview celebrating its opening in 2017:
“It is distinctly meant to be its own universe. The universe will grow and expand and there are elements in there that will link to a dimensional universe. We really tried to not simply reflect on an existing narrative but to extend narrative and expand it.”
We’ve been speculating about this for over a year, when we first heard about the idea of a Marvel Theme Park Universe (MTPU). At a premiere event for Mission: BREAKOUT!, Marvel Themed Entertainment Creative Director Brian Crosby said:
“There are nods in this attraction to other things we are doing around the world. In true Marvel fashion, hashtag it’s all connected, there are nods to the Iron Man Experience in Hong Kong, there are nods to the Marvel Superhero Academy on the Disney Cruise Ship. It’s all connected guys. So we encourage you to be good fans and go on the interwebs and find all the clues and connect it all. That’s the fun, it’s all part of the same universe. And we’re just getting started.”
That sounds like official confirmation that we’re on the right track here. And if these Marvel rides are all connected on a story level, that would be a first for the world of theme parks and another way for Disney to differentiate themselves from what their rivals at Universal are doing with Harry Potter. Disney’s Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, which is being described as one of the most immersive theme park experiences of all time, is said to be creating individual narratives for guests by tracking the decisions they make and what they do in the park, but it sounds like there’s a chance that these Marvel rides would be taking a step back and telling a more macro story.
Hollywood has been trying to copy Marvel Studios style of storytelling for years (how many failed cinematic universes have been attempted over the past decade?), and larger interconnected stories told through theme park experiences would be a way for the Marvel Cinematic Universe to spread that storytelling influence into a whole new medium. It’d also be a way for Disney to encourage its more affluent guests into traveling to all of the participating Disney parks across the world to experience every aspect of the story themselves. If they aren’t actually implementing this yet, it seems like a safe bet that they’re having conversations about it.
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