On June 4th, Avenger’s Campus opened at Disneyland’s California Adventure in Anaheim, California. The new land opened with tons of character encounters, one of the two rides projected for the land (if you don’t count the already existing Guardians of the Galaxy Mission Breakout), and plenty of food and souvenir purchasing opportunities. The new ride that everyone is trying to ride is Web Slingers a Spider-Man Adventure. This ride features gesture technology mixed with a shooting-for-points style ride. Imitating the way Spidey slings his webs will have you shooting your own web in order to attack spider bots which have been let loose and are now running amuck.
The land is gorgeous, there’s no doubt about that. Disney also wasted no time in adding prisoner Loki to the character line up. Another amazing character greet opportunity features an animatronic Spider-Man swinging high about the crowds to come to a stop as an actor steps out to talk to fans. Dr Strange meets fans in his sanctum and also hosts his own show there a few times a day. And that’s just a small sampling of the huge roster of characters you can meet. This weekend an adorable tiktok surfaced with Disney’s character actor Groot dancing with a child dressed as Groot. Adorable. Speaking of, Disney is also testing walk alone animatronics to bring small Groot out for meet and greets.
Here you can also eat at Pym’s Test Kitchen which has food of varying and comical larger than life or adorably small size using Pym particles from Antman. There’s also a small bar where you can get some interesting drinks that are filled from the bottom up. You can also pick up the legendary schwarma as featured in The Avengers after credits scene. The land is fantastic and also rather small. It’s currently extremely crowded so you may want to wait before snagging a ticket to the park until the excitement has calmed in a few months.
And that’s where we come to a rather problematic element of the park. Before we get into that, you can buy your own spider-bot as featured in the ride and even battle them with friends. That’s pretty cute honestly and not what the issue is. The issue is that in a first, you can buy COSMETIC DLC for a ride. You can buy your own WEB power band and from there, buy add ons that interact with the ride. Want to shoot different colored webs? How about iron man’s lasers? You can do that with these add ons. Arguably it’s not just cosmetic as the spider bots react differently with the special power ups.
It’s hard enough to get a virtual queue pass to get on the ride, but now you have special add ons that give you a much a unique and arguably better experience on the ride. Now Disneyland, unlike Disney World, is a more local park. Tourists go to World and California residents more typically go to land. So this is a way to encourage repeat visits with the locals so it’s not AS heinous as if this was at world. (Fun Fact: World actually cannot have any Marvel presence except guardians of the galaxy due to a deal with Universal Studios that was made during the Marvel acquisition)
But it still doesn’t rub me right. If this takes off, could this be the start of a new line of products at theme parks? Or is it all just harmless. After all, Nintendo’s theme park land in Universal Japan (and soon to be Florida) uses amiibo technology in power bands to interact with the land and can then technically do amiibo things with the switch system. Perhaps it’s just another level of evolution of interactive media and theme parks. It’ll remain to be seen if this becomes a trend and the problems that may bring. For now, Avenger’s campus is definitely a destination Marvel fans will want to check out be it here in California or soon in Disneyland Paris (where a hotel based on the art of Marvel will also be opening).
One more fun fact before we go; these webslinger products are actually recycled. As in Disney developed a toy, it tested poorly, and it was never released. Bob Chapek, being the CEO of cheap layovers and quick, cheap cash grabs, couldn’t resist when someone brought him the idea of how to recycle this failed concept to work in conjunction with the ride.