What Disneyland Needs To Do Next With Marvel At The Parks

As you know, I am very much a fan of Marvel coming to the Disney Parks.  I've written a blog entry about why it makes sense for Marvel to be there.  Now, having just come back from Disneyland and meeting Captain America and seeing how much of a draw Innoventions has now become, I thought I'd give my opinion of what I think the Disneyland Resort should be doing next.  While I know Marvel is being built into both Hong Kong Disneyland and Disneyland Paris, I'm going to stick with the Disneyland Resort for now.  Also, as I write this, I also know that Disney can't just do things without the budget to do so.  So, I understand why things can't just happen over night.  But, nonetheless, I have an opinion of where they should be going.

Photo: © Loren R. Javier
I know there are some people who are disappointed that the only Marvel presence that Disneyland has is in the form of meet-and-greets and static exhibits.  The Marvel movies are some of the most successful movies these days and, while I am very much enjoying the growing presence in Innoventions, I can't say that I don't agree that Disney now needs to do more.

I honestly think, though, Disney had, at first, reacted out of trepidation of adding this new property to Disneyland.  Given some very vocal fears from some fans about Marvel being introduced into the original Magic Kingdom, I guess I can understand it.  I was actually surprised when they ended up opening Iron Man Tech presented by Stark Industries at Disneyland itself.  I thought that they'd open something at Disney California Adventure before Disneyland.

Photo: © Loren R. Javier
But, now it has opened up three exhibits in Innoventions and they've all proven to be popular.  

So, what next?

In all honesty, I think Disney needs to think beyond that one building.  While I think all the exhibits look great, and I do hope they open up more meet-and-greets for future movies (I want to meet Rocket Raccon and Groot some day!!!), I'd love to see an actual attraction.  The question is what attraction and where it would go.  Right now, the Marvel presence has been a band aid to an attraction that hasn't been a draw for years. So, if they do build an attraction, I would want them to put it into a properly themed area that would not only support the attraction, but meet-and-greets with Marvel characters as well.   Say what you will about them, they have proven to be popular among guests, including yours truly. But, is Tomorrowland really the place for Marvel?  Does Marvel really say "tomorrow?"

While I enjoy Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, I also find it irritating that it's in Tomorrowland as Monsters, Inc. doesn't say "tomorrow" either.  And, given the fact that Disneyland's Tomorrowland already lacks coherent theming, I would hate for them to build an attraction that would serve as another band-aid.

Photo: © Disney
But, they're building the Iron Man Experience at Hong Kong Disneyland, you say?  This particular attraction would fit in a Tomorrowland setting as it is solely Iron Man themed and works given Tony Stark's futurist motivations.  Yes, they could certainly duplicate it for Disneyland.  But, if rumors are true about the Star Wars retheming of Tomorrowland, such an attraction wouldn't really work anymore.  So, again, I would want Disney to fit it into an appropriately themed area.

The thing is...what theme would Marvel most fit in.  Certainly, the Marvel Universe is vast and spans from Atlantis deep within the ocean to the Nine Realms to the Kree empire in the far reaches of space.  But, at the heart of the Marvel Universe is New York City.  As it stands, there is no area in either Disneyland or Disney California Adventure that says "New York City."

Now, there have been rumors of a third gate eventually being built, but there is so much infrastructure that needs to be in place before that happens.  I don't know if Disney should wait either for a third gate to be built before a Marvel attraction is built.  And, it would have to be at Disneyland because, building a "New York Themed" area doesn't really fall in line with the concept of Disney California Adventure.  So, for me, the only thing that would make sense would be to reapportion a part of the Star Wars themed Tomorrowland to house a Marvel themed mini-land of some sort.  And, one, hopefully, that doesn't look like Marvel Super Hero Island at Universal's Islands of Adventure in Orlando.

Photo: © Loren R. Javier
The other thing that Disneyland needs to do is start creating Disney Park specific Marvel merchandise.  I think it's missed a giant opportunity having this Marvel presence in Innoventions and not having any merchandising opportunities right there.  In fact, when I was there, I had to walk to Star Traders to the old Starcade section to find the closest Marvel merchandise.  

I talked with a couple of cast members who said that the Marvel stuff doesn't sell as well in the park, but I think it's mainly because they're selling Marvel action figures and toys that you can find in your local Target or Walmart, but for a much cheaper price.  There are no Marvel mash-up toys like there are for Star Wars, no Disney Park specific apparel nor are there collectibles like pins.  They have managed to release a vinylmation series with the next one on the way.  This is a good sign.  But, I just feel like there needs to be more.  And, more that guests feel they can't leave the park without.  

I know it's really a matter of time before the Disneyland Resort starts adding more Marvel.  Disney wouldn't have bought a media company with thousands of characters and adventures at its disposal without incorporating them into the park.  But, it's been a year since they opened Iron Man Tech presented by Stark Industries and given the success of the growing Marvel presence at Disneyland, I hope they will soon start moving beyond just using Disneyland Entertainment budget to create magical Marvel memories.


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