You didn’t really think that the story of the Avengers with the final installment of the movie series earlier this year, did you? Given the amount of money that the superhero franchise makes for Disney through its ownership of Marvel Studios, there was always likely to be another lease of life coming for the property – and now we know what it is. There’s a video game based on the superhero characters coming out next year, but that’s just small fry compared to what Disney has in store for fans – they’re opening up a whole ‘Avengers Campus’ park next summer.
There have been rumors for some time that Marvel (and therefore by extension Disney) have had something special planned for the future of the popular characters: something that extended beyond the end of the final film. Those rumors were stoked further around a year ago when all of the popular mobile slots game starring Marvel’s characters were suddenly pulled from mobile slots websites such as Rose Slots. That didn’t make sense from a financial point of view. The mobile slots made a lot of money in terms of both licensing and money received; it wouldn’t be a good business to pull them unless there was a way of replacing that lost revenue lined up. Now we know what it is.
The Avengers Campus technically won’t be a whole new theme park. Investments and construction projects like that would cost Disney billions of dollars and take several years to complete. Instead, it will be a mini-park built on land that already belongs to the Disney California Aventure Park, and will occupy the space that was once ‘A Bug’s Land.’ There’s an Avengers-themed ride already in place at the site in the shape of the ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ tower, and it’s thought that the tower will become the focal point of the brand new attraction. Construction work is already underway in California, and Disney hopes to welcome the first guests to their new campus next summer.
There are several features planned for the site of the campus, which will also include a Marvel-themed hotel, that are sure to delight ‘Avengers’ fans young and old. For younger visitors, there will be an ‘Avengers Training Academy,’ which has been described as an interactive, action-orientated experience featuring a story that encompasses locations around the world. Those who successfully complete the training program (which we suspect will be everyone who pays to take part in it) will be formally accepted as a member of the Avengers team, and get a certificate to prove it.
The full range of superheroes who will be represented at the campus has not yet been disclosed, although it’s reasonable to assume that any character who played a major part in any of the films will be depicted in some way. We can say with certainty that there will be a heavy Spider-Man presence; the concept art for the park that was unveiled at the D23 Expo during August prominently features the web-slinging hero, which has given rise to speculation from some fans that there will be a brand-new Spider-Man ride or even a whole section of the campus dedicated especially to Peter Parker’s more famous alter-ego.
It won’t just be about seeing superheroes, either. Disney’s planning and permit applications are a matter of public record, and so anyone can look them up if they so desire. If you do, you’ll find that Disney has specifically sought (and been granted) permission to build a large retail complex, an expansive meet-and-greet area for visitors to interact with people in costume (presumably the same experiences you’d find at any Disney park), and perhaps more surprisingly, a microbrewery. As some Disney parks have banned alcohol completely, the fact that they would now want to brew beer on-site in California is unusual. They might simply be seeking to provide for the adults who’ve been dragged along by their children – or they might be planning to give every Avenger their own dedicated line of beers.
One of the more curious aspects of the project is the site’s name. ‘Avengers’ is very specific to the movie series, and to outsiders, it might seem a strange choice not to simply go with the better-known name, and call their new site the ‘Marvel Campus.’ Unfortunately for Disney, they’re not allowed to do that. As part of their contractual agreement with Universal Parks & Resorts, signed as long ago as 1994, Disney is unable to use ‘Marvel’ in the name of any attractions, or any areas within their parks. That also explains why similar projects being planned for later years at Disney’s sites in Hong Kong and Paris will also be referred to as the ‘Avengers Campus,’ even though the terms of the contract don’t apply in those locations. Disney likes uniformity.
In total, it’s thought that Disney is spending in excess of two billion dollars on new attractions at the California site alone. Given the complexity of some of the attractions we’ve seen in the drawings, and the short time they’ve given themselves to get the work done, a summer 2020 opening date seems ambitious to the point of being almost impossible to achieve – but if anyone’s capable of it, it’s Disney. There are still more tie-ins and follow-on movies connected to the universe of the ‘Avengers’ movies due to be released in the next twelve months as well, so it’s highly like they’ll try to tie the release date of one of the larger fills to the launch date of the park, and thereby capitalize on the media attention.
It’s not like we’ve ever needed another reason to visit Disney, but we’re going to get one anyway! Even if you’re not a huge fan of the Avengers movies yourself, we suspect that whoever your usual Disney travel buddy (or buddies is). There’s no question that it’s going to be a hugely popular attraction – so if you’ve been meaning to go back to Disney for a while but haven’t been able to come up with a convincing argument to justify the cost, now you have one!