/ Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

by Chris Fox

A couple of weeks ago, on his podcast, Lou posed the question: Which would you rather see, a Muppets themed land or a Star Wars themed land?  As I thought about his question, it finally hit me – what I really want to see is a Marvel Comics themed land.

Both Star Wars and the Muppets already have a presence in the parks, but Disney hasn’t done much with their Marvel acquisition.  They literally have hundreds of characters, settings and stories to work with and instead they make a deal with James Cameron for Avatar.

Even though I am looking forward to seeing the results of that deal, I think they should work with what they’ve got first.  Yes, there is that other Marvel themed island elsewhere in Orlando, but there are still plenty of opportunities for Disney to set itself apart from Universal.

For example (and this is dreaming big, I know), turning Future World into Stark Expo.  It would probably make many people upset, but hear me out.  Both Future World and Stark Expo are modeled after the World’s Fair, so the theme still works.  Also, I would love to see Thor in Norway or Captain America in The American Adventure (or Wolverine in Canada/Japan, Nightcrawler in Germany… the possibilities are endless).

Epcot is just the beginning, there are three other theme parks, two water parks, Disney Quest (which is begging for an Iron Man attraction) and a  plethora of resorts all of which add up to an innumerable amount of opportunities to integrate these superheroes into Walt Disney World.

The other big benefit for having the Marvel universe in the parks is that the superheroes can act as a balance for the princess and fairy franchises.  Princesses are all over the place and they’re only getting more prominent (the Fantasyland expansion project is heavy on the princesses, for example).  Cars is a good franchise for boys, but to be honest, I think the pirates franchise is not appropriate for young kids (encouraging pillaging, theft and all that) so Disney needs something else to draw the younger male crowd in and I think this is a great idea.

What do you think?  Would you like to see Marvel characters in the parks?  What would you like to see?

Chris is an avid fan of both theme parks and Disney, so it just makes sense that he would love something that combines the two.  He is a new dad to a daughter of two months and an aspiring writer in the process of launching a Disney World related blog at the beginning of the year (thedisneytourist.blogspot.com).



21 thoughts on “A “Marvel”-ous Idea”

  1. Dave Dominie says:

    Don’t mess with what we already have. I like the Marvel Park idea, but let’s make another Park for all the Marvel Characters. I know that Universal already did it, but Disney can do it better.

  2. Travis says:

    I would love to see a big Marvel presence in the parks. I would like to see a whole new park dedicated to them. Think of all the great attractions the the Imagineers could come up with. Think about the properties that they now own and all of the things that could be brought into the WDW from the Marvfel Universe.

  3. Stark Expo where Future World is at Epcot — genius!

    Silver Samurai in Japan pavilion. Alpha Flight and/or Wolverine for the Canada pavilion

    Prince Namor for one of the waterparks.

    If I can think of some more, I’ll post it here.

  4. While I agree that this is a brilliant idea, I believe a long-term contract with Universal prevents it. While Disney owns Marvel, Universal has east coast theme-park rights for some time to come. Disney can use Marvel at Disneyland, but not Disney World or Epcot.

  5. Joel says:

    I would love to see the following.

    Marvel all over Hollywood Studios, characters, rides, toys, games, you name it. Character dinners…

    A Marvel Land all on it’s own.

    A Marvel themed hotel.

    A Marvel store.

    Both my kids love Disney, and Marvel. This just needs to happen.

  6. Jason Osinski says:

    I’m fine with limited impact, maybe put a Marvel overlay to the Kim Possible Experience (they show itself is very dated and never shown anymore). A place in DisneyQuest is fine as well, it’s actually needed there. Something could be done in Hollywood Studios, like maybe a ride or 3(4)D movie.

    But I really hope they never have much of a presence in either Magic Kingdom or Animal Kingdom, I can’t see how it’d be a fit in either park.

  7. Paul says:

    As I understand it, Disney can’t use Marvel in the parks, due to Marvel’s previously-existing contract with Universal. They can sell all the merchandise they want (and they are!), but they can’t build any rides or do meet-and-greets based on those characters. Universal has exclusive themepark rights to them.

  8. Michelle Tate Young says:

    Im putting my work had on here (I teach primary aged children 5-11 yrs) and in the UK there is a big push on engaging boys with literature to get them excited about writing. Girls will usually go along with topics that appeal to boys such as Cars and Superheros. Linking to this WDW is so top heavy with prettiness and princesses so anything Disney does to engage these boys within WDW will be beneficial. Marvel is just ripe to explore and use – so come on Disney!

  9. Joshua Olive says:

    I don’t think Disney is legally allowed to bring characters into its parks east of the Mississippi until 2025 or something like that, but even so, I would HATE to see Marvel take over EPCOT. That would destroy the whole vibe of EPCOT for me.

    I would love to see Marvel in the Studios. Captain America would be a natural fit in the ’40s themed Hollywood and Sunset area. The Rocketeer could be reintroduced (not Marvel, I know, but fitting with the time period here), and the back sections of the park (Backlot Tour, anyone?) could be redone for a more ‘modern’ Marvel attraction like the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, etc.

    What I would really LOVE to see is Dinoland removed at Animal Kingdom and for the Savage Land to take its place. Let’s face it, that would be infinitely cooler than Chester and Hester’s. The storyline of Dinosaur could change without impacting any part of the attraction but the pre-show, and they could have all kinds of fun with the other dinosaurs and sabretooth cats out in the rest of the land. Bring back the original concept of the excavator, but have them mining Vibranium or Adamantium instead. And who wouldn’t enjoy the Kazar and Sheena meet and greet?

  10. Arlen Miller says:

    Can’t be done…..because the contract that Marvel (before Disney purchased Marvel) signed with Universal many years give them exclusive rights to putting marvel attractions and characters in their theme parks east of the Mississippi river and that contract is still is valid.

  11. Stephane says:

    I wouldn’t want to see that. I feel it’s “been done” at IOA. Okay, so not in the detail you’re talking about and the detail Disney could put into it. However, I would MUCH prefer to see a Muppets OR Star Wars upgrade to a full land than Marvel. And it’s not because I’m not a comics guy, I like Marvel comics, I like comics in general… I would just rather see the other ideas.

  12. Glenn says:

    I love the idea in general and a lot of your specifics, but my understanding is that Marvel has a contract with Universal that they are the only company that can have a Marvel presence in a park east of the Mississippi. But now, if we’re only dreaming–or waiting out that contract–dream big! 🙂

  13. Jim says:

    I’m not sure that turning Epcot into Comic Book Land is something Walt would have endorsed. If it were, we would have seen more Mickey and Donald in his original plan.

  14. Scott says:

    I think the idea of a “Heroes & Villains” theme park utilizing both the
    Marvel characters and the Disney characters would be great! Do not
    care for Marvel being in Epcot however.

  15. Chris says:

    I love the response to this article. These ideas are great. Cap in the 1940’s Hollywood, the Savage Land in DAK, a Marvel version of the Kim Possible Experience (whether it be an overlay of the Epcot version, or something completely new, at the Studios for example), being able to “test out” certain super powers, putting the Marvel Universe into the ever rumored “Heroes & Villains” park – these all sound awesome.

    I didn’t think my idea to integrate Marvel into Epcot would go over too well (though I thank you for leaving the tar and feathers at home). Like the rest of this post, it was meant to be a springboard for more ideas and I like what’s come of it.

    I know that none of these ideas will come to fruition any time soon (if ever) but it is fun to dream.

  16. JJ says:

    Right now, I think the best place for Marvel to go to is definitely Hollywood Studios. The ideas for a Marvel attraction are endless, but I think Marvel receiving its own land at DHS is fair; I’m all for that! Not sure if I would like seeing anything happen to Future World, as Chris mentioned Stark Expo. While I think they are relatable, let Future World be strictly Future World.

    Hopefully we’ll start to see some Marvel aspects in DHS soon! Come on, Disney! Announce a DHS expansion!! More Marvel! More MUPPETS!!! And bring a couple new attractions to Pixar Place, and also some to replace vacant space at Journey into Narnia’s old home (and the soon-to-close Sounds Dangerous!)

  17. Ian says:

    I thought that Universal had the rights to the Marvel characters ONLY in Florida. I thought I heard this when Disney fist acquired Marvel. But this isn’t stopping Disney from taking the Marvel characters to other parks worldwide!

  18. Walter H says:

    I think in either Epcot or animal kingdom go with Wakanda and the black panther would be awesome. With Epcot maybe just build the Africa pavilion and have Wakanda cue with a black panther meet and greet.

  19. InkwellT says:

    Does anyone know if the Fantastic fours rights might fall into this?

  20. Walter H says:

    Doing Wakanda in the animal kingdom, and/or building the Africa pavilion at Epcot with a Wakandan cue and Black Panther meet and greets would be a couple of cool choices.