Avengers Campus opened on June 4 in Disney’s California Adventure, one of many parks in Anaheim’s Disneyland Resort. With all of the pomp and circumstance across the new setup, it may not register that Avengers Campus isn’t the primary Marvel-themed amusement park or the one on the market.
That title belongs to Marvel Super Hero Island, in Universal Orlando’s Islands of Adventure in Florida. Established 22 years in the past — properly earlier than the Marvel Cinematic Universe kicked off, and redefined how the world sees Marvel characters — it’s a wierd time capsule of a pre-MCU world.
While the remainder of the phrase lined up for the new-fangled WEB Slingers Spider-Man experience in Avengers Campus, I revisited The Amazing Spider-Man experience in Islands of Adventure out of morbid curiosity.
Why are there two Marvel-themed lands in utterly separate parks, owned by completely different corporations? Is that previous experience from 1999 any good? Thanks to my current journey to Universal Studios and basic information of the weirdness that’s Islands of Adventure, I have got these solutions.
Description of Marvel theme-park
A little bit background for these unfamiliar with the difficult world of Marvel theme parks: The cause a Marvel Super Hero Island exists in Universal Studios’ Islands of Adventure is as a result of numerous theme-park sights in Islands of Adventure and Universal Orlando alike are licensed properties from different studios.
That’s why these parks function the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Back when Islands of Adventure opened in 1999, Marvel Super Hero Island was one of many first-themed lands within the park. (Fun element — it was initially purported to be a DC Land, earlier than Time Warner acquired Six Flags and deliberate its personal DC integration there.)
Islands of Adventure is a hodgepodge of various properties, every by itself “island” within the park. There’s a Jurassic Park-themed Island, the Harry Potter one, a Doctor Seuss world, a comic-strip land, a King Kong-inspired Skull Island, and the Lost Continent, a vaguely Medieval-Greco-Roman-Arabian themed place that used to have a couple of miscellaneous sights that didn’t belong anyplace else, although nowadays, it solely hosts a stunt present and an interactive fountain. And then there’s Marvel Super Hero Island.
I first visited the park in 2007 and coming again to it in 2021, I wasn’t too shocked to study that not a lot has been modified. Because of varied rights points, all the pieces on Marvel Island come particularly from comics earlier than 2009, the yr Disney acquired Marvel.
The precise contract language may be very particular: Disney can not use the “Marvel” identify in theme parks within the U.S. or Japan (which explains the identity of Avengers Campus), and can’t have a Marvel-themed simulator experience inside designated authorized distances of Universal theme parks (it’s 60 miles for “mini-theme parks” and 300 miles for actual theme parks.)
Disneyland is exempt from these guidelines as a result of it’s west of the Mississippi River, which is why Disney squeezed Avengers Campus into the comparatively tiny Disneyland, as a substitute of putting it within the extra sprawling Walt Disney World.
What’s Marvel Super Hero Island about, if not the MCU?
Marvel Super Hero Island clearly emphasizes that it’s representing Marvel comics, not Marvel motion pictures. That truly kinda works out. Instead of replicating film units from the MCU, Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man motion pictures, or Venom, the decor of the Marvel island is filled with large comic-style photos of characters, and the buildings are stylized with huge, daring vibrant colours to emulate that really feel.
It does assist that a number of the most eye-catching artwork on Marvel Island is of characters who haven’t proven up within the MCU but. The most important eatery boasts giant cut-outs of the Fantastic Four.
You can take pics with an immense picture of Wolverine baring his claws. There’s artwork of Captain America and Iron Man plastered on the edges of buildings, however, they’re very clearly the comedian e book characters, not film stars. The retro vibe might be jarring, however as a result of these particular characters solely make up a small portion of Marvel Super Hero Island, it’s straightforward to look previous them.
Visitors who don’t know the weirdly particular Marvel theme park authorized restrictions is likely to be anticipating seeing the MCU counterparts within the park. But for essentially the most half, the sights — Doctor Doom’s Fearfall, The Incredible Hulk Coaster, and Storm Force Accelatron (a spinning teacup experience themed round X-Men’s Storm) — contact on characters who aren’t within the MCU, or don’t have a presence within the Disneyland park but.
It additionally does assist that Marvel Island is a hop-skip away from Toon Lagoon, the realm of Islands of Adventure devoted to comedian strips and old-timey cartoon characters like Popeye and Dudley Do-Right, so guests can seamlessly transition from one pen-and-ink world into one other.
For essentially the most half, Marvel Super Hero Island seems like some what pocket universe, completely separate from the MCU juggernaut we all know and love as we speak.
Except for the Spider-Man experience.
It is fairly humorous that each Marvel Super Hero Island and Avengers Campus opened up with Spider-Man rides — The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man at Islands of Adventure, and WEB Slingers: A Spider-Man Adventure at Disneyland.
Both function Spider-Man, naturally, however in addition they function a mix of physical-motion units and digital display environments. Spider-Man rights proceed to be the bizarre authorized gray space on the subject of Marvel properties. Nice man Tom Holland allegedly saved the massive ol’ Sony-Marvel deal again in 2019, however the hero’s movie rights nonetheless belong to Sony.
But on the subject of the Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man experience, not one of the trendy Spider-Man motion pictures even existed. Like the remainder of Marvel Super Hero Island, the experience was designed to evoke the comics, and it visually resembles the 1994 animated sequence greater than it mimics any film that includes Holland, Tobey Maguire, or Andrew Garfield. For the previous 22 years, the coaster has maintained that very same look.
It was briefly refurbished in 2012, however that simply concerned updating it to 4K and 3D, whereas including in some Stan Lee cameos. When The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man was launched, it was probably the most cutting-edge rides round, and it obtained high awards at business occasions.