Marvel Expansion

August 11, 2016, 9:07 AM

Since Disneyland is planning to replace the "Tower of Terror" with Guardians of the Galaxy, does DIsneyland have anymore Marvel rides planned in the near future? I had heard rumors of a roller coaster in California Adventure, is that still going to happen? Or, will they bring the "Iron Man Experience" ride that is slated to open in Hong Kong Disneyland?

Replies (30)

August 11, 2016, 1:54 PM

I would hope an Avengers indoor coaster would happen

August 12, 2016, 3:00 PM

Disney is currently working on a full Marvel Land for Disney California Adventure Park, with the goal of having the land open in 2021 to celebrate the park's 20th anniversary. There have been hints at the project in a few Disney announcements recently, and an official announcement will likely occur at the next D23.

As the project is still several years out, plans are subject to change. However, from what I've heard the area will be taking over half of Hollywood Land as well as a portion of the transportation hub. Monsters, Inc., the former Muppets theater, and everything else in that corner of Hollywood Land will be reused or replaced while the Hyperion Theater, Animation Building, Red Car Trolley, and other stores and restaurants along the main section of the land will remain Hollywood themed. For new attractions, I've heard the main rides will be a copy of the Tron coaster themed to Captain America and a copy of the Iron Man Experience modified to take place in Los Angeles. Additionally, there may be a smaller ride of some sort, possibly a Marvel show, a meet and greet area, and probably a restaurant and one or two stores. The land will likely be smaller than Cars Land and Star Wars Land, but should still be a decent size.

August 12, 2016, 4:00 PM

Thank you AJ! So basically, there will be a Captain America ride, and an Iron Man ride? Will the Iron Man Expeience be the same as the one as Hong Kong Disneyland?

August 12, 2016, 4:10 PM

AJ, Sounds like Hollywood Land would be split in two for the Guardians makeover of Tower of Terror will be on the other side. Perhaps the Captain America coaster will be on the tower side.

August 12, 2016, 5:09 PM

Timbo23, that's what it sounds like from what I've heard. It makes the most sense as Captain America and Iron Man are the most popular MCU characters. From what I heard, the Iron Man Experience will be very similar to the Hong Kong version but modified to take place in Los Angeles.

Anon, from the description I heard it sounded like the area would wrap around the backside of the Hyperion Theater, with one entrance in front of the animation building and the other next to Tower of Terror. The Iron Man Experience is likely going in the Monsters, Inc. building, but I don't know where the Captain America coaster is going (though I could see it being placed on the parking lot behind Tower of Terror).

August 13, 2016, 2:50 PM

I heard the wrap around the backside is for the coaster, not the pedestrian corridor for there's not enough room for more attractions on the eastside. The alternative solution for theme park cohesion is retheming the Hyperion Theater to a generic big city theater and non specific to Hollywood. The north will be LA City, the south should be alien sci-fi. At least this is my suggestion.

August 13, 2016, 6:44 PM

AJ, thank you for all the information on Marvel Land. I wish we didn't have to wait until 2021. I'm looking forward to it.

Also, have you heard anything about Disneyland expanding Fantasyland? Will they look to add new rides there, if so which ones?

August 13, 2016, 9:18 PM

Anon, it is possible that the coaster is the element running behind the theater. The information I heard was not very specific on where everything would be, just the general footprint of the land and what major elements it would contain. I do know that Disney is trying to add their IP lands in a way that they can be completely ignored by those not interested in the IP, so absorbing the Hyperion Theater seems unlikely. However, it makes the most sense to do that and just have the street in front be part of Marvel Land.

Timbo23, the only thing I have heard for sure regarding Fantasyland is that over the next few years the remaining classic dark rides will all receive refurbishments similar to what Alice in Wonderland got. In addition, there is a new dark ride in development (likely, but not definitely, Frozen) that, along with a small themed area, will replace the Fantasyland Theater. From what I heard, it sounded like the ride would be a trackless dark ride built in a show building squeezed between Toontown and Star Wars Land, with access via a walkway under the Disneyland Railroad. However, others have reported that a portion of Toontown may go away (Gadget's Go Coaster and Chip 'n Dale's Treehouse). If Frozen, this attraction will probably debut with Frozen 2, likely in 2020. There have been more rumors, such as building a copy of Be Our Guest on the Motorboat Lagoon and/or shortening Autopia to bring over the Beauty and the Beast ride from Tokyo, but I haven't heard anything suggesting these are currently in the works (or, if they are, it will be 5+ years out).

August 15, 2016, 11:40 AM

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the Iron Man experience another simulator ride similar to Star Tours? If so, I really hope we don't see a clone. That would give DLR essentially two of the same type of attractions, albeit in separate parks and with different themes. Still, if this is true, then I'll be very disappointed, as lazy Imagineering is one aspect of Disney I really don't like.

I would really like to see a KUKA/Scoop dark ride, similar to Harry Potter or Transformers at DLR. I think Universal has exclusive rights to KUKA technology for dark ride design for another couple years though. Maybe AJ can enlighten me. Still, the Captain America Coaster would be a welcome (reskinned) clone of the Tron coaster. Here's to hoping they expand the track a little bit. At the end of the day, I'm left wanting more, and I think I'm probably one of the only people in the world who would have much rather seen expansion for Paradise Pier (perhaps with a Mystic Manor-esque ride as an homage to the spiritualist movement of the early 20th century similar to the Winchester house and the mythology of Houdini and other turn-of-the-century magicians).

Edited: August 15, 2016, 1:32 PM

The Little Mermaid - Ariel's Undersea Adventure uses the same omnimover ride system as the Haunted Mansion. The boats at Small World and Pirates are similar, but not identical. Are you disappointed? It's too early to say whether Star Tours will remain after Star Wars Land is opened. It's likely Star Tours will be replaced with Iron Man.

It's odd that you want the same KUKA system at Disney and don't feel it matters at all despite different parks and different themes. Disney still has the trackless vehicles that never made it to the US despite being installed in its foreign parks. I'm sure the trackless vehicles are arriving soon in Star Wars Land.

August 15, 2016, 2:12 PM

I don't think that we will be getting a marvel land for a while, seeing as they have Star Wars land which is not set to open until later than 2018 and the new guardians of the galaxy ride in DCA. I presume that we will get a new marvel land after 2019 depending on when Star Wars land opens. Having seen the new parking structure concept released by disney and the replacing of the bus station it looks like there will be a lot of land free behind mike and sulley ride in DCA which I think will become the marvel land.
For a marvel land to work there then they would have to get ride of mike and sulley's ride and the dance party area.
If disney decides to get rid of star tours in disneyland then having the iron man experience clone from Hong Kong would work well because then they would only have one simulator ride in the resort. I also would think that disney would make rides based In the avengers films. However having said this by the time that a marvel land could come then marvel would be into the phase 4 of the cinematic universe which could mean that we could be seeing rides based on new films set to come out.

August 15, 2016, 3:06 PM

The timeline I've heard for the Disneyland Resort over the next five years is this (of course, subject to change)...

2017: Guardians of the Galaxy, Main Street Electrical Parade, reopening of the Disneyland Railroad and Rivers of America attractions, new fireworks show (rumored to be Star Wars)
2018: New parking structure, finish Fantasyland dark ride refurbishments, close Fantasyland theater and north section of Hollywood Land (including Monsters, Inc)
2019: Star Wars Land
2020: Fantasyland Expansion
2021: Marvel Land, New Hotel

Regarding the Iron Man Experience, it is the same simulator design as Star Tours. Before anyone gets worked up over this, consider the following...

-The two attractions are in separate parks, and there have been rumors that park hopping will be discontinued for one-day tickets at some point in the future.
-Star Tours may be closing at some point, possibly before Marvel Land would open. This would make it so there is only one standard simulator at the resort.
-WDW had two Star Tours type simulators for a time, and they will have two Soarin' simulator attractions once Avatar opens.
-Universal has numerous simulator attractions, even within the same park, and all of them still remain popular.
-An attraction that is already developed is a lot cheaper than something brand new.

Yes, I would prefer something else, but it makes a lot of sense to simply go with a clone that 99% of Disneyland visitors would never experience otherwise (and >90% won't care that it's the same as Star Tours). It will be like Snow White and Pinocchio...mechanically they are the same, but both are different enough that nobody cares.

As for a KUKA/Scoop attraction, I do not think we will ever see one at a Disney park. I may be incorrect on this, but I believe Scoop is proprietary to Universal, so if Disney added something like that it would either be one of the similar systems out there (such as that Six Flags uses on Justice League) or it would be an in-house project created by Disney. I did hear that they considered the KUKA system for Star Wars Land but ultimately passed on it, so I'm not sure if there is an exclusive agreement with Universal or not (reportedly there is, but I don't know the terms). For new dark rides, we're far more likely to see the trackless technology at the US Disney parks and/or something like Shanghai's Pirates than anything Universal uses.

Marvel Land is being added solely because Disney wants to get the IP into the parks where they can use it, not because DCA really needs it. The land is being done on a lower budget than Star Wars Land or Cars Land and consists of cheaper reskinned attractions rather than anything truly unique in case the MCU collapses in phase four (as some are predicting may happen). Will it be a worthwhile addition to the park? That remains to be seen, but I have a feeling it will be extremely popular either way.

Edited: August 15, 2016, 3:36 PM

Epcot's Sum of All Thrills featured a KUKA system so I doubt there's an exclusive. I'm sure this is an issue of Universal's implementation rather than the KUKA robotic arm itself. Disney can buy it and implement its own attraction around it unless there are other issues to prevent that from happening.

If Disney wants to save money on Marvel in case of a collapse in popularity, moving the Star Tours ride system to DCA seems like an expensive and unnecessary move. Moving the attraction is never cheaper than it looks and it will likely amount to the installation of a entirely new attraction that can cost upwards of $100 million. Anyways, maybe they can find a way of doing the move cheaply, but that'll leave a hole in Tomorrowland, which already suffers from having no replacement for the People Mover. This an all around mess. Don't ruin one park (DL) for another (DCA).

August 16, 2016, 3:14 PM

AJ, as far as Disneyland's Fantasyland 2020 expansion, which rides have you heard will be added? Which ones, if any, will close?

Edited: August 16, 2016, 6:53 PM

As far as I'm aware, the only thing that will be removed from Fantasyland is the Fantasyland Theater. This will be replaced by a Frozen mini-land with a dark ride, meet and greet, and likely a restaurant. The other Fantasyland attractions will receive various amounts of refurbishment and the entire area will get touch-ups, but to my knowledge nothing else is being removed and nothing else is being added.

Anon, the difference with the Sum of All Thrills is that it is a stationary robotic arm. The exclusivity Universal may or may not have applies only to the G2 system (where the robotic arm moves along a track). As for leaving a hole where Star Tours is, I have heard that all of Tomorrowland is getting redone for the 70th anniversary in 2025, and while I don't know very much about what that entails it is a safe bet a replacement for Star Tours will be in there somewhere. I also never said anything about the Star Tours simulators being relocated, but given that they could probably rebuild that entire attraction from scratch for under $100 million (given that the ride cost $32 million in 1987) it would probably be less than half that if they did reuse the simulators. I don't know any of the numbers, but by lower budget I'm assuming Marvel Land will probably be more like $300 million vs. the $500 million of Cars Land or $1 billion of Star Wars Land.

August 17, 2016, 8:53 AM

Thanks AJ, I'm looking forward to that! Do you know when the Frozen mini land will be completed? Also, will the Frozen dark ride be the same as the one in Epcot?

August 17, 2016, 9:57 AM

"If Disney wants to save money on Marvel in case of a collapse in popularity..."

Read that again Anon...Can you really believe that with a straight face?

Firstly, moving an attraction (or building an exact clone of an existing attraction) is always cheaper than starting from scratch. The simulators that WDW (and many other companies) use are rather mobile, especially if they don't have to travel on public roads (less disassembly needed). Honestly I think it's pretty silly to move the Star Tours ride system "across the street", but it's probably a significant cost savings over designing a whole new attraction or purchasing brand new units, especially when the manufacturer has probably made changes to the design that would reduce the amount of interchangeable spare parts from other installations (Star Tours at DHS or Body Wars at EPCOT).

Also, your notion that Disney would consider protecting itself against waning popularity of the Marvel franchise is laughable. Disney is as all-in with Marvel as it is with Star Wars, and while decreasing popularity due to over saturation is almost a certainty, a "collapse" in Marvel popularity is pretty far fetched. Don't forget that Disney/Marvel finally has full rights to Spiderman, which is their most recognizable/bankable singular character. I doubt Marvel will see any noticeable decrease in popularity for at least a decade or more. I think what Disney is doing with it's DCA Marvel Land is to get the IP in the parks at the level in which it deserves. However, between Avatar and Star Wars, they don't currently have the capital to give Marvel the same level of treatment, but at the same time don't want to wait 5-8 years when the resources to give Marvel the $1 billion treatment it probably needs is available. Perhaps the money they're saving is going into a piggy bank so they can back up the truck to Universal and give them an offer they cannot refuse for the Marvel theme park rights east of the Mississippi.

Edited: August 17, 2016, 12:17 PM

@Russell: You didn't read that far back to AJ who brought it up. He initiated the idea that Marvel can decline in popularity and Disney didn't want to invest a lot of money into it. I was having a discussion with AJ, not posing a new idea that Disney will go cheap although its plausible that Disney will.

I re-quote AJ "The land is being done on a lower budget than Star Wars Land or Cars Land and consists of cheaper reskinned attractions rather than anything truly unique in case the MCU collapses in phase four (as some are predicting may happen)."

MCU means Marvel Cinematic Universe.

AJ also says "-Star Tours may be closing at some point, possibly before Marvel Land would open. This would make it so there is only one standard simulator at the resort."

With only one simulator on property, what would be the benefit of Disney closing it merely to reopen across the esplanade at California Adventure.

Although Disney can move Star Tours and it could be cheaper, I really doubt they will save that much and it might just be cheaper to do the Iron Man in Tomorrowland.

August 17, 2016, 12:45 PM

Although it was considered, there will be no Iron Man (or any other Marvel) attractions coming to Disneyland. Marvel is a property that has a slightly older demographic than what Disneyland targets, so all Marvel development will happen in DCA as that park is targeted for a slightly older demographic as well. If there was any intention for Marvel to be built inside Disneyland, it would almost be a guarantee that Star Tours would simply be converted into the Iron Man Experience.

Regarding the Marvel franchise, collapse may have been a bit of a strong term but there is enough evidence to show that it may not last 20-30 years like Star Wars. A large chunk of the Marvel fans right now exist because of the MCU, and while that has a huge fanbase it is not really a growing one as the franchise has become somewhat inaccessible to new members at this point. Now, a lot of the main actors have contracts that expire at the conclusion of Phase Three, and it is unknown who will be interested in continuing their role going forward. If they all continue, the franchise will remain healthy. If they all drop, however, it could fall apart unless untested new characters connect with the audience. Marvel has also not had a bad film yet, but with 10 films in Phase Three I'm not convinced they won't have at least one flop.

If the MCU remains as popular in 5-10 years as it is today, I have no doubt Disney will expand Marvel Land with something groundbreaking. For now, however, they are being a little cautious with it and trying to put in the right amount to please fans without risking disaster if it doesn't connect (I suspect the results of the Avatar project probably led to that). Russell is probably also correct...Disney is investing a lot of money elsewhere, and like I said DCA doesn't really need Marvel Land as much as other parks need other projects, so it isn't going to get the biggest slice of the pie.

Timbo23, from everything I've heard expect the Frozen Mini-land to be ready in 2020. They are going to attempt to sync it with the release of Frozen 2, however, so depending on what happens with that project it could be +/- 1-2 years. The dark ride will not be the same as the Epcot ride, but is instead supposed to be the trackless ride developed for Tokyo DisneySea.

August 17, 2016, 1:22 PM

Thank you AJ Hummel for all of the information. The Disneyland Resort is looking to expand the next five years. I thought Frozen 2 is supposed to come out sometime in 2018? If they do attempt to sync the mini-land with the movie, wouldn't they need to announce the project sooner, rather than later? Unless, 2020 is the date they see as the more realistic time period. I expect the ride to be better than the Epcot ride. Especially since it will be a trackless ride.

August 17, 2016, 1:27 PM

I apologize for that Anon, the first chunk of comment was buried behind the "click for previous responses" link.

August 17, 2016, 11:58 PM

Frozen 2 has been announced as being in development, but no release date has been given to the project. However, Walt Disney Animation Studios already has two films scheduled for 2018 (Wreck-It Ralph 2 and Gigantic), so I highly doubt they would also do Frozen 2 that year. Their next scheduled film is untitled release on November 20th, 2020, and I would not be the least bit surprised if that slot gets filled by Frozen 2. While purely a guess, I'm betting we will probably get an official announcement of Frozen 2 (along with the theme park addition) at D23 next year.

August 18, 2016, 8:50 AM

If Disney is indeed concerned about the continuing popularity of Marvel, I can understand why they don't want it to anchor a third Disney theme park in Anaheim. Too much of a risk. However, I just don't think Iron Man skews significantly higher age-wise for it to be appropriate for Disneyland. It just an excuse. Nonetheless, I can assume this is about park cohesion and they just want a separate unique identity for Tomorrowland, which we haven't heard any rumors yet for a complete rehab. Tomorrowland looks horrible.

The Marvel Land rumors itself sounds incomplete. $300 million is not small change. The budget should be sufficient enough to do a complete rehab of Hollywood Land, but sadly, it sounds like they won't. They should just dump the Hollywood theme and go full Marvel. By the time they begin construction well after Star Wars opens and they finish Marvel Land, the Frozen musical may have run 10 years. It's time to consider a new show. There's absolutely no reason to hold back the Hollywood theme to accommodate any existing attractions.

August 18, 2016, 2:29 PM

So what's the theme of DCA? It's getting really muddled. Is this what's in store for DHS? No thanks.

Edited: August 18, 2016, 3:39 PM

AJ Hummel, why does it take so long for the lands and attractions to begin building? For example, the first Frozen movie came out in 2013, lets say Frozen 2 comes out in 2020, that's seven years between them. That is a long time. People may not care about Frozen so much then. Disneyland should have capitalized with a Frozen mini-land around the time the first movie came out. It would have made more sense rather than waiting seven years later. I'm sure Frozen 2 will be popular, so I do see why Disneyland would plan to make a Frozen land and attraction then. However, like Disney World, Disneyland should have had at least a Frozen attraction already in the park. They could always build on it down the road.

I'm sure the lands and attractions need to be approved, and within budget in order to begin building. But why does it take so long? Disneyland should have already announced a Frozen land, and either had it built, or begun building one.

I understand why Disneyland is creating a Star Wars Land. Stars Wars is a gold mine, and has always been a popular franchise. However, again, Disneyland should have announced Star Wars Land years ago, and should have already been built. The first installment, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, was released in 2015, and Star Wars: Episode VIII will be released in December, 2017. Why wouldn't Disneyland already have the land built, in order to coincide with the first two movies? I know, the third movie, Star Wars: Episode IX, comes out in 2019, the year Star Wars Land will be completed, but why the wait? I'm a little confused on why these things take so long? In my opinion, both Star Wars Land, and Frozen Land should have both already been completed. It makes more sense from a marketing standpoint. You should capitalize when something is already popular.

August 18, 2016, 9:03 PM

Keith, my interpretation of DCA now is that it is supposed to be themed to Disney Adventures taking place in California. It is honestly a very weak overall theme and the park is inconsistent about portraying it well, but that seems to be what the park has become. Personally, I wish they would have dropped California and completely rebranded the park when they did the makeover, but I don't see that happening anytime soon at this point.

Timbo23, different things simply take different amounts of time. It is not uncommon for a high quality animated movie to take 3-4 years just to animate, with more time being needed in pre-production and post-production. Assuming there was no work done on Frozen 2 until the demand for a sequel was established, a 7 year production time isn't too far out there. As for theme park attractions, there is always a risk when building something based on untested IP. Start work too early, and you risk being stuck with an attraction based on a failed IP. Start too late, and you could miss the ideal window and wind up with less popularity than originally anticipated.

In many projects, there are three elements that need to be balanced: speed, cost, and quality. However, it is impossible to do all three, so one will always be given low priority. If you want a quality project done at a reasonable price, it will take time. If you want a quality project done quickly, it is going to be extraordinarily expensive. If you want a project done quickly on a reasonable budget, the quality is going to suffer. It is impossible to do a quality project quickly while also keeping the budget reasonable. If Disney wanted to, they could have had Star Wars Land done next year, or even in 2015, and there were talks of doing it more quickly. However, that would have resulted in a smaller land that would likely lack the detail the final land will have in order to stick to an acceptable budget for the project. Also, keep in mind that it often takes 5 years or more for a Disney project to go from concept to completion and Disney probably didn't begin any work on Star Wars Land until they secured the rights to the franchise.

Something else that further complicated everything was the Shanghai project. Following the completion of the DCA renovation, Disney diverted much of their resources to Shanghai. As a result, unless a project was pretty much guaranteed at another resort almost no money was put into it. Marvel Land was supposed to be done sooner (supposedly to coincide with Infinity War Part 2), but due to development delays and more strategic marketing it got pushed back to 2021. As a result, it is going to be more of a full land instead of a mini-land with one big ride.

August 19, 2016, 3:21 PM

Thanks AJ Hummel. I have a better understanding of the logic when creating a theme park land with attractions. I see why it's better to wait to complete a project, which results in a better product. I would rather have a larger Star Wars Land, as opposed to a smaller one. The same goes for Marvel Land, I would prefer a bigger land, as opposed to a mini-land with only one attraction.

The only thing I wish Disneyland did do was have some sort of Frozen ride currently, as opposed to waiting until possibly 2020? In my opinion, Disneyland doesn't necessarily need a Frozen mini-land. Although i'm sure it will be very nice, they could have created a ride already in Fantasyland, similar to what Disney World did in Epcot. It doesn't have to be a clone, but I wish they already had a Frozen ride in place. Then, they could always build on the land down the road, and add more to the area.

August 19, 2016, 10:45 PM

Quite simply, Disney never expected Frozen to be as big of a hit as it was. By the time it became clear that Frozen was undoubtedly their biggest animated film in 20 years, it was a little too late to develop a Frozen ride for Disneyland. In Epcot, the ride was created by retheming an existing attraction, and this worked because an overwhelming majority of WDW visitors will visit once or twice a decade (at most). At Disneyland, however, many visitors will visit multiple times per year, so a simple retheme will get old unless it is E-ticket level. In California, retheming a Fantasyland attraction would result in the loss of one of the classic dark rides, which would likely result in overwhelming crowds for the first few months and then average or below waits afterward, as those who are upset at the loss of a classic may steer clear of the new attraction. Therefore, it made more sense to create a show for Frozen instead, particularly as Aladdin was already years past its original retirement date, and use that to hold off crowds until a proper Frozen attraction could be created.

Does Frozen deserve an entire mini-land? In my opinion, yes, but given the space constraints at Disneyland I do wonder if they're going to regret the decision 10-15 years down the line. While there are still a few untouched spots, Disneyland is quickly reaching the point where it will be impossible to add new attractions without removing old ones. This is part of the reason the resort is trying to attract more tourist traffic and slowly reduce their dependence on locals. The Disneyland fanbase is very loyal, but everyone does have a breaking point, and without a good amount of non-local visitors Disney could potentially take a huge hit if they upset a large portion of their passholders at once.

August 20, 2016, 8:00 AM

If Disneyland is going to make a Frozen mini-land, where might they put it? Would they need to get rid of one of the classic dark rides, or is there space where they could fit it? Possibly between Fantasyland and Toon Town?

August 20, 2016, 9:43 AM

Frozen Land is rumored to replace Fantasyland theater. The alternative rumor is it'll replace the former Motor Boat cruise area next to Matterhorn.

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