Get a Taste of Marvel's Theme Park Universe Aboard the Disney Wish

July 5, 2022, 6:22 PM · Love the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Then why not step into the Marvel Theme Park Universe, too?

Danny Handke, Senior Creative Director for Walt Disney Imagineering, confirmed that the Marvel Theme Park Universe is one branch of the multiverse that has opened in the MCU's Phase Four. And the next destination to explore within that universe lies upon the Disney Wish.

I spoke with Handke the day before watching the new "Avengers: Quantum Encounter" dinner show in the Worlds of Marvel restaurant aboard the Wish. In our short interview. Handke also revealed the connections between Avengers: Quantum Encounter and a beloved former Disneyland attraction as well as with the kids' space on the Disney Wish.

Since Avengers: Quantum Encounter includes new narratives that have not been seen before off the ship, I'm gonna throw in a spoiler warning for those reading beyond this point. But for those who are cool with discovering what lies ahead for audiences on the Wish, Handke provided an excellent overview of the World of Marvel experience.

Worlds of Marvel topped my to-do list as I was planning our cruise on the Wish. This would be the place where Disney would be doing the most original storytelling on the ship, while trying to connect that narrative to an ongoing franchise elsewhere. I wanted to see how Disney would pull that off, while also creating a role for Wish guests that would allow us to feel as much an active participant in the production as we did one deck up in the Arendelle: A Frozen Dining Adventure show.

As promised, Ant-Man and The Wasp drive the narrative here, with Paul Rudd's Ant-Man stealing the show with his earnest humor. Disney's creative team might have looked back in MCU history to choose Ultron as the villain here, but it is looking forward by enlisting Sam Wilson's Captain America, Captain Marvel, and the new Ms. Marvel as the heroes to help Ant-Man and The Wasp defeat Ultron.

Oh, and as Handke teased, that battle can't be won without a final "push" from the Wish passengers in the Worlds of Marvel dining room.

Give Disney points for setting the production on the Disney Wish and for signing Evangeline Lilly, Anthony Mackie, Brie Larson, and Iman Vellani, along with Rudd, to reprise their roles. (No James Spader for the voice of Ultron, however.)

While I enjoyed Avengers: Quantum Encounter, its pacing did not mesh with the meal service as well as production at Arendelle - at least for me. In between acts, the Worlds of Marvel screens played clips from the various Avengers films, accompanied by graphics detailing the tech featured in each scene. The idea is to reinforce that we are dining at a Stark tech exhibition, but the non-stop visual action, accompanied by the fever-pitch theme music played in the restaurant, never gave us the opportunity to take a breath and fully relax while we ate.

It's tough to chill out when the fate of the world is at stake, isn't it?

That said, let's look at the food that tried to distract us from the battles raging around the ship. We ordered one of each of the four available appetizers:

Smoked Salmon, with Minneola, English Cucumber, Crème Fräiche, Dill, Chive, and Salmon Caviar,

Smoked Salmon

Steamed Bao Buns, with Seared Ginger Orange Pork Belly, Toasted Sesame Seeds, Pickled Daikon, Spring Onions, and Mirin Soy Honey Glaze,

Steamed Bao Buns

Hearts of Palm Ceviche, with Tamarillo, Sweet Potato, Purple Onion, Lime, Cilantro, Bell Pepper, Infinity Stone Popcorn,

Hearts of Palm Ceviche

and a Crispy Breaded Fried Shrimp, with White Cheddar and Corn Grits, Bell Peppers, Collard Greens, Smokehouse Barbecue Sauce.

Crispy Breaded Fried Shrimp

That's a big shrimp, so big that all four of us could carve a bite and still have some shrimp left over. But I preferred the flavor of the salmon and especially the Bao, which was my favorite of the four. The ceviche tasted a bit astringent to me, as the veggies didn't bring enough assertive flavor to balance the acidic marinade.

But that didn't bother me as much as the next section of the menu, labeled "Wakandan Salads."

The choices there? First, an Heirloom Tomato Salad, with Escarole, Arugula, Purple Onion, Black Beans, Blue and Red Corn Chips, Parsley, and Bearas Lime. Okay.

The second? An Iceberg Wedge, with "Candied Pecans, Smoked Bacon Lardons, Black and Globe Radish, Maytag Blue Cheese."

Iceberg Wedge

Excuse me? You are putting the most basic, middle-America salad on the menu and daring to attribute it to... Wakanda? I can hear Chadwick Boseman's T’Challa on SNL saying, "Aw, hell naw, Karen. Keep your bland-ass [salad] to yourself."

And it was bland.

The soups are labeled as "From the Sokovian Kettle" and included Kartoffelsuppe, a Creamed Potato Soup with Carrots, Celery, Knockwurst, and Thyme (we didn't order it), and a Cream of Porcini Mushroom Soup, with Sour Cream, Red Beet, and Lemon.

Cream of Porcini Mushroom Soup

It tasted like a nice mushroom soup... with a dollop of Borscht in it. But where is the Paprikash?

Moving on, our entrees were:

The Berbere Spiced Pork Chop, with Wakandan Vegetable Pilau, Pomegranate, Red Pepper Sauce, Rainbow Chard, and Roasted Scallion,

Berbere Spiced Pork Chop

Chicken Schnitzel, with Panko-crusted Chicken Breast, Butter Sautéed Potatoes, Caramelized Onions, Long Green Beans, Lemon, Anchovy, and Capers,

Chicken Schnitzel

Golden Mystic Pasta, with Caramelized Scallop, Angel Hair, Chardonnay Lemon Saffron Cream, Roasted Vine Tomatoes, and Savoy Spinach,

Golden Mystic Pasta

and the Delmonico Rib-Eye Steak with Black Truffle Butter, with Whipped Yukon Gold Potatoes, Green Asparagus, and Cabernet Reduction.

Rib-Eye Steak

We did not order the Seared Turbot Filet, with Sweet Pea Purée, Roasted Heirloom Carrots, Romanesco, Pancetta, and Tarragon Sandefford Sauce. The vegetarian options were Ricotta Gnocchi and a Shiitake and Tofu Udon, while the Lighter Note salad was a Lamb Shawarma Salad, with "Slow-roasted Cumin spiced pulled Lamb Leg in mini Pitas, with Iceberg, Endive, Romaine Lettuce, Sumac Onions, Vine Tomatoes, Pickled Red Cabbage, Roasted Chickpeas, Cucumber and Lemon Yogurt Dressing." Again we did not order those.

I loved the pasta, mostly because I was ready to tap out on anything heavy by Night Three of the cruise. The light cream sauce made the angel hair interesting, and I will never turn down a well seared scallop, as these were.

The table also endorsed the schnitzel, which was juicy and flavorful and served with a satisfying portion of sides, for a change. The pork chop offered nice flavor from the Berbere spice and accompaniments, though it fell victim to the common problem with pork of being a bit dry. The red pepper sauce effectively solved that problem, however, and blended well with the other ingredients.

The steak was a true rib-eye, prepared like a steak and not in prime rib style, as we had at Arendelle. But this specific cut was a bit chewy, though it appeared cooked to our order of medium rare. The truffle butter added delightful flavor, though. A couple of more asparagus spears on the side (without having to ask for them) would have been appreciated, though.

From the upcharge bar menu, the table ordered the "Wakanda Tasting Lab," with three mixed cocktails of rum, gin, and vodka.

Wakanda Tasting Lab

They were tasty, but strong, as we found consistently with dinner drinks aboard the Wish.

The show's finale brought each table a plate of Pym Particle-shrunken chocolate chip shortbread cookies. Other than this item - which comes automatically and is not listed on the menu - Avengers: Quantum Encounter did not offer any of the mis-sized food that drives the menus at the Pym-themed restaurants in Avengers Campus at Disney California Adventure and Walt Disney Studios Park in Paris.


We all preferred these delightful cookies over any of the desserts we ordered from the menu. Again, after three nights of cruise eating, I think we were inclined to prefer one lovely little bite by this point over another onslaught of sugar.

Anyway, here they are, so you can gaze at them:

Subatomic Sticky Date Pudding, with Salted Coconut Macaroon, Balsamic Caramel Glaze, and Vanilla Ice Cream,

Subatomic Sticky Date Pudding

Quantum Key Lime Pie, with Key Lime Curd, Raspberry Gel, and Whipped Lime Ganache,

Quantum Key Lime Pie

and a Nano Dobos Torta, a Layered Cake with Rich Chocolate Truffle Cream, and Caramel.

Nano Dobos Torta

The Signature Dessert was the Cheesecake Byte, with Fresh Berries, Strawberry Jelly, and Whipped Cream.

Cheesecake Byte

Finally, here's the Pym Doughnut Sundae, with Dulce de Leche Ice Cream, Pecan Brownie, and Caramel Fudge Sauce, topped with a Chocolate Glazed Mini-Doughnut, and Whipped Cream.

Pym Doughnut Sundae

Overall, Worlds of Marvel maintains the excellent standard for tasty food, attentive service, and engaging entertainment that the Disney Cruise Line has established aboard the Disney Wish.

For all of our coverage of the restaurants, shows, attractions, and experiences aboard the ship, please see our post, All Aboard the Disney Cruise Line's New Disney Wish.

And for more theme park news, please sign up for Theme Park Insider's weekly newsletter.

Replies (9)

July 5, 2022 at 9:45 PM

Didn't Disney say there was going to be interactivity involving the shrinking/growing tech? Was it not used here outside of the video cues?

July 5, 2022 at 10:03 PM

That’s my final “push” reference. It’s a button on the “glow with the show” type unit on your table. That’s it.

July 6, 2022 at 8:34 AM

Robert, I appreciate your coverage of the newly christened Disney Wish and all the Disney and theme park innovations on the newest ship of the Disney Cruise Line like the AquaMouse and new stage show.

I am wondering, though, about how Disney, Universal, and other theme park companies will trade perks and freebies like a media preview on their latest cruise ship for generally positive coverage of their media event (which in this case, was a several-day cruise). I have read through the articles and appreciate your pointing out some negatives like with the "themed" water slide attraction and the Little Mermaid show not being quite ready for full-scale presentation.

But at the same time, you are publishing *lots* of articles about the new Disney Wish, which Disney wants to promote with generally positive coverage. On Theme Park Insider, you have published articles about new ships being built or changes in Disney Cruise Line itinerary or how the cruise ship industry was affected by the pandemic. You don't have someone covering the cruise ships or Disney Cruises in general, so what is the trade-off in accepting a several day media cruise from Disney in return for writing a lot of positive articles? Where does a responsible media outlet draw the line in being a promoting corporate PR in exchange for a free cruise for your family?

I imagine that most people are going to jump in and defend the coverage because they want to read articles and are interested in what's going on on the Disney Wish, but I have the same criticism of any media attending a preview of the Galactic Starcruiser opening or latest coaster opening at your regional theme park. If the theme park company or media conglomerate hosting the event expects positive coverage in return for exclusive access, you're not really doing your readers a service.

July 6, 2022 at 9:41 AM

@Spaceman - I can answer a bit since I represented Theme Park Insider at the Galactic Starcruiser Media Voyage and cover a number of media events for TPI in the Mid-Atlantic. Ultimately, I think readers have to trust the sources of their news, and to understand and have a feel for the general points of view of their writers. Companies are always going to comp media outlets to cover their products and services, because they know the publicity that's "bought" with those comps more than covers the cost of the freebies (also media events allow companies to do "dress rehearsals" without the pressure of paying guests with sky high expectations).

Certainly, there are media organizations that feel that the comps have to be repaid with favorable coverage, and there should be some level of quid pro quo when it comes to attending extravagant media events. Things are even murkier today when "social influencers" and non-credentialed/non-traditional media outlets (bloggers, fan groups, etc...) are being leveraged by companies to promote products and services (FYI, about a third of the passengers on our Galactic Starcruiser media event were social influencers - TikTockers, Instagramers, and Twitch streamers). There's an expectation that your freebie is in exchange for a positive review or that a negative review will result in getting blacklisted from that company's future publicity initiatives. If you approach a media event from that perspective, then you end up with those glowing reviews that you see all over the internet, which makes it difficult to differentiate from real reviews from outlets that actually liked something and are providing a truly objective commentary.

There have been rumors that Disney has blacklisted outlets and bloggers for negative coverage, but in many cases it appears that those people were uninvited from future events because they failed to follow blackout/embargo rules or published information/video Disney expressly prohibited, not because they wrote a negative critique. In some cases, outlets have been removed from media lists because they just aren't popular anymore, or don't cater to the audience Disney is trying to engage/activate through certain media events (which is why I am a bit surprised that TPI would cover Wish, though Robert has covered DCL occasionally over the years and DCL has been placed under the Parks, Experiences, and Products division of the company). I can tell you that I occasionally have to circle back to my local parks every few years to make sure TPI stays on their media list because they change PR managers or I'm unable to attend an event and thus removed from the group messages.

In the end, you have to trust in the integrity of the outlets where you find your news and information. I think TPI has always been one of the most trusted sources for theme park news in the industry because it doesn't publish unsubstantiated rumors, has always maintained journalistic integrity, and has tried to provide the most objective analysis of the industry while still providing some level of fan service. Believe me, it's tough to write negative commentary about a project you know someone worked really hard to create and they invited you to experience it before anyone else (and gave you lots of gifts and freebies for coming). It's much easier to do that as a regular paying guest, but by that point, you've been out-scooped by every other media outlet who participated in the media event so your critique is dated before you've even put pen to paper.

July 6, 2022 at 9:46 AM

As far as this particular dinner show goes, I'm a bit surprised Disney did not get more playful with the food here. I can see on one side where the show is probably enough to engage the audience into the story they're trying to tell, but on the other hand, I think it's a bit of a missed opportunity given the standard Disney established with the Pym Test Kitchen at DCA. I can see some parts of the meal where chefs tried to play with scale, but it does seem to be hit or miss. When you don't go all-in on the theming, the few attempts to hit the mark seem like even bigger missed opportunities.

Also, since when did ceviche become a vegetarian dish? I thought the whole point was to use the acid to "cook" the protein (usually seafood), not as a kind of soupy "salad dressing". That pork chop does look pretty dry, and probably should have had the sauce ladled on top to keep it moist instead of hiding underneath. That's a recent food trend I really don't like, and should probably only be reserved for items that need to maintain crispiness.

July 6, 2022 at 10:20 AM

If you’ve been reading TPI for years, you might notice that my focus has broadened from covering a handful of parks to covering the stuff that the designers of those parks design. That’s why I now cover stuff outside the US, more Halloween attractions, more local attractions -such as Wings Over Washington and Bernstein’s Answer and the Guinness Storehouse - and now, some cruise ships.

The Wish - and its upcoming two siblings - are major WDI projects and what WDI does, I consider good fodder for the site. Just like with Galactic Starcruiser and with the upcoming Storyliving by Disney stuff. (I skipped Golden Oak only because I had a family conflict there and felt it easier to avoid rather than to try to finesse that.)

In covering this stuff, though, I always will work to provide context and perspective that other sources don’t. I try not to presume to tell you what to like or what you must do. But I do want to inform and entertain and reward you for choosing to read Theme Park Insider on any given day.

July 6, 2022 at 10:24 AM

Also, on Worlds of Marvel, I was expecting this to be something other than what it turned out to be. But I decided that I needed to judge it for what it was rather than against some expectation that I brought to the table. That way, I am centering Disney’s work here rather than centering my ideas about what Disney ought to be doing with Marvel on its ships.

That is 100% a fair topic for a post, BTW, but it will be a future post. Not this one.

July 6, 2022 at 11:00 AM

"Aw, hell naw, Karen. Keep your bland-ass [salad] to yourself."


(Standing and Applauding)

July 6, 2022 at 3:19 PM

@ TH Creative

Lol! It worked perfectly with Robert's review of that dish!!

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