When the resort reopens on April 30, 2021, guests will be thrilled with new attractions and updates on older ones at both Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure parks with the biggest news coming from the latter.
Opened in 2001, Disney’s California Adventure seems to reinvent itself every few years and today is hardly recognizable from when the park opened in 2001. However, with each new change, the park’s name grows more irrelevant and instead has become more of a “Disneyland Part 2”. The latest is the introduction to a brand new “land”: Avengers Campus.
Following the footsteps of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in Disneyland, Avengers Campus mixes a lot of new interactive experiences alongside new rides. According to Disney, Avengers Campus is dedicated to “discovering, recruiting and training the next generation of Super Heroes” and will open June 4, 2021. Super heroes of all ages are invited to team up with the Avengers to live out their super hero dreams and despite the fates that some of the Marvel characters faced during the Infinity War, they are all here.
“We are so excited to soon welcome our guests to Avengers Campus, our first land dedicated to Super Heroes,” said Ken Potrock, president, Disneyland Resort. “Here, our cast members will unite to help guests of all ages find their super powers and create special memories.”
The story of the land unfolds with authentic detail as Avengers Campus is comprised of several heroic locations, each hosted by a different Avenger or their ally to share their unique powers, technology and knowledge with recruits. Optimistic and forward-looking, these represent galactic spaces, mystic places, modern architecture and sleek technology. Legend has it that Tony Stark offered up the site, formerly one of his father’s Stark Industries complexes, as a place to train the next generation of Super Heroes.
“When we set out to create these extraordinary Super Hero experiences across the globe, we designed a new Spider-Man attraction for Disney California Adventure park in an immersive land with amazing character experiences,” said Scot Drake, portfolio creative executive for Walt Disney Imagineering. “We also crafted an original story that ties all the experiences together in ways that are authentic to these characters. We worked side-by-side with teams that brought the Avengers films and comics to life to create a place that champions the next generation of heroes.”
Web Slingers: A Spider-Man Adventure
The first key address is the Worldwide Engineering Brigade – also known as WEB. Guests will have the chance to witness Spider-Man swinging into action high above Avengers Campus with gravity-defying, acrobatic feats which will lead them to the new attraction, Web Slingers: A Spider-Man Adventure, which takes guests on an interactive escapade. It brings together bright innovators like Peter Parker who have been assembled by Tony Stark to invent new technologies and equip everyday people to become heroes.
Tom Holland reprisse his role as Peter Parker in the ride which invites guests to put their web-slinging skills to the test, a feat accomplished with innovative technology adapted specifically for this attraction. The mission: team up with Spidey and help capture the out-of-control Spider-Bots before they wreak havoc on the Campus.
During an open house at WEB, Peter Parker and the aspiring inventors ask guests to wear 3D glasses and test drive their latest invention, the WEB Slinger vehicle, which allows them to sling webs like Spider-Man and experience what it’s like to have super powers. This family-friendly attraction blends physical sets and virtual environments to take new recruits on an interactive escapade. There is no height requirement for this attraction, allowing aspiring young heroes to join the fun.
Save the Guardians of the Galaxy
Looming high above the land is the former Tower of Terror which was transformed into Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! in 2017. Guests are the protagonists of this rockin’ adventure as they help rescue a cosmic gang of misfits. Taneleer Tivan, a.k.a. the Collector, has brought his unique collection of fantastical fauna, relics and species from across the cosmos to Earth. To their misfortune, Star-Lord, Gamora, Rocket, Drax and Groot were recently made a part of Tivan’s “collection” and are being held captive within his Fortress. It takes some raucous mayhem, music inspired by the soundtracks from the movies and thrilling free-fall drop sequences for this adventure to break out the Guardians.
Explore the Ancient Sanctum
While exploring Avengers Campus, recruits may encounter Iron Man in his new armor (the Mark 80) and be introduced to such favorites such as Ant-Man, The Wasp, Black Widow, Black Panther, Thor, Captain America and Captain Marvel.
Here you can explore the overgrown ruins of an Ancient Sanctum and learn mysterious secrets from Doctor Strange while also discovering ancient, magical artifacts. Doctor Strange will train recruits in the ways of the mystic arts by bringing this Ancient Sanctum to life with powerful spells. At night, the Ancient Sanctum glows even more vividly with majestic colors and lights, pulsating with mystic energy.
Recruits can also train with Black Panther’s loyal bodyguards, the Dora Milaje, to learn wisdom from Wakanda and what it’s like to be a member of this elite royal guard.
Pym Test Kitchen
Even the food options in Marvel country are themed. Just as Ant-Man and The Wasp used “Pym Particles” to grow and shrink just about anything, the Pym Test Kitchen applies this innovative science to the food creation. This unbound potential allows Pym Test Kitchen to showcase normal foods at unusual scales, including shareable bites, inventive-sized entrees and tiny treats. As guests watch the Pym food scientists at work in the kitchen lab, they will see the transformation of a regular-sized pretzel after going through a quantum tunnel – and it comes out big or small!
Guests will be able to savor foods like the Impossible™ plant-based meatballs, both large and micro and served with pasta in a super-sized spoon with a tiny fork. Another choice is the “Pym-ini,” a panini on toasted focaccia with meats, cheese and marinara dipping sauce, which can be served by the slice or as a long, multi-portion sandwich. Those will go well with a glass of Pingo Doce, the distinctly green beverage from Avenger lore that will be available at Avengers Campus.
Gigantic soda cans and condiment bottles will be mounted in the vestibules as eye-catching art, and outdoor seating will be a great place to watch for Super Heroes.
Adjacent to the Pym Test Kitchen, an oversized beer can overhead signals that grown-up beverages are available at Pym Tasting Lab. Guests may order a craft beer, ranging from a blood orange hefeweizen to an amber lager. These are poured from a different kind of draft system where, thanks to the food scientists, the glass fills from the bottom up. Those thirsting for something unique can try one of the Pym Research Staff’s Pym-Particle infused cocktail experiments, along with bite-sized snacks.
Fans may recall that after the “Battle of New York,” the exhausted Avengers took Tony Stark up on his offer to try the food at the “shawarma joint” about two blocks from the battle zone. There at Shawarma Palace, the Avengers discovered their new favorite food. The Avengers loved the food so much that when it came time to build Avengers Campus, they invited the Shawarma Palace crew to open a second location at Avengers Campus. Now, guests and heroes on the go can enjoy some favorite shawarma-inspired wraps at this food cart, which is decked out with memorabilia for Avenger fans. This cart offers hand-held savory wraps with fragrant chicken shawarma and garlic sauce. Or, guests may choose the Impossible™ plant-based falafel wrap.
Taneleer Tivan did not limit his collection to lovable misfits; he is also curating a weird and wonderful menu of intergalactic eats at this food cart near Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! Churro spirals with unique flavors, and a cosmic orb with an outer shell revealing a decadent creamy filling, are just a few takes on what concoctions he has conceived to lure guests to his Fortress.
WEB Suppliers Store
At the WEB Suppliers store, guests may find just what aspiring WEB members need, including swag to show off some WEB pride, items to tinker with at home and something every hero needs – a friendly sidekick. Interactive Spider-Bots, much like the ones seen throughout Avengers Campus, are powered by a remote control with eight articulated legs that move forward and backward. Guests may customize their Spider-Bot with tactical upgrades to harness the powers and style of some of their favorite Super Heroes including Black Panther, Iron Man and Black Widow, as well as Ant-Man and The Wasp. Guests may also connect with their friends’ Spider-Bots for epic showdowns.
Other must-have items at WEB Suppliers include a specially-designed backpack to carry and show Spider-Bots when they are not in action, stylish Spider-Man goggles that light up and interact with their surroundings, a Spider-Man action figure that interacts with mini Spider-Bots, Web-shooters that come to life with lights and sounds, a take-home spider web kit and Funko Pop! vinyl figurines of Spider-Man and Iron Man.
Haunted Mansion Upgrade
Those grim grinning ghosts over at the Haunted Mansion are smiling just a little bit more. A favorite since 1969, this attraction gets a few new touches every so often keeping the experience for guests fresh even though the place is just as just as old and creepy as ever. According to the park, it will take a keen eye to notice a few new design embellishments along the portrait hallway. (This is where the elegant paintings change to a hideous version when the lightning strikes.)
One of the original portraits known as “April to December” used to grace this space as the image used to age before one’s eyes but it is suspected that the effect no longer worked with the flashing of the lightning and was removed. The Marc Davis piece is back and sits near the Doom Buggy loading area.
Outside of the mansion has been updated too with freshly landscaped details, including lily pads and society garlic, now adorn the site for dearly departed pets, representing their stories from beyond the grave.
King Arthur Carousel
The King Arthur Carousel has been a part of Disneyland since day one when the park opened in 1955. But the attraction is older than you might think. It was actually built in 1922 and was a fixture of the Sunnyside Beach Park in Toronto, Ontario, Canada before that park closed. It was moved to Disneyland in 1954. Since then, the merry-go-round has received three refurbishments in 1983, 2003 and this past year.
In keeping with the Snow White ride’s cheery update, guests will be delighted to discover a brightened version of the ride with sparkling 14k gold leaf accents, vibrant details and bold colors on each horse. In fact, every one has been hand painted using more than 30 colors for the task.
(Christian Thompson/Disneyland Resort)
I write about pop culture, arts and entertainment in the greater Seattle area.