Even superheroes have been hit hard by the pandemic. Avengers Campus, Disney’s first theme park land based on Marvel, was scheduled to open last July. Disneyland and Disney California Adventure closed when the whole world was paused in March 2020, though, and didn’t reopen for over a year, on April 30, 2021. Now that the parks are open again, Marvel’s superheroes are finally ready to welcome guests to their new headquarters. After touring it yesterday, I’m thinking this just might be the latest Marvel blockbuster.
Avengers Campus celebrates over 60 years of comic book history as filtered through the Marvel Cinematic Universe, giving fans a chance to be a part of the story. As the most recent addition to Disney California Adventure in Anaheim, this combination of attractions unites new innovations with classic Disney imagineering to make rides, dining experiences and performances that are unique to this land.
Personally, I came for the shawarma, and stayed for so much more. The easter eggs scattered around the land stay true to Disney theme park design, giving visitors a chance to explore areas and find something new each time they look around. These hidden sites stay true to the land’s lore: a campus used to find and train the next generation of superheroes.
The campus wouldn’t be complete without an opportunity to test out your new powers, and this is where WEB Slingers: A Spider-Man Adventure stands out as the most anticipated new attraction. While Peter Parker is training young engineers at the Worldwide Engineering Brigade (also known as WEB), a problem arises as he shows off his Spider-Bots and the all too convenient replication feature he recently added. As the Spider-Bot population begins to grow at alarming rates, Spider-Man calls on our help to fight back.
The ride design is slightly similar to Toy Story Midway Mania! at Pixar Pier, featuring a game element and points system, but the technology behind this ride is unmatched within Disney California Adventure. With no buttons or controllers, riders wear 3D glasses and stretch out their arms to sling webs in classic Spider-Man fashion. Hitting Spider-Bots of varying colors to rack up points, riders will also have to work together to defeat large Spider-Bots and save Spider-Man. The second ride included in Avengers Campus, WEB Slingers provides a tamer and more family friendly experience for visitors than Guardians of the Galaxy—Mission: BREAKOUT!
Shooting webs can be exhausting, and there is no better place to rest and recharge than the Pym Test Kitchen. Inspired by Ant-Man, the restaurant features a number of strange concoctions, including a $100 oversized sandwich that feeds six to eight, and a number of drinks with a reverse draft system that fills cups from the bottom up. I got to try Scott Lang’s secret recipe, a pretzel with a number of random toppings, including chicken, hot sauce, ranch, blue cheese and more. I also visited Shawarma Palace, where I ate a chicken shawarma wrap, feeling like I had just saved New York City from Loki myself.
You can’t have a Marvel-themed area without superheroes, of course. Disney has come up with a variety of ways to see and interact with some of Marvel’s iconic characters, adding to the realism of the whole experience. While walking through the land I saw Black Widow perched on a balcony at the new Avengers headquarters, pacing back and forth looking for any threats. A collection of beloved superheroes can be seen at the headquarters, including performances where visitors can watch from below as they defeat enemies and protect the campus. There is also a brand new Spider-Man animatronic that swings across buildings, and other special features where the superheroes can climb walls and explore the park from above. Dr. Strange hosts an exhibition of the mystic arts at the Ancient Sanctum, and elsewhere a contingent of Dora Milaje from Wakanda guide guests through their training maneuvers. It’s like being embedded in the MCU.
With its mix of attractions and unique land elements, it will be exciting to see how Avengers Campus exists alongside the Marvel Cinematic Universe. After the park’s year-long closure, this new addition is an exciting way to celebrate the reopening of Disneyland and Disney California Adventure.
Avengers Campus opens at Disney California Adventure on June 4, and while the parks are only currently open to California residents, they will open up to the general public on June 15.
Katherine Long is an intern at Paste and a rising senior at American University. She loves hyperpop, roller skating and videogames and can finish a sudoku puzzle in 43 seconds.