Disneyland carries out Marvel-themed expansion

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After opening Galaxy’s Edge, a Star Wars land within Disneyland Park, Disneyland filed construction permits to create a Marvel-themed park as well. Named “Super Hero Land,” it is planned to replace A Bug’s Land in California Adventure, which was created after the 1998 movie A Bug’s Life. Through Super Hero Land, Disney wants to feature Marvel-themed attractions, restaurants, and character meet-and-greets. 

Marvel is not only assigned to California, however. Disney also plans to create Marvel-themed parks in the Paris’s Walt Disney Studios Park in 2020 and Hong Kong Disneyland in 2023. Disney also plans to open a roller coaster based on the Marvel film Guardians of the Galaxy in Walt Disney World’s Epcot in 2021.

It is not to say that Disney does not have Marvel-themed attractions right now, however. In 2017, Disney replaced The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror in California Adventure with a similar drop ride called “Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout!,” based on the Marvel film Guardians of the Galaxy. Today, visitors in Paris can meet Spider Man, while visitors in Hong Kong can meet Iron Man. So what makes Disney want to create full parks instead of one or two attractions? 

Marvel is undeniably popular. Currently, its most recent movie, Spider Man: Far From Home, has made $280 million in America alone and has made a total of $850 million worldwide. Avengers: Endgame, which was released on April 22,  grossed $2 billion dollars worldwide. Disney, seeing Marvel’s popularity, is admittedly making a very good choice in deciding to expand with the trends.  

Yet, the predicted success of Marvel parks around the world is uncertain. Given the time that it takes to create amusement parks, Disney might be opening these parks too late. For example, in 2017, Walt Disney World opened Pandora, a park based on the 2009 movie Avatar. Even though Avatar was still the highest grossing movie of all time back then, it was off the pop culture radar by the time Pandora was opened. Thus, the opening was not met with the expected excitement. 

Similarly, Disney’s opening of Galaxy’s Edge this year did worse than predicted. It was very successful, but  it did not reach Disney’s expectations. Galaxy’s Edge was supposed to swamp Disneyland with crowds, but in contrast, Disneyland reached a record low of visitors this summer. It wasn’t Star Wars’ fault, though. Disneyland blocked annual passholders from coming in for most of June, July, and August, believing that those waiting at Galaxy Edge’s 4-hour reservation window would outnumber them. However, these annual passholders number more than 1 million, and they are responsible for as much of half of Disneyland’s annual attendance rate of 18 million people. Star Wars’ overzealous fans also steered away regular visitors who believed that Disneyland would be too crowded. However, the fans who only came for Star Wars tended to stay within the walls of Galaxy’s Edge, making lines for other attractions in other parks shorter. 

Disney dreams big to ride along Marvel’s success with plans for Super Hero Land. In reality, the future is uncertain.  Marvel fans, on the other hand, are extremely excited for a land of their own. Who knows? It just might be the start of something magical. 

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