As our kids had never been on a foreign holiday and as restrictions have eased, we thought it would be a great opportunity to take the family to Disneyland Paris. Somewhat fortuitously, our trip coincided with the opening of the shiny new Avengers Campus, and its associated attractions, to the general public. There have been a number of pass holder and soft launch events, but this was the big opening day for those fans, geeks, and curious minds.
My wife had booked us a table at the New York hotel the night before the opening. Again, this was all by chance so I was very excited to get some Marvel themed deserts as well as oodles of Marvel artwork on display. Despite the art gallery vibe, the hotel was still super family friendly and there were plenty of great photo ops to keep the kids amused as well as allowing me to geek out a little on some of the merch. I must also give kudos to the food as the mini burgers, or sliders, and puds were really awesome.
After the heat wave peaked on Tuesday, torrential rain on the Wednesday threatened to put a literal dampener on the launch. Determination, patience, and plenty of poncho purchases however meant that swarms of people were not going to be put off. I was an eager beaver to grab a look at the campus but knew that it was unlikely we would be able to check out the rides on the opening day given the queuing times. Unfortunately, after grabbing a launch day commemorative program we were met with waiting times of over 90 minutes just to get into the campus. I appreciate the need to keep things from becoming a crush but the huge lines of people and two damp young kids meant that things were looking grim for our intrepid hero.
Fast forward to later in the day and the queues had failed to lessen but indeed gotten worse. Thankfully for those waiting there were giant screens with Marvel themed visuals and intermittent quizzes to keep them partially occupied. For us though, it was a case of admitting defeat and chancing our luck the following day. Well prepared wife to the rescue though as a reservation of the new Pym Kitchen restaurant on campus meant that you could skip the queues, have your meal, and then explore the new area. Excelsior! So our launch visit was just gonna have to be delayed a day.
Inside, Avengers Campus looks amazing. The Disney Imagineers are renowned for their attention to detail and its on display everywhere you look. From the Campus logo which greets you to the Quantum Tunnel, aged Stark Industries and WEB buildings, as well as the Quinjet platform and greetings from FRIDAY, the Campus AI, everything is uber cool. Even with this being launch day +1, there were throngs of people so grabbing arty shots was going to require a lot of patience. If you were happy with plenty of tourists in your shots though, you’ll have a field day.
Pym Kitchen was really well done and played up to the science lab element with all the staff in lab coats and plenty of ‘giant’ options (the result of Pym Particle technology obviously) as well as drinks in beakers and conical flasks. Very gimmicky but wonderful if you just buy into it all. Service was good and although the waiting list on the reservation is now pretty hefty, well worth booking if you are a fan of Marvel or planning a trip to the Campus anyway.
Show wise there we didn’t get to see much as we missed a lot of the times but there were plenty of cast members rocking around. We saw Antman, Wasp, Thor, Loki, Dr Strange, and Captain Marvel from a distance on the Quinjet platform. Props to the Spiderman though as he bounded around the rooftops doing stunts and waving to onlookers below. Wife and kids also managed to see some of the Wakandan Guard and Dora Milaje performance whilst I nipped onto the new (well repurposed) Flight Force coaster via the single rider queue.
Flight Force has you take off into the depths of Space to help divert incoming Kree missiles so Captain Marvel can take em out. I didn’t get to see the main queue embellishments as I jumped in on the single rider but the effects are what you would expect from a top end theme park and the ride itself was very fun, and far less rattly on the neck and head than Hyperspace Mountain.
The big new attraction though which everyone was raving about was the Spiderman WEB Slinger experience. Don your 3d specs, jump into the Slinger, and help Spidey save the day. The good stuff first. This ride is really well done. Its great for kids of all ages and will be a big hit with Spidey fans, computer gamers or arcade fans, as well as those with little exposure to the franchise. Instead of the old blaster style rides like Buzz Lightyear, here you flick your arms like Spiderman and launch webs at your targets. Rack up points and nab achievements such as best score of the day. Everyone who went on seemed to love it. The downside is that as one of the newest rides in the park, the queues were really long for what it was.
We were killing time on the Thursday as we would be in the park all day for the Illuminations that evening at 11pm so the 90 minute wait quoted didn’t seem terrible. Turned out to be over 100 mins but thankfully we had the tablet and phone to keep the kids occupado. Its here that I also felt the Imagineers have missed a trick. In some of the older rides you have things to look at or read whilst going round. I’m thinking of Star Tours which has the Mon Cal control room, Threepio and R2 arguing, or all the other droids and loading bays. Here at WEB, it was concrete walls and some WEB fluid canisters. I honestly expected a lot more.
Still, all this being said, Avengers Campus is great new addition to the Studios. I’ve no idea when the queues will die down so if you are planning a trip soon, get ready to factor this in. If you can, book a reservation at either Pym Kitchen or Stark Factory, you’ll definitely appreciate it. Also, if you don’t mind the 15 min walk, take a trip through the Village and go see the Disney’s Hotel New York – The Art of Marvel. If nothing else, you’ll get a kick from grabbing a photo in front of a giant Iron Man, Black Panther, or Captain Marvel!
The writer of this piece was: Adam Brown
Adam Tweets from @brother_rooster