Marvel have begun to make their presence in Disney theme parks in recent years, but remain shackled by that pesky contract with Universal Studios. With hints of a larger scale plan to include the iconic superheroes across the resorts in some shape or form, and being a minor armchair Imagineer, I thought it would be fun to hypothetically suggest attractions and rides for six Marvel superheroes who deserve some recognition at the theme parks
5. The Hulk
Though very popular as a hero, the Incredible Hulk is still a terrifying creature and, well, you wouldn’t like to get on his bad side. While the Hulk is represented in the form of an awesome rollercoaster at Universal Studios Florida, the ride’s story is mostly just an excuse to have a fast-paced coaster. The Hulk would work well in some sort of special effects-based simulation, where guests would enter a S.H.I.E.L.D. containment facility to “observe” the Hulk, only for the big green guy to break out of imprisonment and go on a rampage.
This could be accomplished through a walkthrough attraction, complete with hi-tech effects, and in visually, some sort of awesome animatronic Hulk either chained up or trying to smash his way through a wall. Alternatively, if on a budget, this attraction could be styled after Halloween Horror Nights, with another rendition of a walkthrough, but with jump scares and scenes of post-destruction. And being jumped by the Hulk might make it a little more unexpected. Hulk’s enemies could show up like the Abomination, or even give the Hulkbuster an appearance.
4. Doctor Strange
The Sorcerer Supreme definitely deserves his own attraction. Considering how utterly mindblowing and eye melting the special effects his movie was, a potential ride has to be done based around a similar concept of magical prowess and bending the laws of physics. I imagine the Doctor Strange attraction being set in the New York Sanctum, guests walk through several show rooms of magical items and Marvel easter eggs, before going onto the main event – specifically a couple of SFX-laden scenes where Benedict Cumberpatch bends time and space around him, using the kind of effects that make people wonder how such spectacles were accomplished. The folks at Imagineering have pulled off some pretty amazing things in their sixty plus years, and I’m sure they could rise to the challenge of creating the ultimate experience in magic and wizardry…that isn’t Harry Potter.
3. Black Panther
The Black Panther movie isn’t coming out until next year, and already Wakanda looks like a fascinating place, judging by the exciting trailers and the enormous panther statue seen at the end of Captain America: Civil War. Africa needs a little bit more representation in theme parks, though I suppose using a fictional African nation might be a little hypocritical. To explore the world of T’Challa, a river rapids ride of some sort would be most suitable, given to the fast-paced style of the Marvel movies, and the African environment. Guests could enter through the New York Wakanda emissary building, and be transported to the African nation itself through whatever means of technology they possess. Though the story is important, perhaps involving the more supernatural enemies of Black Panther’s roster, or even an original story involving warring factions deep within the forest.
Alternatively, a more serene boat ride could be utilised like the Jungle Cruise or the Na’vi River Journey based on Avatar, just exploring the environment and culture of Wakanda, before the boats encounter a threat and must rely on the Black Panther to help them out. For example, say Ulysses Klaw is causing trouble along the river at the expense of both nature and humanity, which could benefit the use of the river rapids concept. See, there is so much potential!
2. Fantastic Four
The Fantastic Four needs some love! Sure, there is a Doctor Doom-style freefall ride at Universal, but that is just a simple funfair ride. Marvel’s original family need the respect they deserve, but Disney and Marvel have swept them under the carpet because of Fox. As such, I believe a Fantastic Four attraction is desperately needed to introduce new generations to the team. The best idea would be a trackless, action-packed dark ride – a similar concept which might be used for the Avengers over at Hong Kong Disney – where the Fantastic Four are involved in a battle against their enemies like Doctor Doom and the Skrulls for example.
What would make the ride different is that each new experience would be different from the last. Using the trackless technology allows for spontaneity, and could offer up to four different journeys through the battle following each member of the Fantastic Four. To include the guests into the narrative, let’s say they are either being evacuated to safety, or are S.H.I.E.L.D. agents tracking the efforts of the heroes.
1. Captain America
The good old Star-Spangled Man is a bit of a challenge, because his character and universe revolve mostly around warfare – not exactly something which is promoted at Disney parks. Something simple could be used like a basic 1940s-style dining experience, but Captain America needs something a bit more special. Well, the best I could come up with would be the Captain America Star-Spangled Stunt Show (you wanna make a better title, then go ahead!).
Staged as a patriotic, old school Americana tribute to Captain America, the stunt show would begin with that catchy musical number from the 2011 film, complete with the show girls, but maybe skip out on punching Hitler. Cap would show up, only for the fiesta to be crashed by HYDRA agents led by the Red Skull (or whoever else was available), leading to explosions, bike stunts, and maybe appearances from supporting characters like Falcon, Black Widow, and Bucky Barnes. Universal has a particularly mindblowing Waterworld stunt show complete with a crashing plane – now imagine what you could do with Captain America and even the Avengers.
Disney’s American theme parks have offered very patriotic shows in the past when it comes to American history, and considering the state of the USA at the moment, I think the presence of Captain America in his classic 1940s appearance would be wonderful. As Agent Coulson would say, people could do with a bit of old fashion right now.
Which Marvel characters do you think deserve a theme park ride? Leave a comment below or on our Twitter feed.