We’ve been anxiously awaiting the day when we can web-sling with Spider-Man and chow down on jumbo-sized food at Pym Test Kitchen when Avengers Campus opens this summer (or not?) at Disney California Adventure.
Why have we not seen Iron Man, the Hulk, or Captain America in any of the east coast parks?
Long before Marvel was even a twinkle in the eyes of Disney, the comic book group made an agreement with MCA Inc., the owners of the Universal Studios theme parks at the time, for the use of Marvel characters in a new theme park. This new park would be located right next door to Universal Studios Florida and contain an entire Marvel-themed land to help headline.
Marvel Super Hero Island opened with the new park, Islands of Adventure, on May 28, 1999. The entire area looked like it jumped right out of the pages of a comic book and featured some of the most popular Marvel characters, like the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, and Spider-Man, as walk-around characters, in restaurants, and headlining attractions.
How do the terms of Marvel’s agreement with Universal affect Disney World? Now that the super-heroes of the Marvel brand are owned by the Mouse, it makes sense that Disney would want to integrate them as much as possible in the parks. But there’s a problem, and it has to do with the Mighty Mississippi.
The contract with Universal makes certain stipulations on what Marvel super-heroes can be used in other theme parks. The Mississippi River is used as the boundary line for this term, with the west side being open for any theme park (i.e. Disney California Adventure) to use any Marvel character they want.
Any characters that are featured in Marvel Super Hero Island cannot be used in any theme park on the east side of the Mississippi. This is why the Guardians of the Galaxy can bring their galactic shenanigans to Epcot, but Iron Man can’t rocket into Hollywood Studios.
The contract is also why Disney cannot use the classic Marvel logo in the parks or call Avengers Campus something like “Marvel Land” (Avengers Campus does have a better ring to it).
Because Marvel’s agreement with Universal will only expire as long as Islands of Adventure continues to operate the land or the contract is terminated for legitimate reasons, it’s unlikely that we’ll see an immersive Marvel land in a Disney World park.
Are you ready to web sling into Avengers Campus when it opens? Let us know down in the comments!