It's a big week for Marvel Cinematic Universe and Disneyland fans, because the pandemic-delayed but much-anticipated Avengers Campus is finally opening to the public on Friday, June 4 at Disney California Adventure Park. Today was the official Media Day for reporters to get a look at the finished land before ticketed visitors swoop in, and SYFY WIRE was there to witness how the area will operate in welcoming new "recruits" to become their own heroes during their stay.
And tonight, the whole Avengers Campus gets a VIP opening ceremony you can attend virtually starting at 8 p.m. PT/11 p.m. ET here:
According to the lore of Campus — short for Centralized Assembly Mobilized to Prepare, Unite, and Safeguard — it's actually a Stark Industries property. First owned in the '40s by Howard Stark, he created labs and buildings to serve as an innovation center for developing flying vehicles. Tony Stark eventually inherited the property years later and turned it into Avengers Campus. Because of that, you'll see a mix of architecture and decor throughout which honors both the OG era and the ultra modern now.
Operational for the opening will be two rides. One is the newly integrated, and preexisting, Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! ride, which has now "traveled" from planet Knowhere and landed inside the Campus. The ride remains the same, with some new silver accents, and adjusted language.
The second ride, which SYFY WIRE experienced and will dive further into on Friday, is the brand-new interactive attraction, WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure, featuring Tom Holland as Peter Parker/Spider-Man. The moving ride is set during a science open house where Parker reveals his new invention, Spider-Bots, tech helpers that get stuck on the self-replicating setting and overrun the event and engineering facility. Recruits use their own web-slinging action movements to take them out, and accumulate points.
Rides aside, the Campus will also feature original performances throughout the day including a massive stunt show on the Avengers HQ building with Black Widow and Black Panther against Black Widow's upcoming MCU villain, Taskmaster. General Okoye and the Dora Milaje will host training sessions; Doctor Strange will portal from the New York Sanctum into this West Coast Sanctum to look for mystical recruits; and Spider-Man will do some amazing acrobatics across buildings and then visit recruits and take selfies.
During a Q&A session with some of experts who helped create the rides, the food and beverage offerings, and the interconnectivity throughout the land, we got a better sense of why the recruit theme is central to the Campus, and how everything integrates into the already existing MCU.
"We started with a blank sheet of paper, and so much inspiration," Scot Drake of Walt Disney Imagineering said. "We had 70+ years of stories and amazing characters to pull from 23 epic films. And for us, it was what is the best way to get our guests right in the middle of those stories, and right in the middle of the action. We had amazing collaboration with our [Marvel] Studios partners. We wanted to create an experience that for the first time we were 'welcomed in,' so it was the idea of a Campus that is welcoming all new recruits, with that optimism that we all love in the parks of bringing people together and becoming part of a team. And we love that it's finally gotten to this place where we can invite our guests in."
Since the Campus will host a long list of participating characters, including the aforementioned heroes along with Iron Man, Ant-Man and The Wasp, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain America, Captain Marvel, and Thor and Loki, it begs the question for many: How do they exist together when some are no longer with us in the current MCU?
The Imagineers were a bit hazy about specifics, but surprisingly the upcoming Disney+ series, Loki, and it's time-hopping scenarios inspired a bit of what they're doing. While speaking about the mythology at the heart of the Campus, Brent Strong of Walt Disney Imagineering said, "The mission to inspire and empower the next generation of heroes is so important that we've assembled the heroes from across all of space and time for that mission. And as we're all about to discover in a couple of weeks when Loki comes out, time is a lot more squishy than any of us think. And so trying to put a specific date to it can be challenging. But to us, Avengers Campus is here and now. We get to live in the moment and these heroes are here with us. And we are taking part in that story."
Come back tomorrow for our full coverage of all the Avengers Campus Easter Eggs you'll need to look for when you visit, including a full photo gallery and more from the team who created the park. And don't forget to check back in with SYFY WIRE on Friday, when we do a deep dive into the Campus' new ride, WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure.