Avengers: Endgame Isn't the Endby Lisa Stiglic, contributing writer
Tomorrow is "E-day" — "Endgame." It's the pinnacle of 10 years and 21 movies of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) concluding with one very looooong film mdash; Avengers: Endgame. Theories and fan-inspired Marvel trailers have infiltrated the web since last summer's Avengers: Infinity War. Suffice it to say, Marvel fans CAN NOT get enough of Captain America (Cap), Iron Man, Thor, Black Widow, and the rest of the Avengers. So what happens when the dust settles (hopefully everyone is alive this time around when that happens) and we all go back to reality? How do we mere mortals visit Wakanda, use our Spidey senses, or bow down to the mischievous Loki? No worries. Just grab your Stormbreaker and smash your way to Disney California Adventure Park for your MCU fix.
DISNEY + MARVEL = MARVELOUS RESULTS
Walt Disney Studios acquired Marvel Entertainment in 2009, which was rebranded as Marvel Studios under the Disney umbrella. Marvel had already released several of the stand-alone movies introducing movie-goers to Hulk, Steve Rogers, Bucky, Iron Man, and Thor and Loki, and it wasn't until Avengers was the Disney name attached to the franchise. With Disney helming the MCU, it wasn't much longer until the superheroes landed in the theme parks.
SUPER HERO HQ
The Disneyland Resort first introduced the Marvel influence as early as 2013 with individual components showcasing Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America. In 2015, the full-fledged Super Hero HQ opened in Disneyland Park's Tomorrowland to eager Marvel fans. Combining character meet-n-greets (Captain America, Thor, and Spiderman) with interactive displays, the fan favorite shortly disassembled in 2016. A year later, Summer of Heroes launched at Disney California Adventure Park as the superheroes reassembled.
SUMMER OF HEROES
There was a lot of backlash from Disneyland Resort fans when Disney announced Twilight Zone Tower of Terror would shut down temporarily and be reimagined with a new overlay – Guardians of the Galaxy – yet another Marvel piece. In May of 2017, Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout! debuted to resounding results, kicking off the Summer of Heroes celebration in Hollywood Land.
The new theme centered on Peter Quill (Starlord), Gamora, Drax, and Groot having been captured by The Collector. Rocket Raccoon infiltrates the location to save his caged friends from their doomed fate. Powered with a charged '80s rock 'n' roll soundtrack straight out of the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise, the new attraction was a No. 1 hit for fans. Inside the attraction was an homage to everything in the MCU, and outside, guests could find a favorite Guardians of the Galaxy character while waiting in the queue.
The Hollywood Land backlot re-themed several sets to incorporate the Marvel theme for the Summer of Heroes event. Spiderman's meet-n-greet took place in your friendly neighborhood street corner; Black Widow arrived in a S.H.I.E.L.D. armored car, then she hopped on stage to help Hawkeye and some younger guests fight the villainous Hydra.
Summer of Heroes blasted away in September 2017 and, since then, Disney California Adventure Park has been the Marvel hub of the Disneyland Resort. Captain America, Spiderman, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Loki, Dr. Strange, and Black Panther and his entourage have all made appearances in the park since then with each corresponding theatrical release.
So what about Avengers: Endgame? I think we're all in a bit of a let-down after investing hundreds of hours watching and rewatching 22 movies (Avengers: Endgame is the 22nd), not to mention the amount of popcorn. Where do we go from here? Don't worry. Nothing is dissipating into the wind. Disney California Adventure Park continues to host the Marvel World with more marvel-ous projects on the horizon.
Currently, Captain Marvel commands the Marvel area of Hollywood Land. She and her jet are available for meet-n-greets in front of Hangar 12. Be sure to check the Disneyland app for the most up-to-date character appearance times.
Besides Captain Marvel, your favorite MCU heroes continue to assemble in the area. You can hang with Peter Parker or salute and shake hands with Captain America in each of their corresponding locations. Black Panther and his entourage are known to make appearances, as well, but remember to greet them with "Wakanda Forever!" If your schedule doesn't allow for a character meet, during non-character hours, head to the marvel-ous Instagram walls for any selfie or group shot.
If Starlord is your superhero (but probably not since he seems to be the blame for the "snap"), blast over to Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout! to watch the his dance-off but don't just "leaf" yet. You'll want to stay to meet the galaxy's mightiest tree — Groot.
Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout! is a galactic trip! But, if you're not a fan of the thrill rides (hand up here), you can still walk-through the queue to look at the tribute to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. After all, The Collector collects, and the line is one big MCU museum. On the ground floor, you'll spy Cosmo the Space Dog, seen in the Guardians of the Galaxy movie, as well as props and weaponry from around the Marvel galaxy. Be sure to note a painting of The Collector himself with his brother The Grandmaster (Thor: Ragnarok). Whether or not your do step onto the attraction, you'll end your tour with a visit in The Collector's Warehouse merchandise shop. There you can stock up on your favorite Marvel superhero T-shirts and accessories including comic books, action figures, and the latest Marvel DVDs (and check behind the counter for the popular wearable Groot).
If you have a Hulk-size appetite, stomp over to Studio Catering Co. truck near Captain Marvel's stage. Current menu items include Captain Marvel "Nacho" Average Super Hero nachos, and "The Most Dangerous Tacos in the Galaxy." For a hero-size thirst-quencher, order a Captain Marvel slushie at the red truck.
ON THE HORIZON
As the Marvel Universe expands rapidly with more movies on the horizon, Disney is taking control with an iron fist, so to speak. With the closure of "a bug's land" last summer, Disney hinted at a new Marvel-themed land with which to replace it. With Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout as the anchor "E-ticket" attraction, other possible attractions are leaked as an Avengers compound and Dr. Strange's Sanctum Sanctorum. And look for Spidey to build a new web in the area.
As you can see, there is still plenty of action in the MCU live at Disney California Adventure Park. Whether or not our favorite superheroes somehow reappear in Avengers: Endgame, we can still immerse ourselves in their world. And check often to keep current with MousePlanet weekly updates for more information on the Marvel-themed land expansion. In the meantime, grab a large drink and popcorn bucket and settle in for the final three-hour chapter to the Avengers' book. Avenger Fans — Assemble!