When Avengers Campus aka Marvel Land opens on June 4 in Disney’s California Adventure, it will be the biggest Marvel-themed land in any Disney park. But the fictional backstory of the land is surprisingly simple: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes want to recruit park guests, so they’ve opened the Campus (which stands for Centralized Assembly Mobilized to Prepare, Unite, and Safeguard). Yes, the biggest Marvel Land at any Disney park is basically superhero school.
Last year, we recently had an opportunity to visit California Adventure and learn more about the upcoming Marvel Land.
The land will have five main areas: the already existing Collector’s Fortress, where Guardians of the Galaxy — Mission: Breakout is located; the Worldwide Engineering Brigade (or WEB), which will house the Spider-Man ride; Pym Test Kitchen and Tasting Lab; the Sanctum, which will serve as a mystical meet and greet for Doctor Strange; and at the center of the land, the Avengers Headquarters, which will be the stage for live shows and the eventual home of a bigger attraction.
Picking these five center points was deliberate, says Imagineering staff writer Jillian Pagan. As the MCU continues to grow, more heroes and stories can be folded into the pre-existing areas. For instance, magic-users naturally will find a place in the Sanctum and extraterrestrial heroes might land in the Guardians area, while new plucky teen heroes might find their way into the Worldwide Engineering Brigade.
The only new ride at opening will be Web Slingers: A Spider-Man Adventure, which will have no height restriction and is designed to be a full family experience. Within the storyline, the interactive attraction takes place at WEB, a center funded by Tony Stark where young scientists work together on special projects. As Spider-Man shows off his latest invention, the chaotically cute Spider-Bots, something goes awry and guests board Web Slinging vehicles in order to save the day. The WEB area will also contain the WEB Suppliers, the main shop in the land, where guests can by their own customizable Spider-Bots and other Avengers-themed merch, such as Spidey-glasses, shirts, and STEM-related experiment kits. Another shop called the Campus Supply Pod will offer Avengers-themed apparel.
The Sanctum, meanwhile, is a mystical area caught in the middle of a time warp. The outdoor space will have interactive elements and “magical artifacts.” Aside from the general theme of blending the surreal into the real, details on how exactly this will manifest are yet to be determined. Except, some trees from A Bug’s Land will be reused here.
Overall, the Imagineers want the Marvel themed land meet-and-greets — or heroic encounters, as they’re dubbed — to feel more natural, so the heroes will be roaming the space and displaying their powers in ways that make sense. Gamora and Star Lord will host dance battles on the street, for instance, while Iron Man will be displaying his new Mark 80 suit in Avengers Headquarters. For Doctor Strange, this means showing off illusions and testing park guests to see if anyone else has powers. If you’re inclined, you can also ask him why the heck Tony Stark is alive.
While the role-playing aspect of the park won’t be as obvious as Galaxy’s Edge, within the story all the cast members work at Avengers Campus and thus know and see the heroes and may have a thing or two to say about their shopping or dining habits. Conversely, if you ask Captain America about the nice cashier at Campus Supply Pod, he may feel bad if he doesn’t remember her name.
The main dining center, Pym Test Kitchen and Tasting Lab, is designed like a lab space. In the park’s storyline, Hope Van Dyne and Hank Pym opened up a lab to experiment using the Pym Particles on food. The Tasting Lab next door — Scott Lang’s idea — takes the same approach, but for alcoholic beverages.
Outdoor seating at Pym’s will offer a direct view of Avengers Headquarters — a perfect vantage point to catch the live stunt show that will happen throughout the day. The show debuting with the park pits Black Widow, Black Panther, and Captain America against Taskmaster.
In addition to the live show, the Dora Milaje experience, a training event for guests of all ages featuring General Okoye’s park debut, will be located in Avengers Headquarters. Tony Stark’s meet and greet will also take place in this area. A quinjet perched on the roof will activate throughout the day. The park is meant to feel alive, so props won’t just be stationary. Though Avengers Headquarters will eventually house the land’s big ride, when Avengers Campus opens it’ll be more like an immersive set piece.
Avengers Campus opens in Disney’s California Adventure on June 4.
Update (April 8): This article was updated to include the new opening date of Avengers Campus.