Marvel Studios’ relationship with Walt Disney Studios has brought some incredible rewards and novelties since they joined up more than a decade ago. The latest of these rewards is the most recent expansion to Disney’s California Adventure in Anaheim, CA, Avengers Campus, which is about to open in the next few days.
This portion of the theme park is fully dedicated to the world laid out in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, bringing the franchise’s biggest characters and moments to life for fans to interact with. While Disneyland already had the Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: BREAKOUT! ride reimagined not long ago, this will give fans a more in-depth MCU experience than any that has been offered to date.
With Avengers Campus' opening coming soon, California Adventure hosted a few of the MCU's top names to celebrate the momentous occasion...
MARVEL'S TOP NAMES ASSEMBLE
Disney's California Adventure hosted the opening ceremony for Avengers Campus, which included speeches and messages from Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige and some of the MCU's biggest on-screen talent.
Feige kicked off the speeches by reminiscing on how he loved "visiting the parks...when [he] was a kid" and reaffirming that he's "a huge, gigantic, colossal fan of all the Disney Parks:"
"Hello everyone! This is awesome, holy mackerel. I could not be more excited to be here to help officially open Avengers Campus. Anybody who’s spent any amount of time with me knows that I’m a huge, gigantic, colossal fan of all the Disney Parks. Visiting the parks is what I did when I was a kid, it’s what I do as an adult now with my parents and with my children, that’s what family time is all about for me. So, as a fan, I look around here tonight, and I’m pinching myself."
Feige continued to reveal how excited he is that California Adventure is now a place where "sets can be permanent" with a home in a Disney theme park. Fans are now able to "walk around and experience these places" while interacting with characters and being "a part of these stories in real life:"
"Over the past year and a half, we’ve walked through this campus numerous times, but it was always a work-in-progress construction site, which as a fan, is cool to see and be a part of. But just like our movies or any of our shows, it’s meaningless until an audience sees it. So this campus doesn’t truly come alive until the guests are invited inside, and I really can’t wait to see what we have in store for you. For one thing, this is the only place in the entire world where you can see a full Quinjet without any visual effects whatsoever. For our films, for our shows, we build these elaborate sets, but they’re temporary, and they only exist on screen. But here in a Disney Theme Park, our sets can be permanent, and now in Avengers Campus, all of our fans can walk around and experience these places, engage with the characters, be a part of these stories in real life."
Feige further praied the efforts of Disney's Imagineering team, calling Avengers Campus "a living, breathing space that will grow and evolve as our cinematic universe grows and evolves." One of these details is the fact that the park even includes two shawarma carts directly inspired by the post-credits scene from 2012's The Avengers:
"And one of the things that is most exciting to me is that Avengers Campus will never be completed. It’s a living, breathing space that will grow and evolve as our cinematic universe grows and evolves with new props and new characters assembling here at Avengers HQ. You can literally watch one of our shows on Disney+, perhaps the next time you come to Avengers Campus, you’ll see something from that show right here in California Adventure in Anaheim. Our studio’s filmmakers, artists, costume designers, and production designers have worked in lock-step with the imagineers and the Parks team to create so much of what you see here tonight. And these teams have thought through every little detail. And when I say ‘every little detail,’ yes, you can go get some shawarma on one of the two shawarma carts here in Avengers Campus, which is surreal having been there when we shot that tag for Avengers 1 many years ago that we could come here and enjoy shawarma with guests."
The Marvel head spoke about feeling "a huge responsibility at the studio to be stewards of these characters and the worlds they inhabit," paying tribute to "the legacy of the storytellers who came before us" along with the artists and comic writers. In the end, Feige admitted that this team made "[his] childhood dreams come true" by bringing this world to life:
"We feel a huge responsibility at the studio to be stewards of these characters and the worlds they inhabit, and I want to recognize that all of this springs from the legacy of the storytellers who came before us, the great artists and the great writers of the comics. And to Josh, and to Bob, everyone involved in Avengers Campus, especially the amazing imagineers team, thank you. Thank you for making my childhood dreams come true and for giving these stories and characters a permanent residence here at a Disney Park, and I will most likely need to be escorted out at the end of the night so I don’t stay here forever."
In addition to in-person speeches from Ant-Man's Paul Rudd, Iron Man director Jon Favreau, and the MCU's new Captain America actor Anthony Mackie, Guardians of the Galaxy star Zoe Saldana congratulated the team behind Avengers Campus for the grand opening, thanking "all the heroes that took part in bringing all this to life:"
"Congratulations Disney for the opening of the Avengers Campus. And I also want to thank all the heroes that took part in bringing all this to life, thank you so much. It is because of you that you’re able to give us experiences that we never forget. So, thank you."
Black Widow star/producer Scarlett Johansson celebrated the "amazing milestone," expressing her excitement to see the land herself:
"Big congratulations on this amazing milestone, wow! I can’t wait to visit Avengers Campus."
Hulk actor Mark Ruffalo offered his celebration for the park, expressing that he "can't wait to check it out:"
"Hey, it’s Mark Ruffalo, and I’m so excited that the Avengers Campus is opening, and I can’t wait to check it out."
Black Panther star Danai Gurira thanked "the heroes who created the Avengers Campus" and said she can't wait for fans to "meet the Dora Milaje in real life:"
"To the heroes who created the Avengers Campus, thank you. I cannot wait to see the look on fans’ faces when they get to meet the Dora Milaje in real life."
JARVIS/Vision actor Paul Bettany revealed that he's "been following all the blogs" about the Campus' opening and now knows "everything about this amazing new land" before visiting himself:
"Greetings from Paul Bettany, and congratulations on your opening Avengers Campus. I’ve been following all the blogs, and I know everything about this amazing new land devoted to all things Avengers."
Captain Marvel actress Brie Larson hyped fans up by saying that "every detail of this part of the park is going to blow your mind." She couldn't hold back her excitement, admitting that she feels "very lucky that [she gets[ to live in the Avengers’ world" for a living:
"Every detail of this part of the park is going to blow your mind. I feel very lucky that I get to live in the Avengers’ world, and now you get to as well! And I can’t wait to hear what you have to say about it."
MCU newcomer Simu Liu even popped up at the very end of the ceremony, finding himself in front of The Avengers-themed Shawarma food cart while dressed in one of his costumes from Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.
A GLORIOUS HEROIC TEAM-UP
Getting so many actors of this caliber together is quite the accomplishment, even considering how Marvel Studios does it regularly for its movies. Kevin Feige and Disney Parks clearly wanted to make Avengers Campus' debut as epic and spectacular as possible with more than half a dozen videos from newcomers and veterans alike.
Many of the actors' characters will be played by Disneyland actors who move throughout the park so that fans can interact with them, similarly to Mickey Mouse, Goofy, and other classics from Disney's history. The stage is now set for something truly special to come to California Adventure now that Earth's Mightiest Heroes have found a home amongst their Disney-based counterparts.
Avengers Campus will officially open to the public on June 4. The full opening ceremony can be watched here.