This will probably come as a shock to no one, but in the pop culture battle between Marvel and DC Comics, we are Team Avengers all the way. We love to cheer on Iron Man and the gang, and we are not ashamed to say that we have shed a tear or two since the beginning of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. So, as you can imagine, we are beyond excited for the impending opening of the Avengers Campus, Disneyland’s new Marvel world.
But, what about Marvel in Disney World? Are there any Marvel-themed stores or Disney World Marvel rides? And where can you meet Marvel characters at Disney World? For this guide, we’ll go over all the Marvel stores and Marvel rides at Disney World (heads up, it’s a short list), as well as the reason why we are sad to say there is no Disney World Marvel Land in the works.
Marvel Attractions at Disney World
If that heading got your hopes up, then we apologize in advance. Because as far as Disney World Marvel rides and other attractions are concerned, there is only one – and it isn’t even open yet: the new Epcot roller coaster, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind. Of course, Disney has shared sneak peeks for Marvel films at both Epcot and Hollywood Studios before, and Doctor Strange did have a show and do meet-and-greets a few years ago in Hollywood Studios. However, as for when we’ll see more actual Disney World Marvel attractions, it could be a while.
And what about where you can meet Marvel characters at Disney World now? Unfortunately, as of right now, there are no meet-and-greets with any of Marvel’s superheroes at Walt Disney World. More on that and why there’s only one Marvel ride at Disney World a little bit later.
Coming Soon to Epcot… Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind
First announced in 2017, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind is the first and only Marvel attraction at Disney World – besides the Marvel store at Disney Springs. The Guardians of the Galaxy roller coaster is located over in Future World at Epcot in the building that was once Ellen’s Energy Adventure and the Universe of Energy pavilion.
Construction is moving along swiftly on the Guardians of the Galaxy coaster. However, there still appears to be much work to do both on the exterior and interior – which is fine, considering there still hasn’t been an official opening date announced yet. While it was originally scheduled to open in 2021, just in time for the 50th Anniversary of Disney World’s opening, we think it’s safe to say that it’s more likely we’ll have to wait until 2022.
Our best guess is that Disney will wait until social distancing restrictions have decreased to open Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind to the masses. That way, they’ll be able to capitalize both figuratively and literally off of what are sure to be some thick crowds, especially since the new Ratatouille ride will also be open in Epcot by then. After all, we’re pretty sure that folks will be as eager to travel after COVID-19 as Disney will be to recoup their losses from the devastating pandemic.
The Guardians of the Galaxy ride, Epcot’s newest attraction, is an enclosed roller coaster and features an all-new ride system called the “Omnicoaster.” It is going to be what Disney calls a “storytelling coaster” – which if you’re thinking sounds like some strange combination of Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Expedition Everest, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, and (shhhhh) Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, you’re not alone.
The ride’s story begins as soon as you enter the queue, with elements of Epcot’s goal of learning sprinkled throughout. You will first start out in a “planetarium-like exhibition” called the “Galaxarium” where you’ll learn all about the similarities and differences between how the Milky Way galaxy and the fictional MCU planet of Xandar were formed. You’ll continue exploring all the amazing things Xandar has to offer – that is, until the Guardians of the Galaxy swoop in and bring the presentation crashing to a halt. From there, you hop into one of the 360° rotating ride vehicles and “rocket back to the Big Bang” with the rest of the Guardians in a reverse launch like nothing Disney has ever done before. In other words, you won’t just be staring straight at the track ahead as the rest of the action whizzes past you: You’ll be completely immersed in it.
Aside from all that, that’s all we really know about the Guardians of the Galaxy roller coaster, and we can’t wait to find out more as additional information becomes available. Some people aren’t too happy about Marvel and Disney characters taking over Epcot, and while we are sad to see Epcot lose a bit of its educational flair, we think it is more than time for the park to see and update and Epcot to get its first-ever roller coaster.
Marvel Shops at Disney World
We know, we know – we got you excited again by throwing an ‘s’ onto the end of ‘shop’, but alas, there is only one Marvel store at Disney World: Super Hero Headquarters. Fortunately, you are able to get a bunch of Marvel merchandise – including pins, shirts, phone cases, face masks, and more – here and at other retail locations throughout Walt Disney World.
Marvel Super Hero Headquarters
Super Hero Headquarters is located on Disney Springs’s West Side between Star Wars Galactic Outpost and Disney’s Candy Cauldron across from Exposition Park and the Disney Springs food trucks, and is the place to go if you’re looking for a Marvel store. Disney Springs is huge and you can do a lot of walking and backtracking if you don’t park near where you plan on stopping, so be sure to park in the Orange Garage if this is the only store you plan to visit while you’re there.
Marvel Super Hero Headquarters is small but mighty, and it packs a lot of Avengers-branded gear into a pretty small space. The theming is a little lackluster here in our opinion, relying heavily on MCU movie posters, a large S.H.I.E.L.D. medallion, and the displayed items for sale for decoration. That being said, there is a lot to like here. The cast members who work here are especially enjoyable and tend to get to really get into the Marvel theme. Although, we think there might be a traitor in their midst, as we once heard someone mutter “Hail Hydra” as we walked out the door.
Just about any sort of Marvel merch you can imagine is available here including action figures and other toys, clothing, costumes, accessories, and Vinylmation collectibles. You can even create your own superhero gauntlet in the style of Star Wars’s build-your-own lightsabers and droids – just choose the base and the modules that control the voice, lights, and sounds. Basic gauntlets start out at $24.99, and if you want, you can even add on a launcher that shoots out button-activated projectiles for only $15 more. As for which superhero designs the gauntlets come in, fans of strong female role models will be disappointed to know that gauntlet designs are only available for Captain America, Iron Man, Spider-Man, and the Hulk (sorry Black Widow!). Guests are able to mix and match their gauntlets to include all 4 superhero designs or to just choose one – it’s all up to you!
So, whether you’re looking for a Black Panther t-shirt, a Doctor Strange cape, or toy version of Thor’s hammer Mjölnir, you’re sure to find it at the Marvel Super Hero Headquarters.
Disney World Marvel Pins and Other Merchandise
Of course, Marvel merchandise like apparel, toys, and accessories is available at other retail locations across Walt Disney World as well. You can usually find some in stores at Hollywood Studios, Epcot, Magic Kingdom, and other parts of Disney Springs. The World of Disney store in Disney Springs’s Marketplace is definitely the next best place to look for superhero gear, as it has a sizable selection of Marvel and Avengers-related items.
For all you pin traders out there, you’re in luck! Disney also pumps out exclusive Marvel-branded pins from time to time. We’ve even ran across a new, limited-edition WandaVision collection in Epcot at Pin Trading Headquarters beneath Spaceship Earth. So, be sure to check pin trading locations and stores for these Ant Man-sized superhero-themed wearables.
Why Isn’t Marvel Land Coming to Disney World?
Marvel World at Disneyland is a thing. When will it be Disney World’s turn? Well, we hate to break it to you, folks, but barring a major theme park development in Orlando, chances are good that there will never be a Disney World Avengers Campus. Why? Blame it on the Mississippi River, that other theme park down the road from Walt Disney World, and an agreement that was signed long before Disney even dreamed of acquiring Marvel.
Way back when, the company that owned the Universal Studios theme parks at the time, MCA Inc., came to an agreement with Marvel claiming the rights to use Marvel characters in the new theme park they were building. Fast forward to May 28, 1999 and the opening Islands of Adventure, where one of the park’s headlining new lands, or islands, is none other than Marvel Super Hero Island.
Ok, but if Disney owns Marvel now, why aren’t they able to incorporate characters like Captain America, Iron Man, and the Hulk into Disney World? Again, blame it on the Mighty Mississippi. In the agreement between Universal and Marvel, the contract stipulates that certain characters – specifically those found at Marvel Super Hero Island – can only be found at other non-Universal theme parks as long as the theme park rests to the west of the Mississippi River.
In fact, this same contract is also why Marvel World Disneyland will be called the Avengers Campus rather than, you know, Marvel World or Marvel Land. Hence, Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure get the Avengers Campus and tons of Marvel meet-and-greets while Disney World is left with Guardians of the Galaxy and occasional visits from Doctor Strange.
Where Can I Go for All Things Marvel Instead?
Ok, ok, Avengers Campus: Disney World Edition probably isn’t ever going to happen. So, where can you go to get your Marvel fix instead? Fortunately, you’ve got a couple of options.
Marvel Super Hero Island at Universal’s Islands of Adventure
Stick close to home (and by ‘home’, we mean Disney World) by paying a visit to the place that forced you to seek out an alternative in the first place: Universal’s Islands of Adventure and Marvel Super Hero Island. With its oversaturated colors, occasionally retro theming, and characters walking around that look like they’ve been ripped from the pages of a comic book, this isn’t the Marvel of the Marvel Cinematic Universe – it’s the stories and settings of the Marvel Comics Universe.
Marvel Super Hero Island is stocked with epic adventures, including one of the park’s most popular rides: The Incredible Hulk Coaster. After coming in for a landing, guests can swing with Spider-Man in 3D on The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, take the plunge on Doctor Doom’s Fearfall, or spin until you’re dizzy on Accelatron.
You can also meet your favorite Marvel characters at Marvel Superhero Island including the X-Men, Captain America, Spider-Man, and villains like The Green Goblin and Dr. Doom. If you don’t catch them out walking around and taking pictures with guests, you’ll certainly find them at the Marvel Character Dinner. Of course, tons of Marvel souvenirs and restaurants are also available. And if you’re able to explain to us how the proceeds from that pan out, please let us know. Does Universal have to pay Disney for a portion of their profits? We have so many questions!
Avengers Campus at Disneyland
Although it’s on the other side of the country, at least this next alternative is still part of the Disney family. So, if you love the Marvel Cinematic Universe but couldn’t care less about the comics, get ready to book your plane to California.
Actually, don’t go booking it just yet as the land hasn’t actually opened yet. Originally set to open July 2020, the new opening date for the Avengers Campus has yet to be announced. Disney CEO Bob Chapek shared during the company’s 2021 Shareholders Meeting, however, that the land is currently set to open “later this year at Disney California Adventure.” Considering that Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure isn’t scheduled to open at Epcot in Walt Disney World until October 1, 2021 even though construction already appears to be complete on the attraction, we can only assume that the Avengers Campus will have a similar timeline or later. Because, as we mentioned previously, Disney will likely prefer to wait until social distancing measures have been lifted.
When the Avengers Campus at Disney California Adventure Park, there will be a number of new attractions in addition to the Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission Breakout ride that already exists in what was once the Tower of Terror. Web Slingers: A Spider-Man Adventure will be a new family-friendly 3D game similar to Toy Story Midway Mania where guests of all ages – there is no height restriction – get to sling webs right alongside your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. However, rather than using an in-vehicle mechanism to send those webs flying, the ride will use your body movements and hand gestures instead.
In addition to Web Slingers, guests exploring the Avengers Campus will also be able to enjoy:
- A number of shops, including one selling customizable, interactive Spider-Bots similar to the droids found at Galaxy’s Edge
- A quick service restaurant inspired by Ant-Man and the Wasp
- Pym Test Kitchen, the land’s main dining outlet which is said to be a food lab with technology that can shrink and grow food and will serve items like large and mini plant-based Impossible meatballs with pasta and more
- Pym Tasting Lab, a craft beer and cocktail spot attached to the Pym Test Kitchen
- Shawarma Palace, a food cart inspired by the Avengers’ go-to shawarma place in New York
- Terran Treats, another food cart near the Guardians of the Galaxy ride serving strange, galactic-inspired bites
- Stuntronics Spider-Man, an amazing, high-flying animatronic that’s set to make appearances
- And several “heroic encounters”, or meet-and-greets, with Marvel characters like Iron Man, Thor, Loki, Captain Marvel, Black Widow, Black Panther, Ant-Man, the Wasp, Doctor Strange, the Guardians of the Galaxy, the Dora Milaje, and more.
And that just accounts for Phases 1 & 2 of the Avengers Campus. Phase 3, which was originally set to open until 2023 and now probably won’t be completed until at least 2024 or 2025, consists of the Avengers Headquarters attraction. We’re not sure what this ride will look like yet, however, it is anticipated to be an E-ticket thrill ride and the centerpiece of the entire land – with a budget bigger than everything else from Phase 1 & 2 put together. Let’s just say that we are excited. Fingers crossed that it doesn’t get axed in the aftermath of the pandemic.
Well, that wraps up all the places you can (or can’t) find Marvel in Disney World. What are you most looking forward to for Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind? Which Marvel attraction or character do you think they should bring to Walt Disney World next? When do you think the Avengers Campus will open at Disney California Adventure Park?
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Amber is a proud former Walt Disney World Cast Member, an unabashed travel addict, and a hospitality and tourism specialist with over 10 years in the industry. She likes getting her wanderlust fix by sharing her favorite park tips and tricks with other Disney fans. When she isn’t working, you can usually catch her in a hot power yoga class or spending way too much money at Disney Springs.