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Opinion

The start of something Marvelous

In the early hours of Monday morning, as most Disneyland Paris fans were fast asleep, something big was announced. At the Japan D23 Expo it was revealed not just a sneak look at the upcoming Art of Marvel Hotel New York revamp but news of a brand new Marvel attraction is coming to Walt Disney Studios Park!

Well, sort of. It’s going to be a retheme of the current Rock n Roller Coaster situated in the land of grey and dull that is Backlot. The retheme is reported to be centered around ‘Iron Man and the Avengers’ while concept art appears to show a queue line taking guests through one of Tony Stark’s impressive workshops.

Ever since the opening of the Studios 16 years ago and reaction to the park trickled in, it became very clear that something needs to be done with Backlot. A barren plot of land full of open tarmac, boxed buildings and lifeless atmosphere, it’s not the a place you want to spend your Disney holiday in. Marvel has long been rumoured to be the solution to the troubled left side of WDS and with this announcement I believe this is the first step into something much, much greater.

It may only be the retheme of an existing attraction rather than something brand new, but it’s a retheme overdue and ready for the future Studios park. I may not be a fan of rock music, but even the most dedicated of Aerosmith fans can admit the band hasn’t seen the relevance it once did of the 1990’s. Couple this with subpar theming from a financially stringent era of Disney history and you have an E-Ticket attraction crying out for new love. The change to the action-packed, high octain Iron Man is the perfect substitute for Steve Tyler and co., and may even see the band live on in the attraction in some form. I’d be shocked if didn’t hear at least one Aerosmith song in the rethemed attraction. Stark is an efficienado of rock n roll, after all.

If this is the first step in a fully fledged Marvel Land coming to Walt Disney Studios Park, then it is the perfect starting point both thematically and commercially. Opening up a proposed Marvel area parallels perfectly with the birth of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the first Iron Man movie. The promise of something more, something bigger is on the way is almost poetic if theme park expansion can be labelled as such. The MCU wasn’t created overnight and nor should some of equal scale to the Disney parks. It’s needs to be thought out, methodical and to suit the desire and demands of guests.

Indeed, with a major capacity eating E-Ticket such as Rock n Rollercoaster being the first get the retheme treatment it opens the door for more changes and expansions to go ahead, perhaps at a much faster pace. With the coaster taking up then bulk of guests visiting the left side of the park, it means the rest of Backlot can then get the love and attention it needs with little to no distruption to Walt Disney Studios Park’s guest consumption.

Of course, the biggest criticism from this news is that this is yet again another retheme of an existing attraction and not something brand new. I share in that frustration. This summer will mark the fourth year anniversary since an attraction was built from the ground up at Disneyland Paris, a very far cry from other parks that have seen new additions come on nearly an annual basis.

Disneyland Paris, or more specifically Walt Disney Studios Park, is in a very different situation from its cousins, however. Unlike Disney Calfiornia Adventure or even Hong Kong Disneyland, WDS is still very much in its transition period with the hopes of being transformed from an empty park void of theme to a full day park rich with experiences and atmosphere. We of course have already seen plenty of signs of hope with additions including Tower of Terror, Toy Story Playland and Place des Remy but additions aren’t the only thing required to revamp the park. Part of the reason the Studios fared so poorly upon opening is because of the lacklustre attractions that accommodated the gates. They need to be changed, and they need to be something guests will want to experience again and again. As frustrating as it is to see rethemes happen while the rest of the world are tracking construction progress, this is vital for the longevity of Walt Disney Studios Park.

What do you think about the news of Marvel coming to take over Rock n Rollercoaster? Are you excited to see a new era of Walt Disney Studios, or are you sad to see the opening day theme disappear? I’d love to hear your opinions in the comments below and on Twitter!

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