Recruitment begins! This summer sees the long awaited and much anticipated opening of Avengers Campus at Disneyland Paris. This brand new land at Walt Disney Studios Park is the first permanent Marvel park presence in Europe’s no.1 tourist destination and comes off the back of the widely praised Disney’s Hotel New York – The Art of Marvel.
I was very fortunate enough to be a guest of Disneyland Paris during the media launch weekend which saw the official opening ceremony and an exclusive preview of the land. Having now spent a combined 12 hours or so within the Campus, allow me to be your guide through the Studios’ own part of the Marvel universe and celebration of the iconic superhero franchise.
Avengers Campus resides among the land that formerly belonged to Backlot. Anyone familiar with the zone circa 2002 and beyond will be hard pressed to find similarities however as the entire Campus has new infrastructure, theming, placemaking and indeed a new footprint.
This is evident from the moment you step foot into the land and greeted with the unmistakeable Avengers Campus logo, shortly following by the pulsating beat of the iconic background soundtrack that accompanies you on your journey to be the next of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.
According to the story, this plot of land right next to Walt Disney Studios Park was the former location of Howard Stark’s Stark Industry’s European factory, where he would manufacture a number of his more experimental ventures as well as serve as one of the first S.H.I.E.L.D bases after the war. When the decision was made to begin the Avengers Campus Initiative, Tony believed this was the ideal location and went to work renovated his father’s old buildings, adding his own signature touches along the way.
The sleek design of the buildings, depth and detail found throughout and precise theming where modern age futurism meets 1940’s architecture transports you firmly into this world of a former Stark Industries factory repurposed into the new headquarters for the Avengers.
It is here at the new Avengers HQ where you will encounter one of the most prominent characters in the entire land, F.R.I.D.A.Y. One of Tony Stark’s personal AI assistants, she is in charge of the general running of Avengers Campus and will welcome guests in along with informing you of potential threats in need of your heroics, shows and happenings that may appear on the horizon or even some insight such as the status of other Campus locations throughout the world.
Guests will be able to “see” her when her interface is projected onto the side of the headquarters itself periodically throughout the day when she has something of note to inform us. Being a highly sophisticated AI designed by one of the brightest minds of the Marvel universe, F.R.I.D.A.Y is of course bilingual and will address guests in both English and French throughout your stay in the land.
The most iconic part of the land however is certainly the majestic Quinjet vehicle that sits proudly on its landing pad, ready for the next time a hero may need to blast off to face a threatening foe. While not visible from every area of the land it paired with the technologically kinetic Avengers HQ really makes the land a modern marvel of sleek designs and clean aesthetics.
First up to experience within the Campus is definitely the brand new attraction Spider-Man W.E.B Adventure, which is unmissably positioned right as you walk into the land on your right. The red cladded building with blue glass features, reminiscent of a certainly friendly neighbourhood hero, is in fact a new training centre called the Worldwide Engineering Brigade. Here some of the brightest and eager future geniuses in science, chemistry and engineering can partake in new experiments and perfect their creations.
With the Campus now actively taking future recruits, W.E.B has opened its door with an exclusive Open House event for guests to get a glimpse inside. One student in particular, an American kid from Queens called Peter Parker, is particularly excited to showcase his personal project the Spider-Bots, capable of replicate itself and other objects through advance 3D printing ability.
In true Marvel fashion however, things quickly go awry as the Spider-Bots begin replicating at an alarming rate. Disobeying their cease command, Parker quickly calls the aid of Spider-Man while instructing us to board the other latest invention, the WEB Slinger vehicle, which can give passengers the ability to shoot webs just like the masked hero with a simple flick of the wrist. Its now up to guests and Spidey to stop the out of control mechanical arachnids before they take over the entire campus. Safety goggles first, however! These are still experiments, after all.
As you can guess, Spider-Man W.E.B Adventure is an interactive, 3D dark ride where guests use their arms to thwip webs at the exponential Spider-Bots to save W.E.B and the Campus. While such a simple concept, the execution is superb with the latest technology to really immerse you into the experience as every flick of your wrist feels like you’re shooting webs akin to that of the Amazing superhero. Fans of the Spider-Man franchise will also quickly recognise a very familiar face as actor Tom Holland has reprised his role as Peter Parker aka Spider-Man for this brand new adventure, fresh from the global sensation that was No Way Home.
Should you be competitive however, or just like you really get lost in the moment like myself, the Adventure can become quite the workout, leaving you more than ready for some water and a rest!
There isn’t gonna be much time for rest however, as a distress signal has just been beamed from Avengers HQ in the second brand new attraction to the land, Avengers Assemble: Flight Force. The Campus may be safe from the threat of Spider-Bots but it’s up to you to prove your heroism again and save the world.
Once you enter the impressive entrance to the superhero team headquarters you will quickly be greeted by Tony Stark aka Iron Man, already suited up and ready for one of his most dangerous missions yet. As Kree missiles are on a collision course straight to Earth, you and the genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist will team up with Captain Marvel and board Stark’s latest invention in space travel to get those missiles off coarse and destroyed once and for all.
Flight Force may be a re-theme of the Walt Disney Studios Park opening day Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster avec Aerosmith but those unfamiliar with its history would be forgiven in thinking this is a ground up creation. Immersion has been the forefront of the attention here bringing guests straight into the story along with one of the most technologically advanced pre-shows there is. The very latest in animatronic technology has brought the famous Iron Man armour to life with incredible detail from extendable compartments to individual finger movements. Disneyland Paris has never seen a leap like this before and is perhaps the most advanced we have ever seen from Walt Disney Imagineering at this time.
While the main guts of the attraction is the same as the original coaster, new projections, lighting and onboard audio has been added to continue your adventure making it a truly out of this world comparison to the Aerosmith tribute of old. Perhaps best of all, Avengers Assemble: Flight Force sees Academy Award winning actress Brie Larson return to her iconic role as Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel, just before she is set to join some other cosmic superheroes in 2023’s The Marvels.
While Avengers Campus has plenty of action packed adventures to explore, there is still plenty to see an do if watching your favourite heroes is more your thing and prefer protecting the Earth with your feet firmly on the ground.
The Training Centre facility found just to the right of the iconic Quinjet is the first port of all for a chance to meet and try out your heroic poses with the likes of Spider-Man, Captain Marvel, Black Widow and others.
In very much an answer to the question ‘What if the Princess Pavilion had a Marvel heroes eqilivant?’, this meet & greet building works much the same way with guests being ushered to meet one of two superheroes who will be taking time from their daily bad guy busting to train up the latest recruits.
Back out on the open however and on the land’s grounds is where Avengers Campus really begins to shine with a true busy atmosphere of heroes and foes all throughout the iconic franchise’s library. A typical day could see guests encountering a number of heroic events such as the Dora Milaje teaching their craft, an action packed encounter against the villainous Taskmaster, Thor & Loki seeing who may be worthy to wield the mighty Mjolnir or even the rag-tag Guardians of the Galaxy needing guests’ help in an awesome dance-off.
That doesn’t even scratch the surface of what there is to be discovered within the Campus, and what more could come as other aspects of the ever going Marvel multiverses continue to expand. There is no other land at any Disney park in the world that feels as bustling and alive as Avengers Campus does, immersing you right into the action and allowing you to become a part of the fun too.
All this superhero-ing sure does build up an appetite, but fortunately Walt Disney Studios Park has that covered with three new restaurants including the return of a beloved fan favourite.
From the moment you enter the new land you will quickly spot that the geniuses at PYM Technologies have managed to put their scientific rivalry with the Starks to one side and co-operate for the good of all, bringing experimental new food to the dining table at PYM Kitchen. Here you can explore and try out some of the latest in global cuisine after it has been exposed to the revolutionary Pym Particles, shrinking and growing conventional dishes into totally unique and interesting ways. Every wanted a pretzel as a sandwich? Or a single Oreo as a cake? A number of special alcoholic concoctions have also been uniquely created for anyone that way inclined.
Just around the corner and opposite that of the Avengers HQ is Stark Factory, an old production line turned refurbishment base turned quick service restaurant. Here you will find a collection of pizzas and pasta to enjoy as you gaze in certain awe at the impressive Hulkbuster armour, fresh from a certain battle and in need of some touching up. The factory one also served as an early base for S.H.I.E.L.D, so be sure to do some exploring after your Penne and you might even find some fascinating secret areas of a forgotten past.
Elsewhere in the land, you will also find some food trucks featuring some of the funnest references to the wider Marvel universe in the entire campus as well as the return of an old beloved restaurant among fans. Still tucked away in the back now past Hero Training is Super Diner, which Disneyland Paris faithful will remember as Restaurant des Cascadeurs. This genuine, retro diner is famous for being the place to visit for burgers in all of the resort and one you will sure to find DLP foodies returning to once again.
Of course, you can’t have a day at Disneyland Paris without a bit of retail therapy too, and that’s no exception at Avengers Campus. Fortunately all your needs are taken care of with Mission Equipment right in the heart of the new land. Situated right next to Spider-Man W.E.B. Adventure (and faring as part of the attraction’s exit route) here you will find a wide and unique collection of exclusive merchandise only available at the Campus. This includes apparel from t-shirts and Spirit Jerseys, Spider-Bots and collectibles and even some handheld web shooters and arc repulsers to help boost that all important score next time you join Spidey in the WEB Slinger.
Just like everywhere else in the land, a tremendous amount of attention to detail has been put into even the store of the campus, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled while you shop for some fun references and Easter eggs only those with eyes as sharp as Heimdall can find.
Avengers Campus is the first part of Walt Disney Studios Park ambitious expansion plan, looking to double the size of the park and truly establish it as a full day experience for all guests throughout the world. Judging by this first phase it is well on its way to not only hitting its target but surpassing it and planting the Studios as fantastic, incredible and superior, fit to match the IP that resides within it.
A brand new sense of identity has come with the launch of this land, a new look and feel to the park with a glint towards the future where beauty, authenticity and immersion is the name of the game. This land is precisely what Walt Disney Studios Park has always needed and couldn’t have come at a more perfect time.
Avengers Campus officially opens to guests on 20th July 2022.