This week’s SATURDAY SIX looks at Ways Disney Can Introduce MARVEL Characters into the Theme Parks. Yes, April Fool’s Day was yesterday, but believe it or not the this-can’t-possibly-be-real news stories started earlier last week when word started getting out that Disney was considering a Guardians of the Galaxy overlay to the Hollywood Tower of Terror attractions in Disneyland and Walt Disney World. You may be thinking, “No way! That’s insane!” but on the latest episode of the Disney Dish podcast, Jim Hill and Len Testa lay out exactly why Bob Chapek (chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts) at least wanted to explore this very idea.
Public reaction to the Guardians of the Galaxy overlay was – to put it politely – overwhelmingly negative. In fact, because of the virulent reaction there is almost no chance this overlay makes it to Florida, but never say never when it comes to the Tower of Terror in Disney’s California Adventure. We here at the SATURDAY SIX headquarters were at first taken aback by this idea, in part because the Tower of Terror took first place in our poll on The Greatest Attractions at Walt Disney World. But then we got to thinking. What if Disney did try to think “outside the box” when it came to introducing Marvel characters in the theme parks? More importantly, how could they do it in the cheapest way possible? We think we have some ideas. As luck would have it, six ideas. So sit back, put down your copy of the Spider-Man Clone Saga, and let’s begin our countdown starting with…
# 6 – Howard the Duck takes over Stitch’s Great Escape
Remember how we mentioned that Tower of Terror came in first in our expert’s list of Best WDW Attractions? Well, guess which attraction took first place in our poll on Worst WDW Attractions? You guessed it: Stitch’s Great Escape. What do you get to overlay one of the all time worst reviewed theme park attractions? Why one of the all time worst reviewed comic book movies. Please welcome Howard the Duck. To put into scale how poorly received Howard the Duck’s movie was, consider that the recent Batman V Superman film took a beating by the critics, scoring a miserable 29% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Howard the Duck sits at 14% fresh.
We have to hurry on this one though. Howard the Duck had a cameo in the recent Guardians of the Galaxy movie. When the Guardians team up with the Avengers in the Infinity War (which is expected in either part 1 in May 2018 or part 2 in May 2019), he may be considered part of the Avengers extended family. If that happens, he could become off limits to the Orlando parks thanks to Universal’s contract with Marvel.
# 5 – Replace Harold in The Matterhorn with THE INCREDIBLE HULK
Unlike its Florida counterpart, the Disney parks in California can use any character they want in their rides. So we’re going big with this one, literally. Let’s have the green goliath himself placed in Disney’s Matterhorn attraction. There’s even a deleted scene from The Hulk movie which Imagineers can incorporate into the ride’s queue. Take it from us, this addition is going to be so popular Disney is gonna have to fast track putting a gift shop into the Matterhorn’s exit just to keep up with the demand for Hulk merchandise!
# 4 – Ant-Man takes over A Bug’s Land
For this one we’re going to use the old “Sea Monkeys” gimmick and just sell people an idea that doesn’t really exist. Guests don’t actually have to “see” Ant-Man, right? He’s small! Let their imagination do the work! Guests young and old will be “seeing” Ant-Man all over the park. In fact, get Disney Consumer Products on the line, we’re smelling a line of Ant-Man branded magnifying glasses ($24.95 plus tax!)
# 3 – SPIDER-MAN of the Caribbean
It takes a lot to break the internet, but it happened just a few weeks ago when Iron Man shouted “Underoos!” in the latest Civil War trailer. Spider-Man was finally entering the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so now it’s time we get him into an attraction! Unfortunately, thanks to Shanghai Disneyland, money is a little tight to give old Web Head his own attraction. So we’re going to do the next best thing: shoehorn Spidey into an existing ride. Hey, it worked with Star Wars and Hyperspace Mountain!
In this incredible new overlay, Spider-Man follows guests as they traverse the classic Pirates of the Caribbean attraction, making several appearances that make no-sense story wise. Wait, that’s the Johnny Depp character. Spider-Man adds excitement! Spider-Man adds edge! Spider-Man adds attitude! Is he proactive? Oh, God, yes. We’re talking about a totally outrageous paradigm.
It’s Spider-Man. It’s Disneyland. PRINT THE MONEY!
# 2 – Enchanted Tales with DEADPOOL
It never fails. The Magic Kingdom opens and immediately there is a long wait to get into Enchanted Tales with Belle. How can you fix that? That’s easy, make it R-rated. No one is better at dropping (appropriately placed) F-bombs than the star of this year’s surprise movie smash hit, Deadpool. The “merc with a mouth” will surprise guests by saying he doesn’t need their help in telling the story of how he met Beast. Deadpool will then go on to describe – in graphic detail – of how he shoved Gaston’s head up his own butt. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll probably get a “cup check” as well on your way out.
# 1 – Stan Lee added to EVERYTHING
It wouldn’t be a Marvel film without a Stan Lee cameo, and we need to continue that tradition in the parks. As the main architect of the Marvel Universe (along with other comic legends including Jack Kirby, John Romita, and Steve Ditko), Stan Lee will become the new “Hidden Mickey” of the Disney parks!
So there you have it: Ways Disney Can Introduce MARVEL Characters Into the Theme Parks. See you next weekend for the latest installment of the SATURDAY SIX, where we’ll look at something fun from the world of Disney and Universal. If you enjoyed yourself, be sure to check out The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! articles, or, for your listening pleasure, check out the E-Ticket Report podcast. You can also follow Your Humble Author on Twitter (@derekburgan)
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Special Thanks to crack staff photographer Brandon Glover, master photo manipulator Matt Cleary, photo wunderkind Mike Sperduto, #blocked and reported for spam Michael Sheehy, and blogger to the stars Megan Stump for their invaluable assistance with this article. Be sure to also check out Brandon on The Park Blogger podcast with co-hosts Aengus Mackenzie and Brian Carey.
SPECIAL (NEXT LEVEL BANANAS) MARVEL AFTER CREDITS SURPRISE!
Tim Grassey of WDWThemeParks.com was inspired by the idea of Marvel being introduced into the Disney parks in the craziest way possible. Together he worked with noted theme park rabble rouser Josh Fenton to create an idea so strange that we demanded that both take an immediate drug test.
Here we have William Dafoe in his character of Green Goblin in the film Spider-Man. No, not the new Spider-man, and not the last Spider-man, the one before that. Dafoe is also inhabiting the character of Marilyn Monroe, something we saw in a Snickers commercial that debuted on the Superbowl. What makes this gag even weirder than it already is to begin with is the simple fact that the Marilyn Monroe walk around character is at Universal Studios Florida, not DHS. Grassey and Your Humble Author have had heated debates for hours over the merits of this joke, but we leave it to you – Dear Reader – on whether or not it should have bumped something out of the Top Six choices above. Weigh in with your thoughts in the comments below.