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SATURDAY SIX: Looking at ways Disney can introduce MARVEL characters into the theme parks

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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.

Guardians of the Galaxy Hotel. (photo by Mike Sperduto)
Bellhop Groot. (photo by Matt Cleary and Mike Sperduto)

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!

The Hulk in Disneyland’s Matterhorn, just as Walt originally envisioned. (photo by Matt Cleary)
Matterhorn Macaroons now themed to The Hulk as well. Renamed “Hulk Biscuits” paying homage to the Animal Kingdom poop snacks. (photo by Brandon Glover and Michael Sheehy)

# 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!)

Ant-Man Land, where only the profits are BIG. (photo by Matt Cleary)

# 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!

Webbed Menace Terrorizes Tortuga – Headline from The Daily Caribbean Bugle. (photo by Mike Sperduto)
“I would have done the exact same thing.” Imagineer Xavier “X” Attencio (at least we think he would have said that.. photo by Mike Sperduto and Tom Bricker)
TWO gratuitous cameos in one classic ride. (photo by Mike Sperduto and Tom Bricker)

# 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.

Enchanted Tales with Deadpool. (photo by Mike Sperduto)
Stroller Parking has been replaced with a brand new exapanded smoking section! (photo by Mike Sperduto)

# 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!

Hatbox Ghost Stan. (photo by Matt Cleary)
Stan laying down a track on Rock n Roller Coaster (photo by Matt Cleary)
With Stan in the Carousel of Progress, it truly is A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow. (photo by Matt Cleary)
Pirates of the Caribbean (photo by Matt Cleary)

So there you have it: Ways Disney Can Introduce MARVEL Characters Into the Theme ParksSee 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)

Soarin’ around the EXCELSIOR! (photo by Matt Cleary)

If you enjoyed this article, you will surely like the following:

Six Most Unique Dining Experiences at Walt Disney World

Second Annual Theme Park Turkeys of the Year

Six Things Disney Can Take to the Dump with the Sorcerer’s Hat

Six Events That Will Not Be On ANY Theme Park Calendar

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.


Tim Grassey of 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.

William Dafoe as Marilyn Monroe on Hollywood Blvd. (photo by Josh Fenton)


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.

An you wonder why we here at the SATURDAY SIX headquarters have doubled our orders of Xanax in just the past few months. (photo by Josh Fenton)

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11 thoughts on “SATURDAY SIX: Looking at ways Disney can introduce MARVEL characters into the theme parks


    10. “Space Mountain” becomes “Lost Luggage Limbo” where guests are hurtled around the Orlando Airport in four-person Samsonite vehicles.

    9. “Jungle Cruise” can be retrofitted along the lines of HGTV’s “Plan You Own Disney Back Yard” program. Guest receive complimentary Venus fly traps at the ride’s end.

    8. “Stitch’s Great Escape” takes a page from reality TV as the audience beholds the teletransportation of Snooki from the New Jersey shore to Orlando. Simply imagine jello shots in the dark!

    7. Just switch the soundtracks for “Small World” and “Haunted Mansion.”

    6. Under a new marketing agreement with the makers of Ty-D-Bowl toilet cleaner, Mad Tea Party becomes a tribute to effective bathroom hygiene.

    5. “The Tower of Terror” takes on a festive French flair when the fast dropping elevators become “The Guillotines of Robespierre!”

    4. The ever-maligned Mission: Space takes on a new guise as the producers of Cuisinart food processors present “If We Were Food.”

    3. All propane supplies are interrupted as Tomorrowland Speedway becomes “Gridlock!!”

    2. The National Rifle Association funds the merging of the “Frontierland Arcade” and “Country Bears Jamboree” as they become “Varmints!!” a fast-shooting game of skill and cunning. Big Al’s song becomes surprisingly prescient.

    1. Three words: “Soarin’ over Detroit.”

    • Excellent ideas! I propose a 5th gate, the Tragic Kingdom, for your attractions.
      11. “it’s a small world” with paintball guns. Or at least the Buzz Lightyear vehicles.

    • I like number 7, could be done for special events 😉

  • I hope they leave the more classic themes alone, like Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom. If they want to turn Hollywood Studios into part-Star Wars and part-Marvel, fine. I wouldn’t go, but at least they wouldn’t ruin the other parks. I’m already a little weary about the idea of Avatar at Animal Kingdom, but I guess I’ll give it a chance.

  • Derek, thank you and your “usual gang of idiots” for working on at least of dozen levels of strange and hilarious to make your valid points. I think you were Uncle Albert in a previous life.
    Every column’s a gem, but this one ranks way up there with the Disney Trash Heap.
    I’d tell Len to give you a well-earned raise, but we both know you’d waste it on ceramic MM toothbrush holders. :-/

  • *DO* *NOT* *GIVE* *THEM* *ANY* *IDEAS*

  • Now my comment just looks weird because it was actually a reply to a now seemingly deleted comment, so I’m just left hanging…as ever.

    • Does it look weirder than Willem Dafoe as the Green Goblin AS Marilyn Monroe? I THINK NOT!

      • You’re right, his body is all ready for action, but face says “It’s nearly mothers birthday, but I won’t buy card…just yet” teasing himself with the idea of not buying her a card at all.

  • I recently proposed a Hunger Games on the set of Fantasmic to sort out the “Citizens Of Hollywood” redundancies, on TouringPlans chat, but no-one laughed.

    • Shanghai Disneyland took care of those redundancies (and more many more as well). The odds were forever not in our favor stateside.


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