Home » 5 Reasons Walt Disney World Shouldn’t Fight to Get Marvel in its Parks

    5 Reasons Walt Disney World Shouldn’t Fight to Get Marvel in its Parks

    I should preface this article by explaining that I am a diehard Marvel Comics fan. I was born in the 1990s but raised on black-and-white reprints of comics that originally came out from Marvel in the sixties. I am also a huge fan of Disney, both the man and the company. Toy Story is one of the seminal movies of my life, along with other Pixar and more classically animated Disney films. To top that all off, I was never a very big fan of Universal Studios’ attempts to translate the Marvel stories into theme park attractions. The rides are serviceable, I suppose, but I knew and still know that Disney can do the Marvel properties better justice.

    Why, then, aren’t I eager for Walt Disney World to get its hands on the characters and world of the Marvel Universe I so adore? There are quite a number of reasons, actually. Read on to learn why I believe Disney should avoid chasing after Marvel attractions for Walt Disney World and instead focus on the plethora of concepts and characters already available to them.

    Editor’s Note: Matt’s opinions in no way reflect those of Theme Park Tourist or its staff. 

    1. Disney can’t even make room for all of its great in-house properties.

    Image: Disney

    I’ve written two articles about Disney film properties that would be well-suited for adaptions into theme park attractions, and easily have enough material for a third. That’s not even touching all of Disney’s television properties that haven’t been mined by the theme parks yet. With all the options available to the Imagineers and theme parks under the traditional Disney umbrella, the focus shouldn’t be on getting the rights to a whole other universe and set of characters. It’s upsetting enough to many that Avatar – The World of Pandora is invading the Animal Kingdom instead of making room for more Disney properties in the Disney parks. The addition of Marvel attractions and entertainment would in some ways compound that problem for many fans who want traditional, classic Disney to continue to dominate.

    2. Universal would lose a lot more than Disney would gain.

    Like I said, Disney doesn’t need those Marvel properties at Walt Disney World in the slightest. They have more than enough to adapt into theme parks. On the other hand, Universal, even if they might not do as good a job with them, relies on its Marvel license a lot more than Disney ever would. Marvel Super Hero Island is an integral part of the Universal Studios Orlando Resort experience. Even though The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is extremely popular, Universal still relies on its Marvel area to stay relevant in many ways. Disney has no such restrictions, and therefore, even if it makes business sense for them to snatch up the Marvel licenses, it ultimately probably wouldn’t benefit attendants of Florida theme parks.

    3. There are no Disney theme parks in Orlando suited for Marvel characters and concepts.

    This is one of the biggest strikes against Disney acquiring the rights to Marvel in Florida, at least in my mind. Whereas Universal Studios already has its Marvel Super Hero Island, Disney has no specific place to accommodate enough of the Marvel characters and concepts to satisfy anyone. Magic Kingdom is already filled to the brim with attractions. A place focused on education like Epcot wouldn’t be remotely compatible with the Marvel Universe. Even though superheroes with animal superpowers like Spider-Man and (to a lesser extent) Ant-Man are popular, a placement in the Animal Kingdom would feel off. I suppose Disney’s Hollywood Studios is a possibility, but it’s still a bit of a stretch considering that the Marvel heroes have only been popular in the box office for the last few years. Whereas Universal Studios has a whole island it can dedicate to Marvel, Disney has no way even close to that to pay tribute to the world of Marvel superheroes.

    4. The characters and concepts of Marvel don’t entirely align with the core of Disney.

    Image © Marvel/Disney.

    Spider-Man, the X-Men, Iron Man and all of the rest don’t quite represent the Disney magic as precisely as the Disney princesses and other fairy tales adapted into films. While amazing and incredible and astonishing in their own right, they’re not yet quite as timeless as Cinderella, Peter Pan, Aladdin and so many more. I’m not saying that Disney has created its theme parks out of only timeless concepts (hello Avatar – The World of Pandora), but I’d like for them not to stray further from that mission, even if the mission is a largely unspoken one.

    5. Disney theme parks have so far circumvented the superhero fad.

    Image © Disney/Pixar.

    This might change if a Big Hero 6 is enough in demand to merit an attraction, but so far Disney theme parks don’t really include any superhero presence at any of its parks. None of the parks even have an attraction based on The Incredibles, despite the popularity of Pixar films and that one in particular. I think it would be nice for Disney to continue to avoid the current fad and continue to excel and innovative with its other properties.

    What do you think? Am I crazy? Does my reasoning make sense? Share your thoughts on Facebook and in the comments below!