Last month, an official Disney casting notice surfaced online that implied that Marvel character Doctor Strange was about to get a character meet and greet somewhere at Walt Disney World. And now, after a brief character test earlier this week it looks like Doctor Strange will indeed be making his official Walt Disney World debut at the end of this week!
Meet Doctor Strange at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Beginning on Friday, November 4, Doctor Strange will begin meeting guests at the end of the Pixar Place area of the park in front of where the construction walls are that block off the former Streets of America. Based off of the test we saw earlier this week it looks like character experience will not be tightly structured, and will be similar in function to how Gaston meets guests around Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom, with Doctor Strange alternating between scripted moments and posing for pictures/signing autographs.
Right now, this character experience is expected to be limited in nature and is currently scheduled to only run for the next few weeks. However, if Doctor Strange proves to be a popular character for guests to meet, Disney will likely extend the experience into 2017. But there could be some complications along the way for this character meet and greet....
That pesky contract could cause trouble
Back when Disney’s Hollywood Studios first opened the Doctor Strange film preview at the One Man’s Dream attraction last month we wondered if the use of this Marvel character (not to mention to use of the Marvel name) was in violation of that pesky Marvel contract with Universal Orlando that was signed in the 1990s. Though the use of the Marvel name in the parks is strictly prohibited, the words “Marvel’s Doctor Strange” appeared at the beginning of the film preview, which was itself advertised in the park’s times guide.
However, WDWNT is reporting that Disney will be taking a more cautious approach to this new character experience, declining to publicize it anywhere either inside the park or online. This would certainly be a strange (pardon the pun) development, considering the park has already been using the Marvel logo extensively during the preview period, but the rules around an attraction of a different sort may not be the same, which is why the extra precautions are being taken.
For those who need a refresher, the only reason Doctor Strange can even appear at Walt Disney World at all is because this character isn't technically a member of the Avengers (which would make him off-limits to use inside Walt Disney World under the Universal contract). However, when we take a look at recent history things get a little murkier, as this character did become a member of the New Avengers in the early 2000s (and will almost certainly become a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe Avengers team in the near future), which could conceivably put Walt Disney World in breach of contract depending on how Universal defines the Avengers "family" referenced in the legal documentation drawn up in the late 1990s. You have to believe that both Disney and Universal have teams of lawyers poring over this stuff to form an opinion.
Even though the legality surrounding this character experience is a little odd, we do know that this new Doctor Strange character experience will be debuting on the same day as the Doctor Strange film, on Friday, November 4, 2016. Are you interested in checking it out, or are super heroes not for you?