5 things to know:
Avengers Campus will open on July 18, 2020New technology allows riders to shoot webs just Like Spider-ManThe Taskmaster will be the first super-villain to invade Avengers CampusFirst-ever use of "Stuntronics" robot will allow Spidey to perform extreme acrobatics high overheadSpider-Man and Iron Man will sport all-new exclusive suit designs
One of the biggest questions about the new Avengers Campus under construction at the Disneyland Resort in California has finally been answered."
Yes, there will be shawarma.
OK, maybe that’s not the biggest question, but the Walt Disney Imagineering team behind the new land says it shows just how deep they’re willing to go for a good Easter egg.
"No Avengers Campus would be complete without shawarma," Imagineer and writer Jillian Pagan said.
Moviegoers who saw "The Avengers" back in 2012 and stayed for the post-credits scene remember our exhausted heroes gathering to chow down on the slow-roasted meat after winning an epic battle that nearly destroyed New York City.
When the Avengers open their new land in Anaheim this summer, they’ll bring their favorite shawarma along too.
“It’s fun that we can pull those Easter Eggs forward. It’s what makes this land so rich and exciting,” said Pagan, who is leading the team in charge of making sure everything on the Avengers Campus has the right backstory.
Disney CEO Bob Chapek announced Wednesday that Avengers Campus will open on July 18, 2020.
The shawarma cart will open this summer alongside a slew of Avenger-themed rides, restaurants and attractions Disney bills as “an entirely new land dedicated to discovering, recruiting and training the next generation of heroes."
Currently under construction at Disney’s California Adventure Park, Avengers Campus will incorporate plots and characters pulled from Marvel’s 81-year comic book history and a decade of movies that comprise the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or MCU. (“C.A.M.P.U.S.”, according to Disney, stands for Centralized Assembly Mobilized to Prepare, Unite and Safeguard.)
"It’s about living out your superhero fantasies," says Walt Disney Imagineering Executive Creative Director Brent Strong. “Not just bring it to life -- where you get to see your favorite heroes or you get to meet your favorite heroes -- but you actually get to become a hero.”
Avengers Campus is currently a busy, noisy construction site that once was home to "A Bug's Life" land. Disney Imagineers in hardhats and orange safety vests led reporters on a walking tour of the land-in-progress last week, past beeping forklifts maneuvering around piles of rocks, dirt, and plywood. When finished, artist renderings depict a land that combines old and modern architecture along with mystical and downright galactic spaces.
Avengers Campus will eventually have three rides -- or "attractions," in Disney parlance. One is under construction now, one is already up and running and a third will be added at a future still-undetermined date.
The new ride is called "WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure," and will feature actor Tom Holland reprising his big-screen character. It’s currently being built and tested in a building that, as the story goes, was once an assembly line factory for Howard Stark’s automotive company.
The premise is that Peter Parker and a group of like-minded young inventors brought together by Tony Stark are holding an open house to show off new technology in a place they call the Worldwide Engineering Brigade, or WEB. (See what they did there?)
Pagan said Peter Parker will be joined at WEB by characters including 9-year-old Lunella Lafayette (aka Moon Girl), Harley Keener (who appeared in "Iron Man 3") and Doreen Green (aka Squirrel Girl). The inventors spend time toying around with Wakandan Vibranium, Pym Particles and Arc reactors, and that’s when the trouble starts.
“They’re not all that organized,” according to Strong. “They probably have a little bit more power than responsibility.”
In the middle of an open house for guests, one of WEB’s inventions -- the Spider-Bot -- suddenly multiplies and runs amok.
“They are self-replicating. They are devouring all the technology in Peter Parker’s lab, and they are beginning to escape across the campus,” said Strong. “And so he calls on us to help.”
Eight guests at a time (four on each side) will board a Web-Slinger vehicle for a four-and-a-half minute mission to catch or destroy the Spider-Bots, racing through the factory, into underground tunnels that connect various locations throughout Avengers Campus.
"You actually get to sling webs just like Spider-Man," Strong promised. "We can render a virtual web coming right out of the palm of your hand, right out of your virtual web shooters, and into a virtual world. It’s a lot less painful than being bitten by a radioactive spider, but you actually get to have all of those amazing powers.”
Riders will wear 3-D glasses, traveling through an environment created using a mix of practical set pieces, virtual backdrops and augmented reality. To make the web-shooting illusion work, a new gesture recognition system tracks the position of a rider’s hands, arms, wrists, elbows, head and eyes to calculate where they aim.
The webs not only stop the Spider-Bots, Strong said. They can also be used to trigger conveyor belts, pull doors off shipping containers, and trigger explosions.
The ride keeps score, so guests will know how well they did individually and as part of a team. There’s no minimum height requirement, Disney says, so smaller children can web sling too.
At the opposite end of the land, Avengers Campus will incorporate the existing "Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout" ride that’s been up and running since 2017, when it replaced the old "Twilight Zone: Tower of Terror." The attraction -- which flings guests up and down in a gravity-defying, stomach-churning mission to help Rocket the Raccoon free Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax and Groot from the Collector -- features cameos by the actors who portrayed them on the big screen including Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana and Dave Bautista. (There’s even a cameo by the late Marvel icon Stan Lee.)
Whether or not guests will see familiar faces from the movies show up in new Avengers Campus cameos is a closely-held secret.
"I think there’s some fun stuff that we’re looking at," Marvel Studios Vice President of Franchise Creative and Marketing Dave Bushore told ABC News. "Keep your eyes out for some cool things."
Disney has also been teasing a future attraction for the second phase of Avengers Campus. It will use an entirely new ride system, letting guests fly a Quinjet to team up with Black Panther and other Avengers for adventures to Wakanda and beyond.
The ride hasn’t been built yet and details are slim, but when finished, guests will board their Quinjet by entering the Avengers Headquarters building.
Heroes and villains
Avengers Campus is set in the present day, according to Imagineering creative executive Scot Drake.
That means there’s a lot of freedom and flexibility when it comes to mixing and matching characters and stories, he said, reflecting the rich history of a constantly-evolving Marvel multiverse that’s been around for eight decades.
“This is a dynamic story universe,” said Drake.
In other words, just because (spoiler alert!) Iron Man and Black Widow died at the end of "Avengers: Endgame," they will still be very much alive at Avengers Campus. (In fact, when the land opens, Iron Man will be wearing a never-before-seen suit called the Mark 80.)
This concept differs from the recently-opened land called Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, set during a specific point in the Star Wars timeline that effectively limits which characters can appear there. It means, for example, that you’ll never see Darth Vader roaming Black Spire Outpost.
“We definitely want to play the long game, so we’re not following the exact storyline of any of the films,” Drake said. "But we are definitely going after the tone and the heart to make sure that -- at its core -- it’s correct and authentic.”
Iron Man will be joined by fellow heroes including Black Widow, Thor, Black Panther and Captain Marvel.
"Captain America will be taking some tours of duty throughout the Avengers Campus either on foot or the Avengers ground vehicle,” says Dan Fields, Executive Creative Director for Disney Parks Live Entertainment.
General Okoye, leader of the elite Wakandan Dora Milaje fighters, will run training sessions for recruits. Ant-Man and the Wasp, along with the Guardians of the Galaxy gang will show up too.
Then there’s Thor’s brother Loki, the trickster who sometimes works both sides of the line between good and evil.
“We’re not sure if Loki is here to help the Avengers,” says Fields.
As for the really bad guys, the masked super-villain Taskmaster will be making trouble for the Avengers, who will wage epic battles on the roof of Avengers Headquarters to stop him. Taskmaster, who uses photographic reflexes to mimic the fighting styles of his opponents, first appeared in a 1980 comic.
In a synergistic twist that is no coincidence, Taskmaster also appears in Marvel Studios’ upcoming film “Black Widow”, starring Scarlett Johansson.
“It was a great opportunity for us to say ‘hey, it’s a living, breathing place. Let’s have him there on opening day’,” said Bushore. “It’s like they walked right out of the movie.”
In a first for any Disney park, Spider-Man will swing, somersault and flip as high as 60 feet above the WEB building throughout the day.
“He’s going to be swinging into action high above the rooftops with amazing acrobatics and gravity-defying feats,” Fields said.
The effect will be achieved using something Disney Imagineers call “Stuntronics”, or robots capable of performing extreme acrobatics. The technology was previewed in July 2018.
At Avengers Campus, a Stuntronics version of Spidey will handle the dangerous acrobatic feats above, with the illusion completed by a costumed human who will swoop down to meet and greet recruits on the ground.
Spider-Man also sports an exclusive new suit, designed with the help of Marvel's Head of Visual Development Ryan Meinerding.
Doctor Strange has his own special section of the campus, in the ruins of an ancient Sanctum.
"For Doctor Strange this really is an ancient sanctum," said Fields. "The master of mystic arts can be found here showing willing recruits illusions and sorcery and mysterious relics."
Landscape designer Matt Jones describes the Sanctum as having a hidden, shady and quiet feel, in contrast to the striking contemporary architecture of the Avengers Headquarters. Around 40 trees will be transplanted from around Disneyland to help transform the Sanctum into an overgrown mystical garden, according to Jones.
At night, the Sanctum’s trees and ruins will pulse with glowing lights and energy effects.
Lighting, colors, special effects and sound all have to work together perfectly to tell the overall story, said Imagineering designer and art director Heidi Rosenthal.
“We to try to convince you that you’re in a world that you’ve only ever seen on screen before,” she said.
'Food for heroes on the go' and merchandise
Of course, fighting the bad guys can make you hungry.
At the Pym Test Kitchen, Ant-Man and the Wasp have been using Pym Particle technology to shrink or supersize everything on the menu. Red particles shrink the food, blue particles make things bigger.
Regular-sized pretzels come out several times larger after traveling through a quantum tunnel.
The Not So Little Chicken Sandwich is made with a normal-size bun on top of a chicken breast that’s so big it takes up nearly the entire plate.
A “Pym-ini” sandwich blasted with blue Pym Particles grows to be two feet long and nine inches wide. Don’t worry if you don’t have enough friends with you to eat the whole thing.
“It’s so big that we have to slice portions off,” Disneyland Resort Culinary Director Jeremiah Balogh said.
Another dish features pasta under giant vegetarian meatballs served in an oversized spoon with a tiny fork.
The test kitchen will feature giant cans of Pingo Doce soda (another Easter egg) and upsized condiment bottles.
Next door, a huge beer can marks the Pym Tasting Lab where adults can get a lager or a beer cocktail. There’s a reverse draft system that fills glasses from the bottom. (Think of that scene from "Thor: Ragnarok" when the Son of Odin’s magical beer mug refills itself when it’s empty.)
Near the Guardians ride, Terrans Treats will serve colorful, spiral-shaped galactic churros and crispy cream puffs filled whipped raspberry cheesecake mousse.
Then of course, there’s the Shawarma Palace cart that sells either chicken or a falafel version wrapped in a warm pita.
“Food for heroes on the go,” said Disneyland Resort Culinary Director John State.
There are meals for youngsters too, including a sandwich kit featuring a petri dish filled with peanut butter and jelly that also comes with yogurt.
Disney is also developing new merchandise, including a toy version of the Spider-Bots designed to fight each other.
“These bots are built to battle,” says Brad Schoeneberg, a director of merchandise strategy for Disney.
Each Spider-Bot can be customized with tactical upgrades that resemble characters like Iron Man, Black Panther or the Wasp.
“Each one of these will have a special unique power that helps you with your battle,” says Senior Merchandiser Cody Hampton.
Strong said the Avengers Campus will appeal to casual and hardcore fans alike.
"Just like every film in the Marvel universe, we have built in a million Easter eggs,” he said.
The Avengers and Marvel are owned by The Walt Disney Company, the parent company of ABC News.