Avengers Campus at Disney California Adventure Hands-On Preview

The time has finally come for Avengers Campus to open and Earth’s Mightiest Heroes to meet new Super Hero recruits at Disney California Adventure at the Disneyland Resort, and Collider was invited to preview all of the new experiences and offerings. After nearly a year of delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this new land that promises to be ever-evolving is dedicated to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and has all of the flash that you’d want and expect at a Disney theme park. But it’s all of the little details that make things truly memorable.

The story behind Avengers Campus is that the entire complex was once owned by Stark Industries under Howard Stark, and when Tony Stark inherited it, he built the CAMPUS, which stands for Centralized Assembly Mobilized to Prepare, Unite, and Safeguard. The good news is that even though this is only the first phase of the land, there’s a ton of fun to be had whether you’re there with family, a group of friends, or by yourself. The experiences are very interactive, starting with the centerpiece attraction, WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure.

Currently this is the only ride, with an E-ticket attraction having been talked about for the second phase of the land. Luckily, this Spider-Man ride is a feast for the eyes from the moment you step foot into the queue for the Open House at the Worldwide Engineering Brigade (or WEB). Practically everywhere you look, you’ll find cool nods to the films and little mementos, from Squirrel Girl’s bicycle and acorn backpack to a little Baymax inside of a Gear Grabber claw game to boxes of Lucky Dog Pizza. I rode the ride a few times during the media preview, and each time I walked through the building I noticed new things, depending on where I looked.

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In the Web Slingers ride, Tom Holland reprises his role as Peter Parker, aka Spider-Man, asking guests to put their web-slinging skills to the test to stop the replicating Spider-Bots before they wreak havoc all throughout Avengers Campus. The all-ages ride with no height requirement allows everyone to get in on the fun using specially designed, innovative technology that recognizes body movements and gestures, allowing guests to use their own hands to sling webs from their wrists. For guests looking to take their scoring a step further, you can customize and enhance the experience by purchasing a WEB Power Band or WEBS Shooter accessories that will provide access to advanced functions like a multi-firing web option. Please note that if you want to ride Web Slingers, there is a virtual queue subject to availability that you’re required to join via the Disneyland mobile app (this attraction does not have a standby line), with two enrollment chances every day at 7 am and 12 pm, or you won’t be able to experience the ride.

On a large scale, Avengers Campus is undeniably cool in its design, with an awe-inspiring Quinjet sitting out on display on the roof of Avengers Headquarters and Easter Eggs galore everywhere you turn. It is a superhero land that’s not locked into any specific timeline in the MCU, which means that there is thankfully no shortage of superhero experiences to be found. At the site of the Ancient Sanctum, guests will get to see the Master of Mystic Arts known as Doctor Strange as he demonstrates illusions and sorcery with his collection of mysterious relics. It’s a fun, interactive magic show that is sure to delight kids, and it’s set up in a way that could evolve and change over time. If the Web Slingers ride doesn’t give you your Spider-Man fill, then you’re in luck because there is also an aerial acrobatics show featuring a stuntronic robot that flies 65 feet into the air above the Web Slingers attraction building, before Spider-Man himself crawls down the wall to greet fans on the ground below.

One of the most powerful moments happens when Black Panther’s loyal bodyguards, the Dora Milaje, engage recruits in training sessions in the courtyard near Avengers Headquarters. During the media preview, General Okoye asked guests to take a moment of silence “for all of the kings and queens who have left us and joined the ancestral space,” making it impossible not to think about the loss of Chadwick Boseman and the emotional impact his work as Black Panther in the MCU brought to so many. Guests will also get the opportunity to see heroes like Black Widow, Black Panther or Captain America engage in battle with the villainous Taskmaster, and have interactions with Iron Man, Ant-Man and The Wasp, Captain Marvel, Thor and Loki, and Star-Lord and Gamora throughout Avengers Campus.

And then, there’s still all of the incredible themed food, snacks, and beverage selections that can be found at Pym Test Kitchen, Pym Tasting Lab, Shawarma Palace, and Terran Treats. The food item on the top of my list was the New York’s Tastiest garlicky chicken shawarma wrap at the Shawarma Palace cart, and I can highly recommend that delicious menu option. Another of my favorites was the Not So Little Chicken Sandwich, which is a fried chicken breast that has teriyaki and red chili sauces and pickled cabbage slaw on tiny brioche bun with crispy potato bites (aka tater tots). There is a wide variety of food selections at the quick-service Pym Test Kitchen, with both hero-sized meals and tiny treats, some of which feature Impossible plant-based meat, but be sure to get familiar with the mobile ordering system for any food and drinks you’re hoping to try out in the land.

As you walk around Avengers Campus sipping your Pingo Doce and munching on a Sweet Spiral Ration (aka a round colored churro), keep your eyes peeled in every nook and cranny for Easter Eggs, as they really are everywhere. From reserved parking spots for Peggy Carter and Howard Stark, to Squirrel Girl’s bicycle and acorn backpack, to the Incredible Hulk tree, to graffiti art done by Miles Morales, you’ll find cool details and awesome photo opps from one end to the other. And with the MCU continuing to expand, it’s pretty much a given that the land will continue to grow, evolve and change.

KEEP READING: The New Spider-Man Ride at DCA's Avengers Campus Is an Addictive Blast | Review

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Christina Radish (5060 Articles Published)

Christina Radish is a Senior Reporter at Collider. Having worked at Collider for over a decade (since 2009), her primary focus is on film and television interviews with talent both in front of and behind the camera. She is a theme park fanatic, which has lead to covering various land and ride openings, and a huge music fan, for which she judges life by the time before Pearl Jam and the time after. She is also a member of the Critics Choice Association and the Television Critics Association.

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