Avengers Campus is the newest land in Disney California Adventure. Opening in June of 2021, the land replaced A Bug’s Land in between Cars Land and Hollywood Land. In this post, we’ll review the land as a whole, discussing the aesthetic, content and fit inside of California Adventure.
The easiest place to start when looking at a new land is how it fits broadly into the park. After years of working on making California Adventure a congruent park, Disney seemingly reversed course. Pixar Pier was added a few years ago and, while there are plenty of piers in California, the design aesthetic fit more of a mid century, east coast boardwalk instead of the west coast architecture seen just west of Disneyland. Much of the new area felt shoehorned. The same could be said for smaller pieces of the puzzle like Soarin’ Over the World replacing Soarin’ Over California. Finally, Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT replaced Tower of Terror in Hollywood Land.
Depending on who you talk to, Avengers Campus may have been doomed thematically from the moment the Hollywood Tower was replaced by an alien tower. Doomed may be a little bit of a strong word but I do happen to be one of those people. Mission: Breakout is one of my least favorite design choices in the entire park. Unfortunately, it also happens to be the biggest and a building you can see throughout all of Disneyland Resort. Putting how I think the building is ugly aside, because I can agree to disagree there, having a non-Californian tower in the middle of Hollywood doesn’t make sense. Now, it doesn’t make cohesive sense within Avengers Campus either.
The building is where the Guardians, members of the Avengers, are being held captive. You’d think the other Avengers would want to get the building out of their, ahem, campus and rescue their fellow superheroes. I’m not above realizing this is all very nitpicky but the tower’s inclusion in the land is both confusing from a plot and a design standpoint.
Avengers Campus sans Mission: BREAKOUT! fits into the park more but mainly because it’s generic in style. I remember reading before the land debuted that the design team visited local college campuses to help engineer the look of their own campus. I don’t doubt that’s true but you’ll have to strain your eyes to see how Avengers Campus looks like USC or UCLA. It’s not techy enough to feel like Silicon Valley and it’s not unique enough to feel like a college campus. Instead it feels like Disney, once again, capitalizing on repurposed warehouses being en vogue.
That’s not to say that all of the land is ugly. An area on the right side of the campus (if you’re coming from the main entrance) is largely devoted to Instagram moments with Dr. Strange and Loki nods. There are some beautiful lanterns here at night and fun photo ops. It’s a little worrisome that the prettiest spots in the land are completely geared towards photo ops or Instagram shots but that’s likely the world we live in. This whole area is more playful, imaginative and less boxy.
The Web Slingers attraction is in a warehouse style building where Stark Motors used to be. It’s a nice bit of backstory throughout the attraction queue (and it’s also spelled out for guests on a sign in the land) but I can’t say I’m a big fan of the look. Similarly, there are some cool vehicles parked around the Campus like the Quinjet and a jeep but the places they are parked are just bland and hot. Pym Test Kitchen is maybe the most college campus feeling of the whole land but I can’t say that’s great since it just feels like a cafeteria.
Ultimately, I do think Imagineers were hamstrung within the park’s restraints and with the IP. The backstory had to be in California, although that’s not especially clear when in the land, and there’s not a ton of great settings in the MCU except for Wakanda. Correct me if I’m forgetting a cool one! I do wonder if the land would have been better off just completely ignoring the park’s theme and building Wakanda in that area. I’m not sure it would have taken away from the park’s theme much more than it already does and it would have made the land far more interesting.
Moving on to the content of the land is where things get a little better. We’ve already reviewed Pym Test Kitchen and did not like it at all. But restaurants have the most room to grow and adapt so it might not serve bad food forever and the design/atmosphere was just fine.
The attractions in Avengers Campus are strong, especially if promises of an E-ticket being added in a few years are fulfilled. If that doesn’t happen then the attraction lineup is at least average. Mission: BREAKOUT! is a blast to go on, even if it looks awful on the outside and has some plot holes. WEB Slingers is a decent B attraction for now. If it moves to a C attraction with Guardians being B and a new ride being the headliner then it’s hard to argue with the land being a success from a ride perspective. WEB Slingers gets a few things right and is a full-fledged ride as opposed to many lands that just have spinners or flat rides as the third attraction.
There are also some action shows and cool meet & greets throughout the campus. While the animatronic Spider-Man is underutilized and maybe overhyped, there’s a little show that’s fun to watch with him in it. There’s also a small stunt show featuring Black Widow and Black Panther near the Quinjet. Neither show is great but they almost act as streetmosphere acts as you walk by. In that way, they are a success.
I guess all of this is to say that parts of Avengers Campus succeed if you keep expectations in tow. In no way does the new land compare to other recent additions like Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge or Pandora – World of Avatar. Instead, it’s most similar to Toy Story Land in that it has some fun rides but lacks story, beauty and shade.
Unlike those lands, Avengers Campus isn’t a finished product and adding a world renowned ride would do wonders for the area just like it’d do wonders for any land. Ultimately, that’s what the land’s fate might come down to. For now, the content inside of it can’t make up for the lack of theme and beauty offered. That can change over time and honestly might, I’m hopeful that the attraction gets built and that it blows our socks off. But if viewing Avengers Campus as a finished product right now, then the land doesn’t work as well and feels like a sore thumb inside of California Adventure aesthetically.
Now, ladies and gentlemen, what you really came for. Your Wandering in Disney staff photos in Avengers Campus just to prove that we’re cheerful, fun people unlike what this post might lead you to believe.
What are your thoughts on Avengers Campus? Let us know, along with any questions you might have, in the comments below. Planning a trip to Disneyland or Disney World? Check out our planning guides to get you started! If you enjoy what you are reading here on Wandering in Disney please share this post with your friends, as well as like our social media pages. You can also subscribe to the blog via WordPress or email. All of those links are on the right side of this page. Thank you for reading, we really appreciate it!
Categories: Attraction Reviews
3 replies »