With the debut of Avengers Campus at the Disneyland Resort in Southern California and the ever-expanding projects at the Universal Orlando Resort, a question is raised: When will Universal Orlando replace Marvel Super Hero Island?
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Universal Orlando is one of the most visited theme park resorts globally, rivaling the Walt Disney World Resort that’s only a short drive from it on I-4. A part of Universal’s Islands of Adventure Park, home to the new VelociCoaster, is Marvel Super Hero Island.
Featuring the thrilling and fan-favorite attractions inspired by classic Marvel characters, like Hulk and Spider-Man, the land is otherwise lackluster in offering other experiences, including food.
Marvel Super Hero Island was the very first Marvel-themed land to come to any theme park in the world. Beating Disney by two decades, Universal officially opened the comic book land on May 28, 1999. But, not much has changed since then.
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The original theme for Islands of Adventure was “Cartoon World,” with a “DC Superhero Island” originally planned for the latter Marvel Super Hero Island. Since then, Universal’s idea of this land has been somewhat forgotten as the land doesn’t offer a consistent story and is plain confusing when walking through it.
The land hasn’t received a major facelift in over 20 years, except for updates to The Amazing Spider-Man attraction regarding projection quality. There are some bottlenecks when making your way towards Toon Lagoon (another outdated land that holds loads of potential), and there’s even some dead space in the Marvel land.
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Marvel Super Hero Island is one of the six original opening “islands” of the Park, but this land hasn’t seen any major update or addition, unlike the others. Toon Lagoon is another opening-day land that could use some updates, and it’s adjacent to Marvel Super Hero Island.
When it comes to rivaling Disneyland’s Avengers Campus, the technology and themed entertainment can’t be rivaled by Universal. WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure at Avengers Campus features revolutionary technology that allows Guests to sling webs from their hands. At the same time, on the attraction, and there’s another E-ticket attraction themed around the Avengers that’s still coming to Disney California Adventure’s Marvel land (though Disney does not use the word “Marvel” in any of the marketing for the Campus).
So, Universal Orlando could bring some amazing updates to the comic book land and help tell an in-depth story throughout the land, as Avengers Campus does on the West Coast. Or, if they want to really shake things up — replace Marvel Super Hero Island and Toon Lagoon altogether.
What Could Replace the Marvel Land at Universal Orlando?
In recent years, there’s been a flurry of rumors that Universal is working to bring The Lord of the Rings to one of their Universal Orlando Resort theme parks.
Related: Why Disney and Universal Haven’t Made a ‘Lord of the Rings’ Theme Park
With the construction of their “third gate” Park, Epic Universe, which Universal reportedly aims for a 2025 official opening, we most likely won’t see any major updates coming to Islands of Adventure after the VelociCoaster opened.
However, once Epic Universe opens, Universal could theoretically shift its focus to Islands of Adventure and tell a new story. While Marvel Super Hero Island is still very fun, especially with The Incredible Hulk coaster, it would make sense to focus on either retheming that land, Toon Lagoon, or The Lost Continent in Islands of Adventure.
The Lord of the Rings would be a knockout addition to the Universal Orlando Resort, as Middle Earth would fit perfectly into this Park, and Universal would be the best home for a land-themed-around author J.R.R. Tolkien’s work. Everything from a Gollum animatronic to fun dining experiences with your favorite characters, like Frodo Baggins and Legolas, at the Green Dragon Inn could easily become fan-favorite experiences at Universal Orlando.
History of Marvel Super Hero Island
On June 4, 2021, Disney California Adventure Park officially opened Avengers Campus, marking the first Marvel land on the West Coast and past the Mississippi River — and the first super hero-themed land in any Disney Park.
When Disney acquired Marvel in 2009, they didn’t obtain all of the necessary theme park rights to use any Marvel character in their theme parks. A longstanding court case stipulates that Disney is not permitted to feature popular Marvel characters, like Iron Man, Spider-Man, and Thor, or even use the word “Marvel” in any theme parks east of the Mississippi River.
That’s right, it sounds like a cowboy deal. Universal Orlando has full reign of Marvel east of that beautiful Mississippi River, meaning that the Walt Disney World Resort won’t get its own Avengers Campus.
Universal Studios obtained the theme park rights for Marvel in 1994 when the comic book company was in dire financial issues. When Disney acquired Marvel in 2009, CEO Bob Iger acknowledged these rights and stated that the deal still stands as long as Universal continues paying royalty checks to Marvel.
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Not building a Marvel land on the east coast isn’t an issue for Disney, with Avengers Campus opening at the Disneyland Resort. The question is, however, when will Universal replace or even update its Marvel Super Hero Island?
Universal’s Marvel land features four attractions: The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk Coaster, Doctor Doom’s Fearfall, and Storm Force Accelatron.
The rest of the land features run-of-the-mill dining and shopping experiences, featuring items you can find throughout other retail options outside the Park.
Other than that, Marvel Super Hero Island is rather confusing and misleading. There’s just no story, unlike the Jurassic Park and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter sections of the Park.
However, there’s so much potential for great storytelling at Universal’s Marvel land, as the Marvel Universe is ever-expanding. At the same time, they can’t focus on the Marvel Cinematic Universe since Avengers Campus has claimed that territory. The Marvel comics offer more than enough resources to Universal updating or even replacing their land, giving them another chance to tell a great story.
Do you think Universal should replace their Marvel land? Let us know in the comments below!
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of overall.