If you’re a Marvel fan, you probably have a lot of questions about why there aren’t a lot of Marvel attractions at Disney World. And here’s the thing: Disney CEO Bob Iger would LOVE to have more Marvel there.
This might seem even MORE confusing when Disneyland and Disneyland Paris both have an Avengers Campus, full of Marvel superheroes, food, and rides. So what gives, Disney World? Why is Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind the ONLY Marvel ride you have? Well, it turns out there’s a very good explanation for that.
During the Walt Disney Company’s most recent shareholder meeting, Iger said, “We certainly would love to be able to do more with Marvel in our parks, but I’ll leave it at that.” However, there’s a reason why he can’t do that at Disney World (and why Marvel has more of a presence at other Disney Parks).
Before Disney purchased Marvel in 2009, Marvel Comics had already signed a contract with MCA, Inc., the company that owned Universal Studios theme parks at that time. That’s why Universal’s Islands of Adventure at Universal Orlando has a WHOLE land with attractions and characters dedicated to Marvel characters.
Even after Disney purchased Marvel, the company did NOT get all of Marvel’s licensing rights. This is why X-Men characters still belonged to Fox (although Disney now owns Fox, so it now has the rights to those characters) and why Spider-Man remained with Sony — it was only an agreement between Disney and Sony that the character of Spider-Man could appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).
This also applies to Marvel in the theme parks. The original Universal contract states that other companies, including Disney, cannot use any Marvel characters being currently used in Universal theme parks east of the Mississippi River. In other words, Disney World is legally not allowed to bring Marvel to Disney World. Also, as long as Universal continues to pay Marvel (aka, now Disney) for the use of those characters, the agreement is permanent.
The “east of the Mississippi river” clause is also why Disney’s California Adventure at Disneyland Resort has an entire land devoted to Marvel characters.
But how did Disney World have the ability to add a Guardians of the Galaxy ride to EPCOT? Well, that’s because Universal Orlando is not using any of those characters in its theme parks. So those characters were okay for Disney World to use “east of the Mississippi River.”
According to Forbes, Disney World has also sort of managed its way around the original Universal agreement by bringing Marvel to Disney Springs, which is, technically, NOT a theme park, but a shopping and dining district. So you might see some Marvel-themed treats at some of the dining spots and see a store entirely devoted to Marvel merchandise at Super Hero Headquarters. However, don’t expect to see Marvel characters turn up there to greet visitors.
So what about characters not being used at Universal Orlando? What about characters like Ms. Marvel, She-Hulk, Moon Knight, and Captain Marvel? Could they potentially get their own rides at Disney World? Well, they haven’t, as of yet, and the whole licensing situation with Universal is complicated. The answer might be technically, “yes,” but Disney hasn’t announced any plans to bring those characters east of the Mississippi.
So for now, don’t expect to see a huge Marvel presence in Disney World. It’s unlikely the situation with Universal will change soon, so if you want the full Disney and Marvel experience, your best bet might be to just book a trip to Disneyland in Anaheim. Of course, things can always change, but it’s highly unlikely we’ll see any big changes with Marvel at Disney World any time soon.
We’ll continue to keep you updated on all things Marvel AND Disney, so be sure to stay tuned to DFB for more.
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The post Bob Iger Says He Wants To Have More Marvel in Disney World – Here’s Why He CAN’T first appeared on the disney food blog.