When Disneyland announced that the Summer of Heroes in Disney California Adventure, my inner fangirl squealed a little bit. Okay, maybe she squealed a lot. I have never been so ready to Hero Up! as I was when I was visiting Disneyland’s Summer of Heroes during the D23 Expo.
I don’t love everything that Disney does (no, really, I don’t!) but getting more Marvel in the parks is something I’ve been looking forward to for years.
My personal experience: two huge thumbs up for Disneyland’s Summer of Heroes!
4 Reasons Disneyland’s Summer of Heroes is Perfect For the New Marvel Fan
As I’ve admitted before, I’m a new-ish fan to the Marvel/Super Hero universe. And sure, my love has a more to do with the movies than the comic books.
Is that so wrong? Nah, I didn’t think so either. And neither does Marvel. Someone tell that to my comic obsessed husband, though, umkay?
Once the fandom started, so did the dreams of all things Super Hero showing up in the parks. I mean, my beloved Disney owned my new BFF Marvel: can’t we get these two crazy kids together in the parks somehow?
Gimme some Spider-Man, yo!
With 2 boys and 2 girls (who admittedly lean toward tom-boy preferences), we were kinda over the Princesses in the parks.
Disneyland started slowly with a few characters and a runDisney event but now they are making the commitment to an immersive Marvel presence in the park. The new attraction Guardians: Mission Breakout is breaking attendance records and at D23 Expo we were promised more attractions coming.
For now, we have the Summer of Heroes and I think it’s the perfect way to introduce Marvel to the Disney crowd.
DISNEYLAND’S SUMMER OF HEREOS IS JUST THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF NERDINESS
The Marvel universe is vast and it’s easy to go down a rabbit hole when you first start learning about these guys. It can be daunting and it can be overwhelming.
Every one of these guys has a back story and they all seem to intertwine at some point. It’s freaking awesome, but like I said, overwhelming trying to connect the dots!
The Summer of Heroes kept it simple: they focused on the Avengers & Guardians of the Galaxy and didn’t try to get too cutesy with branching outside of these two areas.
You’ve got the Avengers Training Initiative, which is a Marvel version of the Jedi Training Academy if you will.
I watched as kids were taught how to defend themselves against the evils of Hydra (the Marvel baddies) with assistance from Black Widow and Hawkeye, two of the Avengers.
I loved how the moves were easy for children of all ages and abilities to try, allowing everyone to be a super hero for a few minutes!
Down the street, you can also jam with Gamora & Star-Lord at the Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Dance-Off.
I won’t pretend here- this was probably my favorite part of the Summer of Heroes.
Hot on the heels of a fabulous Guardians of the Galaxy 2 release, I watched two of these dance off shows fill up with crowds of kids & parents. Plus it all went down in the shadows of the new Mission: Breakout so it was a perfect backdrop.
Awesome Mix Tape for the win!
You can also visit the Hero Action Center where you take a short quiz to decide which Super Hero you are.
Think of it as the Marvel Sorting Hat Ceremony, if you will.
I was chosen to be part of the Avengers, which I gladly accepted, since choosing just 1 super hero is almost impossible for me. Look, I kinda love the 3 Chris’ and 2 Toms that are running around the MCU right now. You can’t make me choose!
MISSION: BREAKOUT! JUST MADE TOWER OF TERROR BETTER
When the announcement came out that Tower of Terror was being replaced by a Guardians of the Galaxy?ride, so many loyal Tower fans were crushed. They felt their beloved story & thrill ride would be “ruined” with this change.
Judging by the crowds queuing up and the reactions afterward: this ride is a huge hit. I haven’t personally heard anyone complain about the changes made once they experience the attraction (minus that one news caster who went viral!).
Sure, they might be missing the bell hops, but at least they get to ride into a rescue mission with Rocket the Racoon.
Going with a Guardians themed attraction right after the movie was released was another great way to ease new fans into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. If you hadn’t seen the movie but loved the ride: I bet you go rent the movie right away.
Disney probably does too. Gotcha!
According to announcements made at D23 Expo, the whole area will become a more Marvel immersive land with at least 2 more attractions on the way.
I cannot wait for more and will be interested to see the changes happening to Disney California Adventure as this happens!
DISNEYLANDS’ SUMMER OF HEROES FOOD AND MERCHANDISE IS ON POINT
Even if you don’t know anything about these super heroes, you can enjoy a good theme, amirite?
And let’s face it: you need to eat and drink while you are at the parks. Might as well try something new!
Everywhere I looked in the Hollywood Land section of the park, the signage & food was tailored to the Summer of Heroes.
And it was adorable- almost too cute to eat! But I did and I can report that it was tasty as well.
I tried a Spider-Man ice cream sandwich (officially a macron I believe) & a Mango Berry Smoothie as well as Groot Bread and a glowy blue cocktail (check out the video above for all the goodness there!).
It was all #fortheblog so, of course, I took one for the team. Ahem.
I spotted a ton of new merchandise that spanned all the major players in the Avengers & Guardians franchises, which made me happy.
There was this Thor coffee mug that I adored and I found a hat featuring 4 of the Avengers that I’ve been wearing non-stop. I even picked something up for each of my family members this trip- something I have been challenged to do at Disneyland as my kids grew older.
Tons of shirts and toys well-suited for kids were available (and not all the “girl” stuff was pink, which I appreciated!).
I even got myself a free face painting (so I used my arm, but same-same- the important takeaway here: it was free!).
Parents: please note.
This is not just for little kids. I saw more teens & tweens lining up (and their parents) than I saw little ones for this activity.
Don’t be shy- Hero Up!
DISNEYLAND’S SUMMER OF HEROES CHARACTERS
Want to learn more about the Marvel super heroes? Go to the source! There were Avengers and Guardian’s meet and greets all over the place and I was in heaven.
When I was there, I got a selfie with Gamora, one with Star-Lord, and then this awesome pic with Groot.
While chatting with a friend she suddenly grabbed my arm and said, “We need to get a picture with Thor!”
Whaaaa?!! Thor’s been gone from the parks for a year (at least- maybe more?) so this kinda blew my mind. He was just out strolling the streets, chatting people up. I even saw him stop and check out the hot dog menu- I kid you not. But I don’t think he had any US dollars on him, so he got out of line.
But yeah, THOR is back!
Good catch, Michelle.
I also chatted a bit with Black Widow and Spider-Man, who were both charming as always!
I did not get a chance to see Captain America this trip, or catch a picture with Hawkeye either. But both guys were also up for meet and greets with guests so don’t miss them!
While it wasn’t 100% immersive- I chased Thor down the street past the theater playing Frozen, for example- it was a great peek into what could be coming to Disneyland as the Marvel fun expands.
Summer of Heroes is scheduled to end on September 5th, so you still have some time to get in on this action. Of course, I’m hoping it turned out to be a big enough hit that they decide to extend or expand to become the Season of Heroes or something like that.
I bet Cap approves!
Have you had a chance to Hero Up at Disneyland’s Summer of Heroes? What did you think of all the offerings?
Patty Holliday is a Marvel loving, Disney obsessed wife, and mother of four. She’s a travel agent specializing in Disney & Universal vacations- and loves a candid confession. Find her in Virginia (or anywhere frequent flyer miles or her trusty minivan takes her.)