Friday, March 30, 2012

Marvel Meets the Mouse

Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Cinderella. The Green Goblin. Funny as it may sound, these characters now inhabit the same world of fantasy.

It's been a lingering question, since Disney acquired Marvel in 2009, if these famous fantastical personalities would live harmoniously in Disney's own worlds of fantasy: their theme parks.

"The Avengerail"
Bob Iger, the CEO and supreme chancellor of Disney (now that he's chairman of the board, too), recently mentioned that the future will see Marvel characters walking around, posing for pictures in Disney's theme parks.

The superhero's first foray near the theme parks (not including merchandise) will pop up this spring as the TRONorail will be replaced with the Avengerail. It's a good move by Disney, as it will slowly introduce a presence of the new slew of characters to the Disney parks. It's also a great advertising gimmick, and keeps the older models of Walt Disney World's monorails looking fresh. 

It's the first small step towards integrating the two companies (that are now, technically one). When Iger announced that the characters would eventually be making their way into Disney parks, my reaction was one of "No Duh!" 

People will love seeing their favorite super heroes roaming around the parks, but Disney will have to work hard to separate itself from the much less classy Universal Studios that the Marvel Universe is still associated with. 

James Cameron tours Animal Kingdom 
They can't just put them anywhere. Hollywood Studios at the World and the Hollywood Pictures Backlot at California adventure seem like the only logical places to meet and greet with The Hulk and Iron Man. Though, once the idea seems a little more natural, who knows how we'll feel. 

The "Disney" brand has always branched a little from the actual Disney company in itstheme parks, and it's usually for the better. Who doesn't love Star Tours, Indiana Jones or the Terror of Terror? Soon, Avatar, which was distributed by 20th Century Fox, will have a significant presence in Animal Kingdom, and the American Idol experience is a prominent part of Hollywood Studios.

Disney knows how to seamlessly introduce things that weren't produced in-house to its theme parks. Introducing Marvel characters is a challenge Disney has yet to face, as their presence has previously been in a rival theme park, but it's one Disney is almost guaranteed to pass.      

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