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Marvel’s Superheroes Are Set To Assemble at Disney’s Theme Parks

One of the most fun things about going to a big theme park when you’re a kid is the opportunity to meet your favorite characters — or at least, a reasonable facsimile thereof. It’s one of the things that the Walt Disney parks specialize in, and apparently Disney’s roster of princesses and gigantic, talking mice and ducks are about to get some new additions.

According to a statement at Tuesday’s shareholders meeting, there are plans in the works for Marvel’s roster of super-heroes to start appearing at Disney’s parks.According to the LA Times, Disney CEO Bob Iger said that the company was “working on some concepts” to bring the heroes to life at their parks, and really, the only surprise in that announcement was that it’s taken this long after Disney bought Marvel in 2009 for this to happen. After all, with Amazing Spider-Man and The Avengers hitting theaters this summer and a dedicated block of cartoon programming on the Disney XD channel, kids are seeing Marvel’s characters everywhere but Disneyland.

Presumably, one of the hold-ups has been wanting to do something that would set their presentation of the Marvel super-heroes apart from the versions that have been in residence at their competition, Universal Studios’ Islands of Adventure park, since 1999.

The Times article clarifies that Universal has “rights in perpetuity” for their Marvel-themed attraction, which includes costumed characters as well as rides based on Dr. Doom, Spider-Man and the Hulk. There’s also, and this is a key point, a daily parade in which the Avengers and the X-Men ride around on ATVs.

To my knowledge, this has never actually happened in the comics, and yet it captures the spirit of Marvel better than anything else I can think of. Short of having a daily stage show where Spider-Man’s girlfriend gets pitched off a bridge, I don’t think there’s any way for Disney to top it.

Personally, I hope that this leads to a Crisis on Infinite Earths style conflict where Universal’s ATV-mounted heroes square off against Disney’s crew to settle once and for all who the real Spider-Man and Captain America are. There could, however, be an unforeseen consequence of putting the Marvel heroes into their theme parks. Those places have enough hassle as it is with long lines and pricey souvenirs, but once the word gets out that super-heroes are hanging out there, you’re opening the door up for the biggest problem of all: Super-Villain Revenge. Before long, you’ll have Sentinels swooping down on Pirates of the Caribbean, the Red Skull attacking the Hall of Presidents, and Dr. Doom blasting Space Mountain into actual space.

Then again, I suppose they’ve done all right dealing with 80 years worth of wicked stepmothers.

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