When I announced last Friday that I would be returning to Disneyland Paris for the Marvel Summer of Super Heroes launch event, the over-riding reaction was but Steve, you said you weren’t going to Disneyland Paris this year! That’s fair, as I had spent the last 5 months explaining why we wouldn’t be returning in 2018. Then I got an invitation to attend this launch weekend, and when looking at how many Eurostar vouchers I had to use, a very reasonable rate for Hotel Santa Fe on the Sunday night and cheap return train fare if I arrived Saturday and came back Monday, I went for it, as it wasn’t that I didn’t want to go to Disneyland Paris this year. It’s just that circumstances were such that we’d decided as a family, that we’d wait until 2019. Thankfully, this opportunity came along and I have a very understanding family!
Anyway, let’s get on with Marvel Summer of Super Heroes and what I thought. I will be keeping this spoiler free as this is a brand new season in Disneyland Paris and is only in its 3rd day as I write this, and so many people won’t have experienced it yet. I will be recording a podcast later this week full of spoilers for those who want the lowdown and don’t mind getting all the juicy details before seeing it with their own eyes.
Marvel Super Heroes United in Disneyland Paris
This is the big show that took over the theatre which used to be the home of the much loved CineMagique. The Marvel spectacular promised much when details were revealed at MCM Comic Con in London back in November 2017, but could it live up to that? I’m basing my opinion on the second time I saw it, only yesterday, as the night of the launch event a few things weren’t working, and one is very integral to the experience and the storyline of the show.
Inside Studio Theater, there is Marvel artwork projected onto the two side walls, both old and new, showing where the brand started, and where it has evolved to. It’s actually quite surreal when the screen turns completely red, except for the big white Marvel logo in the centre – that’s quite a moment, seeing that whilst sat in Disneyland Paris, as it’s the first time the brand has been represented in such a grand way there. Don’t rush to get to your seat though, as the walkway from the entrance to the inside of the theatre is a spectacle in itself.
One thing to understand about Marvel Super Heroes United, and this comes from a question I asked at the press conference on the Sunday morning, is that the Marvel timeline you see in Disneyland Paris, is not exactly the same as the one you’ll see in the films, which itself doesn’t follow the timeline of the comics, which have reset themselves many times over in years gone by. So don’t worry if you haven’t seen all the films or even if you haven’t seen any, because Marvel Super Heroes United introduces you to the characters and how became who they are now. Each character has their story told in a different way, from the Spider-Man beginnings that many will know to the beautifully performed dance origins of Black Widow. Being a big Marvel nerd I know these stories, but I’d never seen them represented quite like this, so even for someone who has consumed much Marvel over the past few decades, Marvel Super Heroes United offers something new.
The special effects of Marvel Super Heroes United are like nothing we’ve seen in Disneyland Paris before, and as with Mickey and the Magician, they will leave you dumbfounded as to how they achieve it. One in particular, the big one that thankfully worked when I watched it yesterday, is the big wow moment of the show. A say moment, it remains a part of the show for a good while, and is big part of the storyline, as well as beguiling guests as they look on in amazement. The cast themselves are the other big factor of Marvel Super Heroes United, and are obviously very highly trained stunt performers. The fight scenes are as captivating as they are impactful, with each character staying true to their own fighting style. The fighting scenes did go on for quite a while though, and just as you thought they were going to end, they started again. I can see some people getting a little bored with this, though others may appreciate the artistry on display. When all the special effects are working there are other things going on to draw your attention away, which is why the second time I saw it the fighting scenes were broken up with my wandering attention.
It does come across as a little hokey at times, but honestly, when everything works, it’s hard to fault a show that offers so much and presents Marvel to the masses in such a way. The emphasis is on when it’s all working, because when elements are missing it does significantly take away from what Marvel Super Heroes United is trying to present, and my thoughts after the Saturday showing were really quite different. On form, it’s a fantastic showcase of all the Marvel characters, offering guests a chance to see all their favourites together in a format they’ll never have seen before. You have to be there in person to really appreciate what this show can offer, as watching on a screen back home will not do it justice. It’s the centrepiece of Marvel Summer of Super Heroes in Disneyland Paris, and a first for Disney Parks worldwide, and on yesterday’s performance I’d say they have got it right, as something that will appeal to all ages of guest, and fans of Marvel both old and new.
Stark Expo presents: Energy for Tomorrow! in Disneyland Paris
I had no idea what to expect from the Stark Expo presents: Energy for Tomorrow! (what a mouthful that is to say) other than it was to be on the stage previously used by Star Wars Season of the Force, Christmas and most recently the Max Goof show at Disney FanDaze. What I do love about this stage is how high it is, so you don’t need to be in the front few rows, or turn up really earlier, as you can get a good view from almost anywhere in Production Courtyard. As with the Marvel Super Heroes United, the Stark presents: Energy for Tomorrow! doesn’t fall in the film or comic timeline, as it can be seen from who sits on the side of good and evil.
It’s a very simple story, but with a limited time it couldn’t possibly be anything more. You also won’t get the same level of special effects as you get in the Studio Theater, but again, you wouldn’t expect that, especially for an outside stage that has the elements to deal with. It’s a shame not all characters are present in person and one appears on the screen via ‘live broadcast’, but it’s a fun mix of fight scenes and humour.
If you don’t fancy queuing up for Marvel Super Heroes United then this is a kind of the little brother version, with a not too dissimilar ending. I think maybe they could have done more to differentiate the two shows, but then what do Marvel Super Heroes do? It’s good v evil in a fight to see who comes out on top, putting it very simply and doing arvel a massive injustce, there is of course the recurrent themes of teamwork and overcoming adversity to name but a few. You do at least get an exclusive character for Stark Expo presents: Energy for Tomorrow! that you won’t see in Marvel Super Heroes United or anywhere else in Marvel Summer of Super Heroes in Disneyland Paris, and it’s a damn good one. I watched this twice and a bit over my 3 days and could have watched it more, it’s a short sharp shot of Marvel, and the characters that are involved are some of the best, certainly through my eyes at least. Without giving too much away, be sure to keep a lookout, that’s all I’m saying!
Guardians of the Galaxy Awesome Dance-Off in Disneyland Paris
For me the Guardians of the Galaxy Awesome Dance-Off (I’ve been calling it a dance party all weekend) is the weakest of the three Marvel Summer of Super Heroes in Disneyland Paris, but not because of the content. The stage is not raised like with Stark Expo presents: Energy for Tomorrow! so it only takes a few rows of people to gather around this small performance area that unless you are a giant, you won’t see much. Add in the children on shoulders factor and if you don’t get a coveted spot in the first row or two you won’t be seeing a lot, especially when the number of kids on shoulders only increases with the more people clamouring to see what this music is heralding.
As for the Guardians of the Galaxy Awesome Dance-Off, I was disappointed it’s only Gamora and Star Lord, and no, I don’t think I’m spoiling the show by giving you the names of the characters involved. It’s not a story based show like the other two, not really anyway. These guys are just there as a catalyst to get people up onstage, which is where most of the attention is focused. It’s a double-edged sword as you want to get close to see everything, but you might end up on stage, dancing in front of everyone. It looks pretty fun though and the kids had a great time, and thinking back so did the adults. The choice of songs is eclectic and has something for everyone, and really livens the area up. I’m not sure I could watch this that many times on one trip, I guess it depends on the level of your desire to be picked for dancing.
Marvel Summer of Super Heroes Decorations in Disneyland Paris
As you approach Production Courtyard you’ll be immediately drawn to the big statues of Marvel Super Heroes, and in the case of Hulk, not just big but absolutely massive. There’s no doubting that Marvel has arrived and these are very impressive indeed, and great for getting photos of and in front of. Just don’t climb on the plinths the statues stand on, and don’t put your kids on them for a photo. Not only will a Cast Member tell you to get down, but they are pretty high and accidents could be serious. Be sensible. The Iron Man I do think could have his chest plate and palm laser light up, but as it doesn’t get that dark before Walt Disney Studios closes in the summer I guess you wouldn’t see it at its fullest potential, but still would have looked cool.
The are also a ton of posters, featuring many of the characters from Avengers: Infinity War. It’s fun seeing Marvel characters near classic Disney characters, which is art imitating life as to what we are seeing in Walt Disney Studios for Marvel Summer Fun. Before you even enter the Studios the new season is heralded by the big gate art, and gives people an opportunity for a Marvel wall photo, as is the trend these days.
The Studio Theater itself, aside from the aforementioned new and rather swanky looking logo, is adorned outside with some amazing silhouette posters and trim art. I love how the posters have the person inside the bigger silhouette of their alter ego, which works both artistically and symbolically. My only complaint is that they don’t actually sell these as posters for guests to buy and take home…yet. If they don’t have that in their plan to be added to the Marvel Summer of Super Heroes merchandise offering in Disneyland Paris, then it needs adding as soon as possible.
Marvel Summer of Super Heroes Characters in Disneyland Paris
I never got to meet Captain America in his meet and greet setting where you could previously meet Spider-Man, and that’s because the meet and greet slots, booked via the Lineberty app, all went in a matter of seconds. So the advice there is to download the app before you set off for Disneyland Paris, and start checking it a few minutes before the supposed 9.45am opening time. If the Spider-Man meet and greet is anything to go by, and the meet I had with Cap in the launch night, then this will be a very cool experience.
I do think more than one character meet is needed for Marvel Summer of Super Heroes, and I don’t mean exclusive extra money experiences, I mean ones that everyone can join in with, as you’d kind of expect from the television advertising that has been doing the rounds. It’s not that Captain America isn’t great, it’s just that I’d expect, especially for a season that runs through the very expensive peak summer season, to meet a few more, like Black Widow and Spider-Man, as part of any standard holiday booking.
Marvel Summer of Super Heroes Merchandise and Snacks in Disneyland Paris
Merchandise is aplenty, with stacks for women in the form of clothing and handbags, and a couple of t-shirt offerings for men. There are many different ranges of toys sold all over Walt Disney Studios and Disneyland |Park, but to a lesser extent. The themed sipping cups: Iron Man’s helmet, baby Groot and the most sought-after Infinity Gauntlet, will not see you getting much change from €20 each, but are pretty big, robust and fun mementoes. Snacks are also plentiful, from Groot chocolate filled biscuits and bread, to massive, and I really must emphasise how big they are, chocolate filled Captain America shield doughnuts. There is even a Spider-Man themed burger meal but as someone who doesn’t eat burgers I didn’t sample that, but am told is pretty tasty. Along with Spider-Man candy apples and much more, there is plenty for everyone and all tastes.
Marvel Summer of Super Heroes in Disneyland Paris – The Verdict
I was in the very fortunate position of being able to experience the season both at the launch event on Saturday night, and afterwards once it has opened to the public, so I’ve seen variations of the big Marvel Super Heroes United show, and also seen how people react to what’s on offer, both as invited guests and a paying ones. I’ll tell you one thing straight away, it’s very very popular, with queues forming outside the Studio Theater hours before each show, leaving Disneyland Park as empty as a mid week day in February, without the snow. I understand that this is the start of a very new season so of course people will want to see it, but it’s not just the volume of people but the excitement that is shown, and especially the number of guests sporting Marvel clothing of one sort or another.
It’s not perfect, and I’ve highlighted what I think are the limitations and things that need attention as I’ve gone along, but for the first big introduction of Marvel into Disneyland Paris I think Marvel Summer of Super Heroes does a very good job indeed. It’s not too intense that it will scare off the traditional Disney lovers, but it’s got enough of what Marvel fans love about the brand to bring new guests to Disneyland Paris, which I’m certain is what Marvel Summer of Super Heroes is aiming to do. A certain Asgardian is present so I know my wife would be happy, and as a big fan of Marvel, especially Black Panther, I know my 10 year old son would have a blast. I actually asked him if he’d join in with the Guardians of the Galaxy Awesome Dance-Off this evening, and to my surprise, he actually said he would! So, good job, Disneyland Paris! You’ve created something that can convince a shy 10 year old to willingly dancing in front of the Walt Disney Studios crowds. I’ve mis-called it the Marvel Season of Fun all weekend, but I think the Marvel Season of Super Heroes in Disneyland Paris is just that.