Between Disney World and Marvel Entertainment, both contain beloved characters. Whether you’re young or old, there’s something for everyone. Bringing action-packed Marvel characters to your favorite Disney parks is a great idea. But can you meet Marvel Characters at Disney World in Florida?
Unfortunately, you may not be able to meet Marvel characters at Disney World. While Disney technically owns Marvel Entertainment, there are strict rules and regulations. So, let’s unpack Marvel history and interesting Disney World facts. You’ll know what to expect during your next Disney World family vacation.
The History of Marvel
Marvel is a huge part of pop culture. The company originated in 1939 by Martin Goodman. Soon after, Timely Comics began with its first success, Captain America. However, superheroes became less popular during the Second World War throughout the ‘40s. So, Timely Comics became Atlas Comics.
Another attempt was to bring superheroes back to life in the early ‘50s. Sadly, it didn’t work. Then, in 1956, competitor comics, including DC Comics, revived superhero characters. Finally, The Justice League of America came to fruition in the ‘60s. One last time, Atlas Comics tried again to ignite their classic superhero characters.
From there, Atlas Comics became Marvel Comics, and the characters you love today were born. Then in the ‘70s, the popularity of The Hulk, Iron Man, and Spider-Man grew to new levels. Finally, the Marvel Entertainment Group became the official company title in the future. A new legacy was born.
Universal Studios obtained Marvel rights in the ‘90s as the comic company struggled. Since its original agreement in 1992, MCA holds the license to all Marvel characters. Additionally, there was an agreement between Comcast and Marvel Entertainment. The deal was for the Avengers to enter Disney World. However, Universal Studios has the ultimate power among Marvel characters.
The Disney Connection
Throughout the ‘90s, Marvel as a company declared bankruptcy. As a result, Sony purchased the right to movies, including Spider-Man, during that time. Later, Disney bought the rights to Marvel in 2009 for an impressive four billion dollars.
The merger separated Marvel into two divisions, Marvel Television and Marvel Studios. As a result, the first Marvel film released by Disney was The Avengers in 2012. The not-so-popular Guardians of the Galaxy was next on Disney’s movie list to tackle. While it was a considerable risk, the movie became an instant hit.
However, Disney didn’t receive the green light for all Marvel licensing rights. In addition, due to previous contracts, the original agreement between MCA and Marvel became difficult.
With the addition of Disney+, the Marvel Cinematic Universe gained new shows. The streaming service reaches many viewers and new Marvel fans. Between shows and movies, Marvel’s popularity is an incredible success.
Even though Disney owns Marvel, Sony still owns the rights to films like Spider-Man. Sony is also working on its new establishment. The company is the Sony Pictures Universe of Marvel Characters. Overall, Disney owns the rights to the Marvel superheroes, but Sony holds the iconic films.
Marvel vs. Disney World
The contract stated that Marvel characters couldn’t venture east of the Mississippi River. Therefore, it affects Disney World. So, that’s why Disneyland in California can have a Disney Spider-Man attraction. There’s a vast difference between the West and East Coasts.
Although Disney can’t legally use the “Marvel” name in marketing, they made it work. While Disney did purchase Marvel Entertainment, it’s a complicated relationship. Disney still doesn’t own Marvel Worldwide nor Marvel Games. However, Disney obtains the rights to some Marvel-themed attractions. The result is incredible for some of their parks, as Marvel rises in popularity.
Disney has the rights to the following Marvel films:
- Dark Phoenix
- The Winter Soldier
- Black Widow
- Fantastic Four
The merger between Marvel and Disney was a huge benefit for both parties. Ultimately, it saved Marvel from going bankrupt. Also, Disney stepped up and showcased new superhero films and took Marvel to a new level.
As time goes on, Marvel is slowly taking over Disney parks. That is, wherever they can go. For example, Disneyland Resort’s California Adventure is home to a Guardian of the Galaxy-themed park. Disney Parks overseas also include Marvel additions.
Disneyland Paris and Hong Kong both opened Marvel-themed parks. However, many people want the same treatment for the biggest resort, Disney World.
The Disney World Breakthrough
The good news is that Disney is reaching new audiences due to the Marvel revival in other parks.
There are still limitations in place regarding Disney World’s ability to promote Marvel characters. For example, if Universal Studios chooses not to feature a Marvel character, Disney World can take advantage of this—by including this particular character in their Disney parks. But because of this, they tend to take the less popular or newer characters.
Luckily, you can visit the Marvel shop at Disney World’s Disney Springs. The Super Hero Headquarters is the perfect spot to get your Marvel merchandise. You’ll notice that the company name is out of the title. However, as soon as you walk in and see movie posters on the walls, you’ll notice the decorations.
Items at the Marvel-themed shop include the following:
Places like Disney World accommodate the brand creatively as long as the company adheres to specific guidelines. For example, you’ll see more Marvel collectibles at Disney Springs. The reason is that it’s not technically a Disney park. Although, you can still find Marvel gear scattered in other parts of the park. From Spider-Man to Iron Man, you won’t want to miss out.
Aside from Disney Springs, Marvel collectibles are in the following Disney World parks:
- Hollywood Studios
- Magic Kingdom
Disney World also includes the Guardian of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind attraction. The Epcot thriller is one of the largest enclosed roller coasters. Plus, the ride rotates 360 degrees. Disney got the green light on this feature due to its characters.
Overall, Disney agrees to Marvel’s standards regarding characters, appearances, changes, and any upgrades.
Additional Marvel Experiences at Disney World
Guardian of the Galaxy is an excellent addition to Disney World. Although, there have been other Marvel appearances at the magical park at times. There are examples of the two worlds colliding, from movie clips to meet-and-greets.
Marvel experiences at Disney World throughout the years include the following:
- Moon Knight Advertisement for Disney+
- Sneak peek of The Externals
- Guardians of the Galaxy, meet-and-greet
- Doctor Strange, meet-and-greet
- Villains Unleashed Party, Hollywood Studios
- Avengers-themed monorail during movie promotion
The list also includes a projection show. The show featured Guardians of the Galaxy and Doctor Strange. The Disney Movie Magic show also debuted at Hollywood Studios. Then, you have the classic Disney World attraction, The Great Movie Ride. The end of the ride now features a movie montage from the Guardians of the Galaxy film.
Marvel film clips feature at Hollywood Studios and Epcot. However, Disney World may not see a Marvel expansion. So, can you meet Marvel characters at Disney World?
Can You Meet Marvel Characters at Disney World?
Before Disney bought Marvel, there was a strict agreement among its characters. Marvel characters can’t enter Disney World gates due to licensing rights. Therefore, the park may never have a Marvel World like Disneyland due to its proximity.
Ultimately, Disney World is Universal Studios’ neighbor. On the other hand, there’s more flexibility at Disneyland, hence Marvel World. Of course, Disney World includes attractions, including Guardians of the Galaxy. But that’s because it’s not a massive threat to Universal. Therefore, Epcot has free rein.
Also, upon Marvel’s Big Hero 6 release, Baymax and Hiro attended an Epcot meet-and-greet. They weren’t a prominent Universal feature, so Disney took advantage of the opportunity. Unfortunately, many well-known characters reside at Universal. So, the future of Marvel at Disney World is unclear, aside from the Guardians of the Galaxy coaster.
As long as the Islands of Adventure in Universal Studios operates, the agreement between Disney stands. So, you may not see a Marvel park at Disney World.
Before your Disney vacation, you can use the My Disney Experience app on your tablet or phone. There, you’ll see available sights and characters.
Perhaps Universal Studios is best if you want to get the most out of your Marvel adventure. If you want to see top-notch superhero characters in action, Universal is the winner. You have options between the Islands of Adventure and Marvel Super Hero Island. Additionally, you’ll enjoy themed rides, including The Incredible Hulk Coaster. However, if you are a die-hard Disney fan, there are Marvel options too.
Seeing characters at your favorite theme park is an incredible highlight. From Spider-Man to The Hulk, there are several Marvel characters you may love. So, when it comes to your next family vacation, can you meet Marvel characters at Disney World? Unfortunately, while you can see them at Universal Studios, Disney World does not offer this feature.
However, Disney World does have exceptions at times. Although you may not meet a full range of superhero characters, the good news is that Disney World is making its way into the Marvel realm due to finding loopholes. So before you know it, superhero features may be on the horizon.