ANAHEIM (CNET) — Disney finally confirmed Tuesday that it will do away with the A Bug’s Land section of the Disney California Adventure Park and replace it with a superhero-themed section in 2020. Out with the old and in with the Avengers.
The long-rumored new land, according to the a statement from Disney, will be anchored by the Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout ride, which replaced the popular Twilight Zone Tower of Terror last May.
Two other international parks will get the Marvel treatment too — Disneyland Paris will open a Marvel-themed area at its Walt Disney Studios Park (the second of the two Paris parks, if you have trouble keeping track.) And Hong Kong Disneyland will get a new hero-themed area, along with a fresh attraction featuring Ant-Man and The Wasp. That should pair nicely with Hong Kong’s Iron Man Experience that opened in 2017 and, according to Disney, is now the park’s most popular attraction. (Spoiler: I’ve been on it. It’s amazing.)
All this news will be a hard pill for traditionalist Disney fans resistant to change in the parks. I’ve heard no shortage of complaints from friends since Tower of Terror was converted to a Guardians of the Galaxy theme.
As a Disney diehard who has been to five out of six of the world’s Disney resorts, let me just say this: bring on more Marvel!
First off, I’m not really sad to see A Bug’s Land go. While aesthetically pleasing, it’s a bit of a useless area filled with low-capacity rides meant to service only very small children. The area caters to the same demographic as Disneyland’s Fantasyland, but doesn’t draw nearly the amount of traffic Fantasyland gets. We brought a baby to Disneyland back in September, and the only thing A Bug’s Land was really good for was shade.
Plus, by this summer, Disney California Adventure Park will already have two other Pixar-themed lands. Cars Land, a Pixar-themed land adjacent to A Bug’s Land that launched in 2012, was better executed in theme and has more engaging rides. And this very moment, Paradise Pier is being converted to Pixar Pier with a heavy focus on “Toy Story” and “The Incredibles.” Three Pixar-themed lands in the park feels redundant.
Second, Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout is fantastic. Did I love the original “Twilight Zone” theme? You bet. Did I still have a blast on the new Guardians ride? Absolutely! The ride conversion gives me faith Disney will put thought and care into its new Marvel attractions. I’ve yet to be disappointed with any new ride launch from the last decade. Why should I doubt Disney now?
Third, I visited Hong Kong Disneyland this past November and was able to ride the Iron Man Experience. It’s basically just a snazzy Marvel-themed version of Star Tours. It was also a really awesome ride, even down to the visual set pieces while waiting in line. Marvel films typically do well in Asia, so this definitely feels like the right fit for the Hong Kong park.
Is it the right fit for Disney California Adventures Park? I think so. I understand some of the concerns Marvel films may be a fad. But let’s remember that A Bug’s Land is only 20 years old, and “A Bug’s Life” already feels like a long-forgotten property. If Disney was willing to risk anchoring an entire land on a single Pixar film, is it really so crazy that it would be ready to build an entire land on a franchise with 18 successful films and counting?
— Rebecca Fleenor