Hong Kong – On Wednesday, Hong Kong Financial Secretary, John Tsang, announced that Hong Kong Disneyland would expand to include Marvel heroes. The expansion will reportedly cover 17 acres in the currently 68-acre park. This expansion will reportedly be completed around 2017. While details are quite sketchy at this point, the expansion will include Marvel attractions and a nighttime parade. Money for the expansion will come directly from park profits as opposed to any government funding in this 52 percent government-owned theme park.
In Orlando, Marvel characters reside in the competition’s park – Universal Orlando Resort’s Islands of Adventure. While Islands of Adventure might be best known for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, two of my personal favorite attractions occupy Marvel Super Hero Island: The Incredible Hulk coaster and The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman. The Walt Disney Company acquired Marvel in 2009, but it was stated Disney would honor previous contracts including the agreement that put the Marvel characters at Universal Orlando. In 2012, Disney CEO Bob Iger had stated that Disney would begin to integrate Marvel characters into Disney parks. In fact, The Avengers-wrapped monorail car was seen traveling the monorail line in Orlando most of 2012. Who could blame Disney for wanting to expand Marvel in its parks when The Avengers movie grossed $1.5+ billion worldwide?
Meanwhile back in Hong Kong, Disneyland will be finishing its current expansion project with the opening of Mystic Point land this year. This land will include Mystic Manor, Hong Kong’s take on the classic dark ride The Haunted Mansion. In 2012, Grizzly Gulch opened with the marquee attraction Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars, a coaster ride. In 2011, the initial Hong Kong Disneyland expansion Toy Story Land opened. We will have to wait for further details on the 2017 as yet unnamed Marvel land. We will also have to wait, possibly quite a bit longer, for further news on any sort of American Disney Marvel installation.
• Andy Guinigundo is the author of the Out of The Loop column in “Orlando Attractions Magazine”. He lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with his wife and three daughters. He grew up frequenting theme parks around Ohio and making trips to Orlando with his family. While for most of the year, he’s out of the Orlando loop, he tries to visit Florida at least once a year. You can follow Andy on Twitter at @AttractionsOOTL.