The Walt Disney Company announced today they’re acquiring Marvel Entertainment for $4 billion in cash and stock. This means Disney will own rights to 5,000 Marvel characters such as Spider-Man, Hulk, Capt. America, The X-Men, Dr. Doom, Fantastic Four and more.
So what will this mean for the future of Universal Islands of Adventure and its Marvel Super Hero Island? This section of the park includes rides such as The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, Dr. Doom’s Fearfall, Storm Force Accelatron and The Incredible Hulk Coaster. In addition to the rides, there are many Marvel walk-around characters in the park.
Marvel shareholders will receive $30 per share in cash plus 0.745 Disney shares for every Marvel share they own. The boards of Disney and Marvel have both approved the transaction, but it requires an antitrust review and the approval of Marvel shareholders.
There’s no word from Universal yet on the future of the land.
Disney’s President Bob Iger appeared on CNBC earlier today and had this to say, “Marvel characters have already proven to be strong in terms of theme park attraction and we believe there are a lot of opportunities around the world, not in every one of our parks because there are some existing agreements that we obviously have to honor, but in a number of places for us to use the Marvel characters to basically help us grow our theme park business and better entertain people.”
Universal Orlando spokesman Tom Schroder said Marvel characters will remain a staple at its parks. “Marvel Super Hero Island at Universal’s Islands of Adventure and the Marvel characters are a beloved and important part of the Universal Orlando experience. They will remain so. Our guests are going to get to meet Spider-Man and all our other Marvel characters. We believe our agreement with Marvel stands and that the Disney/Marvel deal will have no impact on our guest experience.”
The Orlando Sentinel is reporting that Marvel has various deals with Universal Orlando. But the agreements governing The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man ride and The Incredible Hulk roller coaster, appear to be virtually perpetual deals. According to Universal’s filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Universal Orlando retains American rights east of the Mississippi River for as long as its attractions are in operation. Universal and Marvel also have various deals for everything from merchandise sales to the theming of many other portions of Islands of Adventure.
You can read the whole Sentinel story here.