This review of Avengers Campus Paris is based on our visit during the Annual passholder preview day on July 16th 2022
One of the crazes of the 1990s was the magic eye picture, a collection of dots in a seemingly organized pattern that if you stared at in the right way would give you a migraine inducing glimpse of a 3d rendering of a car, pyramid or sailboat (if you are Kevin Smith). It was always a mystery to me how so many tiny elements could create a cohesive larger whole. Avengers Campus is like a reverse magic eye picture where the larger campus itself is easy to see, and possibly underestimate, but its trying to understand, organise and take in all of the smaller moving parts that is the headache.
Firstly the land itself, especially when you consider the area as it was, is a beautiful construct. Whether it’s the Pym Kitchen with an ant man disk poking out of it, the sleek integration of old and new within the W.E.B building or the glorious façade of the Flight Force attraction. No two buildings are the same but collectively they all add up to a land where every direction has something interesting and unique to look at. The land is incredibly immersive, although the Tower of Terror looms, but from behind you can trick yourself into thinking it’s just a nearby building, it’s the sight of RC racer near the outer edge of the land that does take you out of the illusion a little.
The real USP of the land is not the rides or the attractions, it’s the Cast Members, whilst Avengers Campus doesn’t claim to be the larping experience of Galaxy’s Edge, the land is alive with characters. Captain Marvel wanders unaccompanied posing for pictures and chatting with guests, Captain America waves from the Quinjet and Iron man patrols in his… car. On the roof of the W.E.B. building Black widow and Black Panther fight Taskmaster and Spiderman sits on high bars whipping up the crowd before performing acrobatics. While all this is going on you can hear elsewhere that the Dora Milaje are performing or the Guardians of the Galaxy are in a dance off. If you suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out) then the first, second and maybe third visit to this land will be anxiety inducing as you choose which of the spontaneous and off timetable events you want to head for or wait for. In fact if rides are not your thing I think you could cheerfully find a pitch by the Stark Factory and just allow the land to happen around you… but then you won’t see Spiderman’s solo stuff, and you may miss Thor and Loki up close… The land is a melting pot of street theatre, successfully blending choreographed set pieces with the intimacy of Captain America chatting to a child with little evidence of the joins. If this level of character investment remains then its something utterly unique in the Disneyland Paris Resort.
The attractions are a mixed bag, if two rides can be considered a mixed bag, Spiderman: Web Adventure, or Web Slingers as it is known across the pond, is a combination of the ride system of Ratatouille (albeit not trackless but it’s the closest match) and Buzz Lightyear with guests using their arms to fire webs at rampaging Spiderbots throughout Avengers Campus. Whilst some have complained about the French translation, the campus and ride are in France so its completely understandable. The ride itself is great fun, we rode it three times capitalising on the low ride times during the preview. It can be tiring but spotting a yellow bot, aiming at it and scoring the kill to edge past your team mates/rivals in the scoring is a great feeling. The pre show is really cool and on par with that of the Tower of Terror, look for in depth reviews and videos coming soon.
By contrast my old favourite the Rock n Roller Coaster feels like its been downgraded in its new incarnation Avengers: Flight Force. The pre show sequences with Iron Man and Captain Marvel are amazing, especially the scene stealing Iron Man Animatronic which has to be seen to be believed, none of the video footage does this justice, its incredible. The ride however feels like a poor man’s Hyperspace Mountain with a few video screens and limited audio failing to deliver the storytelling promise of the pre show. I am not sure I felt like I did help destroy or distract the Kree Warheads. I was expecting the onboard ride audio to pump out ACDC, one of Iron Man’s trademarks, but it wasn’t to be. The ride is fun its ok, but I feel the synergy of the Aerosmith ride is lost, I only did it once and it was a walk on all day. If you only do one ride make it WEB Adventure, if you love Iron Man, queue for the animatronic and lower expectations immediately after you pass it. One other thing for Flight Force is the new system of reviewing and purchasing your own photos at the self service kiosks after the ride. We didn’t get ours because the queue to use the kiosks was longer than the queue for the ride. Imagine returning to day one of the supermarket self checkouts, no one knows what to do or how to do it, and inevitably everyone is learning by repeated failure, I feel this option should be an overflow to a standard kiosk and not the only way of getting a picture.
We ate in the Stark Kitchen which is a gigantic counter service restaurant including Stark Factory Theming and a 40s throwback of Peggy Carters office where you can eat your meal at her desk looking at WW2 era Captain America regalia. The focal point of the factory is an impressive life size Hulkbuster which has Marvel fans buzzing around it like flies forgetting that they were hungry when they went in. We had Pizza and Pasta and both were excellent, easily the best counter service restaurant we’ve experienced in Disneyland Paris.
We also reduced ourselves to the size of ants and sneaked into Pym Kitchen. The restaurant is so bright and airy, the theming of ant man and laboratories is really well realized. The Giant Burgers and Hot Dogs are impressive, until a few slices have gone and then… maybe they start to look like something you’ve seen at subway. Even the mini burgers have been available at the Art of Marvel hotel for the last year. Even the “giant” Pretzel that all tables are presented with looked very like the ones that are routinely available at Christmas Markets. I am not saying I want to eat a whole burger the size of a drinks tray, but a slice of that becomes a triangular, but regular sized, burger. Don’t get me wrong the food looked really nice but if you are expecting the more elaborate big/small foods from the DCA campus you will be disappointed.
The Mission Equipment store is the exit through the gift shop for Web Adventure, which isn’t entirely obvious from the outside, I left by accident and found I couldn’t get back in without riding the attraction again. As a true Avenger I just waited for an inevitable complaint from a fellow consumer and while he distracted the CM I took the chance to rush in to buy all of the pins, T shirts and a Spider Bot, which once I’d left the Avengers Campus made me the most popular boy in school, just 30 years too late.
The final attraction, one that is unique to Paris, is the Superhero Training Centre, where visitors can select an Avenger, meet them and get a unique bullet time picture of themselves. The system required a QR code from a cast member at the attraction to access a virtual queue, which was full, with queues reopening at 2pm we tried again then but refreshing the ap got us back to where we needed a cast member QR code again and at this point the CMs were essentially being mobbed like the Beatles at Kennedy Airport. The Superhero Training Centre was the only place in the land where people seemed unhappy or annoyed. As much as I am no fan of queuing it feels like Paris is not yet ready for everyone jumping on their phones at 8am with a mystery time and place in a virtual queue changing throughout the day until its your turn. What happens if you are called for your 1-1 with Iron Man while you are eating? Or halfway through the Flight Force queue? The more that people can’t turn up on spec because they are doing something else the more erratic the queue becomes. The alternative is to hold off enjoying anything else in the land while you wait for your appointment… but isn’t this just queueing – but with an extra electronic hoop to jump through? This definitely feels like something that needs to be reviewed, meeting Darth Vader is never as difficult as this.
Overall I really like this land and I especially appreciate the differentiation in offering from the rest of the resort. There are teething problems, but we visited on an annual pass holder day so shaking down and load testing these processes was the purpose of the day. Any gripes I have are minor, Ride Flight Force but don’t expect it to live up to the animatronic. Eat at Pym’s but don’t expect the giant meatball or chicken sandwich and watch a few how to videos if you want to do a meet and greet at the training centre. But if you are up for street theatre and stunts, a living breathing avengers land where every experience is at the opportunity cost of another then this is the place for you, just don’t feel down if you miss something, it wasn’t that you didn’t do it right, you will just need to visit again another day.
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