The newest expansion to the Disneyland Resort — Avengers Campus at California Adventure Park — will add an attraction that will pit the legion of Marvel superheroes against an army of villains, led by a crown-wearing genocidal King Thanos.
That was one of dozens of announcements made Sunday at D23, the Disney Expo at Anaheim Convention Center, by Josh D'Amaro, Disney's head of Parks, Experiences and Products. Each announcement was met by screams, applause and shouts from about 7,000 Disney fans in the convention hall, many dressed as princesses, superheroes, Jedi knights, pirates and other Disney characters.
In addition to the new attraction at Avengers Campus, D'Amaro unveiled new artist renderings of the planned overhaul to the Pacific Wharf area at California Adventure Park that will soon resemble a Japanese-inspired tribute to San Francisco, called San Fransokyo. He also showed fans images of the planned redesign of Paradise Pier Hotel — one of three Disney-owned hotels in the resort — to be renamed Pixar Place Hotel, decorated with colorful art of characters and scenes from Pixar Pictures.
He offered no exact opening dates for the changes and few details about the attraction except to say that all the Avengers superheroes would be battling a white-bearded King Thanos — the warlord from Titan — and his army of bad guys. Disney executives have hinted that the newest attraction will be based at the Avengers headquarters, which is also the landing pad for the aircraft used by the Avengers, the Quinjet.
The pandemic shutdown of Disney parks across the globe in 2020 and 2021 prompted the media giant's executives to reconsider ways to expand and overhaul its theme parks, D'Amaro said. "We are continuing to think about what is next," he said.
But there were some additions D'Amaro offered with specifics: Two new nighttime attractions will launch in January, a light show called "World of Color — One" at Disney California Adventure and a new fireworks show called "Wonderous Journeys" at Disneyland. He also said that "Magic Happens," a parade that was canceled in 2020 because of the pandemic shutdown, will return this spring.
D'Amaro also said new costumed characters will soon greet and mingle with parkgoers at Disneyland and California Adventure Park. The Mandalorian and Grogu — sometimes called Baby Yoda — from "The Mandalorian" television series will appear at Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge in November and a giant Hulk character will stomp around Avengers Campus next week, he said.
"There are so many things happening at the Disneyland Resort that we haven't finished talking about it," he said to the screams of fans.
Before the Disneyland resort closed for 13 months because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Disney executives had hinted that the headquarters for the Avengers superheroes would house an E-ticket-rated attraction but they remained tight-lipped regarding details about the ride. There has been almost no further mention of the building since the theme parks reopened.
Avengers Campus, the land themed for Marvel superheroes, is the latest expansion at the Disneyland Resort, having opened in June 2021, only two months after Disneyland and California Adventure reopened from the pandemic shutdown. The six-acre land opened with only one new ride, Web Slingers: A Spider-Man Adventure. The land features Guardians of the Galaxy Mission: Breakout, which previously existed as Twilight Zone Tower of Terror before its superhero makeover was completed in 2017.
D'Amaro also announced new attractions at Walt Disney World in Florida and Disney theme parks in Japan, France and China. He announced the name of the newest Disney cruise ship — Disney Treasure — and new routes to Australia, New Zealand and the Bahamas.
Disneyland has been investing heavily in the Anaheim resort over the last few years and plans to continue to do so.
In 2019, Disneyland opened its 14-acre Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, a $1-billion expansion that features two rides, shops and retail outlets themed to the "Star Wars" movie franchise.
In addition to the recently opened Avengers Campus, Disney last year proposed a plan dubbed Disney Forward that would change the parks' land-use map to squeeze new attractions, shops and eateries into underdeveloped areas of the existing resort, specifically around two Disney hotels west of the theme parks and on the site of a parking lot east of the resort. The media giant has declined to disclose overall construction costs or other details.
The proposal would require the city of Anaheim to approve an overhaul to land-use plans that were approved in the 1990s. City officials say no public hearings have been scheduled to discuss the Disney Forward proposal.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.