The Disney-Marvel Purchase & Islands of Adventure

Will Spidey Be Climbing Disney’s Castle? Are the Heroes Leaving IOA?
File this one under: “No one saw it coming”. Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man | Islands of AdventureYesterday, Disney announced that they were planning to buy Marvel for $4 billion. In case you’re not into comics or haven’t been in a theater for the last decade or so, the Marvel brand includes popular super heroes like: Spider-Man, the X-Men, Wolverine, Hulk, Iron Man, and the Fantastic Four. This is big news in the corporate business and entertainment worlds, but also has some interesting implications for the theme park world. Disney has a major competitor in Orlando and L.A. in Universal which has Marvel-themed rides, attractions, and walk around characters.

What Will Happen to Universal’s Islands of Adventure?
Universal Studios Orlando’s Islands of Adventure has been anchored by its most popular section, the Marvel Super Hero Island since it opened in 1999. The technologically ground-breaking Spider-Man ride simulator and thrilling Incredible Hulk Coaster at Islands of AdventureHulk roller coaster have helped to put the relatively new park on the map. So what will happen to the Marvel-themed rides and characters that protect guests from evil-doers? Nothing. Seems a bit anti-climactic, but according to the LATimes Funland Blog visitors to the popular park won’t see any changes.

“Our agreement with Marvel stands for as long as we follow the terms of our existing contract and for as long as we want there to be a Marvel Super Hero Island,” said Universal Studios Florida spokesman Tom Schroder. -LA Times

No changes also in a literal sense. It appears that while the Universal’s Marvel license will protect the current rides and attractions, Disney will likely disallow Universal from adding new Marvel-themed rides. There’s also a weird situation here where Disney will not only benefit from being able to use the Marvel brand in new theme park attractions, but it will also receive licensing fees (generate revenue) from a competing park in Universal. I’ve also heard some buzz around a geographic limitation in the Universal-Marvel license. According to what I’ve read it could keep other Orlando parks from creating Marvel-themed rides. So Islands of Adventure fans needn’t worry anytime soon.

Wolverine - Islands of Adventure

While I love theme parks and roller coasters, I’m most concerned about Marvel’s upcoming movies. Paramount already plans to release the next five Marvel movies: “Iron Man 2”, “Thor”, “The First Avenger: Captain America”, “The Avengers”, and “Iron Man 3”. After that, Disney wants to distribute the movies. If people thought this year’s Wolverine movie was a little watered down wait until the ‘Mouse’ is distributing it. Good thing the Blade trilogy is done. Ugh…. Maybe if they release darker super hero movies under Miramax or Touchstone (also owned by Disney) then they won’t have to make all future releases family friendly.

What’s Your Take?
What do you think of Disney purchasing Marvel? What Marvel characters would you like to see incorporated into Disney parks? Leave a comment below.