Thursday, September 3, 2015

Sydney Summer: Marvel City

Part 2: Theme Park Overviews
Part 3: The Resort Outside the Parks
Part 4: Main Street and Fantasyland
Part 5: Adventureland
Part 6: Discoveryland
Part 7: New York Harbor
Part 8: Hollywood Boulevard
Part 9: Disney Animation Studios

This week we cover the next land of Hollywood Adventure: Marvel City.

From Hollywood Gardens, the Marvel City land is composed of two separate areas, the Stark Industries Expo to the south of the main road, and the urban city to the north. Before walking through the land, I wanted to comment on the contents. There are three major attractions in this area, each probably capable of being a headliner, and each high thrill. I decided to take a "Universal Studios" approach to this land because of the demographics of the property and focus on more thrilling high impact attractions.

Starting from the hub area, a highly manicured garden leads toward the Stark Industries area. This is modeled on a sleek utopian World's Fair, like the architectural style of Stark featured in the movies. The main entrance to the indoor pavilion is under a sweeping circular arcade and through a large metallic sphere, into a highly modern technology expo that serves as the entrance to two attractions. The main attraction is Stark Expo, which is a Dynamic Attractions SFX coaster, a highly unusual coaster system that has yet to be built as far as I know. The coaster/dark ride hybrid is a set up as a tour of Tony Stark's experimental projects lab, including a demonstration of his new high speed urban transportation system. The other attraction, which is on the second floor, is an Iron Man animatronic show, like what I have proposed for other parks. Both attractions exit to large retail spaces that lead back out to the street.

The urban half of the land begins as the facades of Hollywood transition to New York. The facades are slightly taller, creating a more enclosed land. It is a much more stylized New York than the version in the Disneyland Park, with less real world detail and more cinematic stylization. We turn right down the main street into the land, which is on axis with the Stark Expo facade behind. We pass under a lowered bridge that reveals a view of the glistening force perspective tower at the end of the street, which is the SHIELD headquarters.

The building to the right contains a large counter service location sandwiched by retail. The left building is retail and a meet and greet facility. The retail spaces are all subdivided into individual but connected stores, like Main Street, and all have unique themes and unique products to create a diverse city. The counter service restaurant is split between the first and second floors of the building and has an urban diner theme. The meet and greet is themed as a SHIELD recruiting facility where a rotating group of Avengers and heroes are found through the day.

The headquarters building at the end of the street holds the main attraction of the land: Avengers Assemble, a thrilling trip that follows the Avengers into battle. The SHIELD building's main element is a force perspective tower that is 100' tall in total. It rises above a class curtain wall facade with a semicircular sloped metal canopy with a fountain at the very center. We are here today as part of a SHIELD initiative to be more transparent to the public after their recent major mishaps.

The queues for the attraction begin on the right side of the plaza, and lead into the main entry hall, where guests find a large marble statue of the Avengers team.  The queues lead around the hall and then into the back hallways of the building, through the Avengers artifact gallery and towards the informational presentation. As we make our way through the queue however, we are informed by periodic overhead monitors that the Avengers have suddenly been called into action for a minor event, forcing a change in schedule. Nick Fury suggests cancelling, but Tony Stark decides that this is the perfect time to test out his new high capacity troop transits, so he invites us along on the trip. We pass a briefing station where an animatronic of Fury stands before a projected wall of information, including Stark's schematics for the vehicle. To get to the vehicle, we are being routed through the experimental lab section and towards the loading docks.

The queues move into the next space, the labs, which is the interior of that 100' tower piece, though the clearspan of the room is probably only about 75' In the room are four large industrial cylinders running all the way to the ceiling, dressed as large vehicle test chambers. These four cylinders are actually the show elevators for the attraction. Pipes and industrial set dressings cover the walls and the open floor space is filled with scientific equipment. The queues turn into the loading bay, which is a more industrial but still sleek and modern space. The fastpass and standby queues merge and turn left towards the digital info glass (3D) distribution station before a few more switchbacks and then the loading dock.

The Stark designed vehicle resembles a large all terrain vehicle with an Iron Man paint job. It is a tracked motion base vehicle that seats 5 per row with 4 rows, making it significantly larger than other similar ride systems. Each row also features a large touch screen dashboard that features a OS like that of Iron Man. Guests are given the opportunity to interact with the screen during certain scenes of the attraction.

After loading is complete, we slowly move forward and a video message from Tony pops up on our dashboard. He tells us that Jarvis is in complete control of the vehicle we are in, but this is the first major test run, so hold on. Also that if flies. As we pick up speed and round the corner we see the first large format 3D screen, showing the Avengers Quinjet preparing to take off. Iron Man flies into frame and tells us some about the mission, and that we are here to follow and observe as they investigate an unusual cosmic event. He sends us on to the launch bay and we turn the corner and take a track switch to one of the two elevator tubes. Inside the tube is a a 240 degree projection surface, enclosing our whole view as we face forward. The elevator tube also extends upward 85' as one continuous show space. This is the main element that makes the attraction unique: the inclusion of vertical launch and freefall elements into the middle of a dark ride.

The dim launch bay comes to life with flashing lights and a quick countdown and we are launched vertically upward. The launch is at a medium thrill speed, but the synchronization with the projected surface simulates a much swifter launch into the sky. We shoot up, past the second floor, and then slowly descend back to the second floor as the projection shows us soaring through the clouds. A commbination of smoke, lighting, and movement disguises our vehicle reversing out of the elevator and into the first scene of this floor. We rotate to a scene of the Avengers landing and surveying a city in the midst of battle. The general premise is the same as every other Avengers battle: a big bad has led an army of minion soldiers to destroy a city, and the Avengers must work together to stop it. Ideally, this would tie into a villain character from an Avengers film, possibly Thanos from the movies that will be coming out in a few years.

The next few scenes move us from screen environment to environment as the battle continues. Each is closely integrated with physical sets and effects to create a 4D experience.  Jarvis is able to keep us out of the way with only minimal damage and we are able to watch as the Avengers tag team battle through the city.  After a few of these similar scenes, we emerge into another unique scene: a large physical ruined city show scene, with just a few integrated screens. Effects throughout the city scene, including fire, smoke, and moving set pieces simulating destruction, add depth and chaos to the battle. The Avengers are mostly seen on the screens integrated into the city sets, but some of them also appear in physical form. An animatronic Iron Man swoops up from behind a pile of rubble and hovers in the smoke, telling us to watch out behind us, causing us to speed around a corner. Then we see Captain America and Thor together in battle, recreating the pose with Thor striking Captain's shield, forming a shock wave that pushes us away. Finally, we see the largest figure, an animatronic of the Hulk standing atop rubble and roaring and holding up a minion soldier. We swoop away and out of this large scene and stop in front of another large screen.

Iron Man and Thor land before us, telling us that the battle is under control, but that maybe we should get out of here because we might get in the way. Suddenly, some kind of missile shoots past the Avengers and right at us, hitting us with a blast of smoke and light. We fly out of control after getting hit and swerve wildly around the dark corner as lights flash all over the car. Iron Man appears on our dashboard to tell us that the missile took out the wireless connection to Jarvis, so we have lost our autopilot. He tells us that he can take over to get us out safely, but that he may need our help. When our dashboard lights up with a warning message, we must press the reset button so that Stark can keep control.

We fly into one of the second set of elevators and shoot upwards through the projected city as Stark wildly controls us. This elevator acts much more like a mid thrill drop tower. We go up and down in coordination with our projected flight through the skyline. We swoop up and down to dodge flying objects and finally descend down and land in front of the SHIELD headquarters. We emerge out of the elevator tube and drive through the loading dock area. Stark appears on the screen and apologizes for his driving, saying that they will be back to meet us soon. We pass one screen where Nick Fury welcomes us back from the battle and gives us an update on the battle. Around the corner is the last scene, where we see the Avengers finally gathered again, sending us off. We turn the corner and are back to the unload area.

The exit path leads back through the lab area and into a large interactive Avengers Training area, which is like Innoventions for super hero skills. Digital games let you train skills like flight with Iron Man, archery with Hawkeye, and shield defense with Captain America. It also leads into a gift shop and then an exit back out to the public street.

Down the side street of the land is the final attraction, a Pandoras Box dark ride based on Spiderman. The Pandoras Box by Vekoma is another ride system with a long history that as far as I know was never actually built (and I see now that it isn't listed on their website anymore, so it may never be). The ride system was basically a dark ride in 3 dimensions, with a vehicle that could travel up as well as side to side. This seems like a perfect fit for Spiderman and maximized the potential of a rather small show building.

The attraction would be a swiftly moving dark ride that explores the rough streets of New York, featuring mainly Spiderman as well as other New York based heroes, like Daredevil. It would be less plot based and more a chance to explore the environment of New York and super powers of Spiderman, The vertical movement of the ride vehicle would allow us to follow Spiderman as he ascends through the city. The ride unloads on the second floor into a gift shop that is connected by way of sky bridge to the main retail building of the land.

Finally, at the south end of the street is one final retail and snack location building. The path continues on west into the Star Wars Spaceport.

The entertainment of the land includes a small group of New York City style busking musicians as well as the meet and greet characters.

Finally, behind the southern retail building is the entertainment building for the park, including a small parade float shelter. A bus stop and cast center is located at the north end of the Avengers building.

Two more posts for Sydney coming up soon: Star Wars Spaceport and a post about the night fireworks shows. Then on to some new stuff.

Thanks for reading!


  1. Great post, I love how you combined ride systems for the Avengers E-ticket. Are there any new posts coming soon?

    1. Thanks for the comment!

      Yes! Soon. Bunch of stuff has happened recently that has kept me away from putting new posts together. But hopefully a new post sometime this week or next.

  2. Love your posts and how the parks improve when you add/fix every single detail!
    What software do you use to create the masterplans, and the blueprints?

    1. The main drawing is made in sketchup and then i make the diagram plan in adobe illustrator.