Last summer Disney was prepared to launch a new expansion of Disney’s California Adventure focused entirely on the world of Marvel. Avengers Campus, as the area is known, was scheduled to open in July 2020, just a few days after the 65th birthday of Disneyland, the original Disney park and California Adventure’s next door neighbor. At least that was the plan, before the pandemic shut down most of the world.
Disney’s Florida theme parks have been open since the summer, and their international parks have opened and closed again at different points, but the parks at Disneyland Resort in Anaheim have been shuttered since March. And with the pandemic still raging throughout America, and hitting southern California especially hard right now, there’s no way to tell when these parks will ever reopen.
Some day they will reopen, though. And at some point after reopening Disneyland Resort will boast a brand new Spider-Man ride, Web Slingers: A Spider-Man Adventure. And unlike a certain Spider-Man ride at a different theme park owned by a different theme park company in Florida, Disney’s Spider-Man ride will actually star the real, live Spider-Man himself.
Yep, Tom Holland will be reprising his role as Peter Parker in Disney’s new ride, as announced today on the Disney Parks Blog. This isn’t exactly a surprise. Disney has had actors play their Marvel Cinematic Universe roles in earlier attractions, such as Guardians of the Galaxy—Mission: Breakout, also at Disney’s California Adventure, and the Ant-Man and the Wasp ride at Hong Kong Disneyland. Although Spider-Man has been around for almost 60 years, and Tom Holland won’t be the face of Peter Parker forever, it makes sense to include him in the ride: he is the face of Peter Parker right now, the official Spider-Man of the massively successful MCU series, and also a very popular actor in his own right with a highly devoted fan following.
He won’t be Peter Parker forever, of course. He’s already the third actor to play Peter Parker this century alone. And with the burgeoning popularity and visibility of Miles Morales, who knows how much longer Peter Parker will even be Spider-Man in the Marvel movies? Instead of recasting him again and risking fan ire it might be to Disney’s benefit to simply retire the Parker character whenever Holland decides to move on, and bring Miles Morales into the MCU.
That’s all to say that featuring an actor like Holland in an attraction that is presumably meant to last for decades does have some risk. Assuming Holland appears only in filmed scenes and not as an audio-animatronic, it should be easy enough to replace him down the road with whoever next dons the mask—just shoot new footage and swap it out with the old. Still, with Holland already six years and three Spider-Man films into the role (not counting the Avengers movies he’s appeared in), his Parker days are probably closer to their end than their beginning. Disney might be thinking about replacing him in this ride sooner rather than later.
Either way, here’s a video Disney released, with Holland himself discussing the ride and his role in it. Web Slingers: A Spider-Man Adventure is an interactive dark ride where guests have to sling webs at a rampaging horde of Spider-Bots. 3D glasses are involved. Unlike other shooting dark rides, Web Slingers doesn’t seem to have a gun or cannon mounted on the vehicle. In the short clips seen in the video below, it looks like guests simply have to extend their arms to “shoot” out a web. No telling if you have to make that iconic three-pointed Spidey hand gesture, with the ring and middle finger touching the palm, to trigger those webs.
Check out the video below, and as soon as Avengers Campus has an official opening date, we’ll let you know.