I’m Going to Marvel Land!

If you ever really want to know what it would be like to live in a comic book, spend a week or so at Walt Disney World.

The thought occurred to me a couple of days ago as I was being accosted by a pirate on Main Street. This is a place where masked men in animal-themed costumes prowl the streets and nobody bats an eye; "Oh, that's just Naval Duck and Tuxedo Mouse, off on another adventure." This is a place where you're walking down the sidewalk, minding your own business, when suddenly full-on Tim Burton Joker parades break out at random intervals all around you. This is a place where– to my child's bottomless, unremitting horror– the night sky is filled with deafening, multicolored explosions twice a day every day without explanation. This is a place with tomorrowlands, magic kingdoms, and savage lands where dinosaurs roam the earth. This is a place with robot presidents where you can sometimes fly. This is absolutely what Phil Sheldon feels like every day.

Spending a few days at Disney World is the closest you will ever come to being protected by a super hero. Because it is a cheerful, musical police state with cameras tucked into every funnel cake stand (and everyone who doesn't work there paid hundreds of dollars to be there) every time I'm there I take a walk alone down the deserted streets at 1:00 in the morning, never once looking over my shoulder, picturing a Batcave full of monitors making sure I don't get rolled for my wallet. It'll be okay; Tuxedo Mouse will save me.

While I swear I don't frame every thought in my head in terms of comics, I couldn't help myself this time. This time, I happened to arrive in The Happiest Place on Earth for People with Money the day after Disney finalized its acquisition of Marvel. I still think this deal is going to turn out splendidly for all involved, readers included, but as mechanical bears sang me banjo music I couldn't help wondering exactly how the Marvel Universe was going to fit into this Floridian fairyland. Will Marvel get its own -Land in the next few years? Will there be a section right next to Toon Town where the "sit in a boat in two feet of water and cruise past a diorama" rides are all about Hulk statues fighting Sub-Mariner statues? Will there be some sort of Spider-Man webslinging bungee experience in my future? Will there be issues of Criminal for sale at a newstand on the Boardwalk?

The day I walk past Cinderella's castle and see Wolverine standing out there is a day I may not be ready to process. The Marvel Universe will almost have to get its own Epcot-style ghetto; the shift in tone is too jarring.

Luckily, we have time to come to terms with all of this. Disney World didn't exactly start putting out X-Men merchandise the day the news broke. Hell, they were still playing Christmas music the day I left. (And every day before that. For every waking moment, no matter where you went to escape it, madly clawing at your ears like an animal trying to free itself from a trap. It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas Happened Two Weeks Ago, you black-hearted sadists!) I did see some sweet Spidey knit caps— because it was thirty-five degrees in Florida somehow, ugh– but they were on the heads of people who'd just come from Universal Studios, which as we speak has its own share of Hulk roller-coasters and Thing-shaped ice creams and whatever-the-hell. There's another transition I can scarcely imagine; time to turn Marvel Town into, I dunno, Mummyville or something! Woody Woodpecker Central!

I completely forgot to have my books set aside while I was gone, which felt worse to me than realizing I forgot to leave the cat any food. Because I am the saddest creature to walk this earth, I began jonesing for comics so bad on Wednesday that I started looking for them in the gift shops. I felt like a junkie reduced to huffing markers at Target. I needn't have worried– the Fantasy Shop keeps better tabs on me than an AA sponsor– but it was pretty touch-and-go there for a while. Imagine my surprise, though, when I actually found comics for sale at Disney World. Two of them, to be exact. Both Muppet Show comics from BOOM! Studios, both looking like Pluto had gotten a hold of them for an afternoon, but still it was nice to see the synergy at work. I haven't heard how the Marvel deal affects those BOOM books, but I hope they're not casualties; the creative teams are top notch across the board. A couple of them are also Marvel employees, come to think of it.

I don't know how long it's going to take the wheels to turn on this new union, but I have a feeling things are going to start looking very different in a year or so. I can't wait to go see how it all shapes up. Just not the week after Christmas next time.


On the whole, Jim Mroczkowski's kid would rather go with the stranger dressed as a mouse. Twitter archives will attest to this.


  1. Goofy as Galactus is priceless!

    I hope there is some kind of synergy between the two – maybe not to the extent of Wolverine serving as a guard at Cinderella’s castle – but having Spider-Man comics in a Disney gift shop can only be a good thing.

  2. "a cheerful, musical police state" is a perfect way to describe that.  Last time I went to Disney World was for a club in high school and I took every oppurtunity to act like I was 12 again by going on all of the rides.  It was glorious.

  3. I would be roughly 50% more likely to buy a ticket to Disney World this year if I was guaranteed to see Cap Mickey and Goofy Galactus there. 

    P.S. Pick me up one of those frozen bananas with peanuts on the outside.  Can’t beat those.

  4. If there isn’t a Goofy Galactus comic out in the near future I will kill myself.

  5. Oh I thought you went to the real Marvel Land in Orlando Florida at Universal Studios.  That place rules like no other.  3D rides that blow Avatar away!

    @ TNC – I’ve seen the near future, there is no Goofy Galactus comic!

  6. I went to Magic Kingdom after Christmas too. it was my girlfriend’s first time and it was amazing as always. Its a really great place. We actually talked about what they should do with the marvel characters. Disney has alot of undeveloped land so they could add on to a park or make a park dedicated to marvel. Either way I’m really excited! I love Disney and I love Marvel comics so its a win win.

  7. @Avenger117 – Yah but Universal Studios has the Marvel park.  I don’t think they will EVER give that up.  I don’t think Disney will ever be able to add it to their park.

  8. @KickAss  But if their licenses expire and Disney?Marvel chooses not to renew them (and they won’t), then they will have no choice but to close the section.

  9. @KickAss Here’s a great article that explains alot of the technicalities of the situation http://www.orlandosentinel.com/business/orl-disney-marvel-universal-090209,0,7440273.story

  10. I can’t wait to go on the Fantasti-bumper-cars.

  11. Great article, as usual.  I brought some friends to Disney in mid-November, and we arrived just in time for the first day of Christmas music.  I think it stops at some point in September.

    Rides I would like to see at Marvelland: Tony Stark’s Tilt-a-Hurl (formerly the wild teacup ride), Journey Into Your Imagination With Lockeed (who really is just a badass version of Figment), Starjammers of the Sh’iar Empire (formerly Pirates Of The Carribean), and, for the fuck of it, they should take that whole boring "how to make birdfeeders and butterfly net" bullshit area at The Animal Kingdom and replace it with The Savage Land.  Teach the next generation that when they see the true beauty of nature they better RUN!!!

    As an aside my favorite description of a ride I will never go on is: "a one, hour slow moving, sit down, theatrical ride featuring Ellen Degeneres."  It’s almost as if they designed that ride specifically to discourage me from caring about the environment.  How much cooler would that slow moving, theatrical sit down ride be if it were narrated by Wolverine or the voice actress who played Storm in The Animated Series.  Hmmm…you’re right, probably not very much.

  12. I’d totally go on an Iron Man ride… wait a minute that didn’t come out right.