Iron Man Experience announced for Hong Kong Disneyland as Disney’s first Marvel ride, to open in 2016 with high-flying thrills

in Disney, Entertainment, Hong Kong Disneyland, Marvel, Movies, Theme Parks

The first Disney theme park ride from a Marvel franchise has been announced for Hong Kong Disneyland. It’s called Iron Man Experience, based on the highly-successful “Iron Man” series of films to debut in late 2016.

The attraction is a “thrill ride” on an E-ticket scale, also including a gift shop and photo opportunities featuring a meet-and-greet with Iron Man.

As the story unfolds, Tony Stark – Iron Man – has brought his Stark Expo to Tomorrowland where guests have the opportunity to see the progression of Tony’s Iron Man suits and many other Stark innovations. The Iron Man Experience itself will have guests take flight alongside Iron Man, fighting off bad guys (aliens?) throughout the skies and and streets of Hong Kong.

The experience won’t be its own themed land, instead located within the existing Tomorrowland. It won’t be a roller coaster, but rather will use next-generation simulator technologies akin to Star Tours, but further advanced. A closer look at the concept art and model reveals a vehicle similar to the Star Tours Starspeeders (which fans are already dubbing “Starkspeeders”) – with a distinctly Iron Man appearance:

Walt Disney Parks and Resorts chairman Tom Staggs was on hand to make the announcement at Hong Kong Disneyland in front of Tony Stark’s famed Hall of Armor, aided by a bit of video including the ride vehicle model above.

This attraction will feature much more than the Hall of Armor currently on display at the Disneyland Resort in California. In addition to the Hall of Armor, other Stark inventions will be on display as the Stark Expo comes to Tomorrowland, explorable before guests join Iron Man in a simulated battle in the skies.

This still from an animatic storyboard gives an idea of what types of visuals will be seen during the ride, including Iron Man flying alongside the ride vehicles:

“The new Marvel-themed area will give guests visiting Hong Kong Disneyland even more reasons to visit,” said Andrew Kam, managing director of Hong Kong Disneyland. “We are pleased to see the momentum of growth continue at Hong Kong Disneyland benefitting both our resort and the entire Hong Kong tourism industry.”

Tom Staggs will share the announcement with the world on the Disney Parks Blog tomorrow. I’ve received an advance copy of his post:

As I’ve often said, one of the greatest things about Disney is the treasure trove of characters and rich stories we have to draw upon for the immersive experiences we provide our guests around the world. With Marvel joining the Disney family in 2009, our character and story base grew even further, and the anticipation for how Marvel comes to life in our parks and resorts continues to energize our guests and Cast.

That’s why it was so exciting earlier today at Hong Kong Disneyland to announce that the very first Disney attraction based on a Marvel character experience will debut in Hong Kong Disneyland. And I’m excited to be able to share some of the initial details with you today about this Iron Man Experience.

Audiences around the world have been captivated by the amazing inventions and innovations of Tony Stark and we’re basing this experience within a piece of the Stark Expo. Located in Tomorrowland at Hong Kong Disneyland, the Expo will allow guests to see firsthand the progression of Tony’s Iron Man suits and many other Stark innovations.

Upon entering the ride vehicle our guests will be able to take flight with Iron Man on an epic adventure that not surprisingly pits Iron Man, and our guests, against the forces of evil. This adventure will take place in the streets and skies of Hong Kong, which will make an even more unique and special experience for our Hong Kong Disneyland guests. In addition, guests will be able to meet and take photos with Iron Man.

It’s obviously no secret that Marvel’s Iron Man movies are immensely popular, and we expect this experience will emulate the success of our most recent expansion – Toy Story Land, Grizzly Gulch and Mystic Point – all of which have been huge hits with our guests.

We are extremely confident in and committed to the continued growth and success of Hong Kong Disneyland. I’m excited to see Iron Man become a part of that success when we welcome guests to the attraction in late 2016.

No further ride details have been released, leaving Disney’s Imagineers with plenty of surprises yet to share, promising a thrilling experience. This announcement follows up on remarks made a bit too early by Hong Kong Financial Secretary John Tsang back in February pre-announcing an upcoming Marvel attraction.

Click the image below for a closer look at the Iron Man Experience exterior concept art:


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    Wow, the first disappointment is in. After imagineers slapping Universal for the lack of realism and the over use of film they come with an confined and old motion simulator. This franchise needs an epic way to tell it’s epic story, not a small screen in a wobbly car.

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    Great, another ride I can’t go on. When will they build an E ticket ride that won’t get half of the people naseous from motion sickness.

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    Meh. But I’ll take what we can get.

    I just feel that Star Wars motion simulator makes better sense.

    A motion simulator Iron Man would be great if it had been a more intimate experience, with JARVIS interface closer to your face.

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    after looking at this concept art a few things come to mind.
    1.) I can’t wait for this whole universal thing to expire.
    2.) I didn’t realize Stark Industries created Action Chugger
    3.) it’s a little crazy to do a Chuggington crossover ride that toddlers can’t ride on. and to only have it in Hong Kong for that matter.

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    Well I’m excited :o)

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    Chris Morgan

    It continues to surprise me what little faith people seem to have in the Imagineers. When have they let us down in the past? They know what they’re doing!

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      seriously? let’s start the list shall we: Story Time with Belle, Tangled-up-in-Toilets, Stitch’s Great Escape, POTC Walk Through, Narnia Walk Through, all other walk-throughs…point being, it can easily go wrong, let’s not pretend that it can’t.

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        Chris Morgan

        I won’t hear a bad word about the Tangled toilets!

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    Concept art lacks themeing. This reminds me of how Universal does their ride exteriors, which I generally don’t like (broke the mold with Potter, which is brilliant). It’s just advertising the ride experience, not creating a sense of place for the story. That first building in the concept art looks like a McDonalds.

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    Guys, I might be moving to Hong Kong.

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    Ryan R

    Why does it seem that imagineers are putting a lot more effort into other theme parks instead of the ones we have in the U.S. I would live to go on an iron man. How come they don’t make one of those here?

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      In the case of Walt Disney World at least, there’s some contract between Disney and Universal preventing Disney from using any Marvel properties in Walt Disney World. I don’t know all of the details of it, but it makes it very unlikely (if not impossible) that we’ll see any version of this in Disney World. ; (

      And I’d imagine the US Imagineers are a little worn-out after New Fantasyland and the California Adventure Expansion and are just taking a moment to catch their breath.

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        Apparently, Universal IOA’s agreement gives them exclusivity (for the moment) on ANY theme-park incarnation of Marvel in the city of Orlando–
        Even for characters who aren’t already at IOA, which means Thor won’t M&G his movie at Epcot Norway. (Besides, the Frozen characters will be there already.)

        So, expect anything Avengers to show up at Anaheim, Paris, Asia or the Cruise ships. 🙁

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      The whole world doesn’t revolve around the U.S, plus Hong Kong disneyland is lacking a lot, so adding this will be good.

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      Ha! Good one!

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      Wonderful! I shall start using that more.

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    This ride seems like a ‘bump’ or a ‘+1’ more than a fully fledged awesome attraction.

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    Hoping it ends up more like Spiderman at Universal than Star Tours. Not that I’ll ever get to Hong Kong, but still…

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      I was about to complain the usual “WE have to be stuck with Universal…”, but yes, this sounds more Star Tours than Spiderman.
      Once we get peace talks going about Florida Marvel, maybe we can get an exchange of technology.

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      I agree … A Spider-Man or Transformers kind of ride for this would be awesome! Not over joyed about the idea of a simulator! It’s been done!

      To be continued…

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        You guys do realize that transformers is considering a motion simulator type ride. It is more advance but it still in under that type of ride. Now I agree with everyone that transformers is a awesome ride. But everyone please start having faith in the imagineers. The have brought us a lot of good attractions so many times so just give them the support and they will do us right.

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          That’s very very true!

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    Master P

    From the artwork, I think it looks like it might be a spiderman type ride. Disney is in need of something along those lines, guess I’ll have to visit hong kong now.

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    I have no real problems about this attraction, and I’m excited to see Disney doing something big with Marvel in the parks. However, I just wonder if Iron Man will be as popular as it is now in 3 years, and why this attraction doesn’t look like it will be using the “slot machine” technology that Star Tours uses to randomize rides and give guests new experiences every time.

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    Seems like the “War Machine Experience” or any “experience” in which the rider dons one of Stark’s armors makes more sense than a Star Tours/Spiderman group ride. I was expecting a more advanced version of Mission Space or Sum of All Thrills as an individual flight simulator. It just seems hokey for a guy who fights with robots to fight alongside a big ugly space minivan.

    I hope they make major changes.

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      A fundamental problem with any attraction based on Marvel is that it is going to be focused on a single character. You are necessarily going to be nothing but a spectator watching what happens to the superhero. It’s not even like a Peter Pan’s Flight or Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride where you assume the identity of that character or enter a fantastic world the character represents. The closest that Stark Tours gets is giving us the chance to experience the terrifying idea a world where the only thing separating us from the total destruction of our homes, cities and countries by malevolent aliens are the actions of untrained, unlicensed, super-powered vigilantes. Passively watch as Iron Man tries to prevent you from dying horribly!

      Whether Marvel or any other brand owned by the Walt Disney Company IP firm, the strongest attractions are always those that make the guest the centre and protagonist of the story. YOU’RE exploring a haunted mansion, YOU’RE flying over Neverland, YOU’RE a tourist visiting the Temple of the Forbidden Eye, YOU’RE drafted into Captain Nemo’s crew, YOU’RE the star in tonight’s episode of “The Twilight Zone.” The weakest attractions make you the passive spectator of someone else’s story, merely watching what happens to Ariel, or Jack Sparrow, or Nemo the Fish, or Iron Man. Any worthwhile Marvel attraction would have to go the route of Avengers Academy, where YOU train to become a superhero yourself. Otherwise you might as well just watch “The Avengers” again.

      That said, I’m a big fan of the idea of them not having a MARVEL ride in a DISNEY park. Make another gate for that sort of thing, or at least put it in one of the Hollywood Studios-type parks where random franchise carnival rides belong.

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        Personal I think Iron man belongs in tomorrow land since the iron man tech is futuristic. Also in the tomorrow land opening day speech it says that Tomorrow land is land of science fact and science fiction look it up.

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    Key Blade Wielder

    Well, there is the Iron Man suit thing in Anaheim. But I was kind of hoping the first Marvel Themed Disney attraction/ride would be somewhere close to where I live in America. Not sure how to feel about this announcement really. How long before Anaheim gets an attraction outside of the Innoventions building I wonder? Doesn’t have to be in Disneyland itself, California Adventure would be a perfect place to introduce it, and if something appropriate can be figured out, then in Disneyland itself. We’ll just have to wait and see I guess.

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      Ryan R

      Well I can’t wait any longer. Disney has been teasing marvel attractions for a while now and now they are just teasing us.

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    Marc Morini

    I have never been more excited and jealous at the same time in my life then right now. First Mystic Manor and now this? Disney really wants me to go to Hong Kong…..

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    Eric Ramocki

    These aren’t aliens, that is Hydra.

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    I think this is one thing, Indiana jones, Star Wars, and most of the marvel universe accept punnisher (I’m a marvel and disney fanatic) is all family oriented, but the real thing to complain about is Avatarland! Any little kid can watch iron man, and this is coming from a big fan, but avatar sucks, it only got attention for graphics, and do you want your five year old watching avatar?!?!!

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