Disney California Adventure Park will be expanding in the next year or so and in the process, will be removing several attractions. The new space will showcase superheroes from Marvel Entertainment’s movies, comics, and video games. The Hulk, Iron Man, Spider-Man and other characters will be spotlighted. However, this theme park attraction won’t be called “Marvel Land,” even though such a title would encompass the entirety of the entertainment giant’s characters. This is due to legal fine print.
Although Marvel was purchased by Disney in 2009, there are still a myriad of licensing agreements with other movie studios that have to be followed. Some of these are with Disney’s rival, Universal Studios, and they put limits on the company’s intellectual property rights.
In particular, these agreements bar Disney from using certain Marvel characters in Disney theme parks east of the Mississippi River and prohibit them from using the word “Marvel” in the title of any other theme park land.
Robert Niles, editor of the online blog Themeparkinsider.com., commented to the Los Angeles Times that it’s unlikely Disney or Universal studios would violate their agreement and risk a lengthy and expensive court battle.
“If Disney is proceeding with something, I would be astonished if they didn’t already make sure they were cleared to use those rights,” he said.
Disney officials have declined to comment on the licensing agreement but did say that the deal will not prevent them from building an expansion that will appeal to fans.
“We are excited to bring these stories and their compelling characters to life with a new land in Disney California Adventure park,” Disney spokeswoman Suzi Brown said.
There have been few details released about the superhero attraction that is projected as opening in 2020, other than the fact that it will be supported by Guardians of the Galaxy — Mission Breakout, built at the California Adventure Park, which was renovated to add a Marvel theme last year.