Disney has shared details about the celebration of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever coming to Avengers Campus, the Marvel Land at Disney California Adventure. This multi-month event will feature food, characters, entertainment, and more during Christmas at Disneyland Resort.
This isn’t the first time that Disney has added limited-time enhancements to Avengers Campus. To the contrary, this happens with just about every new Marvel series on the Disney+ streaming service. In the last few months, we’ve seen Werewolf by Night (by far the coolest of the bunch!), Jane Foster as Mighty Thor, Incredible Hulk cosplaying as Baymax (see below), and more that I’m probably forgetting. Before that, there was Zombie Captain America and a various variants of Loki.
This happens because the streaming service and/or studio have marketing budgets, and they spend a portion of that on additions to the theme parks. These function as publicity directly to guests in the park, as well as when photos, video, and other content inevitability goes viral on social media. It’s nothing new or unique to Marvel, either. Disneyland Resort has historically benefited from limited time additions via studio marketing budgets. By contrast, Walt Disney World usually declines them.
The next of these will start on November 11, 2022–on the release date of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. This celebration of the newest Marvel blockbuster will run throughout the Christmas season, concluding on January 8, 2023. During Disney’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Celebration, you can encounter new visiting warriors, taste Wakanda-inspired delicacies, discover props from the film, and more in Avengers Campus and beyond at Disney California Adventure.
In Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, the leaders of Wakanda fight to protect their nation from intervening world powers in the wake of King T’Challa’s death. As the Wakandans strive to embrace their next chapter, the heroes must forge a new path for their beloved kingdom. At Disneyland Resort, you can join this chapter of that journey.
M’Baku, one of Wakanda’s greatest warriors and chieftain of the Jabari Clan, will make his way to Avengers Campus as part of the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Celebration. As part of this, M’Baku will invite recruits to join in “The Way of the Jabari,” an all-new experience that will share some of the culture of the Jabari Clan through chants and percussion.
Adjacent to Avengers Campus, just steps away from the site of the Collector’s Fortress, The Black Panther Celebration Garden will honor the legacy of the Black Panther in Wakandan lore. This celebratory space invites guests to relax and reflect on the legendary protectors of the Kingdom of Wakanda.
Nearby, Marvel recruits will find powerful fuel at the Flavors of Wakanda marketplace located in the Hollywood Backlot.
Enjoy flavorful, spiced traditional African dishes and experience the vibrant culture of Wakanda through its food. Wakanda-inspired delicacies include the Peri-Peri Chicken with yellow Jollof rice, the Butterfly Pea Tea Lemonade, the Dawa beverage, consisting of vodka, lemonade, honey, ginger beer and butterfly pea tea, and Maafe, a ground peanut stew with sweet potatoes, tomatoes, black-eyed peas and spices, served with naan.
At Shawarma Palace and Shawarma Palace Too inside Avengers Campus, feast on the Wakandan Roasted Pork Wrap, featuring spiced pork with black garlic sauce and chermoula.
You’ll also be able to purchase Shuri’s gauntlet as a souvenir cup. This is one of several drinking vessels and more that you can expect to find at the Flavors of Wakanda marketplace, Shawarma Palace, Shawarma Palace Too and at select vending carts near Avengers Campus.
In the Super Store Featuring Avengers Campus located in Hollywood Land, you’ll discover props and costumes from the film, plus Black Panther-themed gear.
In the Downtown Disney District, outside the building adjacent to Star Wars Trading Post, be sure to pose by a very special, limited-time mural celebrating the new film, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.” The colorful illustration will be created by artist Nikkolas Smith, who previously created the art installation “King Chad.”
Again, the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Celebration begins November 11, 2022 and will be available through January 8, 2023. Visit DCA to immerse yourself in the sights, sounds, flavors and power of Wakanda during this special chapter.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a big fan of Avengers Campus. For me, it’s like Dino-Rama 2.0. The land is a mess of industrial crap that, I guess, is supposed to feel flashy and innovative, evoking the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory or tech campuses of Silicon Valley, maybe.
Except it really doesn’t. Instead, the “campus” feels like a hodgepodge, like someone took the contents of a RadioShack having its going out of business sale and installed all of it around a defunct Circuit City.
Beyond the underlying theme and setting, it feels like whoever designed the place had never visited a theme park. The land doesn’t have much shade or sufficient seating for its dining. When they fling the Spider-Man dummy, it blocks traffic in and out of the land. The Doctor Strange show has awful viewing angles and capacity for approximately 17 people. That’s just a partial list of my many grievances with Avengers Campus, but I’ll spare you the rest.
For all of its many, many faults, the one thing Avengers Campus gets right is characters.
The way these super heroes inhabit the land and mingle with guests works incredibly well. Whereas Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge takes its timeline and thematic integrity seriously, Avengers Campus leans into its chaotic, anything-goes energy.
In spite of the core land being utterly underwhelming, visiting Avengers Campus somehow manages to be fun in spite of itself. The performers are the big reason why, from the powerful Warriors of Wakanda: The Disciplines of the Dora Milaje to the goofy Ant-Man and his model of ‘a bug’s land.’
All of this just works, and is better than it has any right to be. (The success of the characters in Avengers Campus is a big reason why we’ve advocated for relaxing the Batuu timeline–Galaxy’s Edge itself is so much better, but it lacks the same sense of life.)
Anyway, this Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Celebration sounds like the perfect way to bring even more energy and excitement to Avengers Campus. My hope is that this is the blueprint for future studio tie-ins for major movie releases. While one-off character meet & greets are fine for Disney+ series, this sounds much better.
The cultural component is also intriguing, and should make it a good fit for Disney California Adventure’s Festival of the Holidays. The emphasis of that also makes me wonder if we might see Black Panther plans for Wonders of Life revived now that the Play Pavilion appears to be dead. That corner of EPCOT already has one “Other World Showcase” pavilion…perhaps it’ll get a second?
Are you excited for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Celebration at Disney California Adventure? What are your thoughts on Avengers Campus, especially as compared to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge? Think the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Celebration will be a nice addition to the DCA Festival of the Holidays lineup? Do you think Galaxy’s Edge should break its own rules and add more characters, or stick to the fixed timeline and story? Do you agree or disagree with our assessment of Avengers Campus or this event? Any questions? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!