Avengers Campus opens on June 4, 2021 at Disney California Adventure! When the new Marvel Land debuts, it’ll naturally bring to Disneyland Resort a variety of new dining and shopping. In this food & merchandise guide, we’ll cover the highlights and also commentary about “controversies” with WEB Tech and Pym Test Kitchen.
Speaking of the latter, Pym Test Kitchen featuring Impossible is the quick-service restaurant on Avengers Campus. The premise of this dining spot is a fun one–that “Pym Particles” grow and shrink innovations in food science. Guests will be the taste-testers savoring hero-sized meals and tiny treats while you watch the Pym food scientists at work in the kitchen lab.
At Pym Test Kitchen, you’ll also be able to watch the growing and shrinking of a pretzel as it makes its way through the quantum tunnel directly above and centered in front of the kitchen laboratory. From large to small, small to large, with the final result: a super-sized pretzel ready for sharing! Let’s check out all the fun goodness for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks…
- Calculated Breakfast = E x 2 + (B+P)/T – Eggs Two Ways with smoked bacon, crispy potato bites, and focaccia toast
- Impossible Quantum Garden Breakfast – Plant-based folded omelet with Impossible breakfast sausage, crispy potato bites, and focaccia toast
- Ever-Expanding Cinna-Pym Toast – Baked Pym particle bread and egg custard with cinnamon-sugar topping, a fried egg, smoked bacon, and maple syrup
- Spoonful of Cereal – Bran flakes and raisins garnished with a yogurt-covered pretzel and served with reduced-fat milk and a ripe banana
- Nano Eggs-periment 101 – Softly arranged eggs and turkey bacon with toast (for small beings ages 3 through 9)
- Cinna-Pym Mini Toast – Warm toasted cinnamon Pym particle bread with turkey bacon and maple syrup (for small beings ages 3 through 9)
Snacks and Sips
- Quantum Pretzel – 453.8 grams, Bavarian-style pretzel with sharp cheddar-beer sauce
- Atomic Fusion Pretzel – Buffalo-style pretzel loaded with chicken, hot sauce, ranch dressing, blue cheese crumbles, celery, and dill-pickled carrots
- Pingo Doce – Refreshing lemon-lime with a vanilla kick! This distinctly green beverage from Avenger lore available exclusively at Avengers Campus.
- Proton PB&J Punch – Minute Maid Lemonade with peanut butter and strawberry flavors, PB-infused whipped cream, and PB pretzel spheres
Blue Particle Specials
- Pym-ini – Salami, rosemary ham, Provolone, sun-dried tomato spread on toasted focaccia with marinara dipping sauce and arugula salad
- Not So Little Chicken Sandwich – Fried chicken breast, teriyaki and red chili sauces, pickled cabbage slaw on brioche with crispy potato bites
- PB3 Superb Sandwich – Warm PB&J with banana, candied bacon on Pym particle bread, with micro banana smoothie and crispy potato bites
- Caesar Salad + Colossal Crouton – Hearts of romaine, Kalamata olives, pickled onions, Caesar dressing, garlic crouton and Parmesan crisps
- Impossible Spoonful – Rigatoni and ditalini pastas, plant-based meat-balls, tomato sauce, dairy-free Parmesan, and micro basil
- Choco Smash CANDY Bar – Dark chocolate, peanuts, caramel, nougat, and chocolate brownie
Red Particle Kids’ Meals
- Teeny Pym-ini – Toasted ham and provolone sandwich with marinara dipping sauce
- Subatomic Chicken Sandwich – Crispy breaded chicken breast on a soft roll
- PB&J Flavor Lab: Assemble Your Own Experiment – Smooth peanut butter, strawberry jelly, and Pym particle bread
- Mini Pasta & Impossible Meat-balls – Rigatoni and ditalini pastas, plant-based meat-balls, tomato sauce and dairy-free Parmesan served with coconut milk yogurt and small DASANI water
Pym Tasting Lab
The Pym Tasting Lab is where the oversized beer can gives a hint at what’s in store. Here, you can order craft beers–ranging from a pilsner cold-fermented lager to an amber ale. Pym Tasting Lab features unique beer taps, with glasses that fill from the bottom up. Particle-infused cocktail experiments and beer cocktails will quench your thirst as you nibble on Snack Molecules.
- Honey Buzz – Gin, lemon juice, and honey syrup with a honey straw
- X-Periment –Tequila, Minute Maid Lime Juice, mango and habanero syrups with mango popping pearls
- Honey Fusion – Gin, Minute Maid Lemonade, honey syrup, IPA, and a honey straw
- Molecular Meltdown – Marshmallow milk stout and vanilla ice cream topped with miniature marshmallows
- The Regulator –Tequila, Minute Maid Lime Juice, mango and habanero syrup, wheat ale, and mango popping pearls
- Particle Fizz –Hard Seltzer with cherry pearls
- Draft beer, hard seltzer, and wine
- Snack Molecules – Mini pretzels, honey roasted peanuts, and sweet & spicy popped sorghum
Avengers Campus Snacks & Novelties
- Cosmic Cream Orb – Crispy cream puff with whipped raspberry cheesecake mousse
- Sweet Spiral Ration – Churro spirals with unique flavors
- Glowing Pym Particle Capsule and Glowing Pym Particle Disc – Light up your beverage with a red or blue glowing Pym particle capsule or disc
- Enlarged Pingo Doce Soda Can – Filled with Pingo Doce or your favorite Coca-Cola® beverage
- Iron Man Infinity Gauntlet – A great way to hold your favorite Coca-Cola® bottled beverage
- Pint-Sized Pints Mini Beer Flight – Oversized ruler flight board with mini beer steins
There are a couple of “controversies” with Pym Test Kitchen. (Please note that those are air quotes around controversy–I’ll take this kind of spirited debate over what we’ve had for the last year, though!)
First is the “Quantum-sized Pym-ini Sandwich,” which costs $99.99 (no, there’s not an extra 9 in that). The description says this feeds 6-8 people, so it’s presumably a party sub. That’s only around $12.50 per person, so really not much cause for legitimate outrage there. However, people still get upset by the prices of the Metro Mezzo pizza at Via Napoli, even though that’s a great deal per person relative to standard theme park prices. For some reason, it’s always the total cost that garners all the attention and outrage.
The real culinary crime is the size of the “Not so Little Chicken Sandwich.” Disneyland Resort first offered a sneak peek at this food last March, mere days before the parks shut down for over a year. I don’t mean to be melodramatic about it, but the dream of that chicken sandwich helped me get through the closure.
In fairness, this is what Walt wanted. He famously hoped that Pym Test Kitchen’s Chicken Sandwich would be a “source of joy and inspiration to all the world.” Now, those dreams have been dashed. We’ve learned that this sandwich is something of an optical illusion, as the bun is slider size, and this is more or less a normal sized sandwich (h/t @jpalmerdubs). If ever there was a reason to boycott Disney, this is it!
Who am I kidding? I’m still really excited for Pym Test Kitchen. The concept is clever, and a lot of the food looks inventive and fun. Shawarma Palace also looks good, and I’m hoping that the food there has that deliciously addictive quality that made Ronto Wraps a hit.
Here’s hoping that Disneyland conforms with California guidance and starts allowing out of state visitors by June 4, 2021. We have plans to eat the entire menus with our homies on opening day; if that falls through, I guess we’ll have to eat everything on our own–including the Quantum-sized Pym-ini Sandwich–at a later date. Oh darn…the things we “have” to do in the name of research! 😉
Next, we have a look at more merchandise arriving at WEB Suppliers and the Avengers Campus Supply Pod inside the new Marvel Land on June 4, 2021. While several items, including Spider-Bots, Spider-eye sunglasses, Avengers Campus t-shirts, a fleece hoodie, and figurines were shared in the press release, most of those are not new. In fact, many are already on sale in Downtown Disney.
The noteworthy addition to the product lineup is WEB Tech accessories. From Disney: “While everyone will be able to sling webs on the attraction, for the first time ever on a Disney Parks attraction, you’ll be able to customize your experience aboard WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure with WEB Tech accessories. Yes, you read that correctly; when you gear up, you’ll be able to find your OWN powers and get a different experience aboard the attraction!”
As a quick recap, Web Slingers: A Spider-Man Adventure, is a 3D interactive dark ride that recognizes body movements and gestures, meaning you use your hand gestures to sling webs. If Toy Story Mania is a ride-through Wii game, this is like a ride-through Xbox Kinect game. Same idea.
Well, these new WEB Tech accessories basically transform Web Slingers: A Spider-Man Adventure into a Wii game (or Wii U, if you want something more “cutting edge”). First up is the WEB Power Band. This base band features an attraction mode that unlocks multi-fire webs aboard WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure to personalize the game play for a cool, new experience on the attraction.
On top of the WEB Power Bands, you can add even more powers inspired by some favorite Marvel super heroes including Spider-Man, Ghost Spider, Iron Man, and Rescue. WEB Tech can change your powers on the attraction to those inspired by the aforementioned characters with electro-dynamic webs and repulsor blasts.
Spider-Man and Ghost Spider-inspired WEB Shooters change your powers to electro-dynamic webs on the attraction and at home, features lights, sounds, projections, and webs that eject and retract. Iron Man and Rescue-inspired Repulsor Cannons change your powers to repulsor blasts on the attraction and at home. They also light up and blast air while you practice your repulsor powers with training spheres.
The ride experience being enhanced by merchandise add-ons has already generated a firestorm of controversy on social media, with many comparing it to DLC, in-app purchases, paywalls, or other upcharges. I can understand the concerns and share them to some degree.
I think this is probably best likened to Nintendo’s amiibo or Disney Infinity’s toys-to-life platform. (On a related note, it’s somewhat sad that this might be the most enduring legacy of the latter, gone-too-soon video game series.) Those toys offer enhancements that supplement the regular game, but are not necessary for the normal or complete experience. Generally speaking, they’re not viewed as ‘icky’ or controversial like microtransactions.
Personally, I’m not outraged by this. To the contrary, I’m actually on board with this toys-to-life products integrated into theme parks, when they’re done well and in a way that complements an attraction or land. At their best, toys-to-life products can expand upon the foundation to offer a deeper or more satisfying experience for those who are more invested in the land, franchise, or whatever. (I might even buy the Skyward Sword Loftwing amiibo!)
Like so many things, toys-to-life is not inherently good or bad. It all comes down to where and how it’s used. These WEB Shooters & Power Bands are objectionable to so many fans not because they disagree with that sentiment, but because these particular products simply don’t pass the smell test. They look like superfluous cash grabs.
To underscore the notion that this is not categorically bad, look no further than the wands in Wizarding World of Harry Potter or Power-Up Bands in Super Nintendo World. No casual visitor is going to need or want these, and not having them won’t be detrimental to their visit. However, they give diehard fans a way to dive deeper into the land, and offer an organic extension of its appeal.
Even if the wands and Nintendo bands are “not for you” (and the former most definitely is not for me), it’s easy to appreciate those products from afar and view them as value adds for fans of those franchises. Those are successful because they do pass the smell test. To this day, I still think there’s a viable use case for toys-to-life integrations in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, even though the land’s interactivity has largely been ignored by guests.
More than anything, I’m disappointed by the Avengers Campus toys-to-life products. It’s yet another example of Disney trying to “make fetch happen” with a contrived merchandising initiative. Disney is once again chasing interactivity (and perhaps Universal’s success in this field, which is why we have LeFou’s Brew and Blue/Green Milk), but in a clunky way that feels artificial.
My first thought when seeing the WEB Tech products was, “this is going to be at the outlet by Christmas for 75% off.” That’s what bugs me about stuff like this—Disney blows massive amounts on R&D, marketing, production, etc. for an integration of technology that is a non-starter for the overwhelming majority of guests. It’s another instance of the tail wagging the dog when it comes to technology. Avengers Campus is not something that organically lends itself to a merchandising integration, but they’ve forced it, anyway.
Ultimately, the underlying concept is not a cash grab, but it feels like it is with the WEB merchandise because this is not an intuitive, obvious choice for a toys-to-life platform. In reality, Disney probably won’t grab much cash with this, anyway—this seems destined to lose money just like the Glow with the Show/Made with Magic boondoggle.
Maybe I’ll be wrong and these WEB Tech toys will be a massive hit, but it’s hard to imagine. Most casual visitors (which is everyone, since there are no Annual Passes) won’t buy this before their one-and-only Web Slingers ride-through, nor will they do so afterwards and then wait another hour-plus just to use these things one time ever. Then what do you do with it for the entire rest of the day at DCA?
That’s really what’s most unfortunate about the gamble with toys-to-life products in Avengers Campus. Disney will learn the wrong lesson from the inevitable failure of the WEB Tech–that there isn’t a market for this type of merchandise–rather than the more accurate one–this specific stuff is stupid and even most superfans won’t be compelled to buy it. That could result in fans being deprived of a similar product down the road that is a good, organic fit.
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Are you looking forward to Pym Test Kitchen or any other Avengers Campus food? What are your thoughts on WEB Tech? Worried that this is a slippery slop for monetizing attractions? Are these products you’d purchase? Are you planning a visit to Disneyland Resort for the opening of Avengers Campus, or will you wait until later? Do you agree or disagree with our assessment? 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!