Culture + Style

Why Marvel Fans Need to Visit Hong Kong Disneyland

Hong Kong’s Iron Man Experience is the first Marvel-themed attraction to open at a Disney theme park. (Photo: Hong Kong Disneyland)

Pack your bags, Marvel fans. You want to go to Hong Kong.

Hong Kong Disneyland is Disney’s smallest theme park, but it boasts some of the company’s best rides, including the still groundbreaking Mystic Manor and the thrilling Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars. Now it has one more to brag about: the Iron Man Experience.

Iron Man becomes the first character to get its own attraction at any Disney park since the company bought Marvel in 2009. The Guardians of the Galaxy have already taken over California Adventure’s Tower of Terror in Anaheim, Calif.

The storyline behind the Iron Man Experience revolves around Tony Stark hosting his latest Stark Expo at Hong Kong Disneyland’s Tomorrowland, where he’s showing off his latest high-tech gadgetry.

“We’ve set this up as the next Stark Expo after the one he did in 2010 in New York,” said executive story developer Steven Spiegel. “He is showcasing his latest and greatest products from Stark Industries.”

That includes his slick new jet, the Iron Wing, that sends 44 guests soaring over and through the streets of Hong Kong’s West Kowloon and downtown, past landmarks like the Tsing Ma Bridge, Victoria Harbour, surrounding mountains, and new icons like a new Stark Tower that serves as the Asia headquarters of Stark Industries.

Naturally things go wrong as the evil Hydra looks to make its mark in Hong Kong.

Disney had wanted to connect Iron Man to the city to “give local and overseas guests a different perspective and experience of Hong Kong while promoting our vibrant city to the world at the same time,” according to Samuel Lau, managing director of Hong Kong Disneyland Resort.

Marvel comics mastermind Stan Lee thinks “the audience in Hong Kong will go crazy for this experience. Anybody who goes to a Disney theme park loves color and spectacle and excitement and adventure, and that’s all that Iron Man is.”

He added that the ride “embodies all of those things. I didn’t dream it would be such a big production and such a beautiful production.”

In addition to the thrill ride, the Iron Man Experience also includes four exhibition halls and an Iron Man Tech Showcase, which gives guests a personal encounter with Iron Man himself, and the Become Iron Man interactive game.

Of course, there’s also themed merchandise and food options. Our favorites: the Hero Burger and Iron Man Waffle.

“We are always pushing the boundaries of creativity and innovation so that our guests can step into the magical worlds of their favorite stories and meet their most beloved characters,” said Bob Chapek, the chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.

More exclusives are coming to Hong Kong, including a themed “Frozen” land and new signature castle. The Wall Street Journal provides a glimpse of the $1.4 billion makeover here.

But Marvel fans will be especially excited about a larger themed land that’s in the works next to the Iron Man Experience. Think of it as the Marvel version of the “Star Wars” land being built at Walt Disney World, in Orlando.

“We’ll continue building on (the Marvel experience) as we move into the next phase of expansion,” Chapek said.

And that will continue to make Hong Kong Disneyland well worth the visit.