Marvel Fans Freaked Out At This First Peek Of Its Travelling Theme Park

Marvel experience domeHero VenturesThe Marvel Experience arrives in Phoenix on December 12.

During a special announcement on Thursday at New York Comic Con, Marvel unveiled its plans for The Marvel Experience: The World’s First Hyper-Reality Tour.

The travelling theme park, a collaboration between the comic book magnate and LA-based experiential entertainment company Hero Ventures, will preview in Phoenix on December 12 and will stop in Dallas, San Diego, and San Francisco through March 2015.

The press release for The Marvel Experience describes an event that sounds like, well, something out of a fantasy world. The park consists of a network of seven large domes, which guests — as agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in training — move through at their own pace. Agents can interact with their surroundings via augmented reality, multi-person gaming, and RFID progress tracking bracelets so they can monitor their route.

Along the way, guests will bump into their favourite Marvel characters, including Spider-Man, the Hulk, Thor, Iron Man, and more. The two-and-a-half-hour experience culminates in an epic battle between these superheroes and Red Skull, M.O.D.O.K., and an arm of evil Adaptoids.

Tickets retail for just $US30 to $US35 and go on sale October 10.

We stopped by the Marvel stage at New York Comic Con to chat with Rick Licht, CEO of Hero Ventures, and get some behind-the-scenes deets.

Here’s the model of The Marvel Experience that was revealed during Thursday’s announcement. The layout places six 5,000-square-foot domes around one central, 360-degree, 3-D stereoscopic dome.

Licht says when the team first started conceptualizing the attraction, they asked, “What would P.T. Barnum do?” A travelling tent felt last-generation, but domes granted them better mobility and better functioning as a tech environment.

The entrance is marked by a Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. sign overhead. The Marvel Experience certainly positions the ABC action-adventure drama, of the same name, at the center of attention. They’re certainly expecting to drive fans of the Marvel movies to the TV show.

The first 20 to 30 minutes of the experience is heart-pulsing, Licht says. Then guests pour into the largest dome, where food, merchandise, and games offer plenty of opportunities to roam at leisure.

The highlight is a 360-degree, stereoscopic 3D dome theatre. Audience members strap on headsets (which Licht says “go beyond the Oculus Rift experience”) that use digital mapping to project a virtual world against the dome’s walls. Unlike the experience of wearing Oculus, guests can see each other while taking in the panoramic scene around them.

The chairs are equipped with motions rods, like how we imagine many 4D seated rides at Disney feel.

Since Marvel controls all the revenue streams inside the attraction — the food, the merchandise, the entertainment, and more — they’re able to keep the ticket price down.

Licht says The Marvel Experience will eventually come to the East Coast. We’ll be sure to check it out when it does.

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