5 Differences Between Disney and Universal’s Spider-Man Rides

Disneyland’s Avengers Campus opened to the public on June 4, 2021, unveiling their newest attraction, WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure. While this is Disney’s first Spidey-themed ride, it is not the only one in existence. Across the U.S., Peter Parker makes his home at Universal’s Islands of Adventure. This fan favorite attraction has been around since the Orlando park opened in 1999 and was later cloned for Universal Studios Japan.

With both theme park giants constructing rides based on the same source material, naturally the final products will be compared. From web slinging to thrills and pyrotechnics, we broke down the biggest differences between these attractions.

Modern Marvel

Tom Holland dressed as Spider-Man standing in front of a train.
Disney

Now that Disney is a parent company to Marvel, it’s no surprise they want to include this incredibly successful franchise in their parks. Because of this, they feature the most up-to-date iteration of Spider-Man, currently portrayed by Tom Holland in the MCU films. He appears in the queue and speaks throughout the attraction, further bolstering this Disney IP.

On the other hand, Marvel Superhero Island at Universal’s Islands of Adventure opened ten years before The Walt Disney Company acquired Marvel Entertainment. Disney continues to honor the contract with Universal that gives their biggest theme park competitor the right to maintain their Marvel land in perpetuity, or indefinitely, unless Universal closes the land, stops making the contractual payments, or Marvel determines Universal has caused damage to Marvel’s brand.

The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man attraction is more generically themed towards the comic books, without tying the character to a specific film portrayal. As riders walk through the queue, they become immersed in scenes from The Daily Bugle, appearing lifted straight from a comic book. Throughout the attraction, riders come face-to-face with a variety of Spider-Man villains, who have not brought to life in film.

Thrill Factor

Riders on The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man at Universal's Islands of Adventure
Universal Orlando

People of all ages love Spider-Man, so naturally Universal and Disney want these rides to appeal to all ages. That said, it appears the Universal’s option is the way to go if you’re looking for more thrills.

In The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, riders get the scoop on the latest super villain plot to steal the Statue of Liberty. While the dark ride doesn’t include any actual flips or major drops, they simulate these effects through a combination of 3D projection, physical sets, and both practical and tactile effects.

Over on Web Slingers, experimental Spider-Bots are causing mayhem across Avengers Campus and riders have to help Spider-Man stop them by joining in on the web-slinging. Admittedly, they are less threatening than the batch of Spider-Man villains in Universal’s ride. This dark ride also keeps its movements and speed mundane to give players enough time to take aim at their targets.

Gamification

Concept art for Disneyland's Avengers Campus WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure ride
Disney

Another major difference between these two rides is their levels of interactivity. On The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, you’re ideally going to have the same experience every time you board the ride vehicle. If for some reason you don’t, it’s likely that there was a malfunction of some sort.

But Web Slingers is both a ride and a game — the more Spider-Bots you web up, the more points you get. And the more you ride, the more opportunities you have to beat your high score and beat your friends. Fans have imagined slinging webs like Spider-Man for decades, and this interactive element truly brings this dream to life.

Pay to Play

Web-shooter attachment for WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure
Disney

While park admission is enough to board either of these rides, Web Slingers has an option to upgrade and personalize the experience — for a price. Park-goers can purchase WEB Power Band and add-ons. The band enables a multi-fire mode and the additional add-on customizes the experience even more. This includes shooting electro-dynamic webs or repulsor blasts with the writst piece.

Despite The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, not having an upgraded option, the Universal parks are not strangers to this concept. In the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, interactive wands are available for purchase that enable users to perform spells throughout the lands. Super Nintendo World also has a similar concept for their Power-Up Bands that are used to compete and earn points around the land.

Timeless Classic

Spider-Man fist bumping a child in front of The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man at Universal's Islands of Adventure
Universal Orlando

Avengers Campus and Web Slingers have only opened recently. As a result, the ride and the land haven’t had a chance to truly establish themselves just yet. Only time will tell if this ride holds up with fans over the years. Disney seems to have big hopes for Avengers Campus, with plans to develop similar lands at Disneyland Paris and Hong Kong Disneyland. Early reviews tend to be positive.

Meanwhile, The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man was a success since it opened in 1999. The ride received much critical acclaim, including winning the Golden Ticket Award for Best Dark Ride for twelve consecutive years. Even ten years on from its last major refurbishment, The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man is still considered one of the best attractions out there.

Disney World Plans to Make 50th Anniversary “The World’s Most Magical Celebration”

With Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary approaching in October, the Orlando theme park has no short supply of festivities planned to recognize their golden year. The World’s Most Magical Celebration kicks off on Oct. 1, 2021, with plans big and small in store for all four parks. Here are just some of the changes you can expect to see around the park during this 18-month celebration.

Magic Kingdom Park

Disney's Magic Kingdom Cinderella Castle decorated for 50th anniversary
Disney

Park-goers who haven’t been to the parks over the past year will surely notice the new coat of paint on Cinderella Castle, but that isn’t the only upgrade the iconic palace is receiving for its anniversary makeover. 

A 50th-anniversary crest will welcome guests as they pass through Magic Kingdom Park, along with new golden bunting. The castle, along with the other park icons, will be lit up as what Walt Disney World Resort is calling Beacons of Magic.

Mickey and Minnie Mouse in their EARidescent outfits
Disney

In addition to the decor, Mickey and Minnie Mouse will also be sporting new looks. They are pictured wearing their EARidescent outfits at the Magic Kingdom, but as of May 2021, it is still unknown whether the couple will be wearing them across the resort. 

Epcot

Disney

Over in Epcot, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure is slated to open just in time for the anniversary celebration. Riders will be shrunk down to the size of Chef Remy and scurry throughout Gusteau’s restaurant. This is a part of an expansion of the French pavilion, both of which will open on Oct. 1. 

Similar to Cinderella Castle, Spaceship Earth will shine like the evening sky with a new permanent lighting structure. These lights will continue to shine even once the festivities have ended, upgrading Epcot’s most notable feature.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Disney

Disney’s Hollywood Studios’ symbolic structure, the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror attraction, will also receive a lighting upgrade similar to the other parks. Tying into the other spectacles, it’s said that the tower will glimmer with EARidescence and call back to “the golden age of imagination and adventure.”

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park

Disney

Tying it all together, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park will give the Tree of Life the EARidescence treatment as it’s lit up with enchanted fireflies in the evenings, symbolizing the magic of nature.