Walt Disney (NYSE: DIS ) announced plans to introduce a ride based on the Marvel superhero at Hong Kong Disneyland, opening in 2016. "The Iron Man Experience" pits the Armored Avenger against foes in a battle depicted in a re-creation of the streets and skies of Hong Kong.
An accompanying attraction will re-create the "Stark Expo" scenes from Iron Man 2 and include a display of different Iron Man suits plus a few other fictional Stark innovations.
"With Marvel joining the Disney family in 2009, our character and story base grew even further, and the anticipation for how Marvel comes to life in our parks and resorts continues to energize our guests and cast," Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Tom Staggs wrote in announcing the ride.
A good idea, no doubt, but what might it mean for investors? Growth. Wikipedia's comprehensive list of the various rides at Disney theme parks shows nothing featuring Marvel characters. Sure, there's the newly upgraded Disney Magic cruise liner. Including an Avengers-themed play area is a nice step, but with Parks and Resorts accounting for nearly one-third of revenue, Disney can and should do more.
Blame Universal for the delay. The rival theme-park operator had a license to operate Spider-Man- and Hulk-themed rides at its Florida resorts before Disney's 2009 acquisition of Marvel.
Now the House of Mouse gets its turn, starting with Hong Kong's "Iron Man Experience." It won't end there.
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