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Avengers Campus: A missed thematic opportunity for "California" Adventure?

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  • [Idea] Avengers Campus: A missed thematic opportunity for "California" Adventure?

    Before I start, let me just say that, yes, I know Avengers Campus isn't open yet. Please know that I'm not just trying to take a big dump on something before I've experienced it for myself. But I just wanted to get my thoughts out there on this matter after having a discussion about it with my wife.

    It's no secret that I'm a fan of DCA trying to retain lands and that pertain to it's actual title. I like it when things are California inspired. But as we know, the park has slowly started to just sort of turn into this Frankenstein amalgamation of IP-lands and vague California themes. You don't have to like, be serving me a California avocado everywhere I turn or be so literal with things, but it would be nice if the park felt more cohesive. I like IP, I think they can be done right. But I also like it when said IP makes sense within the land it is placed (see Indiana Jones, Snow White, etc.). IP and original attractions can work within the context of a California Adventure. Now, larger franchises like Star Wars and Marvel (who will continuously be expanding) do make sense as candidates for their own, dedicated lands filled with attractions because of how massive those properties are. Though the placement of those lands is still important to me. Something like Avengers Campus in Disney Hollywood Studios is something I wouldn't even bat an eye at. But in California Adventure? I think it's a stretch. Especially the shoe-horned, "Tony Stark's dad had a car factory here or something" kind of back story.

    Lands that are more "generic" in terms of thematic elements tend to have more room for creative expansion, be it IP or not. Something like "Adventure"land can clearly house Jungle Cruise, Tiki Room, Indiana Jones and Tarzan all right next door and it just works. -and, importantly, for Disney, it allows them to take advantage of their massive IP folder.

    This is something I think is worth bringing up: Disney wants (-and should, with good reason) to utilize it's vast library of owned properties. However, with something like Avengers Campus, they limit that dedicated acreage to that property, specifically. Only Avengers stuff can go there and if some other huge property pops up which they want to cash in on, they will be out of expansion space to explore possibilities with and instead be forced to totally demolish something instead of being able to creatively work it into a pre-existing, well thought out area.

    Let me cut to the conversation I had with my wife that I just can't shake: Disney was on the right track here with the "idea" of something like Avengers Campus. Tech Campuses are a staple of today's Big Tech Industry. Where is Big Tech located out here in California? Mostly Silicon Valley and the like. So it dawned on me..

    Why didn't Disney go ahead and design a Big Tech, Silicon Valley, clearly California Adventure-related land, instead? Right off the bat, you're already fitting the California theme of the park perfectly. -and to boot, by designing something less "specific", you have now opened the door to using so many more of your creative properties, not just Avengers. But totally including Avengers, as well!

    Just off the top of my head, a few properties that feel right at home in a sort of "Silicon Valley/Big Tech Campus"-land:

    1) MARVEL. Iron-man, Spider-man, W.E.B., you name it.
    2) TRON. Because, duh. Imagine being able to step into the ENCOM building and walk into the laser that could take us to "the Grid" for the TRON coaster?
    3) Big Hero 6. The San Fransokyo Institute of Technology? It speaks for itself.
    4) Wreck-it Ralph. A little bit of a stretch but definitely falls within the video game or tech realm. Not many would question it's placement here.
    5) The Incredibles. Definitely fits the vibe and could play off the hero-tech side of things.
    6) Monsters, Inc./Monsters University. "Of course, MI is prepared for the future. With the best scarers, the best refineries and research into new energy techniques. We're working for a better tomorrow, today." -the literal film.

    ..the list could go on and on. -and those are just pre-established IPs! Of course I'd love to see WDI flex their creative muscles and create some attractions or shows that are whole-ly original. I'm certain they could do it.

    To me, it seems like either way it's sliced, Disney should have gone more this route. Because it both satisfies their urge to utilize as much IP as possible and gives us a land which makes more sense within the context of California Adventure.

    Am I nuts? Just had to get it out of my head. The land itself could probably be easily re-worked someday into something like this. I just think it makes so much more sense and means so much more to the park than: "-and then, suddenly, poof, the Collector's Collection is here. Because reasons."
    Last edited by Blurr; 05-06-2021, 10:49 AM.
    "I take no side. I am beyond your worrying and wars. I am unseen. Unknowable. Like a rock in the river."

  • #2
    Tony Stark's mansion was in Malibu, Wakanda opened their first outreach center in Oakland, Ant-Man takes place in San Fransisco. That is just off the top of my head from the films. Also, if Tony's mansion is in Malibu, wouldn't that mean his company is based out of California as well? Also, there really isn't enough room for a big silicon valley themed area to fit multiple IPs in the park's current footprint (including backstage), not without replacing most/all of Hollywood. And actually, I think that an Avengers Campus being in California makes way more sense than in a Hollywood studio because to me, that implies that it is 100% fake and the characters are just actors playing the characters rather than being THE actual character. To me, Hollywood Studios is having a bigger identity crisis than DCA is.
    Trips coming up:

    May 22-26th
    July 13th-18th
    November 19th-25th

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    • #3
      Originally posted by mickeyfan42 View Post
      Tony Stark's mansion was in Malibu, Wakanda opened its first outreach center in Oakland, Ant-Man takes place in San Fransisco. That is just off the top of my head from the films. Also, if Tony's mansion is in Malibu, wouldn't that mean his company is based out of California as well? Also, there really isn't enough room for a big silicon valley themed area to fit multiple IPs in the park's current footprint (including backstage), not without replacing most/all of Hollywood. And actually, I think that an Avengers Campus being in California makes way more sense than in a Hollywood studio because to me, that implies that it is 100% fake and the characters are just actors playing the characters rather than being THE actual character. To me, Hollywood Studios is having a bigger identity crisis than DCA is.
      Given that Avengers Campus is probably not going away, and Hollywood Land is looking more like an outcast as time slowly but surely ticks away... I agree with you.

      HOWEVER...

      I think Disney should just pull a 2.0 shortly and just expand Avengers Campus into Hollywood Land. It could make room for another E-ticket. Get rid of what's left of Superstar Limo, the theater, and (sadly) the Animation Academy.

      I'm not a mega Marvel fan by any means, but even I can see that the land should be a lot bigger, and given all the types of heroes and villains in the universe, it could be more interesting than a land dedicated to Star Wars*.

      *Sorry, Star Wars fans.

      Back on the topic, though, I feel OP's confusion and frustration. I just think the theming around Silicon Valley could get messy real quick, whereas we have a base for what Avengers Campus is and what it could be. I personally am impressed with parts of its design. It looks interesting.
      Last edited by Captain Andy; 05-06-2021, 12:35 PM.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by mickeyfan42 View Post
        Tony Stark's mansion was in Malibu, Wakanda opened their first outreach center in Oakland, Ant-Man takes place in San Fransisco. That is just off the top of my head from the films.
        I understand this. However, my bigger point is that the land is entirely dedicated to one property, which leaves little room for creative expansion in the future, unless it is MARVEL-related. -and while I will concede that yes, some of these characters do have California connections and are represented, it's mostly just Ant-Man, who is getting a restaurant.

        The main attractions for Avengers Campus are: Spider-Man (A New York based hero), Dr. Strange (Who guards the New York Sanctum) and Guardians of the Galaxy (who aren't even on this planet). Yes, the backstory is there but to me, it doesn't feel as natural. Saying Tony Stark's dad had a motor shop in California and that's why we're here (which is the official story given, according to the latest Disneyland update) feels about as forced to me, to me, as their story about why a Guardians ride belongs in EPCOT (apparently, because Peter Quill visited it once as a kid). I guess it's more of a feeling thing. I just don't feel a whole-ly Avengers dedicated area feels "at home" next to something like, Grizzly Peak or Buena Vista Street.

        Originally posted by mickeyfan42 View Post
        silicon valley themed area to fit multiple IPs in the park's current footprint (including backstage), not without replacing most/all of Hollywood
        Yup. I agree with you here. They might have been able to pull some clever shenanigan's and have the larger show buildings be covered by Hollywoodland facades on the other end but on the whole, I was thinking more from a Blue Sky standpoint. I was simply pitching this concept as though much of the IP-driven singular lands (like Carsland) could have been reworked, as well. So it's more of just from an imagination or a "I wish they had planned ahead and done things differently for DCA before" standpoint.

        Originally posted by mickeyfan42 View Post
        And actually, I think that an Avengers Campus being in California makes way more sense than in a Hollywood studio because to me, that implies that it is 100% fake and the characters are just actors playing the characters rather than being THE actual character. To me, Hollywood Studios is having a bigger identity crisis than DCA is.
        With the term Campus, you're probably right. But had it been simply an "Avengers-land" or "MARVEL-land", I think it would have felt right at home. Sort of like the movies are coming to life through Disney Magic. It would make sense that in a park celebrating Disney's ties to the movie industry, that you'd be able to step into one of their franchises like this. When one thinks MCU, they think about all the wonderful, interconnected films. Cinematic Universe, after all.
        "I take no side. I am beyond your worrying and wars. I am unseen. Unknowable. Like a rock in the river."

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Captain Andy View Post
          ..I think Disney should just pull a 2.0 shortly and just expand Avengers Campus into Hollywood Land. ..
          I personally think a sort of "Avengers mini-land" within Hollywood land would have made perfect sense. For all the same reasons I feel like it works in Hollywood Studios. We associate these characters with the films and cinematic universe Marvel studios has built. It could have worked. Look at how "it's a small world" sort of "takes over" and "owns" it's own theme in the corner of Fantasyland. Yet, it feels natural. No reason Marvel couldn't have done something similar with the struggling Hollywood land.

          Originally posted by Captain Andy View Post
          ... I just think the theming around Silicon Valley could get messy real quick, whereas we have a base for what Avengers Campus is and what it could be. I personally am impressed with parts of its design. It looks interesting.
          Maybe. I'm not a designer and have never been myself. I just know it's got a clear connection to the state and that with the right minds at work, anything is possible.


          I'd also like to point out for the record to everyone that I am not trying to dunk on Avengers Campus completely, yet. I haven't been or experienced it for myself and when it opens, I will judge the land on it's merits and decide whether or not I think it's a good "Avengers Campus". Still, that won't likely change how I feel about it's inclusion or placement within the park as a whole. For example, I think Carsland is a marvelous work of art and a lot of fun even though I don't care for the Cars movies. It's a great Carsland. I just wouldn't have personally built an entire land based around the Cars movie in DCA. But that's just me, some jerk on the internet.
          "I take no side. I am beyond your worrying and wars. I am unseen. Unknowable. Like a rock in the river."

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          • #6
            I completely agree with the sentiment, but at least Avengers Campus is replacing Bugs Land, another land dedicated to a single movie property that has nothing to do with California, so its not thematically decreasing the park. If Grizzly Peak or Pacific Warf ever gets replaced by something like this, I'll be a lot more upset.
            Brian the Pooh

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Brian PieGuy View Post
              I completely agree with the sentiment, but at least Avengers Campus is replacing Bugs Land, another land dedicated to a single movie property that has nothing to do with California, so its not thematically decreasing the park. If Grizzly Peak or Pacific Warf ever gets replaced by something like this, I'll be a lot more upset.
              In fairness to "a bugs land", it was originally sort of latched onto DCA's Bountiful Farms area, which was loosely tied to California farming. It wasn't good but there was at least some sort of attempt to connect the two or create some sort of transition between the two.

              That transition was completely lost when Carsland was built. So now, in fairness again, your statement has indeed been correct since pretty much 2012! -and I agree, I would hate to lose Grizzly Peak or Pacific Wharf, they are two of my absolute favorite places in the park.
              "I take no side. I am beyond your worrying and wars. I am unseen. Unknowable. Like a rock in the river."

              Comment


              • #9
                Originally posted by Blurr View Post

                I personally think a sort of "Avengers mini-land" within Hollywood land would have made perfect sense. For all the same reasons I feel like it works in Hollywood Studios. We associate these characters with the films and cinematic universe Marvel studios has built. It could have worked. Look at how "it's a small world" sort of "takes over" and "owns" it's own theme in the corner of Fantasyland. Yet, it feels natural. No reason Marvel couldn't have done something similar with the struggling Hollywood land.



                Maybe. I'm not a designer and have never been myself. I just know it's got a clear connection to the state and that with the right minds at work, anything is possible.


                I'd also like to point out for the record to everyone that I am not trying to dunk on Avengers Campus completely, yet. I haven't been or experienced it for myself and when it opens, I will judge the land on it's merits and decide whether or not I think it's a good "Avengers Campus". Still, that won't likely change how I feel about it's inclusion or placement within the park as a whole. For example, I think Carsland is a marvelous work of art and a lot of fun even though I don't care for the Cars movies. It's a great Carsland. I just wouldn't have personally built an entire land based around the Cars movie in DCA. But that's just me, some jerk on the internet.
                I agree with your mini-land assessment. I too wish it were smaller and subjected to the corner where Monsters Inc. currently is, but since Disney decided to go "medium," I think I'm of the mindset of, "well.... just make it bigger, then!"

                I haven't been to Avengers Campus either, but I'm still strangely optimistic about its future (I might be burned, though!) It could be due to the fact that I am not the biggest Marvel fan out there, but I appreciate it as a brand and I can see how it could be fun. And if Disney ever decides that it's time to go big with the land, there are so many ways to enhance it given the universe(s) that exist within it.

                I think what I'm getting at is that Marvel found a way to be considered fun and full of energy through its movies and TV shows, and that's innate in the brand. But I could be wrong with my hopes and predictions. I too am a jerk on the internet.

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                • #10
                  I don't think the "baseline" MCU makes for very good theme park material at all. It's too similar to the world as we already know it--skyscrapers and international politics. If they went for more of the fantastic locales--Wakanda, Asgard, the Quantum Realm, the loony planets in GOTG--it would be more promising, but the focus seems to be almost entirely on individual "relatable" characters.
                  Like this post? Read more like it at The Disneyland Dilettante!

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                  • #11
                    IMO there is little left in DCA that actually is linked to "California culture." DCA being about California has long since been a thing of the past. I don't feel there NEEDS to be a tie to CA anymore - all the rethemes and additions have seen to that (Cars Land, Pixar Pier and now AC). What I actually hope for in DCA is something to be done with Hollywood Land. It's been rather defunct for a while and MI now seems out of place over there rather than being over in Pixar Pier. If I were one of the execs at Disney, I would have petitioned for Hollywood Land to become AC (or taken over both Bugs and HL). It'll be interesting to see how GOTG:MB fits in once AC opens - it always felt a bit weird over there in the corner of HL and hopefully AC brings it in a bit better.

                    And I think making the land AC - in lieu of a specific locale within the MCU - was a smart move. The Avengers team will be changing constantly, but as the Avengers, they'll always have the common ground of where they team up - the campus. It allows multiple characters of the MCU to appear without it being "wrong."

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                    • #12
                      Originally posted by Captain Andy View Post

                      Given that Avengers Campus is probably not going away, and Hollywood Land is looking more like an outcast as time slowly but surely ticks away... I agree with you.

                      HOWEVER...

                      I think Disney should just pull a 2.0 shortly and just expand Avengers Campus into Hollywood Land. It could make room for another E-ticket. Get rid of what's left of Superstar Limo, the theater, and (sadly) the Animation Academy.

                      I'm not a mega Marvel fan by any means, but even I can see that the land should be a lot bigger, and given all the types of heroes and villains in the universe, it could be more interesting than a land dedicated to Star Wars*.

                      *Sorry, Star Wars fans.

                      Back on the topic, though, I feel OP's confusion and frustration. I just think the theming around Silicon Valley could get messy real quick, whereas we have a base for what Avengers Campus is and what it could be. I personally am impressed with parts of its design. It looks interesting.
                      AS much as I would miss the animation building, it is definitely large enough to fit a legit E-ticket Haunted Mansion scale dark ride in it. What I would really love would be to move the entrance to either the back, or the side facing the theater and make it a full sanctum (since those are all over the world) and do a trackless Mystic Manor type ride in it using the Sanctum as the setting, you can have Doctor Strange and Scarlet Witch in it as characters, maybe she is the one that accidentally makes everything come to life around you and then has to help Dr Strange set everything right. And the story setup could be that they need help cataloging everything since this was a hidden sanctum that he didn't know about before. You could maybe still have the outdoor Dr Strange show, and maybe he would tell you that he needs your help cataloging everything and tells you to meet him at the end of the block.

                      Also, there are more than enough Avengers to give a lot of them their own unique rides in a big Avengers area: Captain Marvel, Black Panther (I'm picturing a simulator ride where it is as if you are in control of a car or jet from inside the Wakandan Outreach Center), Iron Man, Captain America (maybe instead of a Tron coaster in Tomorrowland we get the same ride system in DCA for Captain America ride), Thor (maybe an indoor coaster riding the rainbow bridge?), and that isn't even including the characters that haven't made their MCU debut yet (Shang-Chi, Eternals, Ms Marvel, Iron Heart, Fantastic 4, X-Men, etc)
                      Trips coming up:

                      May 22-26th
                      July 13th-18th
                      November 19th-25th

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                      • #13
                        Originally posted by lemuth0922 View Post
                        IMO there is little left in DCA that actually is linked to "California culture." DCA being about California has long since been a thing of the past. I don't feel there NEEDS to be a tie to CA anymore - all the rethemes and additions have seen to that (Cars Land, Pixar Pier and now AC). What I actually hope for in DCA is something to be done with Hollywood Land. It's been rather defunct for a while and MI now seems out of place over there rather than being over in Pixar Pier. If I were one of the execs at Disney, I would have petitioned for Hollywood Land to become AC (or taken over both Bugs and HL). It'll be interesting to see how GOTG:MB fits in once AC opens - it always felt a bit weird over there in the corner of HL and hopefully AC brings it in a bit better.

                        And I think making the land AC - in lieu of a specific locale within the MCU - was a smart move. The Avengers team will be changing constantly, but as the Avengers, they'll always have the common ground of where they team up - the campus. It allows multiple characters of the MCU to appear without it being "wrong."
                        I completely agree with this, especially when you compare to Galaxy's Edge where they painted themselves into a corner where they now have to do some serious adjustments to their story if they want to add Mandalorian, Original, or Prequel characters
                        Trips coming up:

                        May 22-26th
                        July 13th-18th
                        November 19th-25th

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                        • #14
                          Originally posted by lemuth0922 View Post
                          IMO there is little left in DCA that actually is linked to "California culture." DCA being about California has long since been a thing of the past. I don't feel there NEEDS to be a tie to CA anymore - all the rethemes and additions have seen to that (Cars Land, Pixar Pier and now AC). What I actually hope for in DCA is something to be done with Hollywood Land. It's been rather defunct for a while and MI now seems out of place over there rather than being over in Pixar Pier. If I were one of the execs at Disney, I would have petitioned for Hollywood Land to become AC (or taken over both Bugs and HL). It'll be interesting to see how GOTG:MB fits in once AC opens - it always felt a bit weird over there in the corner of HL and hopefully AC brings it in a bit better.

                          And I think making the land AC - in lieu of a specific locale within the MCU - was a smart move. The Avengers team will be changing constantly, but as the Avengers, they'll always have the common ground of where they team up - the campus. It allows multiple characters of the MCU to appear without it being "wrong."
                          I agree that Avengers Campus seems like a good concept for what they're going for, but I'm not ready to give up on California Adventure just yet. Maybe I'm fighting for a lost cause, but to me Buena Vista Street, Pacific Wharf, parts of Hollywoodland, and especially Grizzly Peak fit in very well with the overall theme of California Adventure and are some of the best parts of the park. Instead of replacing Hollywoodland, I'd rather see it remodeled and change the backlot look into a street that's aesthetically consistent with Buena Vista Street.
                          Brian the Pooh

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                          • #15
                            They should put a mini Disneyland inside of DCA because that is a major landmark of California right? J/k but it's part of my next point.

                            I agree with what some have said, having a California theme to a park in the middle of Southern California was a meta fail. When I heard about DCA 1.0 I was never drawn to go in fact the first time I went to DCA I was simply because we planned a DLR vacation when my kids were little and we went there because it was there, we came for DL and happened to spend some time in DCA because it was new to us. We enjoyed it, the kids really liked Bugsland (RIP). We think of it as the quiet side, more of a State Park to DL's State Fair so to speak.

                            Epcot center is popular because it brought in culture from afar. If they made a Disney's Florida Adventure celebrating how Walt came to create WDW it would also likely struggle. I am a Californian native, I have travelled to most of the other states and continents and would still never live in any other place than here. However I do not think it deserves an entire theme park dedicated to one man being attracted to move to it. A small museum sure, a book definitely but a whole theme park sorry I do not think most folks are feeling it. I have always said the park needed a new name. Even if it was subtle like Disney California's Adventure. They could then have Disney Korea's Adventure or Disney Brazil's Adventure if they expanded to other regions of the globe etc. but a complete re-name I think would be best as "Adventure" is already a land across the esplanade.

                            Just my opinion your milage may vary and for the DCA stans out there I think it's great you really enjoy the park. The more people enjoy things that are positive the better off the world is as a whole.
                            Last edited by Starcade; 05-06-2021, 03:59 PM.
                            Disneyland Fan since the 70's

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                            • #16
                              Originally posted by Starcade View Post

                              The more people enjoy things that are positive the better off the world is as a whole.
                              If more people had this mentality, the world would be better off
                              Brian the Pooh

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                              • #17
                                I still maintain that DCA 1.0 could have worked if it had been more about the history and mystique of California, less about the literal reality. That is my hill and I will die on it.
                                Like this post? Read more like it at The Disneyland Dilettante!

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                                • #18
                                  Originally posted by Karalora View Post
                                  I still maintain that DCA 1.0 could have worked if it had been more about the history and mystique of California, less about the literal reality. That is my hill and I will die on it.
                                  We all have our flags to bear.
                                  Disneyland Fan since the 70's

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                                  • #19
                                    Originally posted by Brian PieGuy View Post

                                    I agree that Avengers Campus seems like a good concept for what they're going for, but I'm not ready to give up on California Adventure just yet. Maybe I'm fighting for a lost cause, but to me, Buena Vista Street, Pacific Wharf, parts of Hollywoodland, and especially Grizzly Peak fit in very well with the overall theme of California Adventure and are some of the best parts of the park. Instead of replacing Hollywoodland, I'd rather see it remodeled and change the backlot look into a street that's aesthetically consistent with Buena Vista Street.
                                    I like and respect this idea as well. I hold the belief that Hollywood land must go. It reminds me too much of Superstar Limo, including Monsters Inc. Too much emotional baggage there.

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                                    • #20
                                      I disagree with the OP for a few reasons.

                                      1. Ant-Man is not the only California related setting. Iron Man lived in California during his original trilogy. Part of Captain Marvel takes place in 1990s LA.

                                      2. DCA is not "locked in" in regards in expansion. Disney Forward throws out the idea of DCA expanding over Disneyland Drive into the Simba parking lot.

                                      3. Howard Stark(Iron Man's Dad) has been portrayed in the MCU as a Walt Disney or Henry Ford-esque character, where he was big on engineering and ally of SHIELD. Hence why the car factory works in my opinion.

                                      4. While I do agree Spider-man and Guardians being in California is a stretch, Dr. Strange can easily portal anywhere he wants. It' s quite possible that Dr. Strange as the Sorcerer Supreme, decided to build an California Sanctum alongside the Avengers.
                                      It also should be noted that Disney did clarify that the Avengers Campus happens in an AU, where the Snap/Blip never happened. So there is more leeway on creative decisions, that don't conflict with the current story of the MCU.

                                      5. Unlike Star Wars Marvel has a massive scope that can be easily expanded or altered to various properties.

                                      6. Due to pre-existing legal reasons, Disney could not name the land "Marvel Land". However, I'm glad they didn't, as it forced the Imagineers to become creative over the name.

                                      I do agree with keeping the California aspect in DCA, but I don't think AC is conflicting with the park as a whole.

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