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Marvel hotels, restaurants or Cirque-style shows OUTSIDE theme parks at Disney World

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  • Marvel hotels, restaurants or Cirque-style shows OUTSIDE theme parks at Disney World

    I know that Disney World is not allowed to use the majority of Marvel characters inside the theme parks because the theme park rights are held by Universal Studios east of the Mississippi. However, Disney Springs now has the Super Hero Headquarters store. Disney Springs is not a theme park so they are allowed to do that. So my question for those that might know more of the legal details is: for example, can Disney create an Art of Animation-style hotel and call it Super Heroes Hotel? Can they add a super hero themed restaurant at Disney Springs? And most importantly, to add real Marvel entertainment to Disney World, can they create a Cirque du Soliel-style show building at Disney Springs and produce a show with acrobats, trapeze artists, etc. battling as Marvel heroes versus villains? None of the hotel, the restaurant or the show would be inside a theme park. They are not rides, they are not attractions. So I would think Disney would be able to do these three ideas. What do you all think?

  • #2
    They can not "use" the characters in any way that are being used at Universal. No rides, no shows, no meet and greets, no attractions, no characters, no "themeing" that might use them. The store works because they are selling merchandise, and many places sell Marvel themed merchandise. There is no restriction on that. But none of the rest that you mention would be allowed for anything in use at Universal.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by sirwillow View Post
      They can not "use" the characters in any way that are being used at Universal. No rides, no shows, no meet and greets, no attractions, no characters, no "themeing" that might use them. The store works because they are selling merchandise, and many places sell Marvel themed merchandise. There is no restriction on that. But none of the rest that you mention would be allowed for anything in use at Universal.
      I am not a lawyer but I have read the contract a lot, and it's not entirely clear if this is the case. The rights in the contract are specifically for theme park use. A new hotel would not be a theme park, and arguably Disney Springs isn't either. I could see Universal trying to make a case that all of WDW is one big theme park so the restriction would apply. Then there is the story about the Avengers wrapped monorail that was originally running on the Epcot loop until Universal stepped in saying that was a violation of the contract since the monorail passed through a theme park, at which point Disney moved it to the MK line.

      The other thing that complicates this is that Marvel at one point had planned to create something called the "Marvel Action Universe" which was a retail store that also had things like simulator rides and M&Gs. The contract has an exception that would have allowed Marvel to build these East of the Mississippi and use the restricted characters, but it could not be within 60 miles of Universal Orlando.

      I would say use outside of the actual parks is still somewhat of a grey area.

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