The Marvel Experience, an interactive attraction featuring Marvel’s mightiest heroes, is every comic book fan’s dream. Utilizing interactive technology and some fantastic exhibits, the Marvel Experience manages to entertain regardless of age. During opening weekend of The Marvel Experience at Fair Park in Dallas, large crowds took in the attraction, with a largely enthusiastic response.
The Marvel Experience is surprisingly well-done for an attraction that is only set-up in Dallas for two weeks. The exhibits and activities rival anything you would see at a traditional theme park, including some fantastic video-based presentations, a 4D ride, and several-skill based activities. Coupled with some well-done prop exhibits and the high-tech dressing inside seven domes, The Marvel Experience provides an impressive presentation and an atmosphere that feels like you are on the Avengers Helicarrier.
The attraction is perhaps best enjoyed with kids, but they certainly aren’t necessary to have a good time. The youngsters that were in attendance seemed to love seeing the display featuring Captain America’s shield and Wolverine’s claws more than adults, but the grown-ups seemed to enjoy the more physical challenges like the “Holo-Blaster Training Simulator,” a shooting game using S.H.I.E.L.D. guns. The Marvel Experience certainly tries hard to offer something for both young and old, but it really excels in offering attractions that appeal to both, especially the 3D presentation and the 4D motion ride.
Upon entering the attraction, visitors stop at Interactive kiosks in “S.H.I.E.L.D. Plaza.” The kiosks act as a “super power band” registration center and become recruits for S.H.I.E.L.D., complete with Marvel wrist band for you to wear and an I.D. card that can be emailed to you. Visitors then enter the first of seven domes that make up the attraction. It should be noted that once you pass through a dome, you cannot go back, so be sure to take advantage of everything the dome has to offer before moving on.
A series of video presentations in the first two domes introduce the Marvel heroes who will be featured in the attraction (including Iron Man, Spider-Man, Captain America, Hulk, and Black Widow), and a briefing from Tony Stark and Nick Fury. It is worth noting that the Marvel Experience is based on the comic version of the characters, not the movie versions. That really isn’t a big deal, as the CGI versions of the heroes you encounter closely resemble the movie versions anyway, including Tony Stark and Nick Fury.
The third dome, by far the largest, is dubbed the “Recruit Training Center,” and is one of the highlights of the tour. It is where the aforementioned displays of the Marvel heroes’ armor and accessories, as well as the “Holo-Blaster Simulator.” It also houses a Spider-Man climbing wall and various video attractions. A particular favorite for visitors was the “Avengers Encounter,” in which visitors could “summon” heroes to appear next to them on a projected screen. It does require you to strike some embarrassing superhero poses, but it is great fun. The dome also features a cafe and a replica of the Avengers’ Quinjet, which serves as an entrance to the other domes. Expect to spend more than an hour in this dome trying out all the exhibits, but if crowds are heavy, you could easily spend two or more hours. The only real drawback here is the lack of people actually in costume as Marvel characters. It doesn’t ruin the experience, but it certainly would have made it better.
After entering the Quinjet, visitors enter the fourth dome, The Simularium, a 3D feature projected across the entire 360 degree dome. It’s a fantastic presentation, and the 3D effect works well. The fifth dome is a “Transport Corridor” that readies visitors for the grand finale: the sixth dome featuring a 4D motion ride that puts you in the middle of a battle between the Marvel heroes and a band of Adaptoids. It’s great fun, and while some motion rides tend to get uncomfortable by shaking riders to death, this ride blended well with the visuals, without being excessively shaky.
After the ride ends, visitors are ushered into the seventh dome, a Marvel gift shop with everything your inner nerd could ever want. There’s something in every price range for fans to take home: for $5, you can pick up some Marvel superhero logos that snap on to the wrist band you received at the entrance, or for $500, you can have yourself scanned and have a custom figure made of yourself with a Marvel hero. If you choose the Hulk, he’ll be in proper scale, towering over your figure. It’s pretty impressive.
Tickets to the Marvel Experience start at $27.50, which may seem pricey, but considering the entertainment value and the unique experience the attraction offers, you certainly get your money’s worth. VIP tickets, which cost $99, offer priority access to many of the exhibits, which is a nice benefit to have if crowds are large. During our visit on opening weekend, we had to wait a half hour to try out some exhibits. The VIP package also offers a number of extras, including exclusive merchandise, access to a VIP Lounge, and on-site concierge. You can click here to purchase tickets, or click here for more information on VIP packages.
The Marvel Experience is set up in the large parking lot on the south side of Fair Park. It is recommended that you enter at the First Avenue entrance (Gate 11) by the Coliseum and Music Hall, but you can also enter from the south on Robert Cullum Blvd. Parking is $10. If you take DART to Fair Park, a tram will take you from the DART station at the Fair Park entrance to the Marvel Experience.
It should be noted that you need to be at least 40” high to board the 4D motion ride, and weigh at least 80 pounds to climb the Spider-Man wall.
If you’re looking to unleash your inner geek, The Marvel Experience is the perfect outlet. It’s great fun, and while some of the exhibits are obviously geared to kids, there’s a lot to like here. For crying out loud, you can fire a S.H.I.E.L.D. gun at Marvel villains, and that’s alone is worth the price of admission for anyone who grew up loving the Marvel comic books.