A famous industrialist once said, “Sometimes, you have to run before you can walk.” I think it was Henry Ford or perhaps that loquacious Musk bloke … wait, no, it was billionaire and CEO Tony Stark, better known as the superhero Iron Man.
Fictional as Stark and his inspirational platitudes may be, the Imagineers at Disney have found a kernel of truth in his words. Fittingly, they’ve put it into practice at the new Disney Hotel New York – The Art of Marvel at Disneyland Paris. It’s a full-tilt slice of the super life where you can let your inner hero shine.
After the House of Mouse purchased Marvel Entertainment in 2009, the Marvel superheroes were slowly incorporated into Disney’s array of theme parks. It was as smooth a fit as an Infinity Gauntlet on an intergalactic despot; the tech-powered Iron Man was right at home among g-force roller-coasters, while the shape of your friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man’s head made for a better balloon than even Mickey’s himself.
The latest Disney playground to enjoy the benefits of the colossal team-up is Disneyland Paris, which in July 2022 received the Marvel Avengers Campus as part of the Walt Disney Studios Park.
The campus features two intense new attractions inspired by the Marvel heroes: the Avengers Assemble: Flight Force roller-coaster, which sees guests team up with Captain Marvel and Iron Man for a breathtaking high-speed mission through space, and the Spider-Man W.E.B. Adventure, an augmented reality experience that has you slinging web alongside Ol’ Webhead himself.
In addition, the campus features a variety of heroic encounters, restaurants and stores that totally immerse visitors in the Marvel universe. However, the best way to complete the experience is a stay at the Disney Hotel New York – The Art of Marvel.
But this ain’t your daddy’s New York. While the hotel itself – a 561-room pastiche of NYC art deco and Big Apple vibes that’s served as EuroDisney’s take on the luxury American hotel since 1992 – isn’t new, the Marvel rebranding means that it’s now very much a part of the New York familiar to Peter Parker and the Avengers.
It begins in the lobby, where I walk past a wall of Iron Man armour and check out Captain America’s shield as I make my way to the front desk. Outside in the sunny courtyard, giant statues of Black Panther and Iron Man stand guard against would-be intruders while guests pose for selfies.
The functional and luxurious rooms are adorned with artistic takes on the Marvel heroes and tastefully applied colour schemes tied to specific characters. Don’t expect garish wallpaper and bright red-and-blue Spidey sheets, however; this ain’t your kiddie’s New York either.
Instead, there’s an elegant corporate-chic aesthetic and imaginative, evocative use of colour: my bed’s throw blanket is a muted red and gold that suggests Iron Man’s mask.
In this way, the Disney Hotel New York doubles as a respectable, business-friendly hotel for you, and a fun-filled superhuman experience for your kids. If you’re really looking to Hulk out, you’ll want to opt for an Empire State Club room (complete with exclusive access to the Empire State Lounge) or even the two-storey Art of Marvel Presidential Suite. Hey, it’s what Tony Stark would do.
Speaking of, I almost expect to find Stark in one of the Disney Hotel New York’s two stylish bars. As you might expect, the Skyline Bar offers a glimpse of the New York skyline (and the odd super-powered denizen), while the Bleecker Street Lounge features a range of craft beers, organic wines and hero-themed cocktails.
When it’s time to dine, head to either the Downtown or Manhattan restaurants, where the Big Apple’s culinary diversity is in full swing. Dishes from all over the world will get more than your spider-senses tingling amid a fully transportive NYC setting, replete with Marvel character sketches along the walls.
At breakfast, the Mickey ears cheekily appear in my toast; such is the level of immersion that it’s a nice reminder of where I am.
But wait, we came here to live the superhero life! Chase Thor’s shredded physique out in the Hero Training Zone, which provides a range of sports and fitness activities as well as the indoor/outdoor Metro Pool.
Or delve into the multiverse at the Super Hero Station, where you can hang out on Peter Parker’s ceiling or attempt to lift the mighty Mjölnir … and look good doing it.
There’s also a rare look behind the canvas at the Marvel Design Studio, where budding artists can receive exclusive drawing lessons and create their own heroes.
Meanwhile, veteran comic book aesthetes won’t want to miss the Jack Kirby Legacy Gallery, where original covers and artwork by ‘the King of Comics’ are on display around the clock, with other temporary exhibitions on throughout the year.
In fact, there’s so much to see and do that you might forget Disneyland Paris and the Walt Disney Studio Park are just 10 minutes’ walk away, and Paris itself only 45 minutes by train. If, like me, you stay parkside right up to the 11pm fireworks, you’ll appreciate knowing you’re never far from your comfy bed. My hero, indeed.
But back to running before walking. Superheroes and CEOs alike live life at superhuman levels of speed and urgency, putting the needs of the many before their own.
When it’s time to unwind or simply slow the pace, the Disney Hotel New York – The Art of Marvel provides the perfect way to do so in a manner befitting Earth’s Mightiest Superheroes. Excelsior!