Yelp limits you to 5001 CHARACTERS in your reviews—which simply is not enough for things like “experiences.” That said I have posted a full review here on our blog for all to see complete with pictures if you would like more details about my comments below
It should be noted that I refrained from reading any reviews or watching any news stories about this event prior to our visit so I kept my own expectations as high as they should have been for the cost of the tickets. Also, while some may say it is not fair to compare something like this to “Disneyland”, I disagree. Disney as the parent company who has “theme park” entertainment down to a science would never settle for the poorly executed design and management of this experience to exist. No reason to re-invent the wheel- pool resources from the Disney parks gurus and fix the kinks. Several of the activities inside the experience are actual activities AT Disneyland (in the Innoventions attraction in Tomorrowland) so there should be zero “kinks” with those, yet there are.
Cost: For our family of 4 (2 adults 2 teens) we paid $145 for the Marvel Experience plus an additional $10 for parking and shelled out another $20 for a souvenir photo. So at $175 we are not talking about chump change.
Time: We had tickets for Sunday December 28th at 3pm- the web said the experience would last 90-120 minutes. We were there for 3.5 hours ( i.e. 210 minutes) from 2:45pm until 6:15pm. Approximately 60 minutes of that was actual “experience” everything else was standing in line.
Would we do it again?:
not likely- at least not at the cost that it was. Again it was nearly $30 per person (correction it was nearly $40 per person after ticket master fees and nearly $50 per person after parking and 1 shared family souvenir)
Pros: It’s Marvel so if you like Marvel you will be able to find something to like about it.
Cons: 1-interestingly enough kids 6 and under were FREE- which blows my mind because there sure were a TON of them and they take up a TON of time on the activities that those of us that PAID to be there are now having to wait for. Due to the structure of the activities I believe every person who enters should be a paying ticket holder that would make it fair. 2- parking was an additional $10 (if you ever go to anything at Talking Stick you KNOW you have to pay for parking, this just always sucks- but at $10 per event they need to PAVE that lot- the dirt is getting old) 3- poor crowd management (read full review for details) 4- low value high cost (see full review for details of what $30 per person gets you)
I really wish I was sitting down to write a different review than the one I am about to post, but alas- the experience was what it was so I shall share. Mostly because so many of my Facebook friends have asked us about it.
I was originally excited that you bought tickets for “timed entry” because I felt that showed that they were going to have crowd control well managed- Sadly that was not the case. Half the number of people with the same 3pm tickets as us should have been in our group to make the experience more manageable. They definitely oversold the time slots. The event is “sold” as a 90-120 minute” walk thru, so we knew going into it that it would be what we made of it. We did not anticipate that the reason it would be a 90-120 minute experience was because 90% of your time would be standing in line waiting for an activity that would last 45 seconds to no more than 5 minutes each.
How the event went for us:
At 3pm about 75% of the people in our group forgot the basic concept of the “line” we had all been forming for the past 15 minutes and herded towards the entry where 2 people were scanning tickets and 2 people past them were handing out wrist bands. People grabbed wristbands and then shoved their way to the opening of the first dome where security finally stepped in and told people to form a line (which conveniently was forced to swing right past the overpriced concession stand). We stood in this line for 20 minutes in the courtyard in front of the concession stand after being handed non-working “power bands.”
Apparently that feature was a big fail and they gave up on it- you could see where there was booths to register and get photos but they were shuttered closed and- there was no mention of registration of any kind of our bands they were just handed to us. I could not even locate the TMX App on my android phone which was the only advertisement for any type of registration of any kind that was posted anywhere.
At about 3:20ish our line began to slowly funnel into the first dome- which contained—a corral line to feed us all up to a photo with a green screen for one photo op for which we were then handed a photo pass to buy the picture later. While we stood in line there were TV monitors giving Marvel character bios on a loop. We saw each character bio at least 10 times while in this que.
Finally at about 3:30pm the line began to move into the first actual dome- which was the S.H.I.E.L.D. Mobile Command center. A lot of filler time was taken to get “as many people into this dome” as they could and we were told over and over, squeeze in, make friends, spread out, and move over here etc. Eventually a big screen provided an intro movie. This got us really excited- we learned about the “adaptoids” and what our “mission” as recruits was going to be.
Everyone in the whole crowd by this point was already irritable and complaining about the waits and calling everything “lame” so it was difficult to stay positive and we were only just starting the tour! If only the staff would have been more interactive and pumped the crowd up. My kiddos however were still glowing with excitement so we really tried to tune out the negativity around us. There was a lot of filler time because you could tell they were stalling on letting us into the next area.
At about 3:40pm we were let into the main dome area which contained a majority of the activities. You are repeatedly reminded that once you leave a dome you can NOT return to it, so you have to be sure that you do everything you want to do in each area before moving on. When you first enter you see tons of artifacts and cool stories to read.
There is an enemy “adaptoid” that has been captured and is on display in the center of the east end of the dome.
Encircling this are several touch screen “games” which are all the exact same matching game- the theme is “excavation” where you are supposedly finding pieces of an exploded adaptoid and you drag pieces around the screen to match them up- it keeps your attention for a max of 30 seconds.
Every now and then projections will appear near the top of the dome to the east and west and if you are lucky you can hear what they are saying. If you travel counter clock wise you will enter another area that has six activities in it- A simulated shooting game called “Holoblaster training” that takes 3-D glasses and lasts 4-5 minutes and takes a max of 24 people per session- so your wait time in this line will be LONG. We stood for over 45 minutes in this line.
Next is a Spidey “rock wall” which looked interesting because it moved like a conveyor belt- but one side was not operating so that line was also very long- the rock wall itself was also very short no more than 6 feet tall so we skipped it. Next was the Avengers Encounter which was pretty neat- you stood on pads and posed in certain manners to “summon” different Avengers to arrive on the screen with you.
We happened to hit this activity when no one else was in line for it so we got to play around with it for a few minutes before a line began to form and I made my kids move on to let someone else have a turn. That type of polite parenting seemed to be missing among others in attendance at this event. The next activity was Black Widows Agility Maze- which was a narrow room with laser beams that you had to navigate by moving over under the beams. We watched people on the screen and enjoyed the entertainment of it but the line for that looked horribly long as well so we also skipped that one.
The last activities in this area were Ironman flight training
and a Hulk Smash punching game both went relatively quickly as they were timed and monitored by staff so people were shuffled in and out quickly. There was also some “confidential files” to look through which contained more bio info and some great artwork of Marvel characters. Lastly was a snack bar area, we purposely ate prior to coming to this as we knew it would be over priced for example a slushy was $8.
When you go to leave this dome you are once again reminded that you can NOT come back to it, you walk into a trailer with Villain monitors to look at and read up on and a touch screen interactive activity that most people I think walked right past.
We perused this area for about 3-4 minutes, then we walked down the end of the trailer where our “power bands” were taken from us and we were given souvenir bands with three snap on logos to attach, then herded into another waiting area called the ‘transfer doom” where we were handed 3-d glasses and again played the “stand around and stall” –move over there- squeeze in here game until they determined that enough people had arrived to shuttle us into the Simularium dome. There was nothing to do in here but stand around, nothing to look at nothing to watch etc. Once everyone was inside the Simularium we were told we must stand- absolutely no sitting. Then they proceeded to play a dizzying movie above our heads. It really was spectacular and exciting- I really wish we could have sat down on the ground though- because it really was hard to watch staring straight at the ceiling for 5 minutes watching a 360 degrees spinning movie all around your head. We were actually told before it began that if we felt like we were getting sick to take off our glasses and look at the ground- how is THAT a solution?
Next you file into another waiting area called the “transport corridor” where they spend even more time scooting people around and waiting around making sure there are “enough” people to make the next activity worthwhile and stalling. Finally a safety video plays which is funny and we get to enter into the Transport Hangar for “the ride” which is a large theater with a massive screen. Anyone with motion sickness can sit in the front row everyone else gets seats that will move and rock and have bursts of air blown on them etc. The “ride” lasts for a little more than 5 minutes and if I had to compare it to anything I would say it is about 50% less jerky than Star Tours but with a lot more comfortable seats and a much cooler video. Then it is over. You all file out into the gift shop that has no less than 40 staff members simply standing around to ensure no one steals anything. We liked our photo so we bought it.
I think Tyler especially was able to still see it through the eyes of wonder, Connor however picked up on the irritability of everyone around us and started to get jaded about stuff. Overall there were many moments that I loved looking at the boys enjoy themselves.
If you look at our photos I captured what looks like a great time and I want to remember it that way as much as I can.