It’s only been a couple months since Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind opened at Walt Disney World’s EPCOT, but Disney Imagineering has already unveiled their next Marvel-themed attraction: Avengers Assemble: Flight Force. Though expectations were (probably) modest, the “new” coaster didn’t perform as desired for some folks – what went wrong?
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For three years, Disneyland Paris’ Rock ’N’ Roller Coaster was dormant as Walt Disney Studios’ “backlot” area transformed into Avengers Campus. While previous R’N’R riders could already anticipate what the reimagined ride would physically do, there were high hopes for the attraction’s new overall presentation. The ride’s show building in particular was a virtually blank canvas full of potential.
I’ll start off by saying that we love both Rock ’N’ Roller Coasters because nothing captures the essence of our coaster enthusiasm quite like a first-generation Vekoma LSM looper (we’re weird, I know). Some people dislike the ride for reasons that they’ve always disliked it: roughness, violent transitions, headbanging, etc. Inversely, we loved the ride in its blank canvas state, and now we believe there’s even more to love!
Everything that’s new about Avengers Assemble: Flight Force is a big win for us – some aspects, like the ride’s entrance and queue, are rather well-liked. However, ride effects inside the show building are, admittedly, lacking. Is it better than the Aerosmith light show? Sure. Is it as good as it could be? No. Avengers Assemble: Flight Force’s biggest problem is that Hyperspace Mountain exists: the latter’s show building is so packed with effects that it makes Flight Force feel like a pitch-dark coaster with the occasional scene.
That one major critique aside, there isn’t much we’d change about Avengers Assemble: Flight Force. The ride is framed beautifully by Avengers campus, the queue is one of Disney’s strongest yet, and the ride is still the same ass-kicking Vekoma we’ve always loved. Many aspects of the attraction are polarizing: some riders wish that Flight Force had received vest-restrain trains like on Hyperspace Mountain, while others find that the vest trains “crush” them into their seats. Some people find that the Iron Man audio-animatronic is too stiff, but we find it to be reasonably lifelike. Some guests aren’t fans of the ride’s dialogue, but fans of Captain Marvel will find that Brie Larson once again offers an entertaining performance with solid writing (and the French-speaking Iron Man is a clever choice for navigating around Robert Downey Jr.’s retirement from Iron Man).
Will the love for Avengers Assemble: Flight Force come? Probably. Change is hard, especially for Disney fans, and those pesky expectations can set us up for disappointment. Nevertheless, once Flight Force starts to feel familiar, we think the public will warm up to it much like they’ve done for similar projects, such as Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout. Plus, we already know that more enhancements are on the way to address some of Flight Force’s potential areas for improvement, so we think the celestial coaster has a bright future.