Since Disney acquired Marvel back in 2009 for $4 billion (no big deal), many theme park aficionados have been wondering when the super-powered characters would finally make their way into the Disney theme parks (in some kind of permanent or semi-permanent way). Well, it looks like the time is now, with Tony Stark himself popping up at both stateside theme parks just in time for the release of Disney's "Iron Man 3." Synergy!

Starting April 13, Disneyland's Innoventions will host "Iron Man Tech Presented by Stark Industries," which will include a Tony Stark's Hall of Armor exhibit, a big hit at last year's San Diego Comic Con. Additionally, the Iron Man Tech exhibit will offer theme park guests a chance to "virtually suit up" in a simulation that lets them fire "repulsor blasts" -- just like Iron Man! This will undoubtedly prove to be a phenomenally popular addition to Innoventions, which is kind of like the world's fanciest electronics trade show.

What Disney isn't saying about the Iron Man Tech presentation is that it's a quiet (or maybe not-so-quiet) beta test for a potential "Stark Expo" overlay of the entire Innovations pavilion. If you'll recall, Stark Expo was the World's Fair-ish tech exhibition that Tony Stark's father, Howard, started, and which Tony revived, in "Iron Man 2." It had a distinctly World's Fair / EPCOT Center vibe, with longtime Disney songwriter Richard Sherman contributing a theme song called "Make Way for Tomorrow, Today" (Sherman, with his brother, produced the similarly sunny "There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow" for Disney's Carousel of Progress).

If the Iron Man Tech bit is a hit and the Stark Expo conversion gets the go-ahead, construction could start as early as next year.

Of course, you won't be seeing Tony Stark at the east coast park (which actually has two Innoventions pavilions -- Innoventions East and Innoventions West -- at EPCOT). Due to a preexisting, east-of-the-Mississippi licensing deal with the Universal theme parks, the Marvel characters aren't allowed in the Walt Disney World properties (in anything but merchandise-form).

Of course, Disney still managed to sneakily squeeze in Iron Man (and the Iron Patriot) on the side of a monorail. Iron Man and Iron Patriot will be adorning the appropriately futuristic transportation mode at Walt Disney World, mostly on the express line and occasionally on the Magic Kingdom line, but never on the EPCOT line (because that line goes through the EPCOT park, which would be a clear violation of the Universal deal). These Iron Man-o-Rails are already running and look really, ridiculously cool (they even have a little "Stark Industries" logo on the runner).

At the very least, it'll be the closest we come to getting an actual Marvel ride on the east coast in the near future.

"Iron Man 3," if you weren't already keenly aware, opens May 3.

EARLIER: 'Iron Man 3' Preview: 12 Things to Know About the Marvel Movie, Plus a New Trailer

[via InsideTheMagic.net, InsideTheMagic.net]
CATEGORIES Movies