We got an inside look at how, exactly, Web Slingers: A Spider-Man Adventure works, and it includes some really interesting new technology.
When Avengers Campus opens at Disney California Adventure this summer, the centerpiece of the new land will be WEB Slingers: A Spider-Man Adventure. The ride will give guests their own web-slinging powers as they team with Spider-Man to take on an army of spider-bots on the loose.
The premise is simple enough. It's an open house at the Worldwide Engineering Brigade (WEB for short). "At WEB, young inventors like Peter Parker have been brought together by Tony Stark to help create technologies that allow everyday people like us to have powers just like the Avengers," Walt Disney Imagineering creative executive director Brent Strong said during a media preview of Avengers Campus. "When we get inside, we find out that they're not quite as well funded as Stark Enterprises. They're not quite as militaristic as SHIELD. In fact, they're not all that organized at all. These are some kids that have some amazing power, right? Vibranium from Wakanda, Pym Particles from Ant-Man. They have arc reactors from Tony Stark. In fact, they probably have a little bit more power than they have responsibility."
To get those powers, typically a guest would have to use some form of tool. For instance, in the Tory Story Midway Mania attraction--which is somewhat similar to WEB Slingers--you are armed with a blaster that is triggered by pulling a cord. Superpowers don't tend to come from blasters, though. To Walt Disney Imagineering had to figure out a way to give guests the ability to sling webs without accessories.
"What you won't see is people holding onto a blaster, people holding onto an interface. Believe it or not, with nothing in your hands, you get to reach out and you will sling webs on this ride. In order to do that we invented a brand new interface," Strong explained. "This is the first time we've ever shown this outside [of Imagineering]. This is a gesture recognition system that we have built into every slinger vehicle and sixty times a second, we are able to determine where a guest's head is, their shoulders, their elbows, and even their wrists. We're able to track the motion of your body so that when you reach out and sling a web, since we know where your eyes are, and we know where your hands are, we can render a virtual web coming right out of the palm of your hand, right out of your virtual web-shooters and into a virtual world."
A video demonstrating how the gesture recognition system works showed a wireframe tracking of four individuals at once, each slinging their own webs at various speeds. Each ride vehicle holds eight people in two, four-person rows that face opposite directions. And to make it more accessible to families, there are no age or height requirements for the ride. "This is something where guests of all ages get to live out that epic action, which is wonderful," Strong revealed.
While the goal for the ride is for WEB Slingers to feel like a real-world interaction with Spider-Man, there's still a gaming aspect to it all. As with rides like Midway Mania, scoring will be involved. Each guest on the ride will get their individual score, based on how many spider-bots they defeat. However, the important number is the combined score of everyone in your row, which will be tallied and put up against other teams on the ride.
Still, though the ride consists of shooting virtual webs into a virtual world, a la Midway Mania, it's not a typical screen-based ride. "This attraction does use a hybrid of physical sets, practical effects, as well as virtual set extensions to bring this epic universe to life," Strong said.
The ride will also include a pre-show, featuring multiple layers of projections as Spider-Man himself, who will be voiced by Tom Holland, explains the situation before loading guests into the ride cars--which are called slinger vehicles. During a brief tour of Avengers Campus, which is still under construction, we were able to see the pre-show and queue area for the attraction. For purposes of the ride's location, WEB has taken over an abandoned Stark Automotive factory.
As Strong explained previously, this is a group of kids without the financial resources of the Avengers, so the building looks dirty, features cracked walls, and doesn't necessarily seem like the safest place to be carrying out science experiments. That said, the contrast between a dusty factory and a massive workshop for young inventors is interesting to see, as modern technology is strewn around a room with much older equipment.
The attention to detail in WEB Slingers, and throughout Avengers Campus, is one of the most exciting aspects of the entire project. As was clear with the launch of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge in 2019, Walt Disney Imagineering spares no expense in making the environments feel real and lived-in. Now it's just a matter of time until guests get to experience that, first-hand.
For more about Avengers Campus, take a look at our comprehensive coverage:
- What is the Avengers Campus Spider-Man ride called?
- How does the Spider-Man ride at Avengers Campus work?
- Is Avengers Campus set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe?
- Avengers Campus has 2 exclusive Funko Pops
- Black Widow movie has a huge influence on Marvel's Avengers Campus
- Every MCU character you can meet at Marvel's Avengers Campus
- How does that Avengers Campus Spider-Man robot work?
- Will Tom Holland play Spider-Man at Avengers Campus?
- The coolest food Avengers Campus has to offer
Avengers Campus at Disneyland Resort's California Adventure is scheduled to open on July 18.