Marvel Heroes Assemble for the first ever Disneyland After Dark event on April 30 and April 31! This was a separate ticketed event (a touch over $100 a ticket) that happened after hours from 9pm to 1am at Disney California Adventure. My best friend Jo and I are huge Marvel fans, and we were invited to attend on behalf of Howard Johnson Hotel and Water Playground which is conveniently located a 8 minute walk from Disneyland gates. What’s also special about the Disneyland After Dark events is that adults are allowed to dress in costume! I went super basic with my Carol Danvers undercover outfit while Jo went all out with her Black Cat costume that she literally made the afternoon of the event. My favorite part was to see so many fun and creative costumes!
For $109, one would hope that there are a lot of extras that are included. First off, you don’t need an additional ticket to enter the park–the $109 covers your park admission to Disney California Adventure for the evening. Even though the event didn’t technically start until 9:00, ticket holders were able to “mix in” and enter Disney California Adventure starting at 6:00. There is a separate entrance for special event ticket holders at the gate, but if you are already inside DCA, you can pick up your wristband at Blue Sky Cellar. This is also where you can pick up your AP exclusive button.
When you enter, you’re given your lanyard, wristband, and a map which tells you the location of characters and exclusive food items. The giveaway for this event was a pack of trading cards featuring the Avengers. You’re also given a scavenger hunt where you can redeem an additional prize. There are letters hidden all around the park, and once you unscramble the hidden message, you can redeem it for the prize at the Visa spot location in Hollywood Land (near Captain Marvel). The prize is the Iron Man card that is missing from the trading cards that are given to you upon arrival.
A huge draw to attending Disneyland After Dark: Heroes Assemble is the opportunity to meet rare characters. By far, the most popular character was Iron Man. He’s never been seen before at Disneyland and he was only available to meet at this event. Other super rare characters were the pink Kylorian girls from Guardians of the Galaxy and Agent Cabe from DCA’s previous Summer of Heroes Avengers Training Initiative. Dr. Strange, Gamora, and Starlord also had meet and greet spots when they usually don’t meet during the day. Minnie, Mickey, Donald, Daisy, Chip, Dale, Pluto and Goofy are also meeting on Buena Vista Street wearing their Avengers clothes!
To make the lines be as efficient as possible, the hosts will only use one photo device to take your groups’ photo, and photo pass will only take 3 photos. So if you’re going with a big group, strategize how you’re going to want to break down your 3 photos. Most of the time we said we were visiting alone so we could all get our individual photos. Photopass is included, and I relied on these photos since my cell phone couldn’t handle the low light. Most of the characters didn’t come out until 45 minutes to an hour after the event started with the exception of Iron Man.
Iron Man is meeting on the stage in Hollywood Land near the Asgard wall. They will clear out the area around 8:30 to “set up the line”, but definitely linger around behind the benches. At 9:00, they will let people in the line starting from zig zagging through the benches, then to a huge switch back area. Even though my friends had been in the area since 6:00, we got shuffled towards the back of the corral and had a 1.5 hour wait from the very beginning. I definitely recommend tackling this as a group so you can switch off for food and bathroom breaks. Iron Man comes out on the stage and does a small intro before meeting guests on stage. You do have to walk up the stairs to get to the meet and greet spot, but if you require a ramp, they will be able to accommodate you back stage.
- Captain Marvel: meets by her airplane like normal
- Scavenger Hunt redemption: by Visa Meet and Greet spot (prize is Iron Man Card)
- Food: Studio Catering Truck where you can get the exclusive Captain Marvel ice cream whoopie pie. You can also get the Infinity Gauntlet sipper here, but you are better off getting the sipper at a drink cart with no line.
Buena Vista Street
- Minnie, Mickey, Donald and Daisy in their Avengers fan outfits: enter the line near Disney Junior Dance Party (there will be a cast member holding up a sign). You meet Minnie and Mickey first, then Donald and Daisy
- Chip and Dale in Thor and Loki wear, and Goofy and Pluto in Ironman and Avengers wear: meet by the partner’s statue
- Animation Building: All of the screens feature the Avengers!
- Avengers Assemble Comic Book photo op: this is a cut out where you can stand behind to look like you’re part of a comic book cover. Located near the bathrooms by Disney Junior Dance Party
Guardians of the Galaxy
- Krylorian Girls (pink girls): meet by the Collector boxes (there will be cast members standing by them). You step inside the box for the photo op and the photo pass will help you take the picture. It’s a little hard to see your face in the photo, so if I were to do it again I would ask to take a photo with the Krylorian Girls in front of the box.
- Star Lord and Gamora: meet together on the Guardians dance off stage
- Groot: meets opposite of Star Lord and Gamora
This is the pathway walking from Soaring over the World to the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail
- Captain America: located outside of Soaring over the World near the bathrooms
- Black Panther and the Dora Milaje: literally located on the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail where Santa usually meets
Paradise Gardens Park
This is the World of Color viewing area down towards Goofy’s Sky School where the Viva Navidad festivities usually occur
- Loki: located in the gazebo area near Goofy’s Sky School
- Thor: located adjacent to Loki in the Gazebo–they do not meet together.
- Dr. Strange: further down near the Silly Symphony Swings
- Party Central: DJ and dance party down the steps on the World of Color viewing area. When we passed by, we got a glimpse of Agent Cabe from ATI dancing with guests!
- World of Color Marvel themed lights
- Bad Guy photo op cutout: I’m not 100% sure who this was, but he was red, had horns and looked like someone from Thor Ragnarok. This was located by the Corn Dog Castle.
This is the main walkway by the waterfall through Boudin’s bakery tour
- Falcon Wings and Wasp Wings photo op on the walls near Carthay Circle (literally on the Stark Walls)
- Hulk Smash photo op: this is a photo cut out of a car that you can stand behind wearing the Hulk Hands. Located near the Little Mermaid ride
- Black Widow and Hawkeye: Located near the waterfall/Wine Country Trattoria area, the meet together
- Spiderman: across from the Blue Sky Cellar against the Stark Wall
- Blue Sky Cellar: don’t forget to pick up your AP button here
Was it Worth It?
We got to Disney California Adventure at 6:30, 2 and a half hours before the official event started, didn’t meet our first character until 10:00, and left the park at 1:30. To be honest, we could have met the same characters with less waiting around during the day, and without the $109 price tag. It was super cool to see Iron Man come out on stage for the first time, but I don’t know if it’s worth waiting 2 hours for a photo. Luckily, we had a great group of friends who helped each other out to make waiting a little less painless. My favorite were the pink Kylorian girls since they had only been out once before during the Guardians of the Galaxy party when the ride first opened. It was nice having an official meet and greet spot for Dr. Strange, Star Lord and Gamora since they usually don’t meet during the day.
I’m definitely glad that I went and was surrounded by good company. The Marvel Fandom is a beautiful thing and I loved seeing so many creative costumes. I definitely felt that I spent the entire time standing in lines waiting to meet characters, and that was the general vibe of the event. Hardly anyone was on rides or taking part in the dance parties. The longest line was definitely Iron Man at around over 2 hours all evening. Generally speaking, most of the other lines were around 20-40 minutes long (I waited about 20 minutes for Loki). The shortest line I waited in was for the Pink Krylorian Girls which was basically a walk up for the photo location. All the photo lines close at 1:00 so as long as you get yourself in that line by 12:59, you are good to meet them. There’s no way you’ll be able to meet every character out, so prioritize your favorites!
Huge thank you to Howard Johnson Hotel Anaheim for sending Jo and me to this event. Howard Johnson is my favorite local Disneyland hotel because of the location, amenities, but most importantly the staff. If you are an Annual Passholder, you can save 20% with code “LNAP”, but if you aren’t, you can still save 15% with code “LNLR”. I’ll be posting more details about the evening over on their Instagram account!