Heroes Assemble was announced in early 2019 as part of the Disneyland After Dark series. This would be the first of the “after dark” series that would take place in Disney’s California Adventure. This is also the first Marvel themed Disneyland After Dark event. While the event was titled, “Heroes Assemble,” cosplays from any fandom were still encouraged. However, because of the Endgame hype, people went in their Marvel Cinematic Universe best be it cosplay or bounding. The after dark event did not sell out; typically, these events sell out fast! For Jared the Greek’s birthday, we decided to attend this Disneyland After Dark event.
I don’t have many Marvel related cosplays or bounds ready to go. The way I saw this was it was like Halloween party, but in the Spring. I thought about wearing Sailor Moon in her school uniform so I could fangirl over all of the Marvel heroes. I then settled for Saber from the Fate series. She’s my favorite video game character and has inspired my newly found confidence. As a survivor of PTSD and someone who lives with anxiety, Saber inspires me to keep fighting. I wanted to represent my favorite heroic spirit.
The costume is from AliExpress. It’s a basic version of her main dress. I did have Excalibur with me, but because we went on the day when security was being tight about strollers, smokers, etc my wooden sword was not allowed through security check point. The wig is from Uwowow cosplay.
Jared the Greek went as Dick Tracy. He has a larger repatoire of comic book cosplays. Dick Tracy was introduced to our generation when Disney released the film adaptation. While there were a few black and white Dick Tracy movies that came before, the Disney version was the one most etched in our minds. We also found a nod to Dick Tracy in DCA!
New Attraction: Mickey’s Philharmagic
I miss Muppet Vision 3D. Southern California just found out that Philharmagic was coming to the Anaheim park a week before opening. With tepid feelings, the show that has graced WDW audiences has found its home in the Muppet Vision theater. This used to be a theater for previews of upcoming movies after Muppet Vision closed. Nostalgia aside, I actually liked Donald Duck’s journey through the Disney Renaissance. Donald follows the hat of Yensid throughout iconic musical numbers from Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, Lion King, etc.
The Kingdom Hearts nerd in me couldn’t get over how the opening reminded me of Dream Drop Distance wherein Mickey is conducting an orchestra much like in Fantasia. If you need a breather and some cool air, this is a good time killer. It’s delightfully entertaining. The visual effects are nice. It looks like Philharmagic is here to stay in Hollywoodland.
Heroes Assemble: Scavenger Hunt
Heroes Assemble started at 9PM but let people in at 6PM. We decided to get a head start on the scavenger hunt. The map gave us clues to find letters scattered around DCA. Some were more challenging than others. The trick is to think about each word very carefully – there are many double meanings! For example I thought “waiters” referenced a restaurant. It actually meant people waiting in line! Some clues weren’t in plain sight – it forced you to really look around. For example, the lollipop clue took you to a store where you had to find a lollipop. As it turns out, there were a few dozen lollipops you had to sort through!
I think my favorite one was the punctuation clue. Given how Jared was dressed up as Dick Tracy, it was right up his alley. We had to find a punctuation on a headline at Oswald’s Gas. The newspaper referenced Dick Tracy – it was who Jared was cosplaying as! He decided to stand around there to see if any of these younger millennials and gen z’s would get the reference.
After the scavenger hunt, we had to arrange the letters we found. We figured this out even when we were short one letter! We went to the Agents of Shield Zone in Hollywoodland. We then got our photo op and admission into Shield.
Heroes Assemble: Photo Ops
The highlight of the After Dark events is the photo ops with characters, backdrops, and more. Riding high on Endgame, there were long lines for everyone’s favorite Avengers. These Avengers had special photo op zones and backdrops that cannot be found during normal park hours. Avengers that were included in this were Starlord, Gamora, Groot, Captain America, Iron Man, Black Panther, Spiderman, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Doctor Strange, Loki, and a few surprises here and there. The line for Iron Man lasted for about two whopping hours!
Cast members learned their lessons after previous after dark events to keep the lines moving and limiting photo ops to three photos per group on one device. Our priorities were to take photos of the Fab 5 and Friends in their Disneybound outfits of Marvel characters. Can you guess who’s who? This was a nice touch to the Fab 5 and Friends. I love how the bounding choices suited each character’s personalities.
Heroes Assemble: And the Rest!
There were a ton of Avengers themed snacks and drinks throughout Heroes Assemble. Instagramers tried to take photos with all of the infinity stone themed churros. I had to pass on the churros because I didn’t think Jared and I could finish them all. Additionally, the churros just look like they had random sprinkle coloring to them. There were a few exclusive sippers including the return of the infinity sipper and the Groot sipper. Themed food started around 9PM. I wish this started a little earlier. Having a later dinner was tolerable, but we could have used this time to explore more of Heroes Assemble.
Lines for attractions were relatively short. You can literally walk on any attraction! We went on Midway Mania, Jessie’s Critter Carousel, Incredicoaster, and a few others without an issue. If you’re not a passholder, this is a good night to check out everything (if photo ops weren’t your main priority).
There were a few dance parties scattered through DCA. Ashley Eckstein hosted the costume parade where cosplayers and bounders marched along the DCA parade route and followed the Shield Humvee. Ashley Eckstein also had a signing at the Guardians of the Galaxy attraction.
We’ve only done two Disneyland After Dark events. We have to say it keeps getting better and better. I do scratch my head at the $109 ticket price. While I do appreciate the exclusives and having less wait time for attractions, I felt bad for the people waiting 2-3 hours to get a photo op with Iron Man. I didn’t really like the hours; I would have preferred mix in start at 4PM or 6PM and have the event end at 12AM. 1AM was pushing it for me, but damn, did we want to get our money’s worth!
I did like the Fab 5 Disneybounding as Marvel characters. The scavenger hunt was my favorite part – it gave me more of a chance to get to see details I missed at DCA. For an annual passholder who thinks they know every trivia and detail, this was eye opening. I had fun wearing Saber at Heroes Assemble. I had a handful of people recognize what I was wearing. Jared did enjoy the Gen X’ers and older cast members recognize his Dick Tracy. We made the right choice to watch Endgame prior; not that people were dropping spoilers, but it made us appreciate the event even more.
I hope elements from Heroes Assemble comes out to the upcoming Marvel themed area in DCA. Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge hasn’t opened up yet and we’re already hyped for Marvel Town…or whatever Disney parks is going to call it!