"Pretty Much Everyone Hates It" – The Marvel Experience In Scottsdale, Arizona


This is how the Marvel Experience bills itself as it travels on tour.

The Marvel Experience: The World's First Hyper-Reality Tour is a first-of-its-kind, hyper-reality attraction that covers over two acres and encompasses seven colossal Domes, a life-size Avengers Quinjet, the world's only 360-degree, 3-D stereoscopic full-Dome attraction and a state-of-the-art 4-D motion ride.

As agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in training, guests of The Marvel Experience will swing with Spider-Man, smash with Hulk, fly with Iron Man and more, all in preparation for an epic battle alongside Marvel's biggest Super Heroes in a fight against Red Skull, M.O.D.O.K. and an army of evil Adaptoids.

The Marvel Experience incorporates next-generation interactive technology including augmented reality, multi-person gaming and RFID progress tracking so you can see yourself in action. Everything happens with bleeding-edge technology and advanced computer animation.

Well, the event has debuted in Scottsdale, Arizona. But it doesn't seem to have started well.

o (1)

Jake Gold's Yelp review is rather striking and starts well…

Let me start by telling you what they got right – the story is good and relies on comic book lore that goes a little deeper than the cinematic universe. There is one moment near the end that genuinely brought a smile to my face which I won't ruin for you, and the staff seemed like they genuinely wanted to help. However, none of that can make up for the complete disorganization and technical malfunction we experienced.

I was part of the 10:00am Saturday group that others have written about. First, we spent 45 minutes trying to register our wristbands on malfunctioning kiosks, which was made especially painful by the fact that the wristbands didn't seem to work at all and that the registration served no purpose.

We moved through the first two domes in a long line but without any specific problems. When we got into the first experience dome, what others have referred to as the arcade dome, we began to see clearly that the experience was not ready for the public. We were told that the Iron Man flight simulator didn't work, only to see people using about an hour later with a long line. We waited 30 minutes to get into the laser shooting gallery, only to have it malfunction when we went inside, where they left us standing in the dark for 15 minutes before unceremoniously being told to leave. The only functioning exhibit we were able to experience was the reconstructing the adaptoid, which was ok but not anywhere near the entertainment we expected for the price of admission. By the time we left this room we we were already frustrated.

We then moved onto the vestibule for the next exhibit, where we waited for another 30 minutes for the next dome, where we were told 110 people were 'stuck'. When we finally moved inside, they passed out 3D glasses and we were told we would begin our training. Moments later, they told us to take off the glasses because the 3D wasn't working anyway. The 2D animated movie was ok, and might have been awesome in 3D but who knows. Most of the people I was with ceased being able to follow the story at this point anyway.

The next chamber in between training and the climax was good, and actually the best part of our experience, which I won't ruin for anyone. If the rest of the exhibit had worked as well I wouldn't be complaining.

Most insulting was the '4D' ride at the end. They took our malfunctioning wrist bands before we entered, and throughout the presentation it became clear that we would have been participating if we had them. There were no '4D' effects beyond what you could get in a flight simulator at Dave and Busters. The movie was not in 3D.

The store at the end looked like it had some nice, unique merchandise, but we were so irritated and angry we just rushed through it and left, not interested in spending even one more dollar.

I spent $215 dollars on 4 adult and 2 child's tickets and $10 for parking for an experience that left me sad, dissapointed, and angry. I had high hopes for this. I have since learned that some people have been offered refunds or passes to return when they have things working, but no one has reached out to us despite our attempts to contact them. The uneven reimbursement just adds insult to injury.

Contacting Jake later, he told Bleeding Cool,

I guess what I would say the most frustrating part was the potential I could see buried under all of the problems. There is so much opportunity to here to use existing technology to create a unique, Live Action Role Play experience and it all just falls flat because they are simply not ready.

As we were exiting the final dome, a boy who looked to be about 13 exclaimed loudly, 'the best part of this experience was the bathrooms!'. We knew exactly what he meant. There was an independent agency conducting exit interviews, and after we told them how we felt they responded, 'yeah, pretty much everyone hates it'.
Some have commented that Scottsdale was a test city, and that we should expect problems attending on one of the first days. I accept that but I paid the same price ($37.50 for an adult ticket) as those who will attend in two weeks will pay, and got nothing but aggravation for my money.
What hurts is that I am not, by nature, a 'hater'. Generally I try to shrug these things off, and I probably would have done just that had I attended for free as part of a test audience or something. Unfortunately though, I feel scammed.
The event has the usual parking charges and overpriced food and drink, but that wouldn't have mattered if the experience had worked.
I wish I could judge how I would have felt about the experience if I could see it as it was  intended, but that just didn't happen.
Sorry for the random thoughts, I hope they help. If anymore occur to me, or if I am contacted for a refund I will let you know. I suggest you check out the other Yelp reviews for additional detail.

oOther reviews seem to agree,

Note: I rated this one-star because I can't give it less.

My wife Jill Canfield and I went to this at ten this morning.  First, let's talk about how we almost didn't make it because Hero Ventures and TicketMaster never got their act together.  When they postponed opening the event for a week, to get any information about our NEW tickets.  All they did was mention that we could bring a friend for free.  Ask that this did was add to the total number of disappointed attendees today.

We arrived and were very much surprised by a heretofore unmentioned charge for parking.  Not once was it references in any of the communications, ore on the page for the event.  Ten additional dollars poorer, we then waited for thirty to forty five minutes, in the sun, while other speed attendees tried to register their less than useless tracker bracelets.  The wait have been a long time even if EVERYONE had pre-registered because none of the pre-registration credentials were recognized.  However, it was even LONGER because only fifty five to sixty percent of the kiosks were working, and only forty five to fifty of them working completely.

We were then treated to spending huge amounts of time standing and waiting.  The shortest wait, after the registration debacle, was twenty minutes before getting to the "Interactive" area, which consisted mostly of cheesy games (that would have been more at home at Castles and Coasters) that had simply been reskinned with Marvel characters. But, most of the Marvel Experience was the waiting for the 3-D and 4-D experiences.  Both of them were notable lacking a dimension source. The 3-D Protection wasn't even working, so the glasses they handed us were handed right back.  That was a forty five to fifty minute wait.  The wait to go from the "3-D" part to the "4-D" ride was only twenty to twenty five minutes… But, also NO 3-D!!!

So we spend two and a half hours getting less than half of what we paid for.  The only thing this had in common with Marvel was the name and the waiting dedicated fans do.  But that waiting is paid of with great comics, movies and TV series.  Your "Marvel Experience" was waiting followed by profound disappointment.

Also, the staff couldn't have been more disorganized and I'll-informed of they were the voting public.

This event was an overhyped, under-delivered, bad faith rip-off.  We will pursue this as far as we need to get resolution.  I can't get the time from my limited life back that was wasted by you this morning but, they can sure as Hell give me my money back.


We had tickets to the 10am experience.  Should have just gotten a refund when our original tickets (12/13) were canceled. That was a cluster-f in itself with Ticketmaster and our original tickets.

$10 parking that you don't find out until you get to the dirt lot you park in. Couldn't bring in stroller for our 2.5 year old. The registration keyosks, about 60% were broken. Probably because those tablets cannot be in the sun. Whoever planned the setup didn't think that one through. A full canopy rather than an awning for the trailers, would have prevented the registration process fiasco. That and there was no sight of IT (though the staff knew there was an issue) until people started complaining loudly.

Stood around waiting at least 30 minutes to reregister (cause it wasn't recognizing our userid/pass we set up online). The quinjet area broke down and we ended up waiting in the "hangar" for 40 minutes. The 3d dome area had problems, so we weren't able to use the 3d glasses. Couldn't experience the 4d ride cause of height limitations, which we weren't informed about until we were in the room. Not very young child (5 and under) friendly as there wasn't a lot that my son was able to participate in.

Though i didnt know what to expect, i was not prepared for this huge of a disappointment. Very VERY unhappy with the experience!!!


1 star is too much for this extremely disappointing experience. Do yourself a favor and save your money. Even if everything was working it was still not worth the time and especially not worth the cost. The Marvel Experience was a Marvel Rip Off!

Everything was grossly overpriced. Just glad I only wasted 40 on the ticket and not the 200 for VIP experience.


The marvel experience was not marvelous at all.  It was indeed terrible, I must say.  I understand this is the second day it has been open but nothing was working well.  The lines were extremely long to get in and once inside there were lines for everything!!!  Picture disney lines and multiply that by 10 and then only to arrive to things that you can do at other places like the laser maze, or a climbing wall. The better things were not working well at all.  The wrist bands were lame and not functional, the 3d and 4d movies were not 3d at all.  The total experience was terrible and I ended up apologizing to my family from out of the country to have taken them there on their vacation.  My kids say they would only go back if they got paid.  As for me, they would for sure have to pay me a lot to go back.  I highly recommend putting all of the employees through the experience because many of them could not explain how it worked or what would be next, also, you need to manage the lines a lot better, and of course get the technology to work.  The idea is good but the execution is very poor. I also have requested a refund.  Do not waste your time.  This is more for kids than adults but even the kids did not like it.

Caveat emptor seems to be the name of the game with this one. But we've managed to get a copy of the letter sent to some unfortunates…

Dear fans of The Marvel Experience,

The incredible response from our guests and the media during our first preview in Phoenix has been overwhelming and for that we are forever grateful to you all.

At the same time, while creating this dynamic event with so many first-of-its-kind elements and next generation technology there will be some growing pains, as well as issues dealing with Hydra.

We had a situation today where there were technical issues for around 90 minutes and for that we are truly sorry.  Nick Fury and his team from Shield were on the case and everything was back up and running the way we know it should.

We'd like to offer a free ticket for you and your friend to revisit the Experience. Please let us know and we will add your name to a will call list for your return visit. As an alternative, we can also offer you a refund on your purchased tickets through Ticketmaster.com. Please contact Ticketmaster directly for your refund.

Hero Ventures and The Marvel Experience team.
So… who wants to pay the $10 parking again?

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About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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