Photo Credit: TN
Want To Feel Closer To Wakanda? Disneyland’s Latest Additions Celebrate Marvel’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever In The Coolest Ways
When it comes to Black Panther and Wakanda, Disney cuts no corners. They understand the gem they’ve unearthed, and you can feel the passion at Disneyland California Adventure Park.
If you’re a Marvel fan, you must add Disney’s California Adventure to your to-do list! In June 2021, the masterminds at Disneyland opened up their Avengers Campus, attracting fans from around the world, but in November 2022, they officially outdid themselves. With the release of the highly anticipated Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Disneyland invites you to join in on the journey!
From all-new MagicBands to custom delicacies and cocktails to learning the way of the Jabari from Lord M’Baku himself, Disneyland and its Imagineers have thought of it all! From the genius minds of Michael Serna (Executive Creative Director for Disney Live Entertainment) and Associate Show Director Paul David Bryant, you literally have a bite of the World of Wakanda in California. The duo, also responsible for Disneyland’s The Disciplines of the Dora Milaje experience, came up with these experiences that will stick with you long past your visit.
In addition to these hands-on experiences, There are loads of new Wakanda Forever merchandise, including headbands, masks, t-shirts, toys, artwork, and anything else you can think of available for purchase. You can also catch Shuri in her new Black Panther suit strolling around Avengers Campus or getting her shoutout from M’Baku during his presentation.
For a limited time (Nov. 11, 2022 – Jan. 8, 2023), you can encounter, learn from and celebrate the arrival of new visiting warriors, taste Wakanda-inspired delicacies, and more in Avengers Campus and beyond at Disney California Adventure park. Planning a trip to experience the World of Wakanda firsthand? Here is a rundown of all the experiences added to Disneyland’s Avengers Campus that’ll have you feeling like you’ve just walked straight out of the movie:
Limited Edition MagicBands!
If you’ve ever been to a Disney Park, you should be familiar with these, and if you aren’t, keep reading! MagicBands are plastic bracelets providing a way for the park to connect data to guests, including access to park tickets, hotel room keys, payments, PhotoPass, FastPasses, and more! Celebrating this limited experience, you can get your hands on a limited edition Wakanda Forever MagicBand. The bracelet features the new Black Panther emblem as the face and photos of Okoye, M’baku, and Shuri on the strap. MagicBands also interact with the environment around you. For example, when you’re by Spider-Man features, the LED will glow red and blue, Spidey’s signature colors, but as you engage with certain Black Panther- themed experiences, the MagicBand will glow purple, representing the vibranium around you. Such an incredible feature!
The Way of The Jabari Show
One of the most celebrated characters in all Wakanda lore is Lord M’Baku. His charisma, humor, and loyalty have made him a fan favorite and a key player in the latest Black Panther film, so it’s only fitting that he is brought to life at Disneyland. In this experience, M’Baku himself invites Avengers Campus recruits to join in “The Way of the Jabari,” an all-new adventure that shares some of the culture of the Jabari Tribe through chants and percussion. While introducing the 11-minute show with Paul David Bryant, who created the experience, Michael Serna says, “this experience is about unity and family, which is very unique. The Dora Milaje experience, where Okoye trains you, is about your personal strength, how you’re a superhero in your own right, and your power within. This one is about finding that power in a family and a tribe and the people you hang with. I love that about the show.”
Flavors of Wakanda
Disney keeps the ball when it comes to food, too! With the help of chef and curator __ comes the Flavors of Wakanda, featuring a small but mighty menu inspired by both Black Panther films and traditional African cuisines. She traveled and studied to make sure the flavors of her take on peri peri Chicken, jollof rice, and maafe were tasty enough to make Queen Ramonda proud. To wash it all down, have yourself a Butterfly Pea Tea Lemonade, inspired by the colors of the ancestral plane and the Heart Shaped Herb.
Black Panther Celebration Garden
Another experience that’ll be sure to get your MagicBand glowing is the Black Panther Celebration Garden. Tucked away in Collector’s Fortress, you’ll find a beautiful garden installation dedicated to the fallen Black Panthers. “It is a place where we celebrate the mantle of the Black Panther and how important that is to the world of Wakanda,” explained Disney Live Entertainment Executive Creative Director Michael Serna. “Here, you can celebrate the current Black Panther and the previous Black Panthers back to the first one, which is Bashenga.”
We caught Paul David Bryant for a quick Q&A to learn what it was like to create something this impactful for Black people at Disneyland and what the process has meant to him:
TN: What from the African diaspora have you put into this experience?
We have taken very good control of how we represent this. Like, when it comes to the dialect, we brought in a dialect coach. We wanted to make sure that everything that we talked about and attempted to recreate here at the resort, after speaking with the film director and our creative director Michael Serna and wanted to make sure Disney got it right. Because the thing is, we know how, as human beings, we can be judgmental if something is not right. Especially because this is such a sensitive subject right now, we want to make sure that we get it right. We’re not trying to be Africa or Wakanda, but we want to make sure that we bring that experience honestly and from an authentic place. And as a black man here at Walt Disney, I think it’s imperative that we make sure we get it right. We had to get it right, so we worked very hard.Paul David Bryant, Associate Show Director
TN: That was my next question. What did it mean to you as a black person to create this experience?
It meant a lot. You know, I say it to a lot of folks. Growing up, we, as a people, didn’t have a superhero. There was a Black Panther, but we knew he was not a black man. So for Disney to take that character and make him a black man has given us something, our kids or grandkids something to look up to and have that hope and that determination that we do belong. See, you try to get me to go there, but I’m not going to get emotional [laughs]. But to take that and have something to look up to and to be proud of is so important. And working for this company, I see that. Because ten years ago, you wouldn’t have seen me talking to you. Not that I think they didn’t want it; we just were not here. So now we are being represented and honored, and you know, they’ve taken this character, and look where we are. I mean, it is simply amazing. I’m assuming you guys saw the movie, but I tell you, it just makes you feel so proud to be a black person in America. I was reading this quote over here on this wall where King T’Challa talks about how it really doesn’t just affect black people. It affects all people. And the thing is, a black person said it, but that person included everyone in that statement. All right, [gets emotional], I’m good. We’re really proud of this. We truly are. The garden. There arrival of the new Black Panther. The M’Baku moments. Don’t miss any of it. Like I said, we do it right. If Disney’s gonna go in there and do it, they’re going to do it right. And I think they’ve made us proud.Paul David Bryant, Associate Show Director