By Jacky Lynne A. Oiga
It’s hard to imagine a time when nobody knew or cared about Iron Man, much less the pompous, wise-cracking, billionaire playboy/genius inventor who wore the now iconic red and gold suit, Tony Stark. In fact, a little online research led us to a couple of articles in fan pages, which state that Marvel patriarch Stan Lee created the Iron Man “on a dare with himself over whether he could make an easily hate-able character likeable.” Comic book geeks loved him, of course. But not on the mainstream level of hero worship other Marvel comic book superheroes like Captain America and Spider Man enjoyed. He was what Marvel fans called, “low-tier hero.” (Gasp!) Yup, not even a “super” hero. What a difference a blockbuster film and a charming, irreverent, and hilariously witty actor like Robert Downey, Jr. can make, right?
Nope. Wrong. The Disney-fied film (and the irresistible RDJ) were only “tools” to get people interested. It was the story, Tony Stark’s story, that captivated people of all ages in all parts of the planet, making Iron Man the most bankable superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and in ours today and probably for very long time.
Calling all superheroes Hong Kong Disneyland creates new highly charged, latest technology magical moments with the Iron Man Experience, the first Marvel-themed ride in Disney Parks all over the world.
A legit encounter with the superhero himself awaits patient guests (the lines are bound to be crazy, people) at the Iron Man Tech Showcase
Iron Man on stage, and even danced a few steps with his super chirpy Ironnettes, at the grand launch last Tuesday
Fans from all over Asia trooped to the opening in matching shirts no less
Pick up a pair of StarKVision glasses and board the Iron Wing for a dizziying, action-filled flight around Hong Kong.
And it’s the same story of this self-made man and self-made superhero that will bring hundreds of Iron Man and The Avengers fans to the much-awaited and recently opened Iron Man Experience at Hong Kong Disneyland (HKDL).
“He created his suit to do the things that he does. He’s a genius. He studied hard, he worked hard, overcame a lot, and that, I think, is the kind of thing that makes him most relatable to us,” says Ted Robledo, creative director at Walt Disney Imagineering.
Tony Stark is very much like all of us humans, with no inherent super power but with enough dreams and balls to go face-to-face with our inner demons and, yup, save the world. So get ready for the ride of your life as Manila Bulletin Lifestyle takes you around the brand spanking new superhero fortress in nearby Hong Kong.
Behold, Tony Stark’s all-new Stark Expo
Iron Man Experience at HKDL is the first-ever Marvel-themed ride in any Disney Parks around the world. It is found in the new Stark Expo, which is the next iteration after the Stark Expo that was held in New York in 2010. HKDL, specifically Tomorrowland, was selected as the venue Iron Man’s expo because Tony Stark sees Walt Disney as a kindred spirit of his father, Howard Stark. All milestone creations of Stark Industries are showcased in four halls: the Hall of Legacy, Hall of Protection, Hall of Energy, and Hall of Mobility. The hosts throughout the expo are J.A.R.V.I.S., Iron Man’s artificial intelligent user interface computer system, and Wendy Wong, vice president of Stark Industries Asia.
Fly up to the Hong Kong Stark Tower
The Stark Tower is the first-ever self-sustaining clean energy skyscraper powered by the largest Arc Reactor ever built. How to get there? You fly, of course. The most attention-grabbing feature of the expo is the expo-edition Iron Wing Mark VIII, a flying passenger vehicle that will take guests on an aerial tour of Hong Kong alongside Iron Man. The Iron Wing is labeled with the number 8, regarded as the luckiest number in Chinese culture as it sounds like “fortune.” The Iron Wing is practically a vehicle version of Iron Man’s armor. It even has the same color and incorporates the same technology! The 45-seat attraction combines the latest technologies, including flight-simulation, 3D digital film projection, and digital surround sound audio. The pilot of the ride is of course the loveable J.A.R.V.I.S. and guests will enjoy a four and half-minute aerial tour to the Hong Kong Stark Tower, flying alongside Iron Man and over some very familiar Hong Kong landmarks.
Meet and greet Iron Man at the Tech Showcase
Upon entering the Iron Man Tech Showcase (presented by Stark Industries), guests will again be greeted by J.A.R.V.I.S. before undergoing the “security scanning procedure”—all to make sure the expo is not infiltrated by members of AIM, Hydra, or the Ten Rings. After the security check, guests will be allowed to make their way into the Tech Showcase. Upon entering the showcase, a Stark Industries representative will explain the secrets of the various pieces of Iron Man technology, including the Iron Man chest armor, Iron Man gauntlet, and Iron Man boot. Get ready for a pleasant surprise as Iron Man—in a brand-new suit specially designed for the Iron Man Tech Showcase—may make an unscheduled appearance. (Hint: He will!)
Suit up at the Expo shop
Walking into the Expo Shop is akin to stepping into Tony Stark’s very own lab—even the dividers that once separated the different Iron Man suits in Tony’s lab have been replicated in the Expo Shop. The coin press machine resembles Tony’s robot assistants Dum-E and U.
The Expo Shop is a treasure trove featuring an array of Hong Kong Disneyland exclusive Iron Man merchandise and more than 250 items of Marvel-themed memorabilia. The vast selection includes collectibles and toys, glowing key chains, as well as apparel and accessories. In addition to buying Stark Industries merchandise, you can also line up at the Expo Shop to try the interactive game Become Iron Man at The Stark Expo. You can choose your favorite Iron Man armor and wear it through the interactive motion-capture activity.