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Yesterday was the opening of The Marvel Experience tour at Salt River Fields in Scottsdale and I managed to check it out last night with my four year old son. I’m going to try and avoid going into too much detail because I don’t want to spoil anything for people on the fence about going.

What it’s all about
S.H.E.I.L.D has set up a command outpost and are looking for the brightest and strongest of recruits. You are given a “power band” upon entry and then you move on to a touch screen registration kiosk where you are asked for age, height, email, etc, etc and then you take a photo of yourself which is stored on your power band.

You move on to the first tent which is a waiting room where the multiple monitors introduce each super hero featured through the event and then Tony Stark interrupts the video feed and explains why you’re here. You then proceed to the first dome which in here you are introduced to the Artificial Intelligence that helps run the facility as well as some of the superheroes and who the threat is that they need your help defeating.

The third room is the training facility and the main hub of the entire event. This houses a lot of multiple displays that feature a captured robot, weapons used by our favorite super heroes, and a few interactive games to help with your training. This hub is where you can also find the snack stand ($6 for a hot dog should give you an idea of the prices for everything else) as well as the restrooms. The restroom note is important because after you leave the main hub, no other restrooms are available for the next 45 minutes are so.

When you are ready to move on to the final few domes/tents, you board the Quin Jet which has a Hydra battle game and a few touchscreens that you can view the bios of some of the villains you will be encountering the rest of the way. The next room is another waiting room where Hydra attacks, the room after that is a dome where you meet She-Hulk and Iron Fist, this room was probably my favorite as it puts in the middle of a battle and with the 3d glasses it is pretty cool. The biggest room looks like a small theater where you go up against Hydra in the final battle but the gimmick in this room are the seats move, a lot. Finally, you move to the results of the battle where you can see some of the villains have been captured. You then proceed to the gift shop where I would recommend keeping your money in your wallet because again, $60 for a kids Under Armor Spider-Man shirt should tell you all you need to know.

The Good
I enjoyed the attention to detail to the Marvel universe through out the event. For a kid, the place is pretty awesome, my kid had a blast doing all the interactive stuff such as the Spider-Man Climbing Wall and the Black Widow Agility Maze. These events are open for everyone to use but just not as enjoyable for an adult.

What I didn’t Like
Right off the bat you’re hit with a $10 parking fee but I am sure that is less to do with The Marvel Experience and more to do with Salt River Fields. The power bands were a cool idea but just grossly under used through out the event. I saw a lot of people having issues with registration of their band as well. Everything the event offers can be seen else where in different forms but done much better unfortunately. The final event reminded me of something you would see at Universal Studios (and obviously not with Marvel characters).

The Verdict
If you’re thinking of visiting this event from elsewhere that requires more than an hour drive, please don’t make this your only reason for coming into town. It is cool and some of it is fun but even I left a little disappointed. If you have kids under 6 (who are free) then by all means bring them because they should love it. The price of a family of 4 (if the kids are over 6) will be over $100 and that is just too much in my opinion. Don’t eat at the event and almost 100% of the merchandise at the gift shop is available else where for better prices.