Ultimate Guide to Ant-Man and the Wasp: Nano Battle
A new Disney theme park ride is a huge deal. During 2018, Disney California Adventure (DCA) added one ride, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios introduced two attractions at Toy Story Land. Even when we include international Disney parks, new rides are rare and are worthy of your attention.
You never know which ones might head to American parks soon. And rides based on characters from the Marvel Cinematic Universe deserve special attention. Here’s everything you need to know about Ant-Man and the Wasp: Nano Battle!
Where Is This Ride?
Hong Kong Disneyland received a great deal of criticism in its early days for being a cheaply constructed Disney park. At the time, then-Disney CEO Michael Eisner notoriously cut corners to save money. He spearheaded a unique agreement with the Government of Hong Kong to build an official Disney theme park, but its quality was subpar by Disney standards.
Over the years, Disney’s worked with the Government of Hong Kong to improve the quality of the park. One of their strategies is to give Hong Kong Disneyland exclusive rides. Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars, Mystic Manor, and Iron Man Experience are all available solely at this park. For this reason, it’s a destination location for many Disney enthusiasts.
Iron Man Experience was the first Marvel Cinematic Universe at any Disney theme park. Ant-Man and the Wasp: Nano Battle! is the third one, following Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! at DCA. Disney hosts the attraction at Tomorrowland, which makes this area the fanboy/fangirl destination of choice. Yes, Tomorrowland at Hong Kong Disneyland is home to multiple Marvel AND Star Wars attractions. You kind of want to live there now, don’t you?
What Is This Ride?
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Nano Battle! is a next-generation interactive attraction with a strong gaming element. If you took away the glitz and futuristic graphics and design, it would seem similar to the various Buzz Lightyear attractions around the world. You see a target, you aim your laser blaster, and you try to hit the mark to score points. But that’s just what happens under the hood. This ride is the Lamborghini of shooting game rides.
The visual appeal of the attraction is unmistakable from the moment you enter the ride queue. Styled to mirror Iron Man Experience as another part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, this area is the S.H.I.E.L.D. Science and Technology Pavilion at the Stark Expo. You’ll see many S.H.I.E.L.D. relics and references to your favorite movies.
You’ll quickly learn that the S.H.I.E.L.D. premise drives the action. The slogan above the door says that you’re “safeguarding the world through science,” which means the Ant-Man/Wasp nanotechnology here. You’re theoretically visiting the Technology Showcase, but the sign informs you that all events are canceled due to a supervillain outbreak, which happens more than you’d think at Marvel attractions.
The Hong Kong representative for S.H.I.E.L.D. alerts visitors to the danger. Hydra is trying to steal an Arc Reactor that sits atop the Stark Tower in Hong Kong. Since Tony Stark is elsewhere, presumably saving the participants in the Iron Man Experience, he requests for backup from available Avengers. Alas, the best that they can do at the moment is Ant-Man, thereby guaranteeing that this mission won’t go smoothly. At least Wasp is there to save the day if/when things go south.
Who Is the Enemy?
Arnim Zola, who has appeared in all three Captain America movies, is the supervillain causing problems. You may know him from Agent Carter and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., too. Zola, the human head trapped in a computer monitor, has unleashed thousands of swarmbots in Hong Kong. He’s seeking a Data Core that will unlock the security system for the Arc Reactor.
Ant-Man and Wasp must shrink down in size and destroy these dangerous critters. Of course, they need help due to the numbers crunch of thousands versus two. That’s where you come into play. You can zap the swarmbots and thereby thwart Zola’s plans.
During the ride experience, the swarmbots are the real enemy, as you can’t stop Zola directly. You must reduce your size to aim at the infinitesimally small swarmbots. When your aim is true, you will give the two bug-sized superheroes a chance to save the Data Core and, thereby, the Arc Reactor.
How Does the Ride Work?
On the Buzz Lightyear attractions, you have laser blasters that you aim at targets. Nano Battle! is similar, only your weapon has more theming. You’ll board a vehicle named the D/AGR – the Defense/Assault Ground Rover aka the Dagger. Then, you’ll receive an EMP Blaster purposefully built to target the smallest enemies.
This point-and-fire system is similar to the ones at Toy Story Mania! and the Buzz Lightyear rides. The difference is that the targets are much more clearly defined now. The attraction takes place in the dark, but the swarmbots glow so much that you’ll have no problem spotting them. The downside is that since you’re not driving the Dagger, you cannot spin your vehicle a la Buzz Lightyear. Instead, your path is fixed a la Toy Story Mania!.
What Else Is Important?
Disney wanted the best possible ride experience for this attraction. They’re trying to rebuild the reputation of Hong Kong Disneyland and need E-ticket rides to do so. The company spared no expense in its construction.
The actors from the Marvel Cinematic Universe even appear in the attraction. At various points in the line queue and the ride itself, video plays of Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly as Ant-Man and Wasp. Toby Jones, who portrays Arnim Zola in all of the films and television series, appears as well. Unfortunately, the voice of Tony Stark isn’t provided by Robert Downey Jr., though. He was unavailable for this project. I have to say that the replacement does a remarkable Iron Man imitation.
Those of you planning a visit to Hong Kong Disneyland should know that the ride dialogue is in English and Cantonese. The city of Hong Kong actually claims two official languages, English and (the broadly termed) Chinese. So, this setup isn’t the least bit unusual, as a hybrid of English and Cantonese akin to Spanglish is a part of everyday conversations in Hong Kong.
In the ride queue and during the attraction, the S.H.I.E.L.D. chief engineer, Leslie Lam, frequently flips back and forth between the two languages. When she speaks Cantonese, the subtitles displayed onscreen are in English and vice versa. During the ride, the Marvel superheroes speak English, while subtitles translate the dialogue to Cantonese. It’s an extremely fluid process that Disney should adopt for all of its attractions that employ digital displays.
Early reviews of Nano Battle! are absolutely glowing. Hong Kong Disneyland aficionados are already battling to become the top scorers in the game. You can watch the entire line queue and ride experience in this video. I have to say that it looks nothing like Buzz Lightyear and Toy Story Mania!, even if the ride structure is similar. This attraction is one of the shiniest in Disney history. It’s absolutely gorgeous. Let’s all go to Hong Kong Disneyland and ride it! What do you say?