From meatless meatballs to Pym particle pretzels to sort-of shawarma, here’s what to try (and skip) at the Avengers Campus
Given that superheroes aren’t afforded much time for a lunch break between evacuating Sokovia and traveling through time to steal Infinity stones, there wasn’t much for Disney to work off of when it came to the culinary program at its new Marvel-themed land, which opened June 4 at Disney California Adventure theme park in Anaheim, California.
Even with the rare on-screen food reference — yes, both Incredible Hulk’s Pingo Doce soda (the lethal sip of the late Stan Lee) and that Avengers shawarma post-credits scene are honored here — Disney pulled together a menu spread across three food stands, a restaurant, and a bar, all channeling the variety and irreverence of the franchise itself.
Forgoing the easy out of Incredible Hulk pesto pasta and character-themed cupcakes, the Avengers Campus menu instead honors the films’ technologies at its main eateries, using Pym particles, as seen in the Ant-Man films and Avengers: Endgame, for a play on food and drink sizes at the land’s main quick-service restaurant and bar. (Think quail eggs atop large slabs of blue French toast, and a big-ass Bavarian pretzel.) Elsewhere, colorful Guardians of the Galaxy-inspired sweets shock in neon hues, and Shawarma Palace doles out tinfoil-wrapped chicken and falafel pita sandwiches.
If you, like Loki, are burdened with glorious purpose to try every space churro, shawarma, and themed soda — don’t. Like the Avengers but for indigestion, I joined forces with my own ragtag team of colleagues to eat and drink our way through this smorgasbord of superhero food so you don’t have to. Here’s what you absolutely must eat while in Avengers Campus, and what you’d be better off time-heisting your way past.
Snacking bacon is not really my scene, but these crispy, caramelized pieces were an unexpected delight. Order them as a side or within the PB3 Superb Sandwich, a warm PB&J served on cartoonish swirled blue bread. Just be sure you try it at lunch or dinner — traditional non-candied bacon is served at breakfast. Somewhere, Peter Porker, the Spectacular Spider-Ham, is sad.
Not So Little Chicken Sandwich
Behold, the perfect Pym Test Kitchen dish: a too-big, panko-crusted chicken schnitzel inside a too-small brioche bun. It’s fun to eat without sacrificing flavor, which shines by way of a spicy Sriracha mayo and citrus teriyaki sauce drizzle on top. (There’s even a kids’ version without the heat, allowing young Avengers to partake.) This is a can’t-miss dish.
It’s a classic Italian panini sandwich with layers of salami, rosemary ham, and provolone on ciabatta with sun-dried tomato spread, paired with optional marinara dip. If you’ve heard the viral nonsense about “Disney’s $100 sandwich,” it’s just a Fantastic Four family-size serving with eight portions of this, and well worth it — you’ll want another half the minute you finish your first.
Choco-Smash CANDY Bar
Put that Dole Whip aside, because this is now the sweet to get at Disneyland Resort. Like a homemade Snickers bar atop a brownie base, the layers of nougat, peanuts, and caramel are transcendent, even beyond the berm of a theme park. It’s also served chilled, a thoughtful touch to help prevent the melt in the Anaheim sun before you get around to eating it. Expect a cult following to form around this one ASAP.
Ever-expanding Cinna-Pym Toast
The best choice for breakfast comes as blue bread turned into custard-style French toast, served alongside a shot glass of syrup and a tiny quail egg to boot. A children’s version, which is baked and topped with cinnamon, is also great, but I found the turkey bacon served alongside it inedible.
Honey Buzz and X-Periment
Pym Tasting Lab’s drinks are significantly sweet — all cocktails here are prebatched — but these two were crowd pleasers. The Honey Buzz, a lemon-honey gin concoction, and X-Periment, an uncanny mango-habanero Patron Silver cocktail, are equally refreshing, made all the more fun by way of their beaker-style chemistry set glasses.
IF YOU’RE STILL HUNGRY
Served in an oversized silver spoon, this meatless meatball is a divine, herbaceous hunk of Impossible meat that’s moist all the way through. The pasta it comes nestled atop, however, was kids’-menu marinara. If the sauce quality were upped just slightly, this would be a home run.
The eye-popping Bavarian pretzel is essentially Pym Tasting Kitchen’s signature dish, but for what it boasts in size it sacrifices in taste. Yellowjacket was Ant-Man’s nemesis, and here the yellow mustard (instead of grain) does the pretzel in with an underwhelming beer cheese.
Caesar Salad and Colossal Crouton
Don’t get us wrong, the crouton is an absolute Hulk smash— using the PB3 bread as a base, it’s probably one of the best bites at Avengers Campus — but the overpriced, deconstructed wedge-style salad it’s paired with just isn’t enough sustenance for theme park days.
Shawarma and Falafel
Avengers Campus has not one but two food carts dedicated to the singular meal that Marvel’s superheroes actually share on the screen, but the shawarma at Shawarma Palace is, well, not shawarma at all. Unlike the second end credits scene in The Avengers (2012), this one is more of a chicken pita with a slathering of obtusely strong garlic sauce. The coconut yogurt tahini it comes with is actually spot on, but really, does it matter? If you’re here and you’re an Avengers fan, you’re going to order it, simple as that. Just know in advance that it’s not quite worth the decade-long wait.
And then… there’s the falafel. As the branding outside the Pym Test Kitchen door declares, we are on Impossible’s turf, so naturally it’s not made from chickpeas but, alas, Impossible Meat. The sandwich is perfectly fine in flavor and texture, but replacing a globally beloved vegetarian sandwich with a branded meatless product purely to meet sponsorship requirements feels shortsighted and oozes of corporate oversight. Yes, these parks cost money to build, but falafel simply didn’t need to be reinvented for this application, especially when it draws inspiration from New York’s many Middle Eastern-owned shawarma spots. That authenticity could have helped, not hindered, Shawarma Palace’s placemaking.
Atomic Fusion pretzel
It’s not a bad idea, treating the soft pretzel as a flatbread-like platform for toppings, but this one is just a bit too messy in execution. Chunks of chicken, blue cheese, and celery laden with hot sauce and ranch make for a dish that’s tasty but tricky to share as intended, especially with plastic cutlery.
In lieu of actual guarana soda, the vanilla-citrus beverage is more than likely a version of vanilla Sprite. It’s fun to try to pay homage to the soda seen in The Incredible Hulk, which comes out in Ecto Cooler-green, but it’s a one-and-done. (Note: Disneyland Resort is not currently offering refills on Coke Freestyle drinks.)
Cosmic Cream Orb
A raspberry cheesecake pate-a-choux in a black pastry shell with neon innards readily qualifies as an out-of-this-galaxy snack, but it pales in comparison to the decadence of Pym Test Kitchen’s foot-long candy bar.
This $7 brown bag packed with peanuts, flavored popped sorghum, mini pretzels, and sesame sticks just won’t satisfy your hunger. Grab a carton of perfect theme park popcorn just steps outside the land instead.
Uncomfortably green with a gummy texture, this sweet served at a stand near Guardians of the Galaxy — Mission: Breakout! lacks both the crunch of a well-fried churro and the flavor of, well, anything other than a pineapple-scented candle. Something that’s this glowingly green may be perfect for slithering down the throat of a space being, but it is not recommended for human consumption.
Proton PB&J Punch
The sickly-sweet concoction of peanut butter and strawberry-flavored lemonade with peanut butter whipped cream may be fun to taste as a group, but it’s something you take a sip of and move on. It simply isn’t worth wasting stomach space.
Pingo Doce Sugar Free
Don’t. Just don’t.
Carlye Wisel is a theme park journalist and expert who reports about things like how Butterbeer was invented and Disney’s secret food lab on her podcast, Very Amusing With Carlye Wisel.