Disney California Adventure is rolling out Black Panther foods and experiences

Disney California Adventure Park has unveiled a series of new Black Panther experiences coinciding with the release of “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” which grossed around $180 million in its opening weekend.

The Black Panther Experiences, which launched Friday, November 11, are expanding to other parts of the resort with a new mural installation in the Downtown Disney District by artist Nikkolas Smith.

Flavors of Wakanda inside Disney California Adventure Park at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, Calif. on Friday, Nov. 11, 2022. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)
Flavors of Wakanda inside Disney California Adventure Park at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, Calif. on Friday, Nov. 11, 2022. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

“Wakanda is a beacon of hope and inspiration to millions because of its world-class technological advancements and the ingenuity and determination of its people,” Nikkolas Smith said in a statement. “The ‘Forever Ever’ mural is inspired by these themes, which are also present in the ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever: The Courage to Dream’ picture book, created by myself and Frederick Joseph. It is a reminder to children around the world that no obstacle in their path is immovable and no dream is unreachable.

Wakanda activations will last until January 8, but Michael Serna, Executive Creative Director at Disney Live Entertainment, believes Disney California Adventure’s Avengers campus will see a myriad of Black Panther stories in the years to come.

Michael Serna, Executive Creative Director at Disney Live Entertainment and Project Manager for the "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" celebration at Disney California Adventure, poses in front of the Black Panther Celebration Garden at the Avengers Campus.  (Photo by Jenn Tanaka)
Michael Serna, Executive Creative Director at Disney Live Entertainment and Project Manager for the “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” Celebration at Disney California Adventure, poses in front of the Black Panther Celebration Garden at Avengers Campus. (Photo by Jenn Tanaka)

“It’s very important here around the Avengers campus and around the Disney Resort that we feel like Wakanda comes into our world and visits us here on campus,” Serna says. “Most importantly, Black Panther will appear here for the first time. So we will have a big moment of arrival where we welcome him to campus. Throughout the day we have many Wakanda activations. The Dora Milaje, ‘Warriors of Wakanda’ experience we’ve had for a few years now.”

Serna looks forward to “The Way of the Jabari” experience, which will introduce M’Baku, leader of the Jabari Tribe, to first-time guests at the Avengers Campus Quad.

“M’Baku is one of my favorite characters from the first movie and I hope you like him in the second movie,” Serna says. “He’s going to appear for the first time in a show we call the ‘Ways of the Jabari’… [in which] he teaches us the ways of the spirit of the Jabari – what it is all about, how they are different from the rest of the Wakandans. I think guests will love the experience of meeting M’Baku for the first time and interacting with him.

The essence of Wakanda continues with new food offerings at Flavors of Wakanda, located in the Disney California Adventure Hollywood Backlot. Pan-African flavors include peri-peri chicken with jollof rice, a peanut stew called Maafe, and a colorful Dawa drink with butterfly pea-infused tea lemonade. Shawarma Palace and Shawarma Palace Too have also started offering a Wakandan roast pork wrap with black garlic sauce.

“Disney California Adventure Park’s culinary team conducted research on traditional and current popular African cuisine to develop the menu for Flavors of Wakanda,” Disneyland Resort culinary director Jeremiah Balogh said in a statement. “The savory peri-peri chicken and Maafe soup are commonly served in parts of Africa, and foodies will find new favorites in these authentic flavors.”

Peri-Peri Chicken with Yellow Jollof Rice available at Avengers Campus Marketplace: Flavors of Wakanda inside Disney California Adventure Park.  (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Registry/SCNG)
Peri-Peri Chicken with Yellow Jollof Rice available at Avengers Campus Marketplace: Flavors of Wakanda inside Disney California Adventure Park. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Registry/SCNG)

New drinking vessels such as Shuri’s Gauntlet and an oversized Wakanda-inspired Coca-Cola are also available for purchase. A fresh collection of new Black Panther-inspired merchandise includes woven dolls, clothing, MagicBand+, WEB Tech, and jewelry such as a Black Panther: World of Wakanda necklace accented with black Swarokski crystals.

For fans of the new movie, a must-see place to visit under the radar is the Super Store with Avengers Campus located in Hollywood Land where props and costumes from the movie are on display. The studio’s input was essential for Serna and his team to ensure the experience was perfect for customers.

“We work closely with the studio,” Serna explains. “The studio has been amazing in helping us understand the stories they want to tell and where we’re headed in the movies. So what we really wanted to do was have the emotional content and the excitement of a new Black Panther coming to Wakanda. But also the ability to celebrate Black Panther as a cultural icon and what this Celebration Garden is. It’s about celebrating all Black Panthers.

Emma Beelner and Cara Hu take a photo outside the Black Panther Celebration Garden at Disney California Adventure Park.  (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Registry/SCNG)
Emma Beelner and Cara Hu take a photo outside the Black Panther Celebration Garden at Disney California Adventure Park. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Registry/SCNG)

In this seating area, guests should also pay attention to the details around them.

“Here there are a lot of Easter eggs,” says Serna. “If you look around you will see some of Wakanda’s writing, and if you do translations you will understand why they are important. They all have some significance as to why they belong there.

Jackson Tisor, 6, poses outside the Black Panther Celebration Garden at Disney California Adventure Park.  (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Registry/SCNG)
Jackson Tisor, 6, poses outside the Black Panther Celebration Garden at Disney California Adventure Park. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Registry/SCNG)

From the reflective atmosphere to the new character interactions, it was important for Serna and his team to carry out this project in a thoughtful way. They had six months and worked closely with the Marvel Entertainment Company.

“We’re huge Black Panther and Wakanda fans ourselves, so we were excited to see how we could bring this to life,” Serna adds. “The taste of Wakanda and the aesthetic of how it would fit is super important. Afro-futurism is part of that. Then storytelling: What’s at the heart of what we do in M’Baku’s show in general is about how we as a family grow stronger together, so it’s not about individual heroic strength, but about how we as a family become stronger together. that a group, a tribe as a people, are stronger together.

Leave a Comment