When Disney’s Avengers Campus opens on Friday, you won’t have to go subatomic or enter the quantum realm to find Ant-Man’s corner of the park; you’ll just have to head to Pym Test Kitchen, where the food mirrors the size-morphing antics of the titular superhero (and thief and champion of the everyman) Scott Lang and his tech-savvy partner, Hope van Dyne, alias the Wasp. The new restaurant is also where you’ll find some of the best food being served in the Disneyland Resort, no quantum tunneling required—unless, of course, you’re one of the pretzels growing and shrinking above the cash registers.
The long-awaited Marvel-themed footprint of the California Adventure park features meet-and-greets with the likes of Iron Man, battle training from Wakanda’s Dora Milaje, reality-bending entertainment from Doctor Strange, and an interactive web-slinging Spider-Man ride, and as thrilling as it is entering an ancient sanctum or witnessing Spidey scale a wall, there’s almost nothing more delightful than an oversized fried chicken sandwich served between comically tiny buns.
Pym Test Kitchen’s whole schtick is downright charming—we’d expect nothing less from a restaurant modeled after a Paul Rudd franchise—and the big-small-big-small gimmick lends itself to some true comedy across the otherwise classic American menu. One massive plant-based meatball sits next to one that’s not much larger than a marble, and they form a “spoonful” (where the bowl is, you guessed it, an oversized spoon) with similarly shaped pastas: the large rigatoni tubes, and the smaller ditalini. The caesar salad is crowned by one gargantuan crouton. The “Pym-ini” panini can be ordered in one portion, or as a $99 sandwich that feeds up to eight.
The “Not So Little Chicken Sandwich,” however, has no business being as good as it is. It takes the quantum brilliance of Dr. Hank Pym’s Ant-Man suit to the culinary-science extreme with what is essentially a well-breaded schnitzel that practically crushes one half of its slider-sized brioche bun and sports the other as a kind of jaunty hat. It’s covered in teriyaki sauce and a chili mayo, then cabbage slaw, and it’s equal parts absurdist and delicious—and, now, maybe the first thing we’d want to eat after being trapped in the quantum realm for five years. Let’s all hear it for the new giant-yet-tiny chicken sandwich and also for Ant-Man, the true Thanos-foiling MVP.
The decorative touches at the new restaurant are just as entertaining: Faux pretzels circle on a conveyor belt overhead, one at time rotating through Dr. Pym’s quantum tunnel and emerging much bigger than before. In the next room, enlarged soda cans are rigged up to the drink dispensers with tubes clasped together by a too-big plastic bread clip.
On that drink front, there are all the traditional sodas on offer, plus the new and neon-green Pingo Doce soda, hopefully sans any irradiated Hulk blood. Next door, the bar Pym’s Tasting Lab serves craft beer and cocktails, not to mention beer cocktails, and even a beer float—the latter of which tops a stout with vanilla ice cream and tiny marshmallows also meant to have cycled through some Pym-level mechanics. Yes, you’ll be able to wander the Avengers Campus, and the rest of the California Adventure park, with drink in hand.
While the Pym concepts steal the culinary stage, new quick-service cart Shawarma Palace brings an Avengers food stop to life with a set of alarmingly good shawarmas topped with garlic spread and coconut yogurt sauce: one with chicken, another falafel. Another stall, Terran Treats, offers sweets themed to the Guardians of the Galaxy, such as jewel-toned churro spirals and a doughnut-like “orb” dessert with a cheesecake-like filling.
Aside from Terran Treats, every food stop at Avengers Campus offers mobile ordering to save time—handy, whether you’re in a rush to save the world or simply make it to your next reservation.
Disney’s Avengers Campus opens within the California Adventure park in Anaheim on Friday, June 4.