“Avatar Land” gets early mixed reviews

Earlier today, Disney held an Imagineering press conference with James Cameron to announce that an area based on the world of “Avatar” would be added to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Fans around the world were quick to evaluate this addition. People took to message boards, social networking platforms, and the Disney Parks Blog to voice their opinion. The post on the parks blog has already received 130+ comments, far more than any other post in the blog’s recent history. Here are a few of my favorites:

I would assume that Michael is correct in his comment. Beastly Kingdom seems like a certain no-go at this point, but perhaps Imagineers will be able to infuse some of the ideas for this forgone area into “Avatar Land.”

Unlike many previous announcements that the public is usually already aware of because of internet leaks, Disney managed to keep this one quiet until the official announcement.

Not everyone was excited, as this move is based on a non-Disney franchise. Disney has lately been moving toward characters and concepts from outside their current store.

Many fans expressed concerns that Avatar does not fit into Disney’s Animal Kingdom. In my opinion, Avatar is based on environmental themes that DAK strives to embed within the park, and the film includes several animal-like creatures that will feel right at home.

Not only were fans commenting on the official Disney Parks blog, but popular Disney message boards like WDWMagic and Disboards exploded with opinions, ranging from furious to ecstatic. Several people have been likening this project as a response to Universal Studios winning the Harry Potter contract. Many fans thought that the Fantasyland expansion was not enough, but Avatar might be a bigger answer. (I do not think that these comparisons are just.)

In my personal opinion, this sounds epic. I am a big fan of “Avatar,” and I have high hopes for the two sequels, currently slated for December 2014 and December 2015. “Avatar” feels like a natural fit for a theme park. Several of the flying scenes come to mind, and I hope with James Cameron working side-by-side with Imagineers that we will see some new technology in the park that doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world.

Construction of this new project to begin in 2013, well-timed after the Fantasyland expansion and before the Avatar sequels. (No “open” date is currently given, though. Hopefully concept art and more details will be released for hungry fans like me.)

One other thing to note is this line in the official press release:

Future locations for additional AVATAR-themed lands will be determined with our international theme park partners at a later date.

Will we see a clone of “Avatar Land” or any of its attractions in any other Disney parks? Only time will tell.

Update: You may be interested in reading the response to some of these comments from Walt Disney Parks & Resorts President Tom Staggs.

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About Adam Britten

Adam Britten is a self-proclaimed Disney geek. From a very young age, he fondly remembers visiting the parks with his family on an almost yearly basis. Currently a Master of Digital Marketing Student at Hult International Business School, Adam wishes on a star that he will one day work for the mouse's marketing department. He’s visited Disneyland, Walt Disney World, & Disneyland Paris; he hopes to complete the world tour. His favorite Disney movie is Alice in Wonderland. Can also be seen on: Twitter as @AdamBritten, www.AdamBritten.com, and his new blog about the intersection between social media and theme parks at SocialThemeParks.com.
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18 Responses to “Avatar Land” gets early mixed reviews

  1. Andrea says:

    No no no no no no.. Avatar shouldn’t be anywhere Disneys Animal Kingdom!! It doesn’t fit, and it isn’t a Disney movie.. Please don’t mess up DAK. =\ Send Avatar Land somewhere else, Even Universal Studios can do better than Avatar Land.. k thx. =\

    • taigebu says:

      Please do explain why it doesn’t fit ?? Tom Staggs took the time to say why he thinks it fits so please do the same for us.
      It’s not because it’s based on the movie Avatar that the land will have the same story line as the movie. The world of Pandora is filled with great flora and fauna as well as some jaw dropping environment and just for that I’d love to see how WDI transcribed this world in a land. I’d personally love to be immersed in this land, discover the fauna of Pandora with Dr Grace Augustine (Sigourney Weaver) as a guide, feel what it’s like to ride a Mountain banshee or experience the beauty of the Tree of Souls at night. I’m optimistic that the people of WDI with James Cameron and his team can surprise us all with what they come up with.

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  7. Adam Britten says:

    I’m a little tired of the “it isn’t a Disney movie” argument. Star Wars, anyone?

  8. eric Barnes says:

    you people need to stop with the complaining crap…. its quite annoying.
    be happy with what you are getting …. if you don’t want it then keep it to yourself.

  9. RB says:

    While I didn’t care for the Avatar movie, I think this is a nice “get” for Disney. I think they’ve struggled over what to do in Animal Kingdom that both fits and will be a draw. Avatar’s conservation and “do-no-evil” message fits very well into the park as a whole, and the visuals from the movie should make for some very creative and exciting attractions.

    As to pulling from their library of properties, what can they possibly do? The only thing they really have that fits is The Lion King, which is practically what Animal Kingdom is already. This will bring in a world-wide audience and add a much-needed injection to AK. Let’s see what Disney can come with.

  10. Listy says:

    It does seem like a weird fit, but I trust Disney. They know how to create experiences that really work, and I am sure this will be no exception. Why would a company with such an impressive record of successes not have another? Trust the people who know what they’re doing.

  11. Meghan says:

    I agree with Adam about the non Disney product comments. I’m also tired of the ” it’s a PG-13 movie and not family friendly for Disney.” if I recall correctly, The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise are all PG-13 yet I see six year olds going to school with Jack Sparrow backpacks. And let’s not forget we have the Indiana Jones attraction there as well. The first movies helped make the PG-13 rating in the first place.

    About the project itself, until I hear more information about this, I won’t pass judgment. Still, I look forward to updates on the project to see how the imagineers create the movie’s environment be it terrible or great.

  12. Alan says:

    I thought the movie was too preachy, too predictable, and a waste of time and money. Not much more than a glorified video-game. I suspect the Disney version will fit the same description. It definitely will not be on my itinerary on ANY visit.

  13. Nana says:

    I am going to pretend this isn’t happening…

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  15. RickJM says:

    Walt Disney is rolling over in his grave now. First his company does business with the Chinese, a repressive communist regime with a terrible human rights record, his company won’t release Path to 9/11 on DVD and now there is going to be a franchise based on a film that was blatantly anti-American military and I could even make the argument that it was completely anti-American.

    It’s time for a new Save Disney campaign.

  16. jeff molock says:

    Too bad I can’t show the film to my kids. Pathetic language……This is a horrible idea.

    • taigebu says:

      You do know that, at least in the extended bluray version, there’s a “family friendly” audio option ? You can def show it to your kids using this setting ;-)

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