Joe Rhode Interview on Avatar and Animal Kingdom

The Official Disney Park Blog interviewed Imagineer Joe Rohde on the occasion of his receiving the Buzz Price Thea Award recognizing a career of distinguished achievements. Those include: The Adventurers’ Club, leading the creation of Animal Kingdom, Expedition Everest, stepping in to help with Aulani, and more going back over 30 years at WDI.

He spoke on the early days of Disney’s Animal Kingdom project:

When I first saw the Disney’s Animal Kingdom site, I was truly terrified. Disney’s Animal Kingdom was unexplored country – we were doing lots of things that had never been done before. It’s hard not to see getting Disney’s Animal Kingdom built as a challenge. Attempting to do so many things all in one project – it was challenging and a growth experience. We were truly learning as we were doing.

Also a few words on AVATAR:

When I think about the AVATAR story and Disney’s Animal Kingdom, I see the value systems that underlie both. We have the opportunity to tell that story in a way that will make the AVATAR experience feel like a natural part of Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

I know there is a group of Imagineers who want to build AVATAR in Tomorrowland instead of DAK, but I still think it would be a good fit in DAK and we might get a Tomorrowland makeover anyway.

Have you ever met Joe Rohde? What was your encounter like?

11 thoughts on “Joe Rhode Interview on Avatar and Animal Kingdom”

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  2. The Tomorrowland bit wasn’t released on the Disney blog’s version of the interview, where did that come from?

  3. I think they shouldnt build Avatar land. It has nothing to do with Disney.. I love Disney movies and parks. But I think I have to boycott Avatar land.. :I

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  5. Avatarland would be a waste of money. We wouldn’t go if it’s built and AK is one of my favorite parks.

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  7. How can Disney be overlooking the fact that avatar is not a franchise? It’s not star wars or Indy. Imagineering saw those movies pass a decade without tarnish or any loss of interest before becoming attractions. Avatar: 3 years!!! Also, there’s only one movie. Rememember…the Matrix had ONE good movie. So, what happens if Avatar 2 and 3 bomb? Does Avatar really have lasting power? I could watch Star Wars and Indy movies again and again. As for Avatar? I liked it when it came out. Now…hmm…it’s ok. I would love to talk to an imagineer and hear their thoughts going into this. I love imagineering but this decision really worries me.

  8. They’re ruining the park by putting in Avatar. As much as they think it will “work”, it will not, simply for the fact that no Disney fan is on board with the idea.

    1. i see so many people dissing the idea for avatar at AK, and i highly disagree alot of people wanted to see a mythical creatures land instead but has anyone seen the crazy looking creatures in just the first avatar movie? not to mention when the land finally opens avatar 2 will definitely already been released, if not both 2 and 3, all the different creatures that will be featured have not even been revealed yet.
      now imagine the job imagineers are gonna have bringing that to life, and honestly i would rather see audio-animatronic creations of these then unicorns or talking dragons lol. also, the conservation messages, both biological and natural, fit right into the message of AK.
      lastly, james cameron is a hit maker. just about all of his movies have staying power, and this IS his star wars, not his matrix trilogy, but im hoping he and disney prove all of you wrong, and quite honestly, there will be more people attending then boycotting, and disney is finally making steps towards making animal kingdom a worth while park for hefty ticket price, because right now i think AK is not worth the full price of admission the other parks are worth, and i already have an animal kingdom across the bay in busch gardens tampa. but this makes me wanna go to AK now.
      i seen alot of disney chat boards and it also seems alot of disney parks enthusiasts seem bitter that disney didnt do everything in its power to swoop the harry potter theme park rights from universal and now are groveling so badly some have boycotted universal altogether. well this is disney’s fire back at universal so true disney fans should be backing them up. YAY FOR AVATAR!

  9. and one last thing, disney needs to get the ball rolling on modernizing their existing parks, and the lands and attractions within, as well as adding new attractions, because universal is blowing them out of the water right now with opening the world of harry potter last year AND just announcing adding another area at universal studios where jaws used to be and they have transformers ride coming to florida and i read on jim hill’s website recently that universal is in negotiations to buy the the theme rights to the lord of the rings and upcoiming hobbit movies. where are you disney? imagine a lord of the rings land at AK along with avatar phew!

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