Avatar On Track for Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Three years ago today Avatar debuted on the big screen and changed the way cinema was experienced forever. It might take 3 more years before it opens, but we did get confirmation that a project that would build Avatar’s Pandora is still on track for Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

At the ‘Around the World’ portion of the New Fantasyland media event, the following image was shared with the audience by Walt Disney Imagineering VP Bruce Vaughn:

Avatar Model

What Vaughn also said was that this was relatively early in the design process and that it has changed a couple of times since then. Still confirmation that a land based on James Cameron’s Avatar was still planned for Disney’s Animal Kingdom was the biggest news of the weekend.

There had been some discussion among Disney park fans that with the acquisition of Lucasfilm, there was no longer any need to go outside the Disney fold for a property like Avatar that has yet to prove its staying power, unlike the long term success of Star Wars. This doesn’t mean Disney won’t incorporate more Star Wars into its theme parks (or more Marvel for that matter), just that the horizon for that is further off.

Previously: leaked building blue prints indicate there will be at least two attractions in the land.

9 thoughts on “Avatar On Track for Disney’s Animal Kingdom”

  1. I hope this isn’t a matter of throwing good money after bad, that having come so far with the planning they feel they have to go forward with this.

    I really still do not see the particular draw or connection for Avatar and DAK, not do I have any faith that it will actually be a lasting asset to the park. (How many people are talking about the movie — or its planned sequels — right now?)

    I don’t think Star Wars would necessarily work (well … I guess you could turn the land into a big Star Tours with different planetary habitats and animal life, and have that work as the DAK connection), but the whole Avatar thing is even less of a fit.

    1. Tell me about it. I cannot emphasize enough how the film itself is NOT family-oriented. Having something based on a film riddled with occasional and unnecessary language just isn’t right for Walt Disney World.

      I don’t mind the Star Wars franchise because the movies have everything I look for in a good movie (despite the action and violence, of course).

      James Cameron will have to give his film some treatment if the attraction is going to be made.

  2. i am excited for this project WDI and Camermon makes for a cant miss project…i will be there first day it opens

  3. Very uninspiring news. Avatar at WDW will only survive if it has compelling attraction experiences that have high repeatability, thrills, emotional content, etc.–all the things that are not there with the movie. I don’t know a single person who keeps it in their home library and watches it.

  4. Aloha John,

    I think this is the wrong way to go. Avatar should be an attraction, not a “Land.” Last year I wrote an editorial that still has relevance with this story. If I may…

    “So yesterday they announced that Animal Kingdom will have a new “Avatar Land.” Years ago when Disney announced the deal on Indiana Jones we at WDI wondered if a non-Disney property would work in the park or not. It turned out to be a great idea for an attraction in Adventureland. Now we are ready to open a “Cars Land” at DCA. I’m sure it will be fun but I question if a movie can support a “Land” for very long. You see to me a Land is an Idea, not a character or a movie. For example look at Fantasyland. It has 15 movie attractions all centering on one idea, Fantasy. All the lands follow the same format and they work wonderfully. So let’s review: Ideas are Fantasy, The World of Tomorrow, a World Showcase, the American Frontier, etc. The theme of the lands give the attractions a home with other complementary stories. I admit that Harry Potter works as a “Land” because it is very, very deep in its story lines. It also has a staying power that Avatar will never achieve, but Universal Studios is all movie based (so the Disney rules don’t apply.) I hope the current Disney leadership doesn’t try to change our parks into “Movie” lands. I think it will cheapen the experience for young and old.”

    I do think Avatar would make a great ride. You could put it next to Star Tours at DHS!

  5. To those of you still knocking Avatar… KNOCK IT OFF!!!

    Reserve judgement until you actually experience the new experiences!

Comments are closed.