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There’s a lot of talk about a major upgrade coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom is getting a whole land based on James Cameron’s Avatar. Both big projects that will help Disney stay relevant for another generation. But there are some smaller projects Disney could implement on a shorter timescale that would also have a big Impact.

1. Night time parade at the Magic Kingdom – With “Festival of Fantasy,” the Magic Kingdom finally has a modern day parade, now it’s time to re-light the night. It’s time to ditch the 70s era tech of the Electrical Parade and paint the street and sky with a parade as-yet unseen in the states. There are a couple candidates out there in Asian parks, but I’d also be happy to see something original.

2. Rivers of America – First, Disney needs to bring back more boats to the river, something like a steamboat from “The Princess and the Frog” would do nicely. Then they need to upgrade existing show scenes and add more to make a cohesive story. Ideally, the River would transform at night into a dinner or dessert cruise with a Jazz Band aboard the new ship.

3. Conservation station/ Rafiki’s Planet Watch – Update the animal care message, include more success stories (Disney has a ton of them), remove train and add more up close animal encounters with new-to-the-park animals. I suggest animals from Polynesia / Australia to capitalize on upcoming movies and Finding Nemo.

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Disney Parks Chair Tom Staggs was the first to reach out to Director James Cameron with the idea to bring the worlds of Avatar to life at Disney’s theme parks. At Japan’s D23 event, Staggs shared the most details yet about the exciting plans for the first Avatar-land to be built at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Currently scheduled to open in 2017, Avatar will take guests to the mythical world of Pandora, inspired by Cameron’s Avatar. The awe-inspiring land of floating mountains, bio-luminescence rainforests and soaring Banshees will become real for Disney guests to see, hear and touch. The Avatar-inspired land will be part of the largest expansion in Disney’s Animal Kingdom history.

Four pieces of concept art and one photo of Staggs, Cameron and Imagineer Joe Rohde were published. These appear to confirm many of the rumors about the land, including the presence of a boat ride and an emphasis on the bioluminescent glowing plants night effects that wowed so many in the movies. Guests will also be able to soar into the sky on the backs of a Banshee. The latter, is expected to be a motion platform projection movie experience similar to Soarin’ but with the latest digital technology (and most-likely 3D).

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