When Disney parks chair Tom Staggs announced a partnership with James Cameron to bring Avatar to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, I sort of assumed that Cameron and his production partner Jon Landau had already toured the park with its chief creative influence Joe Rohde. Apparently, they… Read More »James Cameron walks the future site of Avatar-land with Joe Rohde and Tom Staggs
With the recent announcement of an Avatar themed land and attractions coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdoms and the troubled opening of Disney’s first Hawaiian resort, Aulani, a lot of the conversation has settled on the types of risks the Walt Disney Company’s parks and resorts division has been taking lately.
It’s a bouillabaisse of different complaints:
- The monorail and bus system is no longer inpsiring, future world has stagnated, Tomorrowland is now toontown, with the result that Disney’s position as a company with vision has been lost.
- That Disney should believe in its own artists to come up with compelling stories and themes instead of buying properties like Avatar or Prince of Persia. Franchising is fine, but it shold be ‘Disney’ franchises, not Fox.
- That building in Hawaii will not pay off for DVC. Either no one will buy it, or they’ll be using those points on the mainland anyway leaving Aulani an empty shell much of the year.
You can see why the Disney company may be confused. One one hand they get attacked for not doing enough on the other for doing too much. That’s true, but the general theme is Disney needs to take more risks when it comes to its parks and resorts.
I’ve had a day to think about the announcement of Disney licensing James Cameron’s Avatar properties for it’s theme parks. We’re still very early in the process, but even in just the last 24 hours many interviews with key players have been published. That gives us a slightly better idea, but it’s still pretty much conjecture. Never the less, I have put down a few thoughts on the news, realizing that all this could change as more details of the partnership are revealed.
Disney did a good job keeping the Avatar partnership secret, I’d only heard a few rumors about the idea prior to the announcement but the exact names of Avatar or Cameron never explicitly surfaced, so I didn’t feel comfortable reporting it. However, many Disney fans now feel like they’ve been blindsided and they’re not happy.