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Walt Disney World Disney's Animal Kingdom Discussion Thread

P. 73: Earth Week Celebration offerings announced!

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Questions:

- When they say land, how many other attractions? Any thoughts on what these could be (other than a 4D movie?)

- How will the crazy flying dragon/banshee/whatever patent fit in? Live stunt show?

- Is there any potential for a VR attraction (you design then walk around Pandora in your own Avatar body?)

- How immersive will the theming go as far as the land, shops, restaurants go?

- Will the ride(s) tie directly to the second and third movies?

- Has anyone at Disney figured out what the Pandora equivalent of Butterbeer is yet?

 

From what I've been seeing, they want "more than one" attraction in the land. Also, InsideTheMagic suggested that, based on a recent Disney patent (which I had no idea about), maybe they're looking at a show that would allow live actors to fly those dragon things around once they've "tamed" them, as in the movie?

 

And I think I read somewhere (Screamscape?) the other day that Disney was actually selling their own kind of Butterbeer, without the name label - sounds like we might not have to wait long to get it over at the Kingdom!

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I wonder if Disney has considered the sequel for future expansion. James Cameron confirmed that the next movie would explore the surrounding moons and will also feature the volcanoes and oceans of Pandora.

 

There would be a ton of theming possibilities from that as well.

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Just reverberating the thoughts opinions that have already been echoed, but I personally still don't think that's i'll overpass the potter-mania still going on with the Wizarding World. It has a much smaller fanbase and a much smaller level of appeal and draw for everyone, in my own opinion of course.

 

It'll be a great addition to Animal Kingdom, especially since they never received Beastly Kingdomme, but I don't think it'll topple Potter. I can see it make attendance skyrocket for a while, but the moment Universal decides to expand Potter then it's all eyes back to Islands of Adventure.

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I think AK is a good choice for this project. The article is talking about creating a land and AK has the space. Now if it was just a ride, then Studio is the place to go. The movie and franchise is big in conservation and interacting with the creatures and land around. Wow, last time I was at AK there is conservation information all over the place. Like I said perfect location.

 

Now if they throw in a couple big attraction in the mix, bonus for us.

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Well, looks like Cameron plans on being HEAVILY involved in the lands development ... this can only be seen as a good thing IMO.

 

He's really at the forefront of trying to push the envelope, technology wise. I'm sure there will be some really awesome technology to come out of this that can result in some non-Avatar attractions as well.

 

 

"I'm chomping at the bit to start work with Disney's legendary Imagineers to bring our AVATAR universe to life," Cameron said in a statement announcing the deal Tuesday morning. "Our goal is to go beyond current boundaries of technical innovation and experiential storytelling, and give park goers the chance to see, hear, and touch the world of AVATAR with an unprecedented sense of reality."

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Well, looks like Cameron plans on being HEAVILY involved in the lands development ... this can only be seen as a good thing IMO.

 

He's really at the forefront of trying to push the envelope, technology wise. I'm sure there will be some really awesome technology to come out of this that can result in some non-Avatar attractions as well.

 

 

"I'm chomping at the bit to start work with Disney's legendary Imagineers to bring our AVATAR universe to life," Cameron said in a statement announcing the deal Tuesday morning. "Our goal is to go beyond current boundaries of technical innovation and experiential storytelling, and give park goers the chance to see, hear, and touch the world of AVATAR with an unprecedented sense of reality."

And that right there seems like the real difference between this and Potter.

 

Potterland simply had to exist in some way, shape, or form for tons of families to be guilted into a specific trip to Orlando. On the other hand, Avatar is gonna have to really "wow" people technologically in order to get the same kind of response. Otherwise, Avatarland, while obviously still appealing to many, is just an "oh cool, we'll definitely have to hit that up the next time we're there" type of thing.

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Here's an updated news report from the Orlando Sentinel.

 

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/the-daily-disney/os-disney-world-avatar-attraction-20110920,0,6919277.story

 

By Jason Garcia, Orlando Sentinel

4:34 p.m. EDT, September 20, 2011

 

The Walt Disney Co. plans to build a multi-attraction "land" based on the movie "Avatar" in Disney's Animal Kingdom as the first step in a broader licensing deal that will lead to similar attractions in Disney parks worldwide.

 

"Avatar is just a set of worlds that is really rich and offers so much to explore, we thought that offering a land-based approach gives us a much better opportunity to explore," Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Tom Staggs said in an interview following the announcement.

 

Disney said it would begin construction of Animal Kingdom's Avatar land in 2013 and expects to open it to guests about five years from now. A company executive indicated that the price tag would be approximately $500 million.

 

The deal announced Tuesday gives Disney exclusive theme-park rights to use elements from the 2009 blockbuster and from sequels due out in 2014 and 2015. "Avatar," which was directed by James Cameron and grossed nearly $2.8 billion in worldwide box-office receipts, is widely considered one of the most valuable intellectual properties not already tied up by a theme park.

 

Disney said it plans to build multiple-attraction lands based on the film's fictional world of "Pandora," including themed food and merchandise, rides and entertainment. It's the same approach Universal Orlando has taken with its wildly popular Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which has fueled huge attendance and guest-spending gains since opening in Universal's Islands of Adventure theme park last year.

 

Cameron said he initially thought Disney would want to build only an individual ride based on his film.

 

"I quickly realized that their vision for this thing is far beyond what I imagined," he told reporters. "It was kind of thrilling that they wanted to do a land and really bring the world of Pandora to life."

 

More Avatar lands would follow down the road. Disney currently has five theme-park resorts worldwide and is building a sixth in Shanghai, China.

 

"We obviously appreciate that this was a film that was enjoyed by millions globally. So it's now a global product," Disney Co. President and Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger said. "We can clearly leverage the global interest in this property in multiple places, although we don't have any plans at the moment or specifics to announce to you."

 

Disney will license the rights from Cameron's Lightstorm Entertainment studio and Fox Filmed Entertainment.

 

The Avatar land should provide a huge jolt in the arm for the 13-year-old Animal Kingdom theme park. The youngest of Walt Disney World's four theme parks has been criticized by some park fans for lacking attractions and not amounting to a full-day experience on par with the Magic Kingdom or Epcot.

 

The last major new ride added to Animal Kingdom was the Expedition Everest roller coaster, which opened in 2006. That ride cost more than $100 million.

 

A precise date hasn't been set for completion of the Avatar attractions in Animal Kingdom, but an opening sometime in 2016 could allow Disney to capitalize on a fresh wave of fan interest in the 'Avatar' film franchise from the two sequels currently in development. Cameron said the tentative plan is to release the first sequel around Christmas 2014 and the second around Christmas 2015.

 

"The timing seems to work out well in terms of the sequels," Cameron said. "Really, what we need to resolve is how much of the elements of the second and third films are incorporated into the Avatar land."

 

Although it prefers to use its own characters and franchises, Disney has licensed third-party content before for use in its theme parks. The company has deals for "Star Wars," "Indiana Jones" and "American Idol," among other properties. But Disney's use of those properties have generally been limited to standalone attractions or, in the case of Star Wars, an attraction plus a relatively contained surrounding area.

 

Disney's plans for Avatar appear far more ambitious. Staggs said the project would be similar in scope to "Carsland," a 12-acre themed area based on the Pixar animated films "Cars" and "Cars 2." When Carsland opens next year in Disney California Adventure, it will include multiple attractions, stores and restaurants.

 

It's an approach that has been phenomenally successful for Universal and "Harry Potter," which it licenses from author J.K. Rowling and Warner Bros. Entertainment. In addition to themed attractions, Wizarding World, which opened in June 2010, includes shops and eateries peddling fare from the Potter universe, from magic wands to mugs of butter beer.

 

Sales of food and merchandise in Universal's theme parks were up 90 percent during the first half of 2011 to $171 million. Attendance at the two-park resort soared 52 percent.

 

Staggs said it is possible that Disney's Avatar land will include food and merchandise based on items found in films, though he said the project is still in very early design phase.

 

Although Avatar is a science-fiction movie, the film is set on a lush, Earth-like planet with its own flora and fauna. Staggs said that made it a natural thematic fit with Animal Kingdom, which designers always envisioned as including mythical animals in addition to living and extinct ones.

 

"We just felt like Avatar was the perfect and most amazing mythical world we could think about exploring," Staggs said.

 

jrgarcia@tribune.com or 407-420-5414

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It looks like the Mouse and the Fox still like sleeping with each other... (Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Countless 20th Century Fox films on Disney, Fox Family---->ABC family, Narnia, Immagineers staying at the 20th Century Fox studios when Disneyland was being built)

 

This can only mean great things! They could move the Petting Zoo/Conservation station to Camp Minnie-Mickey area. (Festival of the Lion King would fit the theme well) And put Pandora back there! And build a monorail to shuttle people back there!

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Slap in the face to Universal's rumored Avatar ride?

 

 

Which I guess is why the Transformers rumor is alive again.

 

 

There's absolutely NO way a Star Wars themed "land" wouldn't trump the piss out of both Potter and Avatar combined.

 

No doubt.

 

 

Star Wars>>>>>Potter>>Avatar.

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I think this is a really great thing for the park. Having worked at Expedition Everest, every day I was there it was more and more clear that the park is desperately in need of other E-ticket rides. At the moment, all they have is Kilimanjaro and Everest (Dinosaur is so ancient and poorly run and designed that it cant even remotely count as an E-ticket. In my opinion it needs to be updated or replaced)

 

By having the Avatar franchise, they can explore new technology for rides and attractions while pushing the limits in theme park entertainment. The last thing that Animal Kingdom has received as far as rides are concerned was indeed Expedition Everest in 2006. Thats now 5 years ago and by the time Avatar is opened, it will most likely be close to 10 years since Everest opened.

 

Also, in response to the idea that Avatar is the answer to Harry Potter, it is part of the situation, however Fantasyland was the first response to the popularity of Harry potter. In reality, Harry Potter will retain popularity but it will fade after a while due to the poor ride operations and the always crowded and tiny space inside Hogsmeade at Universal. In my entire time working at Disney, Everyone I've talked to has said they enjoyed it but that it was way too crowded and the forbidden Journey broke down at least once while they were in line. I would be surprised if the popularity of the wizarding world is maintained and remains as high in popularity as when it originally opened.

 

I cannot wait to see what happens with the new avatar land in Animal kingdom. I hope to be there opening day if not working there opening day.

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To be honest, I never really liked Avatar as a movie. However I believe a themed land on the animals (beasts) and perhaps some of the cool tech from the movie could really work. Especially for a theme park like Animal Kingdom. I doubt its really there answer for Harry Potter. I believe that is what the new Fantasyland is for. I guess only time will tell to see what they do with it. After they are done with Animal Kingdom, I think Disney Hollywood Studios could use a new ride. Replace the car stunt show.

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So yeah, this announcement kind of blows my mind.. Here's why......

 

 

Project- Avatar was an incredibly high grossing film and an intellectual property (IP) that I'm sure universal would have been happy to have under their wing. I think it's a huge coupe for Disney to get their hands on IP of this level if they are willing to spend the money... but.....

 

 

Location- As other posters have mentioned, Animal Kingdom originally included a land that would have been a home to all of the "fictional" animals out there. Planned projects included a dueling dragons coaster as well as a unicorn maze. Many of the planned attractions were based upon well known mythical creatures and not one specific film or IP. Beastly Kingdom was axed due to budget cuts and lives on at IOA and in spirit at Expedition Everest. Animal Kingdom has remained a park that hasn't had to heavily relied on IP as a draw. Sure you've got bug's life, finding nemo, and lion king but none of the E Tickets are taken from from pre existing IP. I always enjoyed Animal Kingdom for being original and not relying on the crutch of a popular film or show to bring in the crowds... Do you think Joe Rhode (America's favorite imagineer) thinks this is a good idea for the park? Any armchair imagineer would have clearly placed the world of Avatar at Hollywood Studios as it's the most appropriate location and one that is, arguably, in need of a new E-Ticket.

 

Concept- Avatar... Yeah I saw it. You probably did too. I got caught up in the years of hype and the novelty of 3D. I honestly enjoyed the film. Do I plan on rushing to the theatre on opening night for the sequel? Nope, and I'm thinking the majority of theater goers are in the same boat as I am. This film is unproven as a franchise. It absolutely has the potential to make for an awesome attraction/land, but I honestly think it lacks the pull to the general public when compared to something like Harry Potter. Is there potential for the next film to flop concurrently with the new AK land opening? I think so.

 

Execution- WDW is currently underway with one of it's most expensive in-park capital improvements in the company's history. To announce a land in this way, less than a month after D23 (where they are expected to make their major announcements) shows desperation in the fact that they realize the new Fantasyland won't bring in Harry Potter sized crowds or at the very least trouble negotiating the rights, which will lead to delays and cost overruns.

 

 

To put it a little more succinctly- If Tom Staggs announced this new land as an expansion to Hollywood Studios during D23 with James Cameron at his side showing a teaser trailer for the next film, I'd have a lot more faith in the outcome. Right now, I'll just cross my fingers.

 

 

 

Chris "just saying" Connolly

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Staying on the Joe Rohde subject ... any coincidence that he was the lead Imagineer for Aulani that is having it's press opening this week and this get's released today? Wonder who is going to be the lead Imagineer for this project?

 

And I'm stealing this from somebody at MiceChat, but if you look at the concept art below ... if somebody pitched this as a new land for Animal Kingdom, and you didn't know it was for Avatar, wouldn't you be stoked about it?

Avatar_Pandora_trees.jpg.5ccb88a026e710a809ead97a384a7ff2.jpg

m_avatar_pandora.jpg.7711d510dbf300ba6520ced924ba42f0.jpg

Concept-art-of-Pandora-avatar-10831048-1400-700.thumb.jpg.b8da337abf65c71f5f09d6f3a3e559e4.jpg

NightPandora.jpg.1e22e4eec6e19a7897ec93b834023c5d.jpg

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^The answer from everyone is yes. Anyone who says otherwise is lying.

 

As for this merger of sorts, I was wondering who would jump on the opportunity to do something with the Avatar series. Should be interesting and will add to what was, in my opinion of course, the weakest of the Disney World parks.

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There's absolutely NO way a Star Wars themed "land" wouldn't trump the piss out of both Potter and Avatar combined.

 

I think the last three films demonstrate that's not true. Star Wars can suck when it wants to.

 

As to the actual topic, I'm cautiously optimistic about this. For me, it's much more about what they do with the franchise than what franchise it is. For example, I probably would have liked Harry Potterland if the main ride didn't suck and the land wasn't cramped like a Tokyo subway car during rush hour.

Edited by ginzo
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