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Walt Disney World Disney's Animal Kingdom Discussion Thread

P. 73: Earth Week Celebration offerings announced!

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I find it quite funny that there are so many people who are saying Avatar isn't fit for a Disney park, DAK nonetheless. To me, this is going to be a great thing for DAK. I worked at DAK earlier this year and learned so much about the park from being there for several months. To me, DAK is the red headed step-child of the Disney Parks. The park was never finished to begin with and contains so many things that were only supposed to be temporary in the first place. Camp Minnie Mickey was never supposed to exist in the first place. When Beastly Kingdom got slashed due to funding cuts for the park, CMM was only supposed to be a temporary fix until Beastly Kingdom was built, and we all know what happened there. Let's not forgot Dinoland USA which was pretty much thrown together to add a few attractions to the park. I mean, if people can satisfied with two POORLY themed Reverchon spinning coasters, why aren't people excited about this new land? And for those who think this is two "grown up" for Disney go-ers, the company just spent god knows how much to expand Fantasyland which is aimed directly at younger kids and families.

 

There have long been rumors of a new land, ranging form Beastly Kingdom finally getting built to more recently Australia. My only question is, are the plans for an Australia land still on the table? I know that Australia was definitely on the drawing board at one point from what several people at DAK told me and it was supposed to fill the land behind Kali River Rapids adjacent to the Rafiki's Planet Watch train. I don't know how many people here have seen that plot of land I'm talking about, but it is MASSIVE. Also, if Australia is still on the drawing board, how is this new Avatar land going to affect it? Since there are no concrete plans for this land yet, I have to assume there are two different areas the new land could sit. They could finally do away with CMM and move FoLK into Africa where it belongs, and utilize the old Beastly Kingdom plot of land and have this new Avatar land at the front of the park when guests walk in. The second option, of course, being the plot of land back between Africa and Asia that I mentioned already.

 

Lastly, people have to understand that this is not Disney's answer to Potterverse, the Fantasyland expansion was/is supposed to be that. Clearly, this is going to be Disney's answer to any major expansion to Potterverse in the future (inevitable), as well as taking a very successful franchise off the market for Universal to make rides after (already got the Potter and Transformers franchises). I definitely think this was a great move by Disney and I for one can't wait till more information is released regarding the new land.

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This will be Disney's first ride based on a pg-13 film.. While this doesn't bother me or the majority of TPR, It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the bible belt.

 

Wasn't there an attempt at a Disney boycott by a hardcore religious group that failed? My guess is that the religious extremist types, the ones that don't believe in Halloween and such, aren't coming to WDW anyway. They're probably loading up their 25 home schooled kids and a cooler full of baloney sandwiches into their 1987 Dodge Caravan to make the pilgrimage to the Creation Museum.

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I think the Avatar/Pandora setting is a perfect fit for Animal Kingdom, much better than Disney Hollywood Studios. Which park is in need of more additional attractions could be debated either way.

 

Excuse my ignorance, but what do people mean when they say an 'E-Ticket' attraction? Is this just a major attraction? Why 'E-Ticket'?

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I think the Avatar/Pandora setting is a perfect fit for Animal Kingdom, much better than Disney Hollywood Studios. Which park is in need of more additional attractions could be debated either way.

 

Excuse my ignorance, but what do people mean when they say an 'E-Ticket' attraction? Is this just a major attraction? Why 'E-Ticket'?

 

More or less yes it is just a major attraction. The term E-Ticket originates from the opening of Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom when a actual ticket was required for each attraction. The smallest least popular attractions were A Tickets, then the next sized set of attractions were B tickets so forth and so on up to the biggest attractions at each park being the E-Tickets.

 

Basically just a term for a really big, expensive, signature attraction these days. Everest and Tower of Terror are an E-Ticket attractions, Toy Story Mania and Little Mermaid are probably considered D Tickets.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E_ticket

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I think there's a few larger point that are getting missed. Disney is pursuing more "mature" IP for their parks. Between this and the assumed eventual inclusion of Marvel in the parks, it's a big change from the Pixar deluge for the past decade. It also prevents Universal from getting another hot franchise. Regardless of the success of future Avatar movies, this is a big get for Disney just to prevent Universal from stealing more thunder.

 

I'm hoping that with the more "mature" IP comes some more "mature" ride systems with which to execute those new ideas like a B&M wingrider or a extensively themed launch coaster or a Spiderman or Potter style dark ride, or whatever Vekoma is developing. 'Ive never quite understood why Disney has never built what is in my opinion a really good fun thrilling coaster that more or less the whole family can still enjoy. They have always marketed their coasters as these big thrilling rides but Everest, Space Mountain, Thunder Mountain, are all really fairly tame boring coaster experiences with incredible themeing and story. A coaster doesn't have to be 300ft tall or go 100 mph to be good., I just wish Disney would build a really good coaster ride then add that same level of quality in themeing and story. I don't see why something like Cheetah Hunt, Dare Devil Dive, a B&M Wingrider (which all reviews I've read have said they are fairly tame ride experience)or even something along the lines of a bigger version of Wooden Warrior wouldn't work at a Disney park but hopefully the IP that comes with Avatar will allow them to explore those ride systems as a possible option.

 

Could ya build a decent coaster all ready Disney? I promise I'll buy a season pass.

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Lastly, people have to understand that this is not Disney's answer to Potterverse, the Fantasyland expansion was/is supposed to be that. Clearly, this is going to be Disney's answer to any major expansion to Potterverse in the future (inevitable), as well as taking a very successful franchise off the market for Universal to make rides after (already got the Potter and Transformers franchises). I definitely think this was a great move by Disney and I for one can't wait till more information is released regarding the new land.

You kind of disproved your original statement there. If you're addressing your competitor's moves by either A) Investing in a highly successful IP in order to create a unique theme park environment with it, or B) Purchasing the rights to a highly successful IP in order to "take it off the market" from competitors (whichever view you choose to take on the issue), then you are indeed "answering" your competitor's moves.

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I don't see why something like Cheetah Hunt, Dare Devil Dive, a B&M Wingrider (which all reviews I've read have said they are fairly tame ride experience)or even something along the lines of a bigger version of Wooden Warrior wouldn't work at a Disney park but hopefully the IP that comes with Avatar will allow them to explore those ride systems as a possible option.

 

Could ya build a decent coaster all ready Disney? I promise I'll buy a season pass.

 

Capacity, height restrictions, capacity, loose articles, capacity....

 

Disney designs their rides to be able to adapt to their attendance. Having rides with lockers slows down capacity and annoys guests... especially when they're carrying around all that Disney merchandise they just bought in the parks.

 

Think about it... Everest, BTM, Space Mountain, even Rock n Roller coaster all allow bags, have low height restrictions, don't have seatbelts that need to be checked. It's basically "throw your crap in the car, sit down, pull your restraint down, dispatch". That's how Disney coasters operate... there's no way you can make a crazy airtime machine or a wing coaster that can operate like that.

 

Plus, again... You shouldn't have to worry about if you should buy those expensive items in the merchandise shops and not being able to take them around the park with you...

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^ yeah I get all that, Disney's loose article policy always amazes me but that's another conversation.

All I'm saying is that I think they could build a better coaster than they have in the past. Something like Cheetah Hunt which is a lot of fun, no seat belts, lower height restriction (as far as I can remember), and is really not that intense or has that much air time I think could could work.

Or Dare Devil Dive style coaster without a vertical lift and no inversions. It has no seat belts, a lower height restriction, capacity would be an issue but they could have side by side tracks with some extra blocks and operate a ton of trains like Space Mountain. The Indy coaster in Paris, California Screamin, Everest, RnR are all decent ride systems that are capable of putting together a good coaster but i think all of those coasters are just very average because of the ride layouts.

 

I realize that a Wingrider is probably just wishful thinking at this point and probably has no chance of ever being built but I still think that concept would be perfect regardless of weather Disney would actually do it. I still think Disney could build a great top 20 caliber coaster that still meets the realistic needs of their parks that you listed. Again I'm not talking about a 300ft 100mph extreme looping coaster, but something like Powder keg, or Wooden Warrior, or Thirteen, or Verbolten with a little better layout and a ton of Disney themeing. I think Everest was originally going to be a lot better than it is now but from what I understand some budget cuts significantly changed the layout. I'm interested to see how Grizzly Mountain in Hong Kong turns out because that looks like it might be Disney's best coaster yet.

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I agree an S&S free fly could be really cool. I also think a B&M wing rider could be epic of done right, but I don't think Disney would do any ride that would require riders to put loose articles in lockers.

 

But a free fly with banshee themed cars, a custom layout, and cool scenery could be awesome.

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Lastly, people have to understand that this is not Disney's answer to Potterverse, the Fantasyland expansion was/is supposed to be that. Clearly, this is going to be Disney's answer to any major expansion to Potterverse in the future (inevitable), as well as taking a very successful franchise off the market for Universal to make rides after (already got the Potter and Transformers franchises). I definitely think this was a great move by Disney and I for one can't wait till more information is released regarding the new land.

You kind of disproved your original statement there. If you're addressing your competitor's moves by either A) Investing in a highly successful IP in order to create a unique theme park environment with it, or B) Purchasing the rights to a highly successful IP in order to "take it off the market" from competitors (whichever view you choose to take on the issue), then you are indeed "answering" your competitor's moves.

 

By saying this isn't Disney's answer to Potterverse, I simply meant that this land is opening too far down the road to be considered "competition" for WWoH. Construction isn't starting until at least 2013, and by then I would assume the hype behind Potterverse will be already fading. Unless of course Universal plans another large scale expansion to the land to completely take up the Lost Continent, which is definitely a possibility. All I meant was, WWoH is already opening and the new Avatar land isn't opening until 2014/2015 at the earliest, therefore I don't see it as Disney's answer to Universal's success in that market, whereas the current Fantasyland expansion is more directly aimed at competing with Potterverse as the different phases begin to open next year.

 

As far as a new coaster for the park, I wouldn't hold my breathe for an Intamin or B&M. The reason Disney and Vekoma have always had such a good relationship in regards to new rides is because Vekoma gives Disney the freedom they demand when designing a new ride. From what I was told from a few of the people I talked with in Ride & Show, most coaster companies like B&M and Intamin like to sell their coasters as package deals. This of course would include the coaster as well as a station building and other sorts of goodies. From what I understand though, Disney usually only wants to buy the coaster itself as they generally build all the show buildings and whatnot themselves. I'm sure there's other reasons why Disney generally doesn't buy rides through other companies besides Vekoma, but this was just what I was told by some of the people around property. It will definitely be interesting to see what kind of major attractions they are planning for this new land, let the wait begin.

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I think this is awesome news! Although I thought Universal might get an Avatar themed attraction because of Transformers & Harry Potter I'm thrilled that a World class place like Disney World is getting this. Avatar is one of my favorite movies & I've always wanted a park to build something themed to it. I visit Orlando at least once a year so I'm really looking forward to this!

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Capacity, height restrictions, capacity, loose articles, capacity....

 

Disney designs their rides to be able to adapt to their attendance. Having rides with fluffy, fluffy bunnies filled with medicine and goo slows down capacity and annoys guests... especially when they're carrying around all that Disney merchandise they just bought in the parks.

 

Think about it... Everest, BTM, Space Mountain, even Rock n Roller coaster all allow bags, have low height restrictions, don't have seatbelts that need to be checked. It's basically "throw your crap in the car, sit down, pull your restraint down, dispatch". That's how Disney coasters operate... there's no way you can make a crazy airtime machine or a wing coaster that can operate like that.

 

Plus, again... You shouldn't have to worry about if you should buy those expensive items in the merchandise shops and not being able to take them around the park with you...

 

Grizzly River Rapids at DCA has 2 hour free 'item storage devices' that are well separated from the entrance to the ride. I think it works well, so really, 'item storage devices' are not that out of the question for them...

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James Cameron gave an interview to the LA times, on HIS ideas for the land.

 

This is not necessarily what will be coming.

 

When James Cameron’s “Avatar” hit theaters in 2009, many moviegoers were so dazzled by the lush, 3-D world of the alien moon Pandora that they wanted to step right inside. Now the Walt Disney Co. is aiming to offer that kind of experience to its theme park patrons.

 

Disney’s Imagineers are working with Cameron, his producing partner Jon Landau and studio 20th Century Fox to bring the fantasy world from “Avatar” to its theme parks, beginning with a multi-attraction themed land at the Animal Kingdom park in Orlando, Fla.

 

Though the attraction is still in its earliest development stages, Cameron has clear ideas about what he’d like any Pandoran land to include, which he shared in an interview on Tuesday.

 

“I definitely want to do a flight attraction of some kind,” the director said, citing the “Soarin’ Over California” flying ride at Disney’s California Adventure Park in Anaheim as a personal favorite. “Flying is a big part of the movie. One of the things people liked the most at test screenings was going up into the floating mountains in the flying sequences. We may have banshees, Leonopteryxes, maybe some other flying creatures that don’t make their appearance until the second and third films.”

 

Disney’s Imagineers will also be tasked with bringing Na’vi culture and the natural world of Pandora to life, along with creating “a general sense of the future,” Cameron said.

 

“It all needs to be one fabric,” he said. “As long as it’s thematically consistent, as long as it looks and feels and smells the way you imagine it, then we’ve succeeded.”

 

The hugely successful Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Orlando, which depicts the universe created in J.K. Rowling’s books and Warner Bros.’ films right down to the mugs of butter beer for sale at concessions, provides something of a template for a theme park attraction that is faithful to its source material.

 

As Rowling was with the Potter theme park, “Avatar’s” creators say they will be hands-on in developing the attraction.

 

Groundbreaking for the “Avatar” land at Animal Kingdom is planned for 2013, but the attraction isn’t scheduled to open until 2016, after the premieres of the “Avatar” sequels in 2014 and 2015.

 

To linger a bit longer on Pandora in the meantime, see this story with Dawn C. Chmielewski on the theme park plans, or look back at some of our “Avatar” coverage from the past.

 

One thing to also note is Staggs former position before Parks and Resorts Head- CFO (Chief Finical Officer)- Could be the reason why he is pushing for this so hard.

 

Staggs is also rumored to be the next Disney CEO after Iger. A big success like this could skew the odds even more in his favor.

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It also seems like a natural fit for Shanghai Disneyland as well. I would suspect that the main Avatar ride experience would be a film based ride. There is just no physical way to recreate Pandora. Imo, it will be like an evolution of T2 / Soarin / Potter / Spidey. A debrief in a room with a live host. Enter into the science center. Load into the ride vehicle. The ride guest will be transferred into his/her avatar. Then the main ride / flight time begins. Given Cameron's enthusiasm with Soarin, I could see him taking that concept and pushing it with Disney to the next level. Like an inverted coaster version of Spiderman / Harry Potter / Mummy, with a few physical sets on the scale of POTC. I agree it would be great to see a wingrider in an everest style setting!

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