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Answering Your Questions About AVATAR at Disney Parks

Answering Your Questions About AVATAR at Disney Parks

I’d like to thank all of the Disney Parks Blog followers who left comments or sent in questions regarding our AVATAR announcement today. We got a lot of great questions and while I won’t be able to answer all of them, I’ll do my best to get to as many as possible.


We got quite a few questions about the timing of our first AVATAR experience at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, including this one from Adam, “Any idea when the experience will be open to guests?”

We’ve just begun the design phase on our Animal Kingdom project and we expect to begin construction in 2013. From start to finish, a project of this size and scope takes about 5 years to design and build. We can’t give you an exact date but we know that when it’s complete, it’s going to be a truly unforgettable experience.


Several of you asked a similar question, including Doug from Utah – “Will it replace any existing attractions in Animal Kingdom, or will it be built in a new parcel of land within the park’s boundaries?”

Well, Doug, we’re just beginning the Blue Sky process so I don’t have much to share about how we are going to execute our vision for our first AVATAR land but we’re focused on this being an important addition to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. I look forward to sharing more details as our plans progress.


Jenna from Winnetka, Ill., asks, “What types of attractions will be in AVATAR land?”

This was hands-down one of the most popular questions we got and understandably so. While we’re still in the very early stages of design and planning, we expect this land to be anchored by multiple attractions, entertainment, merchandise locations, restaurants and other immersive elements. Our AVATAR lands will give guests the chance to see, hear and touch the world of Pandora and we can’t wait to dive in with James Cameron and his team as we create new experiences that will delight and thrill our guests.

Answering Your Questions About AVATAR at Disney Parks


Some of you, including Logan in Carnesville, Ga., asked about whether AVATAR was a good fit for a family-friendly brand like Disney.

Thanks, Logan, I appreciate your candor in asking this question. At its core, AVATAR is a film that embraces strong, positive themes of family, loyalty, living in harmony with nature and belief in oneself – all values that we share at The Walt Disney Company. You can be sure that these are the same themes that we will explore throughout our AVATAR lands. They will be places where friends and families can spend time together getting lost in a fantasy world, one of the true hallmarks of any Disney theme park experience. And with two sequels in the works, we feel this is a creative property whose potential is limitless.


We got several questions about whether there will be AVATAR experiences in parks/sites other than Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Kyle from Ontario asks, “Are there plans to add Avatar attractions at any other Disney parks?”

Well, Kyle, the only land we are announcing today is at Walt Disney World Resort but AVATAR is a possibility at any of our other locations. The first film AVATAR is a franchise with massive global appeal and its success at the box office both inside and outside of the U.S. – I should also note that as we determine our future locations, we look forward to working with our international theme park partners as our plans evolve.

Answering Your Questions About AVATAR at Disney Parks


Many of you, including Justin from Orlando, want to know, “How does AVATAR fit in with the Disney theme?” and more specifically, how does it fit in with the Animal Kingdom?

As I mentioned in a previous answer, AVATAR is a uniquely powerful franchise that has global appeal with audiences of all ages. With its spectacular settings, intriguing characters, imaginative creatures and strong themes of family and loyalty, it’s a great fit for the Disney brand and our parks.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom is the perfect place for our first AVATAR land because at its core, the park gives guests the opportunity to experience the worlds of animals and nature – real and mythical – in whole new ways. With AVATAR, we’ve found the perfect opportunity to let our guests explore one of the most compelling mythical worlds ever conceived. Animal Kingdom also celebrates adventure, living in harmony with nature and environmental stewardship – themes that are deeply rooted in the story of AVATAR.


Some of you asked why we would choose to collaborate with an outside partner rather than use our own Disney characters and stories to expand the parks. We are as committed as ever to creating attractions and entertainment around favorite Disney characters and stories – with Cars Land at Disney California Adventure park and our expansion of Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom Park being two great examples. At the same time, we like to look beyond our own walls at non-Disney properties, like STAR WARS and INDIANA JONES, creating some of our most popular attractions. At the end of the day, we are focused on creating a great experience for our guests and I truly believe that this unique partnership with James Cameron and AVATAR gives us an entire world of imaginative creatures, fascinating locations and intriguing characters with which to do that.


  • Tom DID address the Family friendly issue.

    All of the themes that made Avatar PG-13 will NOT be themes in the land.

    Also, people should not be concerned with how the tribe dressed. Its not that much different from how Pocahontas and some of her tribe members dressed in the Disney animated film.

  • If, however, you focus on the movie aspects then it should definitely be included in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

  • Thank you very much for answering with as much information as possible. I felt very negatively at first to the concept and I can’t say that I am currently particularly excited about the news, but so long as you focus on the natural aspect and the AVATAR world and not so much the storyline, I can see it fitting well into AK. I do hope, however, that the “Tree of Life” will still be the largest standing tree in the theme park.

  • I’ll admit, I am excited to see Pandora and thought Avatar was fantastic. However, I am a little concerned about how long it will be relevant. My other concern is that the animals in Avatar were VERY SCARY. Yikes, they would scare the heck out of my kids. I can how ever see my kids playing with Bio-Luminescent flowers. That would be sweet. I really do hope pull it off though. If anyone can do it, Disney can.

    I am sure Disney has taken into consideration and understands that one day they may have to re-theme the area. Oh, and don’t forget the controversy about Splash Mountain being tied to Song of the South. Now Splash Mountain is one of the most popular rides at both parks. There is always going to be a little controversy anytime Disney does something new. We just have to wait it out and see for ourselves in 5 years.

    On a lighter note, I would love to see some updating to the back lot tour at the Studios.

  • I applaud and thank you for notifying us, the fans, of acquisitions and future endeavors involved at Disney! Having said that, please let me state that you, at the top of Disney, hold the trust and faith of many fans to keep making “All of Our Dreams Come True.” Please, please, please never forget that; no matter the profit margin… Disney is the last holdout available to perpetuate the WHOLESOME family destination vacation! I believe, like so many other Disney families, that there is enough talent in WDI to brainstorm through this new acquisition with Mr. Cameron and find a “Wholesome – Family Fit” in it somewhere. All things are possible when you are working and thinking from the heart. Keep all doors and windows open! Nothing is in its final stages yet! Good luck and thank you for keeping us informed… Disney and Disney Imagineering Rocks!!!

  • People complaining about the PG-13 content of Avatar cracks me up. Are you fine with Indiana Jones, which has more sexual content and violence than Avatar ever has? Somebody tears a still-beating heart right out of someone’s chest, but if somebody cusses in Avatar then you don’t want your kids anywhere near it?

  • I walked out on the trailer for AVATAR and my son ended up rooting for the ‘bad guys’ because they, at least, showed loyalty. It was a horrible movie that treated viwers as if they needed to be told what to care about.

    Of course Disney will tone down the PG 13 elements, and it will be visually stunning, but not all movie tie-ins work (Tiki Room, Narnia). An entire land is excessive and one I’ll gladly avoid.

    As far as Epcot World Showcase is concerned, Why not bring in an Australian pavillion?

  • Jennifer–
    Avatar is rated PG-13 for “intense epic battle sequences and warfare, sensuality, language and some smoking”

    Those are obviously NOT going to be themes in the land.

  • Pirates of the Caribbean may also be rated PG13, but everyone does not walk around half naked in that like they do in Avatar….The answer to the “family friendly” question still does not address this.

    Also 100% agree with ryan from FL on Avatar’s future relevancy. Hopefully this “land” will be something that can be converted into something more relevant once the hype goes away?

  • I would be more in favor of this being an attraction in Hollywood Studios. It just doesn’t fit well with AK.

  • Please allow me to tag back in. With further thought and discussion I am warming up to the idea of AVATAR land. The main thing that had me bothered is the time line. I just wish the project would have been a bit more timely with the release of the film. I fear a loss of momentum due to the amont of time needed to plan and build. Perhaps I would feel much better about it all if the opening of the land coincided with a sequel and captured the sinergy of both. Thanks again!


  • I agree with you, Philip! It is fantastic that we are finally getting some great announcements for here in Orlando. We have waited so long for some great things to not only be great additions, but attractions to help fill out Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. The parks need to continue to grow and continue to be relevant. Some people don’t want anything to ever change (there is a similar comment section of people heartbroken over the MK parking lots being renamed….really??) I think Disney has been fantastic lately about finding the balance between nostalgia and innovation. Unfortunately, when you cater to millions of people – no project ever announced will be met with complete positive feedback. There are lots of Eeyores out there… Congratulations to Iger, Staggs and everyone else involved. You guys really are really becoming a “dream team” for many of us fans.

  • I will look forward to anything upcoming from Disney Imagineers. But I’m bummed because it would seem there will be no Beastly Kingdom – which is true Disney. I really thought that would eventually happen.

  • I will admit I wasn’t too excited about the idea when I first heard it but I will say if any one can bring the Avatar world to reality it is Disney.

  • While I’m still rolling my eyes at the continuing negative comments, I’d like to also say that it’s wonderful to be getting so many surprise announcements regarding WDW these last couple of days.

    I hope that the triumphant return of the Country Bear Christmas Special, Lights of Winter and all the other still-MIA Xmas season offerings get announced next. 🙂

  • I have to echo the many negative comments. As much as I want to believe Disney can do no wrong, I do not think this is a good idea.

    As many have said, it belongs at the studios as a single attraction. I view Animal Kingdom as being akin to the Magic Kingdom as remaining 100% original Disney ideas or attractions based on Disney movies.

    Also, I do not think Avatar will have a lasting impression. When Star Tours opened in Disneyland (1987), the complete original trilogy had already been out for four years, and still had a huge fan base. Even this was still only a single ride. The same is true for Indiana Jones, which had been around for a long while prior to the 1995 opening of the ride in Disneyland.

    To me, it seems like much of Avatar has already been forgotten. Stores still sold Star Wars merchandise in the mid 90s when Episode I was still a rumor. Will Avatar merchandise still be on the shelves in 2030? I doubt it when there is not much left slightly more than a year later.

    I do not really buy the PG-13 argument, but I do agree that Avatar lacks endearing and memorable characters. I would be ok with an attraction, not a land. After all, this franchise could easily go the way of The Matrix and other franchises that took the plunge after a popular first installment.

    I know I will go see the area and ride the attractions when they open, but I cannot say I am excited. I suppose if nothing else maybe it will draw the crowds away from Expedition Everest so that I can ride it a few more times each visit.

  • Can’t wait to tour an Avatar-inspired land and ride the attractions. The potential for this part of the park at night is considerable; I’m confident that WDI will come up with something amazing. And AK is indeed a perfect place for this “land.”

    Mr. Staggs, I think this is a great deal for Disney; congrats.

    However, I’d also like to add my name to those who ask for a little bit of love in World Showcase. Adding another nation is rather overdue.

  • Forget the fact that Avatar is rated PG-13, this is a Disney theme park. Whatever they do, it will be family-friendly.

    It seems clear that Disney is going to focus on the environment, the idea of letting people walk into and experience the world of Pandora and its creatures. Similar to what Cars Land will be. In my opinion, that actually sounds pretty cool, and I’m looking forward to hearing more updates.

    And don’t worry everyone, I’m sure that people from Disney are reading these comments.

  • So I just heard the news regarding the announcement of AVATAR Land at Animal Kingdom. AVATAR Land? Really?

    I get the connection with the environmental message and all but here is my big issue. They stated that construction will not begin till 2013, then it will take 5 years to complete. That’s 2018. So for a movie that was produced in 2009 and is already 2 years old we are going to invest in a whole new land that will not be complete till the movie is already 9 years old?? Nine years old!!! Just don’t get it.

    Titanic Land anyone?

    And sorry I’m not going to accept the argument that the Indiana Jones and Star Wars franchisees were decades old before an attraction showed up. First neither have been the focus of a whole new LAND and second both franchises had multiple movies, TV shows and spin-offs before the attractions came along. In short they already proved longevity!

    Now I know that an AVATAR 2 is slated to be released in 2014 according to but again no one can guarantee the success of a sequel. I feel a lot has to remain to be seen to be putting the plans of a whole Land in the AVATAR basket.

    I also can’t accept the argument that the Cars franchise spawned a whole land when only a single movie was produces. I just don’t think Cars and AVATAR can be compared. A block buster sequel for Cars has already been produced. Its much more timely and contemporary to the time-line for the proposed AVATAR Land. But save that fact, Cars is a “home grown” franchise AND falls well within the core market for the company and theme parks as whole. I feel the market and target age for AVATAR might be a bit to small. AVATAR is rated PG-13 after all. Its not all that Family friendly.

    Just not sure I’m sold on AVATAR Land. Perhaps I just feel the money could be better spent elsewhere or maybe it would fit better over at the Studios rather than AK. In fact I think I would rather see Beastly Kingdom completed or at least a “home grown” idea.

    There are just so many “home grown” concepts that we could do or expand upon. To name just one that has been on the drawing room floor for years is “Dark Kingdom”, a Land or whole park themed around Villains. Tie in Tim Burton’s franchises and you have a boat load of possibilities. Just saying!

    Lastly I think I would like to wait and see what the numbers look like following the opening of the Fantasyland Expansion project and the Cars land project before planing a whole new land. Just seems there are so many irons in the fire. Would like to be sure everything is financially sound before overextending into yet another project. Well that’s my five cents on the whole idea. Thanks!!


  • I am cautiously optimistic about this project. I am leery, like many of the other folks here, about creating an entire land around one franchise. I think some of the concerns about Avatar’s PG-13 rating and its “fit” with the DAK theme are a little overblown. There are lots of attractions at the other parks that don’t really “fit” the original theme, but we all enjoy them now. As for the argument that this land will only work if Avatar remains popular for decades to come, I disagree. All of Disney’s recent E-ticket rides have been awesome — literally awesome. I am sure the ride experiences themselves will warrant repeat visits to the Avatar land for decades to come. And I’ve never even seen Avatar.

    As for those that say, why not just one ride? Ask yourself, would Cameron have agreed to that? Sometimes Disney has to be a savvy money-making business. That way they can afford to do the renovations at EPCOT we all want to see. Good luck, Tom & Co.

  • Well Ive been going to Disney World 30 years, and I will be 55 when this park is completed, maybe I wont care anymore.(haha)

  • For those saying that this would be better in Hollywood Studios JUST because its themed after a movie (like Star Wars and Indiana Jones), that is hardly a valid argument;

    In California, both Star Tours and the Indiana Jones ride are in Disneyland (In Tomorrowland and Adventureland) and they fit in just fine there.

  • In response to Paul (comment 54);

    The original POTC ride was not exactly innocent. The ride features an action scene with pirates bidding on ladies, and the scene that followed (in its original form) featured the pirates chasing the ladies.

  • Heh… My comment there was supposed to end in a question mark. Oopsie.

  • AS for the doubters or those with concerns about non-disney movies as ride themes, I look at it this way. There are a lot of great movies out there who are made by companies other than Disney (or Universal)that would lend themselves to terrific amusement park experience. So yes, I think Disney is doing a great service to all lovers of theme parks by adding projects like Indiana Jones, Star Wars and now Avatar.

    Now how about a “Dinotopia” based land with walking, talking Dinos and maybe a log flume type ride through the multilevel city with guests walking by, shopping while other guests are in the ride going in/out up, then down?

    Just trying to think outside the box.

  • 1. What would be really cool: Take the flying experience of “SOARING” combine it with 3D and let guests fly through and Around Pandora. Oh Please let that happen.
    2. As guests go through the ques, some of that should be at “night” with the glowing plant life.
    3. Perhaps there would be a way to “motion capture” a quest face and place it on an AVATAR body as they walk by?
    4. This would open about the same time as the next 2 AVATAR movies, one of which is rumored to be underwater. Perhaps there could be a ride into the underwater world? Perhaps a city under a dome of water with life swimming in the dome?. Can’t wait. Still have never made it to Disney World but this may force the issue.

  • What’s an avatar?

  • This is such an amazing idea! The first person to propose this idea gets a high five! Anyone that thinks this is a bad idea, I just can’t understand it. The Animal Kingdom is all about world preservation, living with and protecting our wild life, and trying to make us realize how we can help the planet. No matter how you look at Avatar that was the root message as well!

    And not to mention the fantasy and wonder behind James Cameron’s Avatar world! I get chills just thinking about how these two franchises are going to come together to make such a breath taking land with such a great message!

    Avatar is too big to not have its own land, it would be silly to give it just one attraction when there is simply so much that can be done with it!!

    As far as the PG-13 aspect goes, Disney is not going to put mature rated content in the parks. They are going to create a world that is mesmerizing to younger children that haven’t even seen the movie yet, and its also something that adults are going to be able to appreciate whole heatedly from seeing the movie coming to life.

    Disney, you guys are amazing, and maybe one day I will have the chance to work for a such a great company. James Cameron and everyone that worked on Avatar, thank you for releasing such a magnificent movie. Two groups like this are bound to make something spectacular! I can’t wait!

  • Avatar is a great movie my entier famly loved it. Having been to WDW onely once they do an amasing job at everthing they do. Im sure they are gunna make a famly frendly endironment and i will go back with my famly and grand kids and aney ways they need moor teen rids and attractions. I cant wait two see whate they do!!

  • I have read many of the posts above me that argue that either “this addition should only be an attraction”, “why avatar and not something disney?”, “why target the young adult/child population?”. I realize what all of the posts are trying to convey, but I do think Disney has made a great investment here. The population of the avatar fans in very high in the young age group, and with the sequels releasing in the future, I believe the story of avatar will be treasured greatly in a lifetime, (like star wars is today) of the young age group and future generations.

  • It’s so great to see everyone’s reactions and replies to this announcement.
    I only hope Tom Staggs actually reads these comments and understands what the fans want.

  • I have faith in the Disney’s Imagineers and Storytelling experts. I can imagine them cooking up a great transitional story between the Earth aspect of the current park lands and Pandora. Something along the lines of ‘in the future our Earth may run out of natural resources due to overconsumption, as a result us humans will need to mine resources on other planets, causing unexpected clashes with new civilizations… etc.’. Could be very cool, yet very educational! Reduce Reuse Recycle!

  • Again, why not Kingdom Hearts? Come up with something about it. Make Kingdom Hearts theme park and build that is based on Non-Disney World such as Traverse Town, Twilight Town, Destiny Island, The World That Never Was, Radiant Garden AKA Hollow Bastion, and End of the World. Or just make it land in whichever Disney park except Animal Kingdom. Or a store, restaurant, or attractions. I mean, if that happens, then a lot of people, about million, would go to Disney World for Kingdom Hearts and they would make four times the money and possibly become the most popular Disney World. I’m sure a lot of KH fans would be pleased if you do that.

  • Having Avatar a part of Walt Disney World is a very smart move to help the company compete with Universal Studios in Orlando. Disney needed something that could compete with the very large scope of Universal’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter..and Avatar is exactly that!

  • Animal Kingdom need something. Fictional beasts were always part of the idea for this park. As for Epcot pavillions such as Body Wars, and the need for something in Hollywood Studios, it takes time. These improvements are not low budget and it takes time. I do hope there is some guest input to this because this is a special project that needs Disney as well as it’s guests. There is more “girl” stuff at disney and something for the guys is great! This movie has the message of Animal Kingdom in it from start to finish. Save our world and care for all creatures small or large. We can all live together and respect one another. I can’t think of a better fit for this kingdom. Knock our socks off Disney! I can’t Wait!

  • I agree with post 5, 10, 14, 23, 29, 48. I think Avatar was a great movie like Star Wars that has an amazing universe built around it with great characters, environments, etc. But just like I wouldn’t want Star Wars land I don’t want an Avatar land. I would like Avatar integrated into a new land the way that Star Wars is integrated into Tommorowland. It has a ride, there are Star Wars weekends, merchandise and you have the Jedi Training Academy. Giving a whole land to a single trilogy makes it necessary for that trilogy to remain popular consistently year after year, and that is something extremely difficult to assure. I will reiterate I would love to see Avatar in the Animal Kingdom, but not a whole land.

    Some of the commenters have commented that it does not reflect the rest of the park, I agree, but that is ok. I think that Tommorowland is a very unique experience as compared to Adventureland, Frontierland, Liberty Square, and Main Street but they work together because you are transported to a different place. So just imagine that this new land (which hopefully isn’t Avatar only land is the next Tommorowland for AK)

  • Disney has never let me down and I don’t think they will with this. The ammount of money involved they are not going to risk it without knowing it will be amazing. Just because a film is made by someone with out a park dose not mean it can’t join forces with another studio to bring the message to the people. My four year old son loves this movie and it brings a positive message to us. As for Mr Potter, who knew books would make this much of a splash? I would like to see a Lucasfilm land though, Star Wars and Indiana Jones are great and would like there presence to be expanded. Keep up the good work Disney! You know how to make great parks mindblowing parks! Thank you for investing so much back into your parks after so many years of nothing!

  • …As I just mentioned in the initial blog post about this;

    Its important to note that at one time, Snow White, Cinderella, Winnie-the-Pooh and many more were not even Disney characters. but Disney would later create their own versions of the stories (and in some cases, buy the rights to them in order to do so.)

    Basically, this news is still in the Blue Sky stage. I’m sure that Disney appreciates both the positive and the negative (constructive criticism) feedback.

  • I’m trying to have faith in the brilliant minds at Disney, but I’m not a big fan of this Avatar-land thing. Like others have said, “why not just one attraction?”. How about adding more countries to EPCOT or some additions to Hollywood Studios?

  • I agree with many of the comments of just donating an attraction to AVATAR. I am completely against this choice and it greatly saddens me. What happens when people loose interest in these films. Disney characters are classic and memorable-AVATAR characters are certainly not. I cant remember not one characters name in that movie.

  • Hello, Disney (My Favorite People in all the World!):

    I’m a little concerned about one thing: The Location of this new Land.

    I realize that your intention is to add something new and exciting to Walt Disney World, and Animal Kingdom, with its limited-stay (per day) value as compared to the other parks, would be a logical place for this new project.

    I think that the problem is that, when you mentioned Disney’s collaboration and subsequent development of the Star Wars and Indiana Jones attractions, those are located in HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS, a fitting place given that they are both ‘MOVIES developed into attractions’. Avatar would probably make a better appearance there, rather than at AK, for the same reason. It would complement the STUDIOS, rather than detract from it, as I fear it will do if built at AK.

    We’re talking MOVIES here, something that is a sojourn from the regular Disney cartoon, like Lion King or Tarzan, which fit well at AK because they are of the same genre. In my opinion, Avatar is a hybrid, but still, Generally a MOVIE with computerized cartoon segments added,which is representing a complete change in direction, a technological production, very new and exciting, but not the same as a cartoon. Very UNnatural in idea.

    That kind of attraction subject I would expect to see at Hollywood Studios, which plays homage to the advancement of movie technology, rather than nature. Yes, the movie includes great themes of nature, but still, it’s a stretch not to think about the movie aspect of it. I don’t feel the same way after I watch a movie like Avatar than after I’ve seen a Disney cartoon. The emotions are different. And these are the emotions that we carry with us when we visit the parks.

    While adding Avatar to AK will appeal to lots of kids and young people (because, well, it’s Avatar…they won’t care where it goes, just so they can see it), its addition at this particular park is, perhaps, not the best move, because it doesn’t coordinate well with the other lands at AK. I’m worried about how this will change the ‘attitude’ of the entire park. I really think it belongs at Hollywood Studios, not Animal Kingdom.

    Just my opinion, but I Love Disney, I have a goodly amount invested in the DVC (no small feat given that I have not been employed since I first joined DVC) I care about what happens there, and I just want to let somebody know how I see it. Keep the parks new, but keep them autonomous in nature and direction. You have 4 parks, why are you trying to homogenize everything? Their individuality is the biggest part of their charm. Let Disney be the binding ‘pixie factor’ that joins the parks.

    With all due respect, you have a responsibility to care for the 4 parks as separate entities with a different ‘collective experience’ at each park. I know you fellows are some of the most ingenious in your field and will work hard to incorporate the nature/caring themes into the project; however, I just don’t see how you can make this experience fit the ‘feel’ of the Animal Kingdom. That’s a tall order, even for you.

    I wish you luck in your endeavor. I’ll be watching to see how it all turns out.

  • I tend to agree with some of the people that a full land dedicated to one title that isn’t owned by Disney is not the wisest of moves. I don’t mind that idea of a Pandora/AVATAR themed attraction, same as Indy and Star Wars, but a land seems a little overboard. Perhaps just make a Animal Kingdom version of Tomorrowland to explore both the science myth and science fact of animals both real and alien and have the Pandora ride be one of the center points of this new area. That way you don’t have to spend a lot of money to clean up the area should relations with James Cameron not work out.

  • “When you make irrational arguments against something that is still blue sky, you dilute the rational criticisms and questions asked by the online Disney fan community.”

    Very, very true.

    Thanks you Diana, you made some great points. 🙂

  • I feel compelled to respond to people who argue that Avatar is not “established enough.”

    When the Disney-MGM Studios opened in 1989, the Indiana Jones franchise was far from established. It was a successful franchise, with two movies, but not yet of the iconic nature the franchise has achieved.

    When Star Tours first opened in Disneyland in 1984, the same rule applies. While containing a strong fanbase, Star Wars was still less than a decade old, and far from the iconic franchise it is today.

    This blog provides an amazing forum to deliver criticism (when warranted), ask questions, and become “in the know” about the workings behind a company we all know and love. When you make irrational arguments against something that is still blue sky, you dilute the rational criticisms and questions asked by the online Disney fan community.

  • Oh Noes!!!! A land with the Thundercats walking around 🙁

  • PG-13 Pirates movies came AFTER the POTC attractions in Disneyland. You see kids dressing up that way because that is what they think of if they haven’t seen the movies. My kids have seen the first one and that was a stretch. We are waiting until they grow up a bit before the next three are shown. I don’t think you can compare the two. POTC has been around forever.

    Comparing Star Wars to Avatar is ridiculous as they aren’t even in the same league. If it still has a following after 30+ years we can talk. Same for Dr Jones and his adventures.

    I will wait and see. I just hate to see them blow money on this rather than pouring it into the parks to improve what is there. The Magic Kingdom expansion, the California Adventure park expansion. GREAT ideas for sure. My comments are meant to be constructive and give pause, not to bash anything. I wish Disney nothing but success. I have had some of the greatest memories of my childhood and my time with my own kids on Disney vacations. Change is hard and as Walt Disney did say, we must look forward to the future. I believe we shouldn’t do this at the expense of the past. We can learn much from the past if we spend time looking at it and experiencing it.

    I just wish the subject matter was a bit better than this. Avatar seems so beneath Disney on the creative scale.

  • Tom, thank you for being so willing to respond to the community of Disney Parks fans. I’m excited to see that there is a major new series of attractions coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. I do share the trepidation of some of the other posters, not that Disney is going to an outside source for ideas, but rather the choice of Avatar. Previous properties such as Star Wars, and Indiana Jones (and Harry Potter over at Universal) have had strong established fan bases over a broad spectrum of age groups. While Avatar did very well at the box office, it doesn’t seem to have developed a broad fan base. The other franchises had several films out before they became theme park attractions–Avatar has a single film. I haven’t heard people quoting lines from the movies or talking about how they can’t wait for a sequel. I liked the film, but frankly what I remember were the stunning visuals, not the characters (I can’t even remember their names), nor the plot (a little bit preachy and overhanded). I’m not sure the film will have the staying power and will anyone be still talking about it in 2016 or later when the Avatar land opens? Will this really provide the kind of draw Universal is getting with Harry Potter? Probably not. But there just aren’t that many major film franchises with theme park possibilities sitting around out there. Star Trek is the only one I can think of off hand, but it’s best days may be behind it now.
    On the other hand, I’m sure Imagineering will come up with some fantastic attractions based on the film. Some of my favorite attractions at Walt Disney World are not tied to any film, Disney or otherwise. So if I love Expedition Everest, Space Mountain, Soarin’, Test Track and the Rockin’ Roller Coaster, I’ll probably enjoy Avatar land, whether I’m a big fan of the film or not.
    As for those who question whether or not this fits at Animal Kingdom, I think this is probably the best park for it. The jungle theme required will not look out of place at Animal Kingdom, but it probably would be hard to accomplish at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and nearly impossible in Tomorrowland (Avatar is a sci-fi movie after all).
    So best of luck with the new project. I do hope that we’ll see some new attractions coming to fill out Epcot soon as others have mentioned, like new country pavilions in the World Showcase and a revamp of the Wonders of Life pavilion. The Studios have just received one new attraction (Toy Story) and one major revamp (Star Tours) so I don’t expect much to happen over there soon. The new Fantasyland expansion at the Magic Kingdom is eagerly awaited, so I don’t expect we’ll see much more at MK in the next five years.

  • Well I can tell you from my experience. I have friends that like Avatar that are not so much fans of Disney that will likely come and experience the parks to be able to see the Avatar stuff. This is excellent marketing in my opinion.

  • I’m sure that whatever they do, they will make sure that its family friendly. This is a Disney theme park after all.

    That is exactly why Disney has revealed this news so early and is addressing questions, they are still figuring out the details, and hearing constructive criticism is a good way for Disney to figure out how to approach this.

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