More Walt Disney World Resort Stories

James Cameron Gets Further Inspiration at Disneyland Resort

Erin Glover

by , Director, Publicity, Walt Disney Animation Studios

From Left: Tom Staggs, Jon Landau and James Cameron Tour Cars Land

On Friday, legendary film director James Cameron and fellow Lightstorm Entertainment production partner Jon Landau toured the Cars Land expansion site at Disney California Adventure park, accompanied by Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Tom Staggs and a team from Walt Disney Imagineering.

James Cameron (Left) and Tom Staggs (Right) Tour Cars Land with Imagineer Kathy Mangum (Center)

While there are no immediate plans for an AVATAR-themed land at the “Happiest Place on Earth,” Cameron and Landau used the visit as inspiration and to further familiarize themselves with the immersive Disney Parks experience as their team begins design work on the first AVATAR-themed land set to open at Disney’s Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort.

The team studied the details and storytelling elements in the 12-acre world of Radiator Springs that will open at Disney California Adventure park in summer 2012, before touring other parts of the Disneyland Resort.


  • If it had been an anouncement for the full Muppetland that had been originally designed for the studios, I’d be dying to make it back to the park. Avatar had better be HUGE!!! … or you could throw in a few more bucks and do the Muppet area also and appease your Disney fans as well and thrill both of them.

  • Can’t wait to visit Carsland thanks for the peek at it. As an east-coaster I’ve only been to Disneyland once but am already planning a trip to bring my Cars crazy son in late 2012 or early 2013.

    I’ve been to Disney World dozens of times and worked for a time in the Studios. I am distressed by the idea of Avatar-land. UGH that does NOT belong at Animal Kingdom nor anywhere on Disney property.

  • The problem is, that even though the Avatar movie was one of the highest grossing movies of all time, they don’t have any clue if the second or third movies will even be successful. Indiana Jones and Star Wars, and even Harry Potter, had already built an established fan base and had multiple successful movies under their belt. Avatar has not, if the next two movies tank, or are poorly received, Disney won’t be able to market it effectively.

    I think that the decision to go with “Avatar land” was not born out of wanting to creatively partner with Cameron, but to make sure the company did not make the same mistake as they did with J.K. Rowling and let another opportunity go to its competitors.

  • I’m still flummoxed by the fact that they decided on doing Avatar over Pocahontas, when they are the exact same story.

  • So, the announcement was for AVATAR land at Animal Kingdom. This post doesn’t say that they are showing Cameron where they can do it at Disneyland but the opportunities that he might have for the land at Animal Kingdom. For everyone that says that it needs to be a Disney movie themed land/attraction I invite you to look at Disney Hollywood Studios where almost every attraction/ themed area is based off of an affiliate to the company or was a movie that Disney got special rights to use. (Indiana Jones, Star Wars, Muppets, Great Movie Ride, Backlot Tour, Rock’n Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror) Nobody seems to mind about these attractions.

    The people have stated that there should be something new done to Animal Kingdom and their voices have been heard. There will be 2 more AVATAR movies coming out before the land is open so the hype and halloween costumes will be there. The fact that the movies speak about world conservation and protecting life is why it should be chosen for Animal Kingdom and not Disney Hollywood Studios. Im interested in seeing what they do with this concept!

  • Take Disney and add Avatar and regardless of what you think about the movie, once the land and it’s incredible attractions open up, ALL of the naysayers will be foaming at the mouth at how amazing it will be…while I would agree that more originality from Disney is needed, I think this new project will blow the doors off of Harry Potter land over at Universal….

  • …And one more thing; again, I cannot even begin to describe my excitement for Cars land! I can’t say it enough!

    Its going to be amazing. I love the Cars films and I cannot wait to explore the town of Radiator Springs! 😀

  • …Oh, and I agree, as interesting as the idea is, an Avatar land should NOT come to Disneyland.

  • To the naysayers, Avaar was as much about the world as is was the story. I think there are millions of people such as me who would love to return to Pandora. I can’t wait to see what they come up with.

  • Just to clear up some of the panic: They weren’t showing Cameron new places where they could “build Avatar at Disneyland” (and yes, please don’t)–
    They were showing off Radiator Springs as the crown jewel of “Look what an immersive theme area we can create!”

    Which brings up the question–Wait, so we ARE talking “land” now (even if it’s AK, and I’d personally prefer Studios)? Isn’t that pushing things a bit too early, especially before we even have -one- attraction that the fans seem to be hotly arguing over?

  • Just this past Halloween all the Star Wars, Marvel, and Pixar costumes – never saw any little blue kids dressed for Avatar. Same goes for Christmas – toy store shelves full of Star Wars, Marvel, and Cars/Toy Story but no Avatar. Still scratching my head why we aren’t seeing some other theme for an entire land rather than Avatar. Too be positive – I am very glad that Walt Disney World is a least getting something original and not just a copy of another ride from Disneyland.

  • I just had a chance to visit Disneyland and couldn’t believe the size and scope of Carsland. It’s amazing. If Disney is committed to bringing an experience of this size and scale (or bigger!) to Animal Kingdom, I’m excited. Leaving aside the question of whether Avatar is an appropriate inclusion in Disney Parks in general, I feel the experience of visiting Pandora on this scale will be incredible. It may not convince everyone, but hey, I’m not a “Cars” fan, but when I saw what they’re doing, I had to say “woah”.

  • Would still prefer something original in Animal Kingdom or a more fitting property like expanding on the Lucas stuff at the Studios or go knocking on Nintendo’s door to see if there’s any interest in collaboration.

  • Cars Land is looking amazing! I cannot wait! Its gong to be awesome! 😀

    Nico– What about Star Wars and Indiana Jones? Disneyland has two popular rides based on those movies.

  • Oh, don’t start showing Cameron Radiator Springs!
    It’s hard enough for a celebrity non-Imagineer “outsider” to think they can come up with one real attraction (remember JK Rowling’s first ideas for a Disney Harry Potter?), let alone think they can outdo the entire Cars land!
    We all have Disney attractions we’d love to think up, but be honest, it’s harder than it looks…That’s why we leave it to the professionals. 🙂

  • I can understand some of the resistance to “Avatar Land” but let’s face it- aren’t two of the BEST rides in all of Disney (Land or World) based off of George Lucas films: Indiana Jones ride and Star Tours? Whatever they do in AK with Avatar I think the public will love. The possibilities are immense and with Disney Imagineers onboard (and a good budget) the end result will be a positive addition to AK!!

    Of course, I’m really looking forward to visiting Radiator Springs in the near future. Disney does pretty well with its own movies too!

  • Yes! Listen to us here in the comments!


    I completely agree with what Nico said. Disneyland does not need it.

    I’m sure that they would have several exciting attractions there, but I honestly think that Walt would NEVER have let something like that into the park. Why bring something Non-Disney into the park when you could do something amazing that Disney fans would go to? I know that they let Lucasfilm attractions into the park, which became very successful attractions, but Star Wars and Indiana Jones are very Disney-like at the core. Avatar is not like that at all. Very non-family friendly.

  • I can’t say I’m fundamentally opposed to whole lands based off single movies – I loved Tokyo Disneysea’s Mysterious Island – but at least let them be Disney movies! Easily-forgotten flavours of the month like Avatar belongs in other, lesser amusement parks.

  • I love the glimpses into the processes that are making AVATAR a reality. And up close the rock work looks amazing!

  • This is still such a bad idea.

  • I hope to never see a Movie themed land inside of DISNEYLAND. The Disney parks need original ideas and not lands/rides based off of movies (especially outside of “Disney”) AVATAR seems like a huge let down for me. I am excited for Carsland though and A Bug’s Land next to Tower of Terror is a fantastic way to make you feel like a bug in the lawn of the Hotel.

Comments are closed.