Disney bringing Avatar to Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World
Written by Robert NilesDisney announced today that it has secured the theme park rights to James Cameron's Avatar - the number-one box office movie of all time - for a new land at Disney's Animal Kingdom.
Published: September 20, 2011 at 10:48 AM
Art from James Cameron's Avatar, coming to Disney's Animal Kingdom in 2016.
Construction will begin by 2013 for the new land, which will include multiple rides and other experiences (figure some shopping and dining, at least). The debut is scheduled for 2016 - five years from now. That construction timeframe roughly matches that of Cars Land at Disney California Adventure, which had a similar budget to what Disney expects to spend on Avatar. Walt Disney Imagineering is in the design phase now, and James Cameron is working with Imagineering on the project.
With its huge reservoir of intellectual property, Disney usually doesn't look outside the company for themes to new attractions, especially now that Pixar is part of the Disney family. But Disney has secured outside contracts before, most notably for Star Wars and Indiana Jones. And don't forget that Hollywood Studios was originally the Disney-MGM Studios. Avatar earned more money than any other motion picture in history (not adjusted for inflation), but it's only been one movie so far. It's not the franchise of multiple films and books that Star Wars and Harry Potter represent.
Ah, yes, Harry Potter. File this with Fantasyland and Star Wars and we now see Disney's answers to Universal's Potter development. But will Avatar have the emotional connection with visitors that Potter has demonstrated? It seems weird to ask this of a Disney project, but - will it have the "magic"?
We'll be waiting to see what Imagineering develops. But for now? Wow, what potential.
I'd love to hear your thoughts. What would you do with Disney's Avatar land?
Update: Disney CEO Bob Iger said that Avatar will be coming to other Disney parks after it debuts at Walt Disney World's Animal Kingdom. Where would it fit in Disneyland?
Update 2: Twitter followers have suggested that Middle Earth would have been a better get for Disney, as Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit have more dedicated fan bases and the franchise more storytelling potential. Let's throw that into the 'what do you think' mix for the comments.
Update 3: You know I love polls:
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