First details leak about Disney World's Avatar 3D movie ride
Written by Robert Niles
Over the past few days, I've been hearing more and more buzz from industry insiders about Disney's Avatar theme park project. And last night, people started sharing some of the same news on Twitter, so it looks like Disney's made some decisions about the project.Tweet
Here's what shaping up: It appears that Disney's looking at something that might be described as a cross between Soarin' and the Carousel of Progress. The core Avatar attraction would comprise multiple 3D projection theaters, with visitors in some ride vehicle that would give the impression of flight (like Soarin's "hang gliders" do). What I'm not certain of, given all I've heard, is whether visitors will ride from one theater to the other, as on Carousel of Progress, or if the additional theaters are there just to provide extra ride capacity, as on Soarin' or Universal's The Simpsons Ride.
The Carousel of Progress option excites me more, but it raises the question of why Disney would need multiple theaters if the attraction's based on a 3D movie. After all, a screen's a screen. If you're spending the money to move people into different theaters, one would presume it would be because you had different, essential physical elements in each theater, such as props or animatronics.
Of course, ride vehicles moving from 3D screen to 3D screen is Universal Creative's big thing. (Think Spider-Man, Harry Potter, and Transformers.) So I'd be very interested to see Disney's take on that concept.
Lemme throw in one more twist. Last week, Al Lutz sparked a rumor that Disneyland would build an Iron Man ride in the Innoventions building in Tomorowland (bottom of the linked article). That's the old Carousel of Progress building, so people are putting two and two together and wondering if Disneyland's Iron Man might be a smaller-scale version of the Avatar ride at Walt Disney World. (The Innoventions building accommodates two stories, while Avatar is said to be a taller, three-level theater, a la Soarin'.)
Mouse Unlimited seems to have heard the same rumors I have, but they throw in an additional element: a "C-Ticket boat ride (or at least what appears to be a boat ride)" that will be part of the Avatar development, too.
Clearly, progress is happening. The buzz is loud enough that I'm convinced construction on the building for these attractions will begin soon. But let's not forget that attractions can change substantially in development. In our interview last year, Universal Creative's Mark Woodbury revealed that Universal was making substantial changes to its design of Islands of Adventure's Harry Potter ride until pretty late in the development process. So much can change. Still, Avatar's moving forward.
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