Disney reveals Avatar land details at D23 Expo in Japan
Disney theme park officials didn't have much to reveal at the recent D23 Expo in Anaheim. But they haven't been so stingy at the first-ever D23 Expo in Japan.
At the Tokyo Disney Resort today, Disney Parks chairman Tom Staggs offered a preview of the Avatar land under development at Disney's Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World. Staggs presented several images of concept art for the new land, which will replace Camp Mickey-Minnie at the theme park. And there's now an opening date: 2017.
Here's an overview of the new land:
A look at what's expected to be the new boat ride:
And an image from the expected "Soarin'"-like 3D show.
Finally, Disney announced that Animal Kingdom will be getting a new nighttime show, centered around the Tree of Life and the Discovery River.
In addition, the park will be getting a nighttime version of the Kilimanjaro Safaris, which, with the new nighttime show, pretty much confirms that the park will also be getting extended hours when Avatar opens.
It's happening, people. So, now that you've seen some official concept art, what do you think?
Update: Here's the promo video from D23 Japan:
If the park looks anything remotely close to the concept art, I'm completely sold!
Robert asked what we think and I can report for my family. First of all, I thought the Avatar movie was dumb. My son says it is Pocahantos in space with giant cats. When I first heard they were bringing Avatar to a Disney park I just thought it was Disney buying Avatar so Universal could not have it. It felt like the executives who were too stupid to buy Harry Potter were trying to keep their jobs by not letting Universal buy another property.
I am glad to hear that Avatar Land will be coming to the Animal Kingdom since there where some doubts at one time about the land still happening. Camp Minnie Micky was always just a time/gap filler because beastly land was cut due to budgets.
so where were all the gift shops in Pandora? Because I can't see them in the concept art...
It looks great!
Annette, After that review, I'm not sure why you even bother going to any theme park. Sounds like a chore for you. In my mind, theme parks are for escape and both Universal and /Disney do that VERY well. I am excited, along with millions of other people whom enjoyed the movie Avatar, to see this area come to life. Although Disney construction is very slow compared to Universal, the 3 Avatar sequels will be coming out starting in 2016, so should sync up pretty good. Disney has become stale so we very much enjoy AP's at the junky (???) park, Universal 5 - 6 times a year. With Avatar, myself and many others will have a reason to go again. CAN'T WAIT!
I don't want to Disney-bash, really... but a couple observations:
I wonder when the actual construction will start. I want to run the Everest, and I hope it is not affected in 2014!
I'm less worried about the concept art not matching the delivery. Generally speaking the concept art I've seen, (Cars Land, New Fantasy Land, for example), end up looking very similar to the finished article.
How do you guys think the imagineers are going to pull off the floating mountains? Call me curious!
This looks AMAZING. I had high hopes for Avatar Land as soon as they announced it. Even though the movie may not be the greatest story-wise, it is the most innovative movie visually to this date in my opinion. I knew the visuals of the movie would translate to the most visually stunning land ever created for a theme park, and from the look of the concept art, I was right. A lot of people bring up Antarctica to point out that concept art doesn't always translate to the real thing, but that was Sea World. Sea World doesn't have much of a track record with immersive dark rides and themed attractions. Disney does. And Cars Land and New Fantasyland definitely lived up to their concept art. If you look at the picture of Joe Rhode and Jim Cameron with the model of the land, you can see how they intend to translate the concept art into the real land. Models tend to show how it will really look more than concept art. And the model still looks pretty darn amazing. The rides should be spectacular as well from the look and sound of things.
The more I look at the pictures and look back on he movie, the more excited I get for the land. I hope that the movies to come will be good for that will also be a factor. Everyone loved the sequels to Harry Potter because they had books to follow and it should be the same for the Hunger Games, but Avatar does not have books and the only amazing thing about the movie was its graphics. The land looks great and I love the floating islands and water falls. The boat ride looks to be whimsical and the Soarin' like ride sounds breathtaking. I just hope that Disney is going to get a good turnout.
There are 2.8 billion reasons why Avatar will continue to be an amazing success story. Because of those reasons, I simply cannot wait to experience the full force of WDI teamed up with a creative genius like James Cameron. The question becomes: do I make my reservation for May or September of 2017??!!
With magic fairy dust! All seriousness they are probably going to have some heavy supports hidden behind foliage or/and waterfalls to make it appear like they are floating.
I am praying that the simulator ride will not be another soaring. Universal took the idea of simulator rides to the next level. I think disney could find a unique way to make a state of the art ride that could be accessible by all. Star tours 2 was boring after potter, sorry it was. Please no more boring old sim rides. (Note: soaring still is great)
@Apple Butter -- your gripe about everything being done before is interesting to me, because everything in life has been done before. Are you saying to Universal, "Ugh! ANOTHER roller coaster with that Gringotts coaster they are building" or also saying to Universal, "ANOTHER Harry Potter area you are building? We already have the Wizarding World, so why do we need Diagon Alley?".
Annette doesn't sound like a happy person to me. Anyone who puts that much effort into finding problems with theme parks.... wow....
Looking at the photo of the model of the land I think I can see how they can make the floating mountains....
I'm actually more interested in the night safaris and night show that will be open during my lifetime
Before you get too "bored" with Soarin' 2.0, you might want to look at the basis for the
Robert Morris mentioned the Bill & Ted show taking a jab at Disney on Avatar. I notice Universal does a lot of this throughout its parks, taking jabs at Disney. Never once have I seen Disney take a "jab" at Universal.
I think out everything shown so far, I'm more excited about the show at night. Animal Kingdom is such a beautiful park, and to see the Tree of Life lit up (as in the rendering), would be absolutely beautiful. I've always wanted to spend an evening in Animal Kingdom.
If that is indeed the ride system they'll use then, yes, James, that WOULD be something to see! Consider me intrigued :-)
The concept art of Avatar DOES look terrific. I just hope they are saving the details for later because I have too many questions. Nonetheless, this does fix many weaknesses of the existing park like no night show, not enough attractions, no mythical portion of the park's creed, and more family friendly rides. It seems like all the Walt Disney World parks need much more attractions. This is taking much too long, but perhaps this is the best they can do.
Let's just hope that once Pandora: The World of Avatar opens that Disney will take some time to finally fix Everest's Disco Yeti. No, Disney, we haven't forgotten about this problem.
It's funny that almost non of the above reacted on the night-time show and rightly so because it looks and sounds mediocre at best with it's projection on the tree and stilt walkers with lanterns. Using Discovery River as a place for fountains is kind of baffling me because it's huge and will spread thin. I'd rather see Disney update it's Fantasmic show at Disney Studios so it's worth a visit then putting in another night time show.
Oh, Annette... Always shoehorning in you're hatred for everything in theme parks on both Micechat and TPI. This article had nothing to do with Universal, but you (tried) turning the discussion into "everything you should hate about Universal, because it's so junky." I can't wait to read the same thing on Micechat next week.
I was not excited for Avatar, but now I really am!
Cool! Now show us the Star Wars Land details :^)
I think this looks great. This concept art supports the idea that Disney is still the master of building environments, both inside and outside of rides, in real physical space. Universal has done a good job of that with Harry Potter, but if you look at some of their other recent attractions (esp. Despicable Me and Transformers), you can see an approach at work where the film footage for the ride IS the ride (similar to Star Tours and Soarin' too). It is much easier to build rides of this type on an expedited schedule (not that I don't like them--I do!). There is much complaining about the Dwarfs Mine Train ride, but it has so much more physical detail than most of what Universal has built, I think the timeline comparison is unfair.
Honestly, while Avatar Land looks like it will be visually impressive, I'm kind of disappointed it will only have two attractions, one of which is just a movie. I was never a huge fan of Avatar, and nothing that I've seen so far has make me more interested in visiting the area. While I'll definitely check it out when I finally get to visit Florida, if the opportunity to visit presented itself before 2017 I wouldn't delay my trip just to include Avatar Land.
I wasn't a fan of the Avatar movie, but the special effects were awesome. It will be interesting to see how Disney recreates them in real life. Soarin' is my favorite ride. Can't wait to see if they can "plus it".
For comparison, The Haunted Mansion took 15 years to develop. The original concept was created before the park opened in 1955. Walt started telling the public about it in the late 1950's. In 1961, pamphlets were handed out at the entrance hyping Haunted Mansion for a 1963 opening. The exterior was completed in 1963, but the actual attraction didn't open until 1969. The ride could have opened before 1969, but would it have been as good? Four years for development of Avatar Land isn't too long to wait if it's a game changer.
Even if you prefer Disney, you have to admit that Universal theme parks have been a blessing for all concerned. Competition is good for Disney, good for Universal, and good for the theme park enthusiast. Vacationers now have a wider range of options. Disney can no longer rest on their laurels while Universal is looking over their shoulders.
In addition to Vekoma's Pandora Box ride that I mentioned earlier, another possibility for the
From what I have read, the boat ride will be more edutainment, sort of like a Pandora version of Epcot's Living with the Land (an under-appreciated attraction, imho). I put that boat ride as a D-ticket. And... I like the idea. However, I am hopeful it will transcend the genre and break new ground as you state. We'll have to wait and see.
I like what I see. The photos look like the land will immerse you into the world of Avatar. I don't really expect new tech attractions from Disney, but for a Disney park, as long as the new attractions are fun & entertaining, they don't need to be thrilling too. Hopefully the land doesn't get too value engineered by TDO. And I'm very excited for the night time direction the park is taking. I always found it to be lacking since it closed so early and I usually skip it from my Disney schedule. But I'm positive I'll enjoy it more with Avatar & the night attractions, since it surely is a beautiful park. It's just always needed more good attractions and hours.
Seems like a lot of money for an area that no one asked for or really wants. I think this is a ploy to get James Cameron to start making movies with Disney. Plus just paying him to make the attractions is helping him fund the new Avatar movies. Star Wars, Marvel and James Cameron would corner the action movie market for Disney.
When did the Navi have Japanese geisha's in front of the tree of souls?
You people are judging rides and a nighttime show based off a picture? I highly doubt the E-ticket will be a Soarin clone. You cannot assume that from a single picture.
Annette writes " I wish someone would fire 80% of Disney executives and replace them with actual Disney fans.
I love, love , love, love the idea of a boat ride. This could
Avatar is a multi-billion dollar franchise and judging by this concept art Disney have nailed it.
Avatar is a multi-billion dollar franchise and judging by this concept art Disney have nailed it.
@Anon Poster 18.104.22.168, I really want it. In fact I really really really REALLY want it. Bad.
I don't get it why people are hyped for a boat ride. AK had a wonderful boat ride and it gave you a new perspective and appreciation of all the beautiful nature in the park but the Disney customers where bored and didn't like it.
That boat ride reminds me of a certain scene in Avatar. Y'all know which one I'm talking about. ; )
I don't get why people are so negative!!! Is your life that miserable?!
I dunno, O T, Universal pumped $.25 B into ONE new Potter ride and IOA's attendance went up by 20%. Disney pumped $0.5B into Cars Land (one E-ticket and two kiddie rides) and DCA is predicted to be the 4th most popular park in the US behind MK, DL, and Epcot. If the world of Pandora is as fully realized in the park as it was in the film (which made $2.8B), then the $.5B being invested in DAK will be money WELL spent.
Authenticity means though every human would have to wear a gas mask when they enter Pandora...... I'm not so sure on the education ride experience either because Pandora is a made up place with made up Navi and animals. Oh and the plants are poisonous too! Just saying..... Beautiful landscape and theming I'm just not sold on another boat ride and a 3D movie where you can smell poisonous plants.
Bob Igor is a great talent recruiter; John Lasseter, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and Stan Lee all in the last few years. Disney is a movie studio first.
When talking about investments in construction, you have to understand that Disney has changed its approach to project management. All of the large Disney projects are being managed under integrated project delivery and pre-construction design assist. Universal will inevitably follow suit.
It looks great and fun this far. The boat ride scene they have depicted here kind of reminds me of a more wide open boat version of Journey to the center of the earth (ie I should say the use of color in this artwork reminds me of that ride). We have a longggg way to go and a lot of things can still change. I'm excited about it, but it's still way to far for me to get excited about it. I still say that DAK will not have enough attractions after this. I think if you add Mystic Point between now and 2017, then you will have one heck of a expansion to this park
My question is about the D23 Expo in Tokyo.
Igor or Iger has to be a mad scientist to pull this off.
WDI recycled the Omnimover ride system for the Mermaid ride, and I think another ride system should have been used for that ride, maybe something amazing like a modified spinning coaster.
"I don't get it why people are hyped for a boat ride."
Everyone talking about this being just like Soarin' needs to look at the ride mechanics. Vekoma's Pandora system is far closer to the Forbidden Journey than Soarin'.
I have 2 primary thoughts (being a person who said 'yeah right' to this ever actually happening)
I can tell you Cameron won't be the person who gets Imagineering to complete Avatar fast. Look how long it took Avatar to come out. He worked on that film for over a decade. And the sequel was supposed to come out in 2015, that was pushed back to 2018. Cameron will be the person to make sure Imagineering gets it done right, no matter how long it takes. And that is a very good thing. Most theme park fans would be okay waiting an extra few years for a land that is one of the best of any theme park, than have a crappy land debut next year. Just like in his films, Cameron will be meticulous, make sure its done right, true to the vision and the technology, and it should be just as immersive, entertaining, and innovative as the film was.
@Kelly: 2017 does seem ambitious when it took Disney nearly 4 years from breaking ground in April 2010 to finishing in 2014 (hoping). It officially opened in December 2012, 2.5 years later.
@James What I heard is that The forbidden journey costed somewhere between 85 and 90 million. The whole phase was to cost 240 M but ended up costing 265 M. Their attended rose 20%. Yes I call that a great investment. How many extra visitors came to MK with New Fantasyland?
Everyone is forgetting the slew of new patents that Disney has filed in the last year, including the new high tech boat system, the radically different flight simulator ( some thought was for Planes) and various other things. To assume that these are rehashed rides systems is stupid.
@O T, I think you misunderstood. I was not bashing HP, just stating the expansion only added one new ride and was successful, in contrast to your point that Avatar is only adding two new rides. It is the quality of the expansion that matters when it comes to being a successful project.
Comment to Rao, Rao, Rao Your Boat: What's impressive about the 2% increase at WDWMK is that it happened without NF being open. The expansion was not up and running until December.
If you don't believe in the TEA/AECOM report, why are you reciting it?
I feel so bad for Joe Rohde's earlobe.
Great point, TH... New Fantasyland held its Grand Opening on Dec 6, 2012. So, that fact means Magic Kingdom's attendance numbers actually grew during the construction process - which almost never happens! In comparison, IOA's attendance sank to rock bottom while Harry Potter was being built (in 2009 IOA welcomed 4.5 million guests, down from 5.5M in 2007). It will be interesting to get the 2013 numbers but honestly, how much more can MK's attendance grow? It is easy to make big percentage gains when the numbers are low to begin with, but when 17.5M people are already coming to your park, what more can you realistically expect? Honestly, Magic Kingdom is bursting at the seams most of the time already! A good problem to have, I guess.
That promo video just stepped it up another level. A lot of really cool views of the model and more amazing concept art; plus a pretty good look at what the Soarin-type ride will be like: it looks awesome. I really don't think calling it Soarin 2.0 is accurate though. If it does use the Pandora's Box ride system, it will be an entirely new ride, blowing away Soarin'. Think Soarin' meets HPFJ. And how could a land called Pandora not use the Pandora's Box system ;)?
@Anon Mouse what you say makes perfect sense. I had no idea he was so very involved in T2 3D (an attraction I happen to love and am always impressed by).
@TH. Because... you believe in the figures, or you are taking the opportunity to exploit favorable data and ignoring bad data... just like what Disney does on a regular basis.
I've always wanted to learn more about TEA/AECOM's methodology and I've been pretty consistent in qualifying my references to the reports (as I did in this thread. In fact, the context of my post is offered as a caveat.
Here is a link of an example of where Disney exploited good information and ignored bad information. The older links where I remember it happening no longer exist. I would admit this happened a long time ago and during Michael Eisner's era. It hasn't happened recently, but I am sure when they need a good marketing message, it will occur again.
So Disney exploiting favorable data and ignored bad data more than a decade ago ... constitutes "a regular basis?"
Disney has done this regular basis at that time and Eisner left Disney on 2005. You denied Disney ever did this.
UGH.. such a temperamental crowd. Fighting over nothing again.
I have one question regarding the concept artwork....
This article has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.