Disney breaks ground on Avatar at Walt Disney World's Animal Kingdom
Walt Disney World
this week officially broke ground on the new Avatar land for Disney's Animal Kingdom.
The last remnant of the old Camp Mickey-Minnie land closed last week with the removal of the Festival of the Lion King show, which eventually will move to a new theater in the park's Africa land. That cleared the way for the official start of construction for Pandora, which Disney will build on the old Camp Minnie-Mickey site.
Disney released concept art for Avatar last October at the D23 Japan event. We heard our first details about the land a year before that, and got a look at the blueprints for Avatar's movie ride a couple of months ago.
Disney first announced Avatar in 2011 and the first phase of the land is scheduled to open in 2017.
Kudos to Matthew Gottula for his inspired caption of this Disney hand-out photo: "Well this is awkward. The Na'vi fought against man's destruction of nature, and yet here is one holding two shovels."
Okay, doubters. It's Vote of the Week time!
What do you think? Are you excited for this project?
I don't see that Avatar Land was ever a matter of doubt. It was clear that the plans were in place to build the area since October.
There is a saying when it comes to Disney parks you and all the old pros that theme park reports know. "I won't believe it it till the doors open". Remember how many things got started only to be halted or cancel all together. How long did it take for your beloved Disneyland subs stay empty for that new ride redo before Lasster saved them with his PIXAR band. Or thoese resorts at Disney World that until last year stayed unfinished for 12 years. Let's talk history here, remember Epcot Africa. A TV special, a sign, some clearance and what became of the land? So, until that ribbon is cut. I won't hold my breathe, Disney got a bad rep when it comes to building stuff.
I swear, I thought this was some kind of April Fool's post. I know it is January 10th, but I honestly wondered if somewhere in the world they have an April Fool's kind of day on January 10th.
Another poster above asked about Avatar as it compares to Potter. I don't think that's the same sort of thing, and it's kind of apples and oranges.
The only thing I continue to doubt is the cranial capacity of people opposed to this expansion.
I still think this is an elaborate ruse. ;)
I found it interesting how many times the Disney Parks Blog used the phrase "Avatar-inspired" instead of just "Avatar."
I'm not opposed to park expansion, only choice of development. I for one am not a fan of Avatar, which might explain why many other people are not excited about it either. just another reason for me not to go to AK.
I thought the movie was visually stunning, the story line just so so. I am excited for Disney to be doing ANYTHING at this point! Animal Kingdom is my favorite park to walk around without all the headache involved in just getting in the Magic Kingdom. I love riding EE at night. I love all the parks better at night. I hope the pull out all their MAGIC tricks for this project!
They will pull out all of something, but
I believed they would build it.... but I did not think it would open anytime soon.... which makes it hard for me to get too excited about it right now.
"I'm not opposed to park expansion, only choice of development. I for one am not a fan of Avatar, which might explain why many other people are not excited about it either. just another reason for me not to go to AK."
I really doubt that Disney can build this in three years and open in 2017. That is the Disney construction schedule for a kids roller coaster. When is the Mine train opening?
Man, Disney is going to have to hire some really tall people to play Na'vi for their meet and greets
I never doubted it, I just was never excited about it..
Disney built Carsland in 3 years. They're more than capable. The mine train pace is an obvious play to garner some press in a year that will see Universal open up their huge Harry Potter expansion.
•How do you put another "tree of life" at AK?
No doubt, but wondering how much longer. Slightly more concerned after Iger halted work on other major projects. I'm glad the project is moving forward. Wondering if we goal of 2 phases will still continue. Iger may not last much longer as CEO (gone in 2016?)
Sometimes building nothing at all is better than building something big, expansive, and expensive.
I'm exited about this avatar land i think it's gonna be a beautiful unique land and people will go people will always go for something new and with all the advertisements your gonna get a lot of tourist that know nothing about theme parks loving this land
I'm afraid that I am going to go along with a lot of what others have commented and say that while the additional development is welcome, I do not think it will have the fanbase and pulling power that a franchise like Harry Potter has. Saying that - if it is a high quality development then, as word spreads, it will attract growing numbers of people.
I saw two different "blue shovel" photos and the Navi is in different poses. It doesn't look like a person is in a Navi costume, so I wonder what it is. Either a huge pose-able stop-motion action figure or an animatronic. I'm guessing pose-able action figure. Which explains why it wasn't a live invited guest publicity event.
"Sometimes building nothing at all is better than building something big, expansive, and expensive."
Someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning (looking at you, AnonMouse).
Dino land should be fixed, but this suggests the lowering of ambition. I don't get this saving bug as if the guests deserve less. SAVE. Okay. Admission is still over $90 to get in. Its not like you transfer money from one project to another. Why deemphasize Animal Kingdom for Hollywood Studios when the rumors were both parks will get high profile makeovers and not cheap bandaids.
I'm still puzzled about why Disney chose Avatar. Yes the movie made a ton of money because of it's novel 3D effect but it didn't present any staying power.
"I'm still puzzled about why Disney chose Avatar"
Most of these comments sound like the naysayers when the movie opened... it's gonna flop, etc. then it became the highest grossing film ever (not adjusted for inflation.) I would just say don't underestimate James Cameron. There are three further sequels planned; it will become a huge franchise like HP and SW.
I want to echo a comment above that "Disney would have screwed up Harry Potter". I really love Disney, but I think Disney would have really messed up Harry Potter. I saw an article somewhere that Disney actually had the chance to publish the Harry Potter books, too, but that a Disney executive (a woman, I forget her name) passed up on it so it went to Scholastic.
"Another thing, why is Universal given a pass with Transformers?"
I saw an article somewhere that said J.K. Rowling really wanted Disney to publish her books and make her movies. I read another article somewhere that said J.K. Rowling wanted Eddie Murphy and Bette Midler and Robin Williams to be in the movies. And then there was another article I read that said J.K. Rowling really wanted Disney to build her theme park ride. But Disney decided to turn her down every single time.
I never understood the backlash against the very idea of an Avatar or Pandora Land at AK. That movie is a natural to be adapted to a theme park, with its beautiful, exotic landscapes, dramatic scenes and otherwordly creatures. As for the movie itself, it's only the biggest box office smash of all time. There is a huge built in audience, even if some people only liked the visuals. By the way, Cars is hardly the most beloved of Pixar movies, but Cars Land is a smash hit over in California.
Note to Sylvain: I also don't think that the critics realize how much Walt Disney World attracts an international clientele. Avatar's success was outside of the U.S. ($2 billion). WDW plays to the international visitors much more than DLR does.
I found it interesting when I went back to posts made on this site a few years ago on the announcement of Cars Land.
People wont care if they like the movie avatar or not once non theme park fans that just go to theme parks just for vacation and what ever so the land im sure disney its going to make a beutiful land people will love it, us theme park fans will love it.
"it's only the biggest box office smash of all time"
Did we quote Doctor Zhivago recently?
Slate.com can say what they want, but are you willing to bet that the sequels won't make billions at the box office? If so, I'll take that action...
Also for once can we have a more balanced article like say whats wrong with universal parks.... this site is constantly bashing disney with its articles. So let me start the ball rolling
the point of the article is to examine Avatar cultural inpact. in its afterlife i seen only one parody of it, on Robot Chicken
I don't mean to be rude but it seems a bit to riskey to build a land based on one film, right before it's sequel's
Why would Avatar be regarded as a risk? It is already the highest grossing film in recent memory. Regardless if the sequels tank, which is unlikely and look at James Cameron's record, the film is already a classic.
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