I can only imagine what WDI can do with the unique and immersive world of Cameron's Avatar. Start saving your pennies now... will probably see the results in about 2015 or 2016... (if the world is still around, of course!)
I say, "Meh..." I'll ride it but won't wait in line for it (maybe it will have Fast Pass).
Did not see this coming at all. I thought Universal had the rights to Avatar!
Great news for theme park fans.
I just wonder if Universal have any money left that they WANT to put into more HP attractions. I know WWoHP generates income and profit, but with new ownership of the resort now, I doubt that another big development will occur at Universal Orlando for perhaps 20 years.
FFS, mini golf? Dispicable Me? Give me a break.
Disney made a huge, huge error when they passed on "Harry Potter." Now they're just compounding that error by latching on to a property that already feels dated and stale.
It will fit in Animal Kingdom, but will they create another huge tree? Or will they repurpose the existing tree and swap out the 3D Bug's Movie for Avatar. Many possibilities, but I can't help thinking it WON'T be the same as Harry Potter.
If Disney want to beat Harry Potter, they should have stuck with Star Wars. Create a new land and new rides based from this property. Rumor is George Lucas is thinking of new sequel trilogy, 7, 8, 9. Disney is dumb to not expand on this.
With sequels in the work, this could be huge. Remember, the first made around $2.7 billion worldwide, which is a ludicrous number for a single film (for reference, the ENTIRE Harry Potter series made around $7.69 billion, and that is counting 8 films against 1.)
Also, putting this in Animal Kingdom is big. That park needs another E-ticket ride, badly. Maybe this will get them to, I don't know, fix the damn Yeti. Maybe Disney will finally catch up with Universal and put a Spider-Man-like dark ride in. Only 10+ years late there...
Disney needs something to get away from catering mostly to little girls. I thought it would be Marvel (that they would somehow buy out the Marvel deal with Universal and put stuff in DHS, which would not fix AK in any way.) This is probably the best solution for them.
But I still hate Avatar.
Also, to those that say Lord of the Rings would be a better fit, it would. But, it will never, ever, ever, ever happen. Tolkien HATED, with the fury of a thousand suns, Disney, and supposedly put it in his will that Disney would never have anything to do with any adaptation of Lord of the Rings. As much as that disappoints me, that's the unfortunate truth of it.
Now, I'm not saying Avatar is a great story, but it is a good story - certainly as good as the unoriginal tales of both Star Wars and Harry Potter, and it will make a great expansion.
And, as Tim Odom said earlier, this Avatar expansion will finally allow Everest to take an extended vacation in order to fix the YETI! Hoorah!!
Disney is adding a land themed to an incredibly popular movie to a park which has, for the majority of its existence, propped up the rest of Disney's Orlando parks in terms of attendance.
Whilst the Fantasyland Expansion is a welcome addition to the resort, it works to further boost attendance at a park which is already the worlds most popular, with the trickle down effect of an increase in attendance likely to be minimal at the other three parks.
Another major E-ticket, alongside several other attractions, themed around a hugely popular movie franchise, will give people more incentive to visit Animal Kingdom, spending more time on Walt Disney World property and push guests towards longer stays, increasing Disney's ticket, hotel and in-park revenue.
This announcement is full of WIN!
Brilliant is too strong a word to describe Disney these days. I don't think so. If I look to the New Fantasyland project as an example of Disney, it falls short by a large margin. They may have spent a lot of money, but it does nothing to keep people excited about its prospects.
Until I see it, I have strong doubts about "Avatar". The emphasis on Pandora is its biggest weakness. What was visually exciting on the screen might be not translated to a physical land. I can see the similarity with Animal Kingdom's Tree of Life and the Bugs 3D movie. Swap them out for Avatar, but what else. Will there be a transplant of DCA's Bugsland. You walk into the fake paradise of Pandora. You ride the dragons in a simulator. Okay, I already can see how it can be exciting for a few minutes, but to wait 3 hours for it? Not going to happen.
What's unsaid was Cameron's previous involvement with Universal's Terminator 3D show. Will they do the same thing here? A stunt show with one actor in a wheel chair. Wonderful. How about a salty scientist? Will it be PG-13? They will have to bring the entertainment down a notch for Disney's Animal Kingdom.
Again, they are missing an opportunity with Star Wars.
I'd rather revisit the Beastly Kingdom ideas of old, go the LOTR route, or hey - how about this - build a land based on Disney intellectual property!
So many great ways to expand a park with wonderful potential - I don't think this somewhat obscure film is it...
I Respond: Why are the franchises mutually exclusive? Who says Disney won't build attractions affiliated with BOTH 'Star Wars' as well as 'Avatar?' I believe Disney is targeting 2021 (50th anniversary). Magic Kingdom: the Fantasyland expansion, Animal Kingdom: Avatar ($2 billion sales worldwide), EPCOT: Brazil and (why not) Disney Hollywood Studios: "Lucasland." Why on earth does the addition of 'Avatar' elimnate any chance that Disney will EXPAND its EXISTING relationship with George Lucas? The addition of the new 'Star Tours' and the annual "Star Wars Weekend" event, seems an indication of a healthy partnership.
Anon Mouse: Brilliant is too strong a word to describe Disney these days. I don't think so. If I look to the New Fantasyland project as an example of Disney, it falls short by a large margin.
I respond: You have GOT to be kidding. The aggressive addition of the princess franchise featuring multiple attractions, dining and meet and greets in a beautiful, landscaped setting "falls short?"
The Ledger.com: "Disney officials say this (the Disney princesses) has now morphed into a $4 billion dollar industry that draws girls of prime princess age, three to eight years, and their families to the Disney parks and has helped propel a new Fantasyland renovation in the Magic Kingdom that will ultimately include more princess experiences."
The expansion of Fantasyland draws families. And (again) the "ticket/hotel" packages are strategically priced to keep people on the property. But your response pretty much fails to deal with ticket packaging ... doesn't it?
Adding 'Avatar' supports that successful strategy. A strategy that placed the four Walt Disney World parks in the top five of attendance in 2010.
Huh? This is the best you can do? Yes, it falls short. Nothing in there shouts "E-ticket" attraction. 2 D-ticket Little Mermaid and Snow White Dwarf family roller coaster. A C-ticket Dumbo dueling spinner. Princess meet and greets.
The addition is merely one of sustainment, not of advancing the market. You call it "aggressive". I call it a safe bet and not overly ambitious.
Quote "Why on earth does the addition of 'Avatar' elimnate any chance that Disney will EXPAND its EXISTING relationship with George Lucas? The addition of the new 'Star Tours' and the annual "Star Wars Weekend" event, seems an indication of a healthy partnership."
Because there is no expansion. Legoland managed to have their Star Wars mini-land in record time as comparison. If Disney wanted to do it, they could have done it a long time ago. Why did they take many many years to update Star Tours? Why did the update happen after the end of the trilogy and not soon after Episode 1 or 2. You can read the intent by the long delays. I would not say it is a healthy partnership. When Eisner was in charge, the Lucas relation was frayed. It could be getting better. Somehow I would think Lucas is disappointed that Cameron is jumping in and getting a huge reception.
As for this Avatar thing...I wish Disney would hire some people who could come up with original ideas for theme park attractions. They could even have a cool name like...Imaginationers or Smart-Thinkeers. I'm still working on the cool name. Give me time.
I strongly prefer the first two, BUT they don’t fit in AK, and Pandora does. I say Pandora because Avatar is a silly story, and I think that Disney will focus on Pandora and not on the story itself.
They said that Avatar will be in a new land. What I would like to know is if the whole new land will be based in Avatar or it will be the E-ticket ride of a new land with imaginary animals?
I can see an enhance 4D version of Soarin flying through Pandora, but outside the 3D technology I cannot imagine another Avatar ride. It simply won’t fit in a dark ride, or a show or a rollercoaster.
Of course that demographic generates $4 billion a year and attracts millions of families from around the world to Central Florida.
Anon Mouse: When Eisner was in charge, the Lucas relation was frayed.
I Respond: (Academic inquiry) Can you please document that? In 'Disney Wars' James Stewart provides very clear documentation regarding the fall out between Steve Jobs and Mr. Eisner. But as someone who has ready pretty much everything regarding Mr. Eisner's tenure, I've never heard of a fall out between him and Mr. Lucas that could be described as "frayed."
Star Wars will see its day. DHS needs expansion as much as Animal Kingdom. Disney adding another successful movie license in Avatar in no way diminishes what they can do with Star Wars. In fact, it should get Lucas' competitive juices flowing....
As for the Fantasyland update, I don't see the issues Anon describes. The addition of the Little Mermaid omnimover and the Seven Dwarves coaster should make for a significant improvement in the ride department and the dueling Dumbos area will be a boon to families who have waited 45 or more minutes so their indiscriminate children can ride what amounts to nothing more than a Red Baron spinner. The new dining options look to be amazing, must do experiences, and the meet-n-greets will be hugely popular amongst the masses of Disney fans who enjoy that sort of thing. Furthermore, the expansion looks like it will be absolutely stunning and beautiful, and add quite a bit of space to the most popular park in the world. Again, where's the downside?
For me, I am just glad Disney did not announce that they were adding a Windseeker! Now, that would SUCK!
I say to the people that Disney needs new "thinkers" or imagineers to come up with original ideas for attractions look at what they have that are not Disney owned, most of Pixar before they bought it, The Twilight Zone, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and the MGM Franchise and others. So they have been successful in the past.
And I gotta say this has shut us up about what to do with Marvel!
Such a predictable response.
"But most of the growth was due to Disney’s decision to raise prices for tickets, hotels, food, and merchandise. That probably can’t continue if the economy continues to weaken."
@TH "I've never heard of a fall out between him and Mr. Lucas that could be described as "frayed." "
I've read accounts where it was. Perhaps you should read other books like Kim Masters "The Keys to the Kingdom: How Micheal Eisner Lost His Grip (2000)"
Here is George Lucas claiming he tried for years to get an update to Star Tours. "We've been wanting to do it for a long time."
Look how much he spends on his films! And of course how much they make!
The future looks quite bright to me! Bring it!!! Cameron + Disney = True Love FOR-EV-ER!! HOOOOOORAHHHHH!!!!
I didn't care for the original film, but I agree with many other posters here that it had really nice special effects. However, effects rarely carry a film franchise.
I think what made the Harry Potter books and films so beloved by readers and movie-goers were memorable characters who were part of a very imaginative world, and an engaging series of stories featuring the battle of good against evil. I don't remember "Avatar" having any of these traits.
Actually, like Cars 2, Avatar will have so much goodwill given the first movie that it won't bomb at the box office, no matter if it does turn out to be a stinker.
But as Cars 2 suffered over the weeks it played due to poor reviews and word of mouth, a poorly received Avatar 2 also would underperform relative to the original. Ultimately, Avatar Land will succeed or fail on the quality of its attractions, as Cars Land will, too. But a poor showing for Avatar 2 would be a missed opportunity for building excitement and anticipation for the new land.
1.Fits nicely2.Will get crowds
Now Ill probably have to add this to my Netflix (or Qwister, as its now called) queue when its empty.
And thank you for the link to the excellent article. But I do not see a specific reference wherein the reporter contends that the "wait" referenced by Mr. Lucas was caused by frayed relations with Mr. Eisner.
Perhaps you have something more specific?
And that was a great quote about the company's hopes for the success of the $2 billion 'Avatar' franchise. ("That probably can’t continue if the economy continues to weaken.") Then again the word "probably" seems to undermine the writer's level of confidence.
But I guess as individuals, the TPI regulars can weigh the opinion of Executive Editor (and, I assume, theme park expert) David Lieberman verses the team that has successfully managed a theme park operation that has consistently outpaced all of itys (for lack of a better word) "competitors."
Your requests for more documentation is noted, but I read it elsewhere I could not find it for your use. So it will be undocumented. But I find it surprising that you would think Eisner and Lucas' relationship is so rosy. Eisner was documented to have bad relationships with virtually everyone who worked with him like Steve Jobs, Jeff Katszenberg, Roy Disney, which only gotten worse before he left as President and CEO. Believe what you wish.
As for the "team that has successfully managed a theme park operation that has consistently outpaced all of itys (for lack of a better word) "competitors." Well, if they have to invest in Avatar, who am I to complain? Disney's reason shall be taken at face value that its a strategic decision to make back its $500 million dollar (via LA Times) investment by getting more revenue from more admissions rather than merely price increases. It's a tall order. I know it won't happen with the New Fantasyland addition, which was my earlier point and you seem to keep getting lost from the big picture.
Now, what happens at Disney between now and then? A new Epcot country? more new rides at all parks? Animal Kingdom can't live with just the anticipation of a new land in 5-7 years. The fantaslyland expansion alone can't provide all of the new rides. As for what rides will be in Pandora? Probably a large coaster, a simulator E-ticket, a wind seeker to anchor the land, 1 or 2 smaller rides, and areas to explore. I'm really looking forward to this land and I think it can be the expansion Animal Kingdom needs.
Magic Kingdom to expand Fantasyland with new attractions, dining, and entertainment. It will also launch the Disney NextGen technology.
Animal Kingdom to welcome 'Avatar.'
EPCOT: Many whispers about Brazil being added to World Showcase.
That leaves DHS as the next (seemingly) logical choice for a new gate-crasher.
Meanwhile there's Splitsville coming to Downtown Disney and the new Four Seasons resort to begin construction in early 2012.
Avatar is still in the midst of developing at least 2 sequels that deal with the continuation of the first movie. It's barely scratched the surface of an expanded universe, something that has allowed the Star Wars franchise to continue to grow, expand and be profitable with or without new cinematic releases. Cameron has hinted at there being new worlds to explore, and tribes to encounter. Much like The Empire Strikes Back, I imagine the scope of the first movie will be very much expanded upon. Globally, Avatar is a wildly popular franchise, and quite honestly I can see Avatar Weekends at AK down the road.
The Harry Potter books are a worldwide phenomon unlike anything we have seen in the last few decades. Yes, Avatar made a ton of money, but as a property, it is not even in the same league as Harry Potter. People are coming from all over the world to see & visit the Harry Potter land. Hell, most of them call it Harry Potter World, not even realizing that it is just 1/6 of Universal Islands of Adventure.
My Brother took his family on an east coast trip this summer and stopped in Orlando for a couple of days. They went to IOA and just spent the entire day in the Harry Potter Village and thought it was great. They were barely aware of what other rides existed at the park. When I asked if they went on Jurrasic Park or Spiderman or others, he said he didn't realize those rides were there. YET, he was completely satisfied with his day. I don't think you will ever get that with the add on section of Avatar at MK.
"It might be advisable [...] to let the Americans do what seems good to them — as long as it was possible [...] to veto anything from or influenced by the Disney studios (for all whose works I have a heartfelt loathing)." - The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, #13
"I recognize [Walt Disney's] talent, but it has always seemed to me hopelessly corrupted. Though in most of the 'pictures' proceeding from his studios there are admirable or charming passages, the effect of all of them to me is disgusting. Some have given me nausea" – Letter to Miss J.L. Curry, of 15 July 1964
Would I rather see a Lord of the Rings land instead of Avatar? Hell yeah. Avatar is, at least for me, very meh. But I would not hold my breath for Disney to ever get those rights. If they were to do a land based on a major fantasy book series, they had Chronicles of Narnia, and oh holy hell did they mess that up.
I Respond: I could not disagree more. Adding 'Avatar' keeps Disney guests on property. Again, as Mr Niles noted in a blog earlier this year, ticket pricing packages are structured at Disney to keep their guests at the Disney parks.
Robert Niles: "Once you've bought three days of theme park tickets at Disney, it costs just $9 to add a fourth day. Then it's just $8 to add each additional day beyond that, up to 10 days total."
He continues: "So if you want to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter when you're in Orlando, but you're visiting Disney World, too, you're looking at $85 for your day at Universal Orlando versus $8 to skip Potter and spend an extra day at Disney instead."
Does Disney want to "sell lots of merchandise?" Of course! But if a guest enters the park to see the new, cutting edge 'Avatar' attraction (paying only $8 verses $85) and during the day the guest makes a $30 t-shirt purchase, why on earth would Disney care if that purchase features a blue Thundercat knock-off or a picture of Mickey Mouse? As long as they sell a shirt they achieve their retail ambitions.
Mr. Perkins continues: "They should have created a Star Wars Land instead and they could have made a killing."
I Respond: Again, the concepts are not mutually exclusive. They can still expand the 'Star Wars' franchise's presence in the park (DHS). The addition of 'Avatar' does not prevent that from happening. With the expansion of Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom, the rumored addition of Brazil to EPCOT's World Showcase and now the announcement of 'Avatar,' it would seem DHS is next in line for a "gate-crasher" ... 'Star Wars,' Marvel, Pixar, 'Tron' Lightcycles, etc.
But ultimately the estate wouldn't have been able to do a thing if the films had progressed at Miramax. It was done with Saul Zaentz, who legally owned the rights (ironically, the Weinstein boys were smart enough to keep a piece of the action. Despite having nothing to do with the actual production of the films, they still made north of 50 million off the trilogy).
When was the last time Disney (excluding Pixar) put out anything worth turning into an attraction? Why do you think Disney licensed Indiana Jones, Star Wars, and MGM movies for the Disney-MGM Studios? For one, Disney didn't put out any worthwhile movies in the '70s and '80s that could be turned into attractions. When the Disney Renaissance hit with The Little Mermaid, they finally had some films that were park-worthy. Unfortunately, they've once again hit a stagnant period of mediocre films, so outsourcing is an excellent idea.
I don't think the guests are gullible about that $8 differential for an extra day. Once you experienced Animal Kingdom and everything it has to offer, you will want to do more elsewhere. You won't stay merely to take advantage of the extra day. Vacation is a compromise of time and money. The money you spend on a multi-pass to Disney World was spent, yet it must be compared to the airfare and hotel that usually costs more. Do you pass up an opportunity to visit Harry Potter because you're too cheap to spend the extra $85 although you already spent $500 for airfare, $500 for hotel, and $250 for WDW tickets?
I do think 4 days at WDW is more than enough. WDW's biggest disadvantage is only the Magic Kingdom and Epcot are full day parks. Animal Kingdom and Disney Studios are show heavy parks and they often close early. So the advantage of a 5 to 10 day ticket IS its marginal cost. The guest who doesn't value the low cost in the ticket's balance from day 5 and beyond might not bother using it. This is one reason why I hate the Magic Your Way tickets. Tickets for multi-day, mult-park passes should be progressively more expensive and not linear with a plateau.
I Respond: The low ticket price to upgrade from a three to a four day ticket, combined with the chance to see a James Cameron attraction that (in terms of design and technological advances) holds great promise is a worthy strategy for drawing guests to a theme park. When the guest enters the park if they do not want an 'Avatar' t-shirt, but instead buy a Mickey t-shirt, the objective of selling merchandise is still successfully achieved. Thus, whether or not the 'Avatar' merchandise sells is by no means essential to the strategy.
In fact, if 'Avatar' merchandise does not sell and if guests decide to buy a Mickey shirt (or a Tigger, Pooh, Stitch or Donald Duck shirt) it's actually better for Disney as they hold the rights to the merchandise.
(but the point about Avatar being a merchandising failure is in no way incorrect. There was a solid five or six months where you couldn't walk down a clearance aisle and not be assaulted by tons of mutated Smurfs)
...So Avatar is actually a tough sale. Buying a Mickey shirt isn't the same thing. If you go to see Avatar, the chances of you buying something else is rather low. Just like another person who explains that some Harry Potter fans don't even bother visiting the other IOA attractions, Avatar fans might not even care about the actual animal attractions at Animal Kingdom, and probably even less of Disney and its various characters.
I remembered buying Mickey Mouse shirts a long time ago when I actually cared about the character. It is unlikely for me to buy one now.
Actually, to go from a 3 day pass to 4 day is a $11 difference. From 4 day to 5 day, its a $8 difference. Since time and effort goes into vacations, it is possible for guests to not care about visiting 4 days and beyond. Not all 4 parks are worth going.
Regardless of how one feels about this brilliant move by Disney, it has certainly vaulted the company into the forefront of everyone's mind.
Genius. Pure genius.
As for the estate fighting aginst the films being made if Miramax got the rights, remember, the estate fought the production of The Hobbit, and they fought against the production of the LOTR trilogy. The legal battles was one of the reasons why it took so damn long to make the films.
Like I said, thought, I would rather see a LOTR land over Avatar, even if I have no clue how it would be done.
California Adventure is being turned into a full-day park. Disney's Animal Kingdom is being expanded into a full day park. I've never been to either because I didn't see them as being worth the price of admission. Now I do.Fantasyland is getting updated. This is great news!
Would I prefer to see Beastly Kingdom or an Australia land being built at DAK? Would I rather see a LOTR land or even TH Creative's Artemis Fowl land be built instead of an Avatar Land at DAK? You bet! But, considering what we went through in the Eisner years, this is progress, folks!
Man, I'm starting to feel like one of the Munchkins after the house fell on the Wicked Witch of the West. "Ding dong, the skinflint's gone, ....." Okay, I paraphrased a little but you get the idea.
It's a great time to be a theme park enthusiast!
Competition is good. I don't think everything has to be a "Harry Potter killer" to be a success. The new Fantasy land will be huge, but not necessarily a HP killer.
Haters out there - just don't show up; that's how you "vote" in this business.
I thought it was an ok movie, and yes, stunning. But this in no way, shape, or form competes with HP. Not even remotely close. I think this is an awful idea and certainly isnt something to which I am looking forward.