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Fantasy Land Part Deux in Animal Kingdom

Walt Disney World: What if Camp Minnie Mickey became an "fantasy land" for classic Disney Animals....

From robert morris
Posted November 24, 2012 at 1:02 PM
Instead of building an expensive two ride Avatar area that doesnt quite fit and seems not to excite people.

How about a cost effective land that makes Animal Kingdom a full day park:

Here's the plan two dark rides clustered in forest area for Bambi and Fox & the Hound,

A Jungle area with of course Lion King & The Jungle Book.

A city area featuring 101 Dalamations, Lady and the Tramp and Aristocats

This creates family fun as many children can't ride 3 of the 4 major attractions at this park much less the upcoming Avatar signature ride.

Would it be Beastly Kingdom? Nope... but I think that ship has sailed or it would already be built

Thoughts?

To flesh it out

Lion King Stays in a better venue with a indoor water ride for the Jungle Book in the Jungle and yes I know its India & Africa (but when has geography ever really been an issue)

Bambi as a dark ride with a Fox & the Hound Playground nearby in the forest

Aristocats as an interactive stage show in a Jazz Venue, 101 Dalmations dark ride along with a Lady & the Tramp Dark ride

Obviously built out for each sub-land with shopping and dining options


Comments in chronological order. Most recent at the bottom. Scroll down to respond.

From Anthony Murphy
Posted November 24, 2012 at 4:00 PM
Not a bad idea, but they were going to put a bit of a Animal Fantasyland, but that became the Lost Continent at IOA.


What I wouldn't mind seeing is an area that showcases the animals of North America. That would include gators, deer, bears, bufalo, racoons, etc. My local Zoo (Brookfield Zoo right outside of Chicago) has an exhibit like that could fit in AK.

While it was a weak show, the Pocahontas show in Camp Minnie Mickey that was closed a few years ago did a pretty effective display of NA animals.

From Melanie Howe
Posted November 24, 2012 at 6:40 PM
Love this concept!!! Especially the thought of my all-time favorite Disney tear-jerker, Fox & the Hound, getting some theme park love :-) And a Jungle Book water ride would just rock! Thanks for the idea, Robert, even if it ain't ever gonna happen!

From robert morris
Posted November 24, 2012 at 7:37 PM
There could of course be exhibits that match up with the animals in the attractions.

Like a Fox or Deer habitat in the forest, but I think a North American Zoo while nice wouldn't spike the meter to attract guest.

This would be more to drive traffic and keep guest from parkhopping therefore extending there stay on site

From Anthony Murphy
Posted November 25, 2012 at 5:46 PM
The Jungle Book used to have a show where Nemo is now.

While I am excited about Pandora, I would have liked to have seen another country represented. I feel Africa and Asia are the two strongest areas of the park.

From Andrew Dougherty
Posted November 25, 2012 at 7:18 PM
I actually think this will cost more but done right be more effective for Disney in the long run. Remember Avatar WILL have Avatar 2 AND Avatar 3 real easing before the ride and the possibility of Avatar 4 not long after that. If those sequels suck that will GREATLY impact the hype and effectiveness of the ride just think about Cameron's newer works haven't been very good, so just keep that in mind. And please don't remind me that theme park rides can be better than the movies. In my opinion Avatar will NEVER get the hype and the effect of Harry Potter.

From robert morris
Posted November 25, 2012 at 8:14 PM
Avatar has ways been quoted being at least 250 million...I couldn't see any scenario this would cost even 200 million and that's at 25 million an attraction and 25 million to landscape and that's including Lion King being a theater and Aristocats being a show and a Fox and Hound playground.

Also remember Disney gets all the money from merchandise from this, unlike Avatar

From robert morris
Posted November 27, 2012 at 6:21 AM
anyone outside of james cameron's immediate family exicted about avatar land?

From Park traveler
Posted November 27, 2012 at 8:05 AM
I hate the avatar movie so i am not exited to see this area. Unfortunatly we all know how much has been spent ahead for ride, prop and area developement. I dont know when the point of no return is but i am thinking it is past. Please tell me im wrong and thier is hope of something else.

From Mike Gallagher
Posted November 27, 2012 at 9:11 AM
Sure, there's hope for something else. John Carter Land, anyone?

From Dominick D
Posted November 27, 2012 at 9:26 AM
I just want a Lion King Land.

Mike, John Carter Land would be epic! John Carter Adventure would be the main ride!

From robert morris
Posted November 27, 2012 at 9:27 AM
With the exception to Universal makin a Water World stunt show, Box Office bombs generally don't get green lights for theme parks

From Mike Gallagher
Posted November 27, 2012 at 10:46 AM
If that reply was to me, Robert, I guess you don't know me very well.

Dom, you do (I think) so I'm sorely disappointed in your response, young man. :)

Maybe it's because I did not place a smiley face after my comment??

From Dominick D
Posted November 27, 2012 at 11:35 AM
I was just kidding on John Carter. Remember a while back how we were joking about John Carter Adventure? ;)

From James Rao
Posted November 28, 2012 at 6:06 AM
A few things...

John Carter was a very good movie, regardless of the expense of the film ($300M) or its box office take ($281M). I urge you to see it if you have not.

I enjoyed Fox and the Hound as well, but its paltry $43M in box office receipts, even if adjusted for inflation, would probably put it in the same "flop" category as John Carter. Meaning, it is doubtful we will ever see it featured in the parks as an attraction.

The rumored budget for James Cameron's Avatar Land is closer to $500M. It will be an expansive project larger than even New Fantasyland (rumored at $400M), and twice as expensive as IOA's WWOHP (which was about $250M). I for one am looking forward to whatever they decide to do in the Camp Minnie Mickey area, whether it be Avatar (which I am not ashamed to say I thoroughly enjoyed in 3D at the theater several times), or some other version of Beastly Kingdom.

Lastly, I like your ideas, but I would like to see them up in the Rafiki area (which is also in need of help) or as a redo for that awful Chester and Hester Dino-abomination area, rather than take up the space earmarked for Pandora.

From robert morris
Posted November 28, 2012 at 2:36 PM
If memory serves me right

Bambi
Lion King
Jungle Book
& 101 Dalmations are all in Disney's Top Ten Performers at the Box Office

With Lady and the Tramp and Aristocats somewhere in the middle

While Fox and the Hound adjusted for inflation is almost 160 million domestic so not bad and that's why it got the playground and not a ride.

But was used more to accompany Bambi in the forest aspect.

Could see Jungle Book in Asia or Lion King with Rafki but the forest and city animals would just not fit.

It just seems like Avatar was knee jerk reaction to WWoHP but now there's buyers remorse by Disney...

From James Rao
Posted November 28, 2012 at 6:10 PM
^I am sorry if you felt I was attacking your ideas - I was not. I like them. But I also like Avatar. So I am not ready to give up on the amazing world of Pandora coming to DAK. I think there is room for your ideas and Avatar. Lord knows this park needs an infusion of "something"...

As for your final statement about buyer's remorse, it is pure speculation. The only fact we have right now is that Bob Iger has publicly stated Disney is moving forward with plans for James Cameron's Avatar at DAK. Sure, things can change, but as of right now I am looking forward to what Cameron and WDI have in store for us in 2015/16.

Now, back to the topic of this discussion...

Since this thread is really a "FIX THIS PARK" type of thread, here's what I would like Disney to do to fix Disney’s Animal Kingdom (with parts of Robert's great ideas thrown into the mix).

Let me first state that I have no issue with Discovery Island or the Oasis. There are plenty of hidden gems in these areas if visitors take the time to explore, but since most people don't, I love having the area all to myself. Besides, if one thinks of these areas as Main Street, USA, and the central hub of the Magic Kingdom, then it really doesn’t make sense to have a lot of traffic-stopping attractions along the way. No changes needed.

I also think that for the most part Asia and Africa are fine. Yes, Expedition Everest needs an extended refurb to repair and improve all the special effects as well as its beleaguered Disco Yeti. And yes, Kali River Rapids needs to be extended and invigorated. But wholesale changes in these “lands” are not required.

No, where DAK needs help is in three areas: Dinoland, Rafiki's Planet Watch, and Camp Minnie-Mickey. The latter is (as of this writing) being taken care of as part of the Pandora/Avatar expansion in 2015 / 2016 (previously discussed), and I am sure whatever James Cameron and Disney’s Imagineers cook up will be way better than my musings here today. So that leaves just Dinoland and the Rafiki area that require fixing.

Dinoland USA needs a major overhaul. Chester & Hester's Dino-abomination does not meet Disney standards and must be replaced. Carnival games, carnival rides, and a horrific color scheme - that’s the type of "theming" that sends Walt tossing and turning in his cryogenic freezer. As part of the Chester and Hester area, Primeval Whirl is guilty by association and must be demolished as well. The ride itself is ugly, no fun, and the height restrictions (48" tall) are way too high. The younger kids are the only ones who MIGHT like this crappy coaster, but most of them are not tall enough to ride. At any rate, keep the Nemo musical (though I question how it thematically belongs in this section), Dinosaur (spruce it up and ensure all the effects are working properly again), and the Boneyard (although this play area should be enclosed and air conditioned), and build originally planned attractions like the Excavator (a runaway mine car roller coaster through an abandoned dinosaur dig), and for the kids, the Dinorama Meteor Dark Ride (a tamer version of Dinosaur). These changes should bring this section of the park up to Disney standards.

Rafiki's Planet Watch needs to be fleshed out into a fully realized land. First and foremost, the train ride needs to be far more interesting (an attraction unto itself), with plenty of live animals to see and watch along the route. Secondly, in preparation for more visitors wanting to come to this vastly improved area, there must be an alternate means of getting to and from the land besides the train. Most importantly, Planet Watch should keep the Lion King theme which would pave the way for Festival of the Lion King, closing soon to make way for Pandora, to be moved to the area. Next, add a Fantasyland-style, dark ride - a Hakuna Matada themed version of TKDL’s Pooh's Hunny Hunt would be a hugely successful addition. Sure some of the existing nature exhibits and meet 'n' greet areas can and should be kept, but a major new dark ride would go a long way towards making the area more inviting. Finally, build Lion King themed versions of some forgotten Beastly Kingdom attractions such as Fantasia Gardens (an indoor boat ride featuring the mythical animals of Fantasia) and Quest for the Unicorn (a hedge maze / play area). These improvements should make Rafiki’s Planet Watch one of the most popular areas of the park instead of a seldom visited afterthought.

One other change: the Discovery River Boats attraction needs to be re-implemented, perhaps as a series of floating restaurants. With these floating restaurants, the Rainforest Cafe can be dumped and replaced with a Six Flags style, parking lot mega coaster with a 500 foot drop and seventeen inversions!!!! ==> tongue in cheek, folks…… at least partially. =)

Oh, and in case anyone missed it earlier: FIX THE YETI!!!

From Andrew Dougherty
Posted November 28, 2012 at 7:59 PM
17 inversions? How is that even remotely possible? Not to mention speed from the 500 ft drop could literally crush someone from Gs. Not to mention it would most likely be a huge eyesore.

From James Rao
Posted November 28, 2012 at 10:12 PM
All that hard work and you focused on the facetious part?!? The internets can be so cruel! ;)

BTW, speaking of eyesores, having a Rainforest Cafe in a Disney park is, in and of itself, an eyesore, is it not?!

From robert morris
Posted November 29, 2012 at 6:48 AM
Actually don't mind the Rain Forest Cafe, as its being pretty well themed, and not completly in the park.

But still feel that Pandora can't solve this parks problems.

In that right now all most people do is: Everest, Safari, Rapids, Nemo, Dinosaur, Lion king. Bugs Life and one or other animal trail.

Even with 1/2 attractions in Pandora its at best still a 2/3 day park.

And for 500 million is a lot for two rides, doesn't seem like good business.

From James Rao
Posted November 29, 2012 at 6:53 AM
^IOA improved with the addition of ONE new ride, so DAK getting two or three (no official attraction lineup has been announced) would be nice. However, to your point, I did recommend WDI address Dino-abomination and Rafiki as well.

Regardless, Pandora would certainly be an improvement and a bold step in the right direction.

From robert morris
Posted November 29, 2012 at 9:30 AM
IOA was a much more complete park prior to WWoHP

also while only FJ was added i think many consider the shopping an attraction to it self

I dont think pandora has a "mall" that can draw that excitement

While I'm sure Avatar 2 will do well, but no where near its 1st level

You don't see the rabid fan base for Avatar you see for LOTR, HP, Marvel or even Seuss

From James Rao
Posted November 29, 2012 at 11:13 AM
I appreciate and respect your opinions, but I prefer to wait and see what Disney delivers rather than prognosticate doom for an expansion that has not even started physical construction yet. I'd like to think that after the huge success of Cars Land, Carthay Circle, New Fantasyland, and Storybook Circus the Disney Imagineers would have earned the benefit of the doubt.

From robert morris
Posted November 30, 2012 at 9:08 AM
the imagineers are doing a great job with theme, but not sure if capacity is being addressed

ie fantasyland until seven dwarfs opens has the same amount of rides and attractions as it did before the expansion

that's a problem and granted its not my money but 500 million for avatar isnt probably the best bang for the buck

From James Rao
Posted November 30, 2012 at 12:43 PM
^Interestingly enough, New Fantasyland was built for the expressed reason of handling the unmatched number of visitors that attend the Magic Kingdom daily - more than double the number of people as the next closest non-Disney competitor. So I disagree with your capacity statement.

I would note the following seven reasons as evidence of WDI's desire to alleviate some of the capacity problems the world's most attended theme park is having:

1) There is quite a bit more space for walking and sitting in the New Fantasyland area (which is truly an expansion and not just a retrofitting of an existing area).

2) They added a second spinner for Dumbo and a next gen queuing system to eliminate the 90 min waits on all those busy, devastatingly hot, summer days.

3) They built a Mermaid omnimover attraction that eats up crowds like nobody's business - at two or three times the rate of the retired Snow White dark ride.

4) There is more to come in 2014 with the addition of the the highly touted Seven Dwarves coaster which you mentioned.

5) There is a new sit down/counter service restaurant that is massive in scope and size - able to handle huge crowds and even "hugher" wallets (although the restaurant may not be big enough as the current lines stretch for vast distances as people race to sample this delightful new eatery).

6. A tavern, that is getting high praise across the board, has been included to provide a raucous respite from the crowds that flock to the number one vacation destination on the planet.

7. Lastly, the Imaginners added the next evolution of the character meet and greet with the magical Belle's Cottage.

So in total, the defense has illustrated a +7 GAIN in the capacity department. ;)

Now, concerning your comment about $500M being too much to spend for a land based on the number one film in box office history, I disagree as well. Mostly I disagree because I find it very difficult to judge what that $500M will buy when we have not seen anything but speculation and fanboy conjecture. All we can presume is that the new land will be at least as immersive and expansive as New Fantasyland (which was purchased for $400M) and has been well received so far.

But, let's look at the money issue from a different perspective: Disney is a massively rich company that makes over $1B in profit every quarter. Furthermore, they just spent a whopping $4.05B to buy everything Lucas ever created, stating that the money invested will be recouped in less than three years. I guess what I am saying is that to Disney, $500M is nothing special. Sure, it is a lot of money, especially to people like you and me (and to other theme park chains), but to Disney it is six weeks worth of profit - which they will gladly trade for a lifetime of satisfied customers and repeat visitors.

Now, back to your original topic, yes DAK needs some help, and yes, you have some great ideas, but let's give the Imagineers a chance to produce something tangible before we write the whole thing off as a complete failure, okay?

And Robert, you never did mention if you liked my ideas for Dinoland or Rafiki's Planet Watch. I'm hurt! ;p

From robert morris
Posted November 30, 2012 at 12:52 PM

rafki train upgrade yes

kid version of dinosaur not so sure

would love boneyard with ac but not gonna happen

only problem with mine train is similarity to expedition everest, seven dwarfs and big thunder...and the one rumored under construction in jurassic park

but yes dinoland needs an upgrade and yes imagineers brought us chester and hester

i still disagree that fantasyland is truly increased capacity as regards to restaurants one mk location is virtually always closed and another is seasonally

while i like the theming for many its about what rides or shows can i do

From robert morris
Posted November 30, 2012 at 1:18 PM
i do agree rafki needs a major upgrade its a very dissapointing petting zoo

and a lion king area could help

From James Rao
Posted November 30, 2012 at 5:11 PM
I am convinced of one thing, Robert: Disney definitely needs to hire you and I to improve Animal Kingdom today!

From robert morris
Posted November 30, 2012 at 9:09 PM
Thanks James that means alot

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