Avatar.... yea or nay?

March 1, 2015, 2:57 PM

So at first I was kinda on the fence about the new Avatar expansion at Disney's Animal Kingdom, but after seeing the concept art, early plans, and overall design, I am really excited about the new land.

Curious to see how everyone else feels. Has anyone started out negative but since changed their mind? Have you been positive since the start? Are you still not convinced? Or perhaps you are just going to reserve judgement until it actually opens.

So, three part answer. What is your personal opinion on the new land and has it changed at all since it was first announced? Do you think the land will be a success, and to what degree? And, just for fun, what would you like to see in Pandora that has not yet been announced?

Replies (105)

March 1, 2015, 3:31 PM

I think its awfully brave to be theming a zone that has just had one movie, and hasn't yet passed the test of time. If the next movie is a bust, or even the one after that, its going to become a "White elephant" quick.

March 1, 2015, 7:05 PM

Im just hoping they have one or two e-ticket rides that blow my mind!

March 1, 2015, 8:45 PM

I think it is something needed and will be a pretty good hit! I think there is another Avatar down the line!

March 1, 2015, 9:35 PM

There are three more Avatars coming that will be shot back-to-back-to-back and they will be a great success. I was first disappointed by the announcement as it wiped all hopes for Beasty Kingdom to become reality. I felt that Pandora didn't fit the theme of Animal Kingdom well enough. But after seeing the previews of the land I have to admit that I have changed my mind about Pandora and I am pretty excited to see and experience it first hand. It will need more rides though to be added later after the next three movies come out. An E-ticket soarin type ride and a boat ride are not enough to keep me coming back again and again.

March 1, 2015, 10:29 PM

Assuming the Avatar sequels ever get released (they've been delayed oh so many times), opening the land before they are released will only help build anticipation. Despicable Me now gets long waits virtually everyday, something that didn't happen that much until the sequel.

March 1, 2015, 10:52 PM

Will it be successful? Yes. Will this compare to Harry? No because this is just one movie. Does this alone draw me in? Nope, I'm waiting for a truely immersive ip like Star Wars and/or Star Trek.

March 2, 2015, 4:44 AM

I've been in favor of the Avatar expansion since it was first announced and still cannot fathom why some folks are opposed to Disney and James Cameron teaming up in this fashion. The expansion (including the Rivers of Light spectacular) will be a huge success in that it will keep visitors in the park beyond a half day. And my hope is that once Avatar is up and running, the pressure will be off Expedition Everest as a headliner, so it can be part of an extended refurb to fix the Yeti once and for all.

Edited: March 2, 2015, 10:59 AM

I'm on the fence, but the most recent promotional video shows promise. I was initially puzzled by the partnership announcement, and the timeline to build the expansion really didn't address the immediate problems of DAK. However, as we get closer to the debut, I have to say I'm a bit intrigued by Avatar, and if Disney can really make the limited mythology appealing to repeat guests. The night show will obviously solve the biggest problem of the park, but can the actual land have enough to get visitors to stay engaged and want to come back to see it again? I'm still skeptical about that, but not as much as I was when the initial announcement was made when it was clear Disney was grasping at whatever they could to counteract Universal's WWoHP and their Diagon Alley announcement.

March 2, 2015, 10:52 AM

Personally, I absolutely abhor Avatar and James Cameron to boot. Avatar is the epitome of everything wrong with Hollywood right now and proves that media hype is worth far more than actual storytelling, depth, character, theme, and narrative.

Now, all that aside, I do think that to actually see the world of Pandora realized in a theme park environment will be pretty spectacular. Cameron's talents would have been far better utilized in a theme park atmosphere, where story and meaning are minimal and atmosphere, visual aesthetic, and theme are paramount.

I'm on the fence, though a reskin of Soarin' with a trip through Pandora doesn't exactly excite me. It further lessens my faith in the current generation of Imagineers and Disney parks management(at least state side). They have a real opportunity to push the boundries of theme park immersion and ride technology and are again opting for a system and technology that has already been done numerous times before. Let's hope we get something truly groundbreaking out of this but I'm not holding my breath.

Edited: March 2, 2015, 12:52 PM

I'm not on the fence. I'm fully on the Avatar camp. I just don't see the big deal about it. Animal Kingdom is a magnificent park and Avatar can only enhance it. What ruins the park is cheap Dinoland. Just like Disney fixed California Adventure by improving the main boulevard, they can change out all the bad areas (and the non-working creature in Mount Everest) and make the park realize its potential.

Those who like Avatar, go to the left. Those who hate Avatar can go to the right for Dinoland.

Edited: March 2, 2015, 12:54 PM

I've always believed that Pandora (Avatar) will be an extraordinary success. Every bit as big as Potter.

Unlike Diagon Alley or Hogmeade guests will not have to have all that much familiarity with the film's plot or characters to appreciate the grandeur of Pandora. Rather visitors will be immersed in the environment of another world -- boasting two e-ticket attractions set among mountains, forests, waterfalls and rivers. An environment that will change from daylight to night.

Disney's Animal Kingdom is rightfully counted among the most beautifully landscaped theme parks on the planet. It is the signature accomplishment of WDI's Joe Rohde -- the creative force behind the development of Pandora.

It's going to be spectacular.

March 2, 2015, 3:10 PM

Landscape that you consider beautiful, many guests find boring and overgrown. I'm not among those people, but understand that it does take some knowledge and keen observation skills to truly appreciate the landscaping of that park since so much of it is designed to look natural and not formally landscaped. I don't think many people truly appreciate the work of Joe Rohde at DAK, but I do wonder if WDI is able to pull off the "otherworldly" yet natural look required for Pandora. It is going to take a certain level of precision to get it to look right, not too fake looking, yet still vivid enough to elicit references to the movie.

From early reports, there will be just one e-ticket attraction (the Soarin'-like ride) and a d-ticket attraction (boat ride), which Disney has provided very little detail about (perhaps it may not even be open when Pandora debuts in 2017).

March 2, 2015, 3:53 PM

Considering that Disney has provided "very little detail" about the boat attraction how can you conclude it's a "d-ticket?"

March 2, 2015, 4:23 PM

Russell, I have yet to meet or hear about a single person who does not find Animal Kingdom to be beautiful, let alone find it to be, "boring and overgrown".

You have a good point on having to nail Pandora's look, but I have full faith, both from what I have seen, and from my faith in Mr. Rohde, that WDI will nail it.

They haven't said much on the boat ride (though if they had planned for it not to open until after the initial Pandora debut, I doubt they would have mentioned it at all), but I would agree that the boat ride is most likely closer to a d-ticket to complement the Soarin-like ride serving as the centerpiece.

But most of the time I prefer a nice gentle d-ticket mixed in with my dazzling E-tickets. A nice gentle boat ride through the jungles of Pandora (with maybe a drop or two), sounds pretty good to me.

March 2, 2015, 6:48 PM

I think it will be a great addition, it just isn't something I'm excited about seeing. Build an Indiana Jones attraction... Well I'd be booking tickets.

March 2, 2015, 7:27 PM

I'm a "nay". Hopefully Disney is up to the challenge to provide an experience that will change this naysayer to a "yea". I'll believe it when I see it.

March 2, 2015, 8:40 PM

Interesting thing I found for the people worried about the Banshee ride being a Soarin' clone...

I found an article on About Travel by Arthur Levine in which he says, "[Joe Rohde] told me in October 2013 that while there might be some similarities to the existing Epcot and Disney California Adventure attraction, the banshee ride would be considerably more thrilling and would break new ground. He didn't divulge any more details, but did promise that it would dazzle guests."

Take that for what it is worth. Just thought it was interesting.

March 2, 2015, 9:43 PM

There's an article that says Iger rode on a banshee that was lifelike. Definitely not a Soaring clone. There is also another article that suggests it is a Soaring 2.0 with full rotation whereas the original is just goes up and down. 360 degrees vertical rotation is possible. This project is more ambitious than we give credit to Disney. The stakes are quite high.

March 3, 2015, 11:16 AM

I think Back to the Future/Simpsons Ride might be a better analogy for Avatar, given that they are moving ride vehicles in front of an IMAX-style screen. Soarin's seats do not move during the show, save for rising into position before the movie and lowering afterward. (But so many people freak out when anyone compares a Disney attraction to a Universal one, alas.)

That said, I expect Avatar's ride vehicles to be quite a bit more exciting than the Simpsons Ride ones (though it's tough to beat riding in a DeLorean time machine).

Edited: March 3, 2015, 12:42 PM

The creative possibilities really are difficult to limit.

March 3, 2015, 12:48 PM

I dream of a real Avatar based ride where we get to climb into a truck-like vehicle with mounted laser guns and get to shoot the crap out of every alien life-form we see before those aliens can rip us to pieces. Sometimes we win, sometimes the Pandora aliens win. The real Avatar movie experience.

Edited: March 3, 2015, 1:25 PM

Robert - The seats do tilt forward and backward ever so slightly to accentuate the visuals on the screen, so to say they don't move once being lifted into position is not completely accurate. The movement is minimal, but the seats do still move once in the flying position.

Personally, I'd like to hop into a mech and stomp around the forest, or actually have my consciousness transferred into a Navi body.

Edited: March 3, 2015, 4:27 PM

Per usual, Robert makes an excellent point! Adding to the mix is the potential for the attraction to draw from the popularity of Star Tours 2.0 -- meaning each time someone rides the experience changes.

That would take things to another level.

Surely with three 'Avatar' sequels in production, James Cameron will be exploring new environments -- both on Pandora as well as other worlds.

When it comes to taking the next step in themed entertainment ... This could be huge -- and certainly well worth the wait.

March 3, 2015, 4:33 PM

You're still suspended like Soarin' right? Or is that yet to be certain? I also wonder how the show building will be blended into the land. It could be a mountain, hidden by tree's, or maybe something else entirely.

Regardless, I agree with TH that this could be huge. I believe it has the potential to make Animal Kingdom the best Disney park in Orlando, and possibly the United States.

March 3, 2015, 4:43 PM

You can only be sure you're suspended. As for the building, it will be concealed and blended into the environment. As to how, it is too early to know. You should wait for the opening. These questions are a bit like "you gotta be kidding."

March 3, 2015, 10:39 PM

Several Orlando area theme park bloggers have posted air photos of the Pandora construction area in the last few months. Pixels In The Park maybe. Maybe look them over and compare them to the various leaked plans will help whoever is interested in figuring it out.

March 4, 2015, 6:21 PM

It's reassuring how the concept artwork is all consistent.

March 4, 2015, 9:11 PM

One thing that's never exactly been clear is how food and merchandise is supposed to work. The Na'vi don't operate business, so what exactly are the restaurants and shops gonna be modeled after? The only possibility I guess would be themed after the human base, but it doesn't look like that'll be a part of the land.

Edited: March 5, 2015, 12:59 AM

A lot of those kinds of things is left up to imagination, James. A blue navi burger and fries, a tree of life meet and greet, a glow in the dark tail head piece thing. With no source material this might happen, we just don't know. The director and disney are going with the environmental approach so anything to do with big trucks, mechs, or home base is out of the question. Although those things would be great to see too but it's going to be Disney and everything toddler friendly. Almost all of those animals would love to have toddlers too as a snack. it's not just a lack of sorce material but there use of that minimal material. Pandora is dangerous in the movie but I don't think that Disney is going down that road at all and that's a shame.

It's like everyone was fine with people acting with orcas to pull off a widely popular show at sea world until an accident happened and they put two and two together. Maybe we shouldn't be messing around with these killer whales? Because, I don't know, they are called Killer Whales. Everything is trying to eat you and you should be aware of that but Disney will sugar coat so much that it won't be true to what little of the source material there is.

I'm glad that Disney decided not to do an America History Park because of sugar coating serious issues in our history like the treatment of American Indians, Civil Rights, Civil War, and the Revolution.

Edited: March 5, 2015, 6:00 AM

AB, are you saying Disney shouldn't sugar coat the dangers of Pandora and instead visitors should be fodder for mythical beasts? While I admire your spirit of authenticity, I don't think even your beloved Universal would do something so...uh...criminal. Do you?

March 5, 2015, 8:19 AM

Killing off some of the guests might be good... Shorter lines ya know...

March 5, 2015, 9:35 AM

All valid scenarios :) Really I was just posting the question, should Disney even build Avatar at all? With a single violent movie (young kid standards) be a suitable land that you put in an educational theme park? The reality is we only have one movie and it looks like the sequels are pushed back well beyond 2017

March 5, 2015, 11:44 AM

Court E - you're crazy, bro, just crazy! ;)

AB - yes, Disney should build Avatar. The first film was not any more violent than Pirates or Star Wars or Indiana Jones or.... you get the point. As for Avatar film delays the latest I read is that Avatar 2 has been pushed back one year to 2017 (comingsoon.net). You have something more recent?

March 5, 2015, 11:51 AM

"But there is beauty, even in the most frightening things ..."

Certainly if the theme park is supposed to represent Pandora after the events in the first film, then it can be accurately depicted as a world at peace.

And while the indigenous wildlife is dangerous, does this represent an experience any more frightening than confrontations with pythons, hippos, headhunters and cobras (the Jungle Cruise), or a demonic, mass murdering sorcerer (Voldemort in 'Escape from Gringotts'), or vicious rampaging dinosaurs ('Jurassic Park River Adventure' and DAK's 'Dinosaur'), or a great white shark ('Jaws') or an enormous (and angry) ape ('King Kong')?

Should these experiences be regarded as too intense to be promoted as family entertainment?

Edited: March 5, 2015, 11:59 AM

By the way, another exciting consideration regarding the DAK expansion is that any film work produced for the attraction will be completed under the direction of James Cameron. While some might not like the film's story, there's little room to deny that it is visually stunning.

Mr. Cameron's guiding hand will (without question) be a huge asset in the development of these two e-tickets.

March 5, 2015, 12:24 PM

To creative, this is about a location in Disney theme park which is "all about the children" that you said countless times on other posts and that Universal is geared for older kids and adults which I agree with. Too bad that Disney didn't have that insight to give the director/creator/author a little bit more controll back in the late 2000's because they could have had Harry. I don't want anyone to tell me the way Harry did for Universal didn't influence the way that Disney does projects going forward. Harry is industry game changer and that is exactly why they are giving so much lee way to the Director. I just hope it works out. Doesn't matter if your at the top or bottom, any one would like a 39% increase and that's all due to Harry. Love him or hate him he's bringing in the dough and it stings a little knowing that Disney could have had that.

March 5, 2015, 2:40 PM

Apple Butter "this is about a location in Disney theme park which is "all about the children" that you said countless times on other posts ..."

I respond: Not sure I ever posted that every attraction at Disney is "all about the children." And I am also not sure (as I posted previously) why a peaceful Pandora -- set in a time after the film -- would be unacceptable for all ages.

Edited: March 5, 2015, 2:45 PM

AB, I disagree entirely with the assertion that Disney fans wish the company had fought harder for the rights to Harry Potter and the JK Rowling Headaches. No way. If Universal did not get Harry Potter they would likely be on their last legs now instead of being a major driving force in themed attraction design. Competition is great for Orlando park fans, and despite having some other wonderful attractions, Universal is a sunk ship without Potter and his rabid fans.

Edited: March 5, 2015, 3:55 PM

Hey Rao, Do you think UC is bringing Kong back because they have run out of IP-deas?


(Trademark Fairy goes "Ding!" and THC owns the rights to the term "IP-deas.")

March 5, 2015, 5:35 PM

Universal does need an attraction that doesn't require an annual royalty payment. Sadly, Kong just doesn't budge the excitement meter.

Edited: March 5, 2015, 5:51 PM

What if it was a prequel attraction where it turns out Kong was a boy wizard who goes to a magical school where ... oh yeah ... They did that already.

Wait look ... Down the road ... It's the Death Star ... And other shiny things ... Let's go there instead!

Kidding! Again! Sort of ...

Edited: March 5, 2015, 6:32 PM

By the way, when measuring a theme park operator's potential, it might be wiser to look forward (vision) rather than banking on previous accomplishments ("been there, stood in line for that").

From Tech crunch:

"Walt Disney Imagineering Creative Technologies Lead Bei Yang says that one major advantage to the cave approach is that it cuts down on the number of factors that can lead to motion sickness while you’re in the virtual reality experience. Instead of implementing stereoscopic 3D effects, Disney is able to use motion tracking to draw 2D images that look like they have depth — like the Amazon Fire Phone’s “dynamic perspective,” but at a much larger scale.

"This approach also lets the team implement virtual reality-like experiences built for multiple people to experience simultaneously. Along with the Ratatouille ride, there are also experiences like a Toy Story-based shooter where you and a friend move through a preset area and shoot at characters and targets in the environment around you. Through years of testing these experiences, the team learned tricks for further reducing motion sickness, like not allowing the ride and screen to simulate the zero-point turns common in first-person shooters (and therefore, most early VR experiences) because most humans aren’t actually comfortable with constantly turning left and right without accommodating the change with a slight movement of the rest of their body."

And of course there's THIS. I wonder if the UC team is doing stuff at this (DISH) level?

March 5, 2015, 6:37 PM

I would argue that Disney is not, "all about the children", but rather, it is all about the family. It has a variety of attractions for every member of the family, from child to teenager to adult.

Pandora will be very beautiful, a game changer by the looks of it. With what appears to be a thrilling Banshee ride for teenagers and young adults. And a peaceful boat ride for older adults and children. Once again, aimed at the family.

As Walt Disney said, "We believed in our idea - a family park where parents and children could have fun- together."

March 5, 2015, 8:13 PM

I used the TPI search function and I found this quote:

"Boy, Apple Sauce got quiet kinda quick."

March 5, 2015, 9:54 PM

I'm just laughing and smiling because I know I made you guys angry mad because I said it stings poor old Disney. What 4 or 5 posts without a response. Don't you guys have anything better to do on a Thursday night? You guys won't admit it but you bet that Harry changed the industry standard for the foreseeable future. That's why the Star Wars project is pushed back and the Avatar project is looked over with a fine tooth comb by the director. Everyone (meaning theme parks) may win in Orlando but Universal gets to pocket all the money Harry brings in.

TH, posting something about the animatronics on seven dwarfs ride as proof that Disney is a leader in creativity and tech. Really? A kids coaster that's too short and confusing. It has dark ride and coaster elements but in doing both it looses on both. Niles review wasn't good for the ride also. The commercial campaign was a joke, 1990's ad with glasses.Whatever happened to that commercial, oh yeah it got yanked cause it was so bad. Come on TH and James and every other Disney fanatic, your better than this.

March 5, 2015, 10:24 PM

Todd Donahue/Apple Butter, you should really move on from the notion that Disney is going to turn Avatar into a cheesy nightmare. I'll admit, the project doesn't really excite me, but I'm also sure that Disney knows that people are expecting them to fail and are gonna pull out all the stops to prove them wrong. It happened with Cars Land and I'm sure it'll happen here.

March 5, 2015, 10:34 PM

"...but Universal gets to pocket all the money Harry brings in."

Not true. JK Rowling and Warner Brothers both get a piece of that pie, AB.

March 5, 2015, 10:42 PM

Apple Butter, maybe I missed it, but I don't think anyone has tried to argue that Potter was not a game changer, or that it did not challenged Disney to do more. In fact, Mr. Rao even said how competition makes the theme parks better. Potter was a major push for Disney to do more.

Did you watch the whole video TH posted? It was more about the new and improved technology that was being developed, not the Mine Train ride by itself. It was showing all of the new visual effects that WDI will be able to use on future rides.

"and every other Disney fanatic" - Oh please, everyone has a bias, yours just happens to be for Universal.

Edited: March 6, 2015, 3:22 AM

To be clear I think "Harry changed the industry standard for the foreseeable future." And I think technology like DISH and the participation of entertainment pioneers like James Cameron will change the industry standard some time well beyond the "foreseeable future."

March 6, 2015, 10:55 AM

James, Jack, and TH make valid points but I don't see where Avatar can be AS successful as Harry. I also don't believe Kong will be as successful as Harry or maybe even Avatar because Avater has environment and several rides where Kong just has one. Avatar does not have the fans, merchandise, and food that you can experience in Harry. Now I'll be the first in line for the Star Wars land because it like Harry, even more so, has all of those things already through movies, TV, and literature in place so the land can use those and feed off of them to be a huge success rather than the other way around. I want action, drama, suspense, humor, and a wow factor and I don't see that happing with Avatar like POTC, Tower of Terror, or Haunted Mansion. With a clone soaring ride and a boat ride it doesn't look to be that tech advanced? Without merchandise and food product already in place it's going to be hard to get people immersed in Pandora like Harry,

March 6, 2015, 12:34 PM

Like trying to nail Jello to the Tree of Souls.

Edited: March 6, 2015, 1:46 PM

The Banshee ride is clearly not going to be a Soarin' clone. Even Robert said it is likely to be more along the lines of The Simpsons ride. And by the looks of it, it is going to be a thrill ride that you want so bad.

March 6, 2015, 3:45 PM

How am I supposed to breath in this land? I'm pretty sure Pandora was impossible for humans to breath on? Am I gonna have to wear a mask to be fully immersed?

Edited: March 6, 2015, 3:58 PM

To Mr. Court E. ... You can use the same magical powers that allow you to walk from London to San Francisco to New York in under a minute when you visit Universal Studios Florida.

March 6, 2015, 4:46 PM

No Court E, each guest will be given a mech-suit upon entry.

March 6, 2015, 4:54 PM

Ok, I'm on board with the mech suit. Best theme park ever then. 10/10.

March 8, 2015, 11:18 AM

Nah ... 'Pandora - The Land of Avatar' will be bigger than Potter.

March 8, 2015, 1:19 PM

In your mind TH, only in your mind

Edited: March 8, 2015, 2:11 PM

Thus far, AB ... Thus far.

March 8, 2015, 3:44 PM

Pandora - The Land of Avatar will be a great reason for Orlando vacationers who have extra days on their multi-day Disney World tickets to decide to use one of them at Animal Kingdom instead of going to Epcot or Hollywood Studios.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is a great reason for a hundred million world-wide readers of 7 Harry Potter books and watchers of 8 Harry Potter movies to decide to travel thousands of miles to vacation in Universal Orlando.

Edited: March 8, 2015, 4:07 PM

Tony Duda writes: 'The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is a great reason for a hundred million world-wide readers of 7 Harry Potter books and watchers of 8 Harry Potter movies to decide to travel thousands of miles to vacation in Universal Orlando."

I Respond: Or to vacation at the Harry Potter attractions in London ... Or Japan ... Or Los Angeles ... Say, considering the fact that (as you assert) there are "a hundred million world-wide readers" of the Potter books, why does the TEA/AECOM report (for whatever it is worth) only rank UO attendance at (combined) around fifteen million? That would seem to be a lot less than "a hundred million" ... Wouldn't it?

March 8, 2015, 4:49 PM

How many people saw Pandora?

March 8, 2015, 5:07 PM

Not sure how many "people" saw it, but two months after its release (on January 31, 2010) it became the first film to earn over $2 billion worldwide (Wiki).

Edited: March 8, 2015, 7:48 PM

Avatar sold over 65M tickets in the US alone where it made only $760M of its $2.7B in grosses (making more than the first three Harry Potter movies combined). It also broke the record of first day sales for its Blu Ray release (beating out the previous record of 600K set by The Dark Knight) selling 1.5M units (Avatar ultimately made almost $400M in Blu Ray/DVD sales total).

Suffice it to say that LOTS of people experienced Avatar, and even more will joyfully enter the world of Pandora when the work at DAK is complete.

Edited: March 8, 2015, 8:50 PM

Wow, I keep re-reading what I wrote and nowhere do I say 100,000,000 people have visited WWOHP. It takes time and money to actually visit. I said they have a reason to visit based on their affection for that franchise. To illustrate how I think things will turn out: In 2013, my friend and his wife and their 2 tween daughters visited Orlando and were most interested in WWOHP of all the great Orlando attractions. They want to return and see Diagon Alley. They are from Chicago, solidly middle class or better and they think the next time they can get to Orlando on vacation is 2016. It takes time and effort to save for these trips and I expect this is the same world-wide. WWOHP Diagon Alley is only 8 months old, I expect a constant big stream of visitors over the next few years as multi-year plans for expensive vacations come to fruition.

As for how Avatar got to be such a massive ticket selling smash movie, to me, it was the 3D technology because I was one of those ticket buyers and that is the reason I saw it. The movie plot, themes and overall political message sucked. These themes were done better in other movies. I have no emotional connection to Avatar but I have a great admiration for the technology used to make it.

I also have no real emotional connection to Harry Potter but I do understand that vast numbers of people do, just as I understand that there is virtually no emotion connection to Avatar by anyone.

I have seen hundred(s) of movies over my lifetime and it is hard to think of any that are basically one-off movies that I would care to see a themed land in a park made about. An equivalent to Avatar could be 2001 - A Space Odyssey. That had a sequel, some books and fantastic visuals. I don't think I would plan a vacation around seeing a theme park land of it but if I was in the neighborhood, I would drop in. Which is how I think Pandora will be thought of.

As for the other WWOHP in Japan, Hollywood etc. Yes, fans will go there as their finances and time commitments allow. But UOR has two WWOHP lands and that will always get more interest from fans and Orlando has other world-class attractions to fill out a great vacation. Maybe some will even go to Animal Kingdom to see Pandora, a place I'm sure will be beautiful and amazing.

[Edit-Wow, that was long. Can't tell because the comment box is so small]

Edited: March 8, 2015, 9:48 PM

No emotional connection to Avatar? Remember this story? A movie doesn't create a worldwide phenomenon just on special effects alone. There has to be some sort of connection to the masses to reach such lofty heights.

March 9, 2015, 3:50 AM

Mr. Duda writes: "The movie plot, themes and overall political message sucked."

I Respond: No it didn't.

March 9, 2015, 5:55 AM

Tony Duda
i ve said this on other theme park forums...if the reason for the success of the movie was 3D technology why did it sell so incredibly well on Blu Ray?
i have no idea how it will do compared to what WWOHP did nor do you only time will tell. a reminder this is a full expansion at DAK obviously Avatar is the biggest part but many things are being added including: dining, Rivers of Light, night time safari, harambe market place expansion.
my question to you is if there was no avatar movie and Disney announced they were going to collaborate with James Cameron to create a mythical world with floating mtns and bioluminescent flora and fauna the public would be thrilled
dont you agree?

March 9, 2015, 8:57 AM

^Yes. Definitely.

March 9, 2015, 2:11 PM

Good point Tony W.

March 9, 2015, 10:54 PM

You mean Disney was too chicken to build Beastly Kingdom on its own but are brave enough to build it if they can blame Cameron for its possible failure? Whatever the result, when all the new stuff is built and running in about 4 years, Animal Kingdom will be a great full-day park. It's just the knee-jerk reaction to what UOR does that irks me. Disney was better than this.

March 10, 2015, 3:54 AM

If Avatar Land was a knee jerk reaction it would have been finished in 2012. The methodical process of design and implementation they are using does not lend itself to knee jerk anything.

March 10, 2015, 4:00 AM

the old beastly kingdom argument.... BK reminds me of the back up QB..he s always the most popular guy on the team... we really have no idea what it would have been so why continue to bring it up....its over it wasnt happening regardless, that ship sailed about 10 years ago....but you didnt answer my question

March 10, 2015, 4:42 AM


March 10, 2015, 1:42 PM

The knee-jerk reaction was signing the contract with Cameron. If they waited a bit, all the great Lucas properties would have been available. Wouldn't a South American land with some Indiana Jones tie-in be great for Animal Kingdom?

March 10, 2015, 2:19 PM

Who wouldn't want to sign a contract with James Cameron to be involved in themed attraction development???? That move just makes good business sense. Now Disney has Cameron and the Lucas properties. And Marvel. And Pixar. And their own timeless IPs. Seems to me like Iger's long term strategy of growth by acquisition is paying off already.

Edited: March 10, 2015, 2:29 PM

So it would ne a "knee jerk" reaction measured in hundreds of millions of dollars? I see.

Edited: March 10, 2015, 2:29 PM

Honestly, the Indiana Jones thing at Animal Kingdom does not sound better than floating mountains, light up plants, and everything else that accompanies Pandora...

I feel like once it opens, most everyone will love it. Just like Cars Land.

Edited: March 10, 2015, 3:29 PM

Based upon track record and history, posters don't provide reasons for attacking Disney's IP theme park choices ... They provide rationalizations ... Weak sauce.

Edited: March 10, 2015, 9:43 PM


But thanks for making my point. With so many fantastic Disney IPs to use, why did they feel it necessary to go outside the company and contract for Avatar? Anyway, whatever is built will be wondrous and jaw-dropping.

March 11, 2015, 1:28 AM

Mr. Duda writes: "With so many fantastic Disney IPs to use, why did they feel it necessary to go outside the company and contract for Avatar?"

I Respond: Maybe because they had the wisdom and experience to realize that the creative collaboration between WDI creative genius Joe Rohde and groundbreaking filmmaker James Cameron would result in something "wondrous and jaw-dropping."

Edited: March 11, 2015, 4:27 AM

As I already pointed out, Iger's M.O. has been to expand Disney through acquisition. He did it with Pixar, with Marvel, with Avatar, and Star Wars. He's staying true to form and bringing in creative IPs that mesh with Disney's overall theme of adventure, creativity, and wonder. To single out Avatar and say it doesn't "fit the mold" is preposterous. The World of Avatar couldn't be more Disney if Disney Imagineers had created it themselves. And now Disney Imagineers led by the highly touted and industry respected Joe Rohde, are "recreating" that world to blend in with the nature and wonder of DAK. It is a match made in theme park Heaven. And the beauty of it all is that we get to have our cake and eat it too because Disney is also bringing more Pixar to the parks. And they are bringing Star Wars to the parks. And (in California) they are likely bringing Marvel to the parks. So all of Iger's acquisitions are going to be represented. It is not like Avatar is preventing an IP from being realized. It is just one more piece of a massive plan to enhance and revitalize the Disney brand for years to come. I fail to see a downside.

March 11, 2015, 4:55 AM

Does Disney own Avatar? Why not use one of their own many properties. Oh wait they can't use Marvel in Florida because Universal Theme Park has the rights in that location, they just acquired those rights last year. They see how wonderful the Seven Dwarfs ride is doing.... And they thought that to compete with Harry they have to fight fire with fire. Yes everyone wins in Florida if a park steps up their game but a customers dollar only goes so far. Disney World may not be hurting now but they see the writing on the wall where Universal is moving to expand on all fronts by new hotels, redoing city walk, a state of the art water park, new attractions and shows to make it more of a two day attraction into four, five, or whole week vacation. Grabbing that customer from Disney for a few more days is not something Disney wants so they are trying to update because their classics are getting, well classic. When you think about it the last true adult thrill rides were Tower of Terror or Everest, so they want to make damn sure that customers are staying at Disney. Why not create an ip that maybe goes a little far from their "Disney Side"?

I get why they are doing it and it will be successful. Will it keep Disney customers at Disney? Only time will tell. A 39% increase looks great for Universal but Disney is looking at as either Universal is stealing our customers or getting new customers. Either of those scenarios Disney wants that action.

March 11, 2015, 7:19 AM

AB could you clarify what you mean by 39% increase, please.

March 11, 2015, 7:27 AM

i would say its for 4th quarter revenue

March 11, 2015, 8:42 AM

Rob Pastor offered this in laste February: "Universal had a very successful fourth quarter, as announced at that same meeting. The "revenue increase" for all USA parks was an outstanding 29.9% increase. That follows a huge attendance increase (19% "attendance" increase all parks) during the third quarter. Since that figure also includes Universal Hollywood, which hasn't completed their expansion yet, that percentage was probably even a bit higher for Orlando Universal alone. This should put the lie to those posters who continually say that Diagon Alley was a failure. Those are numbers rarely ever reached during any expansions.

March 11, 2015, 9:44 AM

There really isn't any argument that the land will suck. Anyone saying it will is just using Disney's history in the late 1990's to justify that argument, to which there is no merit. The land I'm sure will be great. Full of fantastic little details that may have us all going back to watch the movie to figure out what "they" are. Wether this expansion was a knee jerk reaction or not, is also irrelevant. Even if Disney built this exclusively to combat Potter, how does that automatically make the land a negative addition to the park? Simply it doesn't.

Really the atmosphere of this land will most likely be astonishing. The movies landscapes were jaw dropping back when the movie came out. The only thing people can really do is raz the IP a little bit. I expect "hair sex" to increase astronomically at the resort when this new land opens.

March 11, 2015, 9:53 AM


March 11, 2015, 10:25 AM

Court E... well said. After your last post you should just drop the mic and saunter victoriously away from this thread. You are declared the winner. Gratz!

March 12, 2015, 7:14 AM

When Na'vi join hairs, does that make babies? Try answering that to an inquisitive six year old.....

Edited: March 12, 2015, 8:13 AM

Most of today's six year olds already know the answer.

March 12, 2015, 10:58 AM

I believe this is going to make a great addition to Animal Kingdom. And it's something I'm looking forward too. While IP's have a lot of collateral influence, the implementation is really what's most important. Waterworld, a terrible IP, is a good example of how a good plan can transcend problems with an IP. Some really talented people are involved in this and I'd bet the budget will be huge. My money is on Avatar being a home run. Probably not the grand slam Diagon is, but certainly in(or out of)the ballpark.

Edited: March 17, 2015, 2:22 PM

Attractions Magazine in Orlando just published an article on the history of how and why Disney made the Avatar deal. It's labeled as rumor so Disney lawyers can spend their time on other things.


A new air photo of the Avatarland construction site was posted by @bioreconstruct on Twitter March 17.

March 20, 2015, 3:16 PM

From what I have been told/seen today .... 'Pandora: The Land of Avatar' will be substantially bigger than the Potter projects.

March 20, 2015, 5:33 PM

It looks like on the aerial maps to be a fairly large area. I wonder what the budget is for it compared to Potter.

Edited: March 20, 2015, 7:06 PM

Since publicized budgets for Potter are just wild guesses ... How would anyone possibly know?

March 20, 2015, 7:10 PM

It was more of a statement than a question. Not saying anyone would know for sure. I'm just curious as to how much in general Disney is investing in this compared to how much Universal invested in Potter. Based on the technology and apparently larger scale, I would guess quite a bit more.

Edited: March 20, 2015, 10:28 PM

I was curious about how big in area each site is and used Google maps satellite photos to figure out rough estimates. Based on the construction area seen in @bioreconstruct's air photo, Pandora looked about 12-13 acres. All new land to build everything from scratch. Nothing available to re-theme so make it all new.

Hogsmeade's size was a surprise, it is about 11 acres with the Forbidden Journey building 2 acres, Dragon Challenge area about 4 acres and the village area about 5 acres. Much larger than I thought. It is either a blessing or a curse that 3 coasters were there and available to be re-themed. But no one knew if this was going to be a smash hit or a big dud. Limit some cost with the re-theme instead of all new.

Diagon Alley was small, about 5 acres total but Escape from Gringotts ride building is about 2 acres and Kings Cross Station about 1 acre. The city area is about 2 acres.

It is interesting to see the size of areas needed for attraction buildings but also that area is hidden from the paying customers.

March 22, 2015, 2:12 PM

From what I have read ... Avatar is 17 acres. Diagon Alley is 22 acres.

March 22, 2015, 2:42 PM

If threads are allowed to go past 100 responses, I'd love to hear what TH saw/was told. If not, that's what the edit function is for.

Ball's in your court TH. :)

March 23, 2015, 5:30 AM

Im pretty sure the Avatar area is about 12 acres although im not sure they will use the entire area...still a big area

and TH i would love to hear what you heard....

March 23, 2015, 9:59 AM

I read a lot of weird stuff, so actually being able to use publicly available info to do my own fact checking is wonderful. Kind of tells me who is reliable and who isn't. Spreading falsehoods when you know what is true is ... problematic?

March 28, 2015, 7:14 PM

What I know for a FACT: Team WDI is delighted that the internet theme park foamers are underestimating the Avatar expansion.

Edited: March 28, 2015, 8:46 PM

Maybe because regardless of how Avatar comes out, they aren't interested. People might learn to care about Avatar and that might be the biggest surprise.

March 29, 2015, 9:09 PM

i m shocked at the close mindedness and prejudgment of people
silly and immature really,...all im saying is give it a chance

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