Vote of the week: Avatar vs. Iron Man?

October 26, 2012, 9:14 AM · Do new attractions motivate you to book a theme park vacation? Yes, no, maybe? Let's talk about a couple of specific new attractions, then. How about the new Avatar show/ride coming to Disney's Animal Kingdom? Or the rumored new Iron Man ride at Disneyland? Would either of them entice you into taking a trip you might not have made without them? If so, which one would you most want to book an extra trip to experience?

The future home of Stark Expo?

Let's make this our Vote of the Week. We know a little bit about Avatar - that it will be built on what's now the Camp Minnie-Mickey section of Animal Kingdom, and that it's centerpiece attraction will be something like a next-generation Soarin' - in 3D. A second, smaller ride might also be included in the Avatar complex.

Plans for Iron Man are less clear at this point, but seem to be focused on the Innoventions building in Disneyland's Tomorrowland (that used to be America Sings, and before that, Carousel of Progress). Remember that Disney owns the theme park rights to its Marvel characters everywhere outside Orlando, so Disney doesn't need to cut a deal with Universal (which owns the Orlando-area theme park rights to Marvel), to build an Iron Man-themed attraction in Anaheim.

So, given what we know about the scope of these potential attractions, which one gets you more excited for a future theme park trip? And let's not forget the Disney World vs. Disneyland factor, too. I'm looking to see which of these rides is more likely to drive additional visits to its resort. The rest of the resort, of course, factors into that. Or do neither of these rides inspire you to book a visit?

Please tell us in the comments how you'd compare these attraction ideas. And thank you, as always, for reading and for spreading the word about Theme Park Insider.

Replies (30)

October 26, 2012 at 9:34 AM · Avatar is part of a whole new Pandora-based land... Iron Man is rumored to be a smaller version of one attraction in Pandora. Gotta go with the whole new land. Avatar, baby!
October 26, 2012 at 9:36 AM · Since I'm a Florida local, I'm going with Iron Man. However, let's not forget California still has some Marvel limits (the others are fine).
October 26, 2012 at 10:04 AM · Iron Man FTW!

Avatar was alright but I'm a bigger fan of Marvel. One thing I love about Harry Potter, Spider Man and Transformers is the thrill of being a Hero and the fight against the villains.

I believe Iron Man has a much stronger base to tap into these archetypes than the world of Pandora does. Not to mention the Iron Man character is much cooler and likable than the characters from Avatar.

October 26, 2012 at 10:08 AM · I'm with James on this one. As much as I enjoy Marvel over Avatar, Avatar's going to be a whole immersive land (Disney's strong suit) while Iron Man would just be an immersive attraction (Universal's strong suit).
October 26, 2012 at 10:15 AM · To be honest, neither strike me as must see attractions. Neither inspire me to book a visit at this moment. Really, I'd rather save my vacation money for when the new Wizarding World of HP opens at Universal.
October 26, 2012 at 10:26 AM · After experiencing Carsland, I realize that you can really not like a film (I think the Cars films are PIXAR's laziest, most pointless productions) and still dig on its theme park counterpart (I love Carsland).

For that reason, I voted Avatar. If executed at the level of a Carsland, that fantastical Cameron-land could become an epic and insanely beautiful experience. I mean, my gosh, just the lighting alone could be worth seeing.

By contrast, I think of that lovable, little Tomorrowland in the orange grove, and just can't envision something nearly that expansive and powerful. In fact--if the Imagineers attempted to plop something half as vast as Carsland into Disneyland--it would completely dominate the east side of the park.

I guess in my mind, I imagine an Iron Man in the COP building as being just a slightly bigger Star Tours. In terms of drawing power, it'd definitely influence a trip to Disneyland, but it wouldn't force it.

October 26, 2012 at 10:44 AM · I loved both movies, but only once. I really don't think they can hold up in longetivity, but this is irrelevant for a theme park attraction. Both will find success as theme park rides. I just don't think most people will care. It doesn't warrant a special trip to the park. I will certainly visit as part of my regular vacation. I do love Animal Kingdom. I will visit the park anyways. Avatar will be a bonus. I just hope it opens when I arrive in 2016. It doesn't matter for Iron Man. I live 15 minutes away from Disneyland.
October 26, 2012 at 12:46 PM · Disneyland is our home park and we will continue to go semi-regularly regardless of what they put in (although I'd looking forward to the Iron Man ride). Avatar-land was announced shortly after we returned from our first family Disney World trip last fall. While I would go back right away, I can entice DH much more easily when Avatar-land opens in a few years.
October 26, 2012 at 1:03 PM · Everyone bash on Avatar being a bad movie, so the new Avatar land will be, in their mind, as bad. I'm sorry, but did any Harry Potter was a good movie. I know the books are great, but the movies were just OK, still, the Wizarding world is amazing.

My point is, even if you didn't like Avatar, the experience in Avatar land can, and i think, will be a wonderful experience. Just imagine being surrounded by all the great landscape Pandora has to offer, with the light effects, weird creatures, and a ride that will certainly be as fun as HP, Spidey or Transformers, since it will be similar. (or even better)

So my vote goes to Avatar, but i like the idea of Iron Man.

Avatar, here i come 2015-16

October 26, 2012 at 2:09 PM · And that's why I voted for Iron Man. I live quite a bit farther than 15 minutes, but I do have an AP. I would probably book a trip, even if it's a daytrip. WDW, on the other hand, is out of reach (yuk! no pun intended) for the forseeable future. And yes, I did read your tips, Robert.
October 26, 2012 at 2:40 PM · A Stark Expo could be really cool if it was done right. Not sure about Avatar yet, even the Disneyphiles are labeling it Soarin' 2.0 (if the leaked plans are authentic).

Ive been calling Tranformers "Spiderman 2.0" but the ride has different elements, so I will have to wait and see.

Either way, the parks are getting some serious attention in the coming years.

October 26, 2012 at 3:28 PM · I guess I'm just all for any new attractions.

Like someone mentioned before the Cars films were / are "generally" considered the weakest of pixars output (I disagree....) but the land itself is critically acclaimed.

Avatar, Iron doean't matter to me, a new attraction is a new attraction.

That said, DLR is my home park, so I gotta go with the avatar this round

October 26, 2012 at 3:31 PM · The reality is that no matter what a park adds, any new attraction is not enough to make me travel to the park if it is not a local park. All it will do is change its position on my park trip priority list. I voted Iron Man because that would potentially be enough to convince me to buy an annual pass to Disneyland versus once a year visits (which I currently do as I live 30 minutes away). Avatarland honestly holds no interest for me, as I found the movie seriously overrated. If the land ends up being excellent and I don't visit WDW before it opens, it could move a Florida trip higher on my priority list, but I wouldn't make a special trip there just because of Avatarland (especially if I end up visiting before it opens). What a new attraction might do in some cases, however, is delay a trip (for example, I will definitely not visit Florida until after the Harry Potter expansion is complete since I'm interested in that, but just because it is complete doesn't mean I'm automatically going to book a trip).
October 26, 2012 at 9:08 PM · Well I voted Avatar, just like I'd said "6-TIMES" with the Star Tours, Harry Potter comparison. Avatar full land, vs a ride. Full land will "almost" always win for me.

This coming from me, which Iron Man is my favorite Marvel character at the moment. But to answer one of the questions. Will a ride make me book a trip?


I went to Florida when all this attractions opened: Expedition Everest, Revenge of the Mummy, Cheetah Hunt, Sheikra. Any of you see a pattern here? Ha,ha! See what I am so displeased with the new MK expansion?

Also I do factor the "WDW vs DLR" into the equation too. At the moment from P.R. to Florida it's incredibly cheap when compared vs going to California. At least 30% cheaper in my searches... Besides the fact that I not only go to Disney I also go to Universal, Seaworld parks and others, for me it's easy to say Florida, not seeing it in a ride vs ride only vacuum. Disneyland/California it's closing the gap for me, taking into consideration the price/value(30% at leat more), but I'm not there yet...


October 26, 2012 at 9:50 PM · On Avatar:

I really don't see how or why people are so against it, or not interested in this... Other that what I'll always say. The true "Disney fans only" that unconditionally "LOVE IT", and they can't accept the fact that Avatar it's not Disney. It didn't came from them, and it's not from the imageneers mind.

I love Iron Man!! I do... Iron Man 3 can't come soon enough... Way more than I like Avatar. But come on, Avatar it's the #1 movie of all-time, coming from the Director of the first two movies of all-time. Woah!! What a shocker!!! Disney is not really rolling the dice here, it's not like Disney is making a here comes Honey Boo Boo land!!

Besides I don't like Soarin that much either, but the fact that they would make it a 3D ride experience, it's not only logical, it's the absolute way to go. Listen Avatar's story an all-time great story? NO! "Spoiler ALERT!!" ((((It ways basically a cowboys and Indians movie. With the Blue people playing the "Good" Indians, and the Corporation playing the "Bad" Cowboys that wanted to "profit from the land" and didn't really care if they killed the Blue people. Ahh!! With a love story thrown in there, in a similar way "Cameron" did Titanic, sinking ship movie/love story.))))

But to the ones that didn't see Avatar, or that didn't see it in 3D, I wouldn't even bother seeing it now... For me Avatar was one of the "GREATEST" experiences I'd had and probably will ever have going to the Movies. And I LOVE going to Movies, probably even more than Theme Parks!! WOW!! The Blasphemy!!! lol I watched Avatar 3 times in a Theater, 2-3D 1-2D. Yes the 3 hours or whatever it was... It was incredibly "EPIC" to watch!!! Even with the unimpressive story, it was just stunning... I always wanted to see that again, without staying there for the whole 2-3 hours. So I'm glad, (it seems) I will get the chance again!!!


October 27, 2012 at 12:58 AM · Stark expo sounds strangely similar to the T2 experience at universal doesn't it? Don't forget that dated (but still good) attraction was a Cyberdine expo of sorts. Something tells me that iron man will be similar to that, not necessarily a ride.
Nevertheless, I chose neither as I wouldn't book a WDW trip just for avatar(didn't care for the movie which was basically cowboys vs Indians sci fi style, I would've actually loved a real cowboy vs Indian story however if it was historically accurate a la Last of the Mohicans or dances with wolves, don't need the fantasy element imo), nor would I renew my DLR AP for iron man. I did renew it, however, for Buena vista/carsland and for good reason as I spent those grueling four years of walls everywhere at the resort and I(and my fellow APs) deserved to see the results! My mind is made up not to renew until at least 1 year has passed after my current one expires. So I'd be renewing possibly september 2014. If iron man is new then great if not well oh well I'm not paying Disney every year any more. I'd rather visit other Parks or better yet other countries/cities I haven't yet seen.
October 27, 2012 at 1:55 AM · The Avatar ride/movie system seems pretty innovative and conducive to some big thrills. With the success of the first Avatar film and the projected release of at least two sequels, I think this is a franchise that would do very well in the Animal Kingdom park, and would bring in some big crowds to a park that is rather short on big thrills. I could definitely see this same system being used for Iron Man, but I know the size of the space at Disneyland, and it just isn't big enough to do Iron Man properly. Now, if we were to take the space currently devoted to the Autopia and use it for Iron Man, I would easily give it the win. I think that the Innoventions building could be turned into a mega-Marvel meet-and-greet spot with any number of heroes (and villains) appearing throughout the day for photo ops. I think that if there were room, a Marvel stunt show would do very well, too.
October 27, 2012 at 11:19 AM · I voted for neither. Coming from outside the US, neither of these projects are exciting enough to make me book a trip. Honestly, I'm sick of Disney and Universal basing rides and lands off movies. The last thing that REALLY excited me from the planning stage was Expedition Everest. It had me hooked from the concept phase because I didn't know anything about it - there was no "movie" plot. Thus, when it became "live", I booked a trip from Australia to Florida to experience it! I say, more original story lines and concepts. Less movies. Pirates and Mansion are still some of my favourite memories. I think it's time to do some REAL imagineering again and base rides and lands on "themes" rather than "movies" ;) Now, THAT would excite me and bring my $$$$ into the US.
October 27, 2012 at 12:23 PM · Well Daniel, just about everyone here agrees with you. Were happy to get franchises over nothing at all, but ya I bet 90% of people here would trade iron man, avatar, cars for another haunted mansion or pirates of the Caribbean attraction, totally immersive and totally original!
October 27, 2012 at 3:38 PM · Daniel,

The whole premise of Universal is to "ride the movies"... it was part of the tagline when it opened.

I'm not sure where Disney is going, but they seem to be leaning that way due to the success of Hogwarts / Harry Potter. Everything Universal and IOA add in the future will more than likely be movie based, but that was the idea from day one.

October 28, 2012 at 3:57 AM · Fantasy land, in all parks, is uninspiring and nonsensical. In Disney land it's a mini movie park and in Disney World it's half kiddy monster movie stuff and non fun stuff. Putting Iron man in there makes this horrible in cohesive mess even worse. Please Disney stop the movie tie in stuff (except for your move park). We know you look with wide eyes to Universal but you need to offer something else.

Iron Man or Avatar, I don't care. As long as it's a awesome ride system and not the thousand OmniMover system and as long as they can make it work (see failed projects that never got fixed like Rocket Rods, the Yeti, autumn tree of life, the Imagination pavilion, etc. And please no more rockwork. It looks Disney needs to force that now in every attraction they build.

October 28, 2012 at 4:10 AM · I used to read the Iron Man comics ( I was there at the beginning so tp speak ) when I was a kid in the 60's so the theme has a nostalgic draw for me and the recent movies have been pretty entertaining too.
The sheer scope of Avatar means it has far more potential as a Park attraction and it does sound a very exciting project.
It's a tough choice but I'm going for the Iron Man...........but it had better live up to expectations.
October 28, 2012 at 5:55 AM · I also think Disney should leave the movie tie in for DHS and keep it out of the rest of the parks.
Putting Iron Man in Tommorrow land doesn't fit the theme and is as unrelated to the team as Stitch (alien landing in current day Hawaii, Monster inc laugh floor (another monster not from the future), Buzz Lightyear (a toy). So rename Tommorrowland into movie land and you have a fit but this is becomming stupid!
Avatar as a 3D movie was a experience, not a wonderfull story. So I get it if they want to translate it into a themepark ride (or land) but doing it justice isn't possible. Everything is so big in the movie and that is why it works on film. Put it in a themepark within a park that has great planting and real animals and it's putting plastic flowers in a real garden. Even the tree of life as this fakeness written all over it.
Neither would buy me a plane ticket and visit the US. But if they make it, please no OmniMover, no broken huge audioanimatronics and not a endles row of restaurants en shops.
October 28, 2012 at 11:06 AM · Avatar? Meh. Nothing to see here.

My hope would be that the Stark Expo concept could allow for real Tomorrowland content, that is an attraction that previews what the future could be like, like Tomorrowland used to do back in 1967, for example. Right now it is all about space aliens, not our United States' futures decades from today.

My vote, Iron Man for sure. If they pull it off right, I will definitely want to bring my children there to ignite their own imaginations as mine were in the old Tomorrowland when I was their ages.

October 28, 2012 at 12:39 PM · I guess I'm wishing for the impossible. I want theme parks to introduce attractions that are unique and NOT tied to some existing franchise. Show me something I've never seen before. I have no use whatsoever for Avatar. Beyond the predictable plot and politically correct content, the movie itself looked like a freaking cartoon. It was embarrassingly bad. I actually like the Iron Man movies. I just don't want to see an attraction based on them.
October 29, 2012 at 6:59 AM · Can't understand, or agree with, some of the negativity here. These things are supposedly designed to be entertaining , fun and joyous . Seems to me that people are getting harder to please. Either of these proposed ventures will create something worth experiencing. We're just discussing which one might prove better than the other. You're 8 weeks too early for all this "Bah Humbug".
October 29, 2012 at 10:22 AM · Yea, I personally agree with some other that Iron Man will only be one ride, while Avatar is going to be a whole land, so I had to go with Avatar.
October 29, 2012 at 3:19 PM · I agree with previous comments that Animal Kingdom needs a few more additions. It still offers a very unique and amazingly detailed themed expereince. We have just returned from Orlando and in the october quieter month we managed to finish the park by 3.30pm Avatar is a welcomed addition although I think it isnt the best fit for the park. I would have prefered to see existing parts of the park expended, a
cheetah hunt type coaster in Africa, as well as additions to the dinoland. Dino land is without doubt a bit of a eyesore on a very well themed park. I would rather see a journey to a lost continent in the themeing of jules Verne possible taking over from the conservation station, it would be expensive but the train ride could take you to the lost city of atlantis or a forgotten amazonian valley basin where dinosaurs have survived. I would also like to see a Ice Age theme land ( bluesky studios is independant so maybe that could be picked up ).
Stark Industries sounds like a very strong brand, I would love to see that replace innovations or one of the pavilions in Epcot, A possible replacement for ellens energy adventure would be a stark industries demonstration of the different uses of energy and modern technology. The demonstation could be interupted by a attempted theft of the ark reator with a finale of Iron man saving the day. What I wouldnt want to see is just a replication of Marvel land in universal, I want there to be more depth in the attraction not just a big sign that says Spider Man or Iron man and a concrete building with a ride in it. I feel that the stark back story really fits in with EPCOT and Walts view and love of modern technology. With regards to Avitar Im sitting on the fence, as a film it was a breaking moment for the use of technology, as a brand and an artistic piece of film making, like transformers its not a film that stands out with having much depth or character. If its going to be a soaring over pandora I can imagine it will be a hit if uses the latest 3d technology. As a brand or an entire land I dont think it has the strength to pull of a solo unless like HP land that is visually striking. However I am a big fan of all the theme parks in Florida so any additions to any of the parks is a welcome addition. If anything I would like to see more unique attractions to each of the parks rather then an out right competition as I certainly wouldnt want to have to chose between having to be loyal to just one park. I think its good for Orlando as a whole if Seaworld, Univeral and Disney continue to come up with unique and individual attractions as it will no doubt attract visitors to all parks. Would also look forward to a new thread being started on everyones ideas and thoughts on giving Cartoon Lagoon a make over in IOA. Would love to see a dreamworks land in its place ..... food for thought
October 30, 2012 at 10:42 AM · Obviously, Disney is on to something here: 75% of those polled would plan a special trip to see these new attractions. That's a pretty stellar number. I guess WDI is not as "out of touch" as some folks would like us theme park fans to believe!

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