Avatar Attraction for Disney's Animal Kingdom

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Apr 29, 2011
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This is big news. And it'll give the park a reason to stay open past dusk!

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/the-daily-disney/os-disney-parks-announcement-20110920,0,5194769.story

Disney to build 'Avatar' attraction in Animal Kingdom theme park

By Jason Garcia, Orlando Sentinel
3:14 p.m. EDT, September 20, 2011

The Walt Disney Co. will build a theme-park "land" based on the movie "Avatar" in Disney's Animal Kingdom as the first step in a broader licensing deal that will lead to similar attractions in Disney parks worldwide.

The deal announced Tuesday gives Disney exclusive theme-park rights to use elements from the 2009 blockbuster and from sequels due out in 2014 and 2015. "Avatar," which was directed by James Cameron and grossed nearly $2.8 billion in worldwide box-office receipts, is widely considered one of the most valuable intellectual properties not already tied up by a theme park.

Disney said it plans to build multiple-attraction lands based on the film's fictional world of "Pandora," including themed food and merchandise, rides and entertainment. It's the same approach Universal Orlando has taken with its wildly popular Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which has fueled huge attendance and guest-spending gains since opening in Universal's Islands of Adventure theme park last year.

Disney said it would begin construction of Animal Kingdom's Avatar land in 2013 and expects to open it to guests about five years from now. A Disney executive said the price tag would be about $500 million.

Camerson said he initially thought Disney would want to build only an individual ride based on his film.

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"I quickly realized that their vision for this thing is far beyond what I imagined," he told reporters. "It was kind of thrilling that they wanted to do a land and really bring the world of Pandora to life."

More Avatar lands would follow down the road. Disney currently has five theme-park resorts worldwide and is building a sixth in Shanghai, China.

"We obviously appreciate that this was a film that was enjoyed by millions globally. So it's now a global product," Disney Co. President and Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger said. "We can clearly leverage the global interest in this property in multiple places, although we don't have any plans at the moment or specifics to announce to you."

Disney will license the rights from Cameron's Lightstorm Entertainment studio and Fox Filmed Entertainment.

The Avatar land should provide a huge jolt in the arm for the 13-year-old Animal Kingdom theme park. The youngest of Walt Disney World's four theme parks has been criticized by some park fans for lacking attractions and not amounting to a full-day experience on par with the Magic Kingdom or Epcot.

The last major new ride added to Animal Kingdom was the Expedition Everest roller coaster, which opened in 2006. That ride cost more than $100 million.

Although a precise date hasn't been set for completion of the Avatar attractions in Animal Kingdom, an opening sometime in 2016 could allow Disney to capitalize on a fresh wave of fan interest in the 'Avatar' film franchise from the two sequels currently in development. Cameron said the tentative plan is to release the first sequel around Christmas 2014 and the second around Christmas 2015.

"The timing seems to work out well in terms of the sequels," Cameron said. "Really, what we need to resolve is how much of the elements of the second and third films are incorporated into the Avatar land."
 
Jul 22, 2010
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Hopefully EMH will be back to AK with it. InsideTheMagic and WDWMagic have been providing great coverage.
 
Aug 27, 2010
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So this is Disney's Potter killer eh? LOL.

I see this being very popular. Not as popular as potter, but still popular.
 
Aug 27, 2010
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I mean it's a smart move, and for worldwide audience and all their parks it will certainly be nice, but let's take a few things into account:

WWOHP is the only place you can experience WWOHP. Disney plans to extend this across their parks, creating similar experiences worldwide. Im betting this will hurt the success of it just a little bit.

Harry Potter is more popular than Avatar. 450 million book sales, plus the movies? Let's not forget merch and videogames. Avatar's Worldwide Box office doesnt hold a candle to even the merchandise sales of potter. Potter Merch sales overshadow Avatar's ... The books, at 10-20 a copy easily overshadow avatars total gross, and merch.

Also, the staying power of Avatar. My kids will read Harry Potter, and see the films. There will be remakes, there is pottermore. The only thing Avatar has going for it is film.
 
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Jul 22, 2010
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View the timeline of the next two Avatar movies. By the time this opens the newness and hype of Harry Farter's World would have worn off unless the expansion is fast tracked. The creators of the two stories are completely different. One stands independent while the other relies on other's when it is not directly story or image related.

This is one of the things I can speculate one way and another can go another. Only time can provide the evidence as far as the announcement goes. Either way it will be very intriguing to follow.
 
Mar 30, 2010
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I know you like Disney Scout, but really? WWOHP has got to be one of the best innovative theme park additions in recent years.

I would rather Disney have went ahead with their original "magical creatures" land in AK, but this Avatar area could be really good. I can see fliers for those dragon things they rode. "Talking" to the trees. Kids getting their makeup done and stuff. What would the main ride be? AK has a coaster and a river rapids ride. Definitely a dark ride. If I was Disney, I wouldn't think twice about implementing the same WWOHP tech and making a ride like that with a HUGE footprint.
 
Jul 22, 2010
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The same WWoP tech? One ride has halfway decent tech and a mediocre track. The rest is the forced perspective Disney has used for ages. I still do not see much innovative about it. It is a cash cow based upon a successful series. Nothing more than that.

Once again this is a time will tell scenario. We will see where it goes.

Your post insinuates that they cannot have another rollercoaster… or another darkride for that matter. Any particular reason for that?
 
Mar 30, 2010
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No, they can have as many as they want. I think a dark ride more like Dinosaur would fit in better with Pandora's theme. Even a simulator. Please no more dark rides where you just walk in and get shown a giant diorama. That's just boring to me.

I would just think they'd want to expand the variety of rides.
 
Apr 29, 2011
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Youhow2 said:
Also, the staying power of Avatar. My kids will read Harry Potter, and see the films. There will be remakes, there is pottermore. The only thing Avatar has going for it is film.
This is true.

Whether you like Harry Potter or not the books generated a cultural phenomena and got people of ALL ages reading it. Potter has staying power and is gonna be around for a long long time. The books got current generations to read and they will do so for future ones as well.

Now while I did enjoy Avatar as well the only thing the film had going for it was its visual eye candy. James Cameron really knows how to capture beautiful cinematography and is one of the very few directors that really knows how to use CGI. The storyline behind the first film was nothing new (very similar to Disney's Pocahontas). From a marketing standpoint Disney really needs to step this up if they want the staying power of Potter.
 
Jul 22, 2010
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Staying power is iffy. It could go either way. The other films and this addition will show. Speculation at this point is purely speculation
 
Aug 27, 2010
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I's wager Avatar has a staying power less than transformers.


Atleast transformers has over 25 years of cartoons, a pretty large fanbase, Comicbooks, and 3 live action movies. Soon to be 4.

Avatar has 1 movie, a movie based novel and merch.


Now it IS the largest grossing single film of all time, but I count that to the release date, it being okay for kids, and generally the only worthwhile flick to go see for a whole 2 or 3 months the year it was released. Oh, and the new technology, and James Cameron's name on it.


I love the movie, but still. I dont think it has staying power a neither did it start a Star-wars like, or HP like phenomena...
 
Aug 17, 2010
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I heard that the big Disney ride would be the longest ride ever made in terms of time. It will start off interesting, but then get boring. After about 25 minutes of story-less riding, children will start to get bored and cry. When it finally ends, everyone will be overjoyed that it's over, but be so impressed with the visual quality of the ride, that they completely forget how flawed the ride is. Thusly, Avatar Land will make more money than any theme park expansion before it. And this is coming from the experts, guys.
 
Aug 27, 2010
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ScoutN said:
Movie having staying power is irrelevant.
*opens can of worms*

I beg to differ. Disney ended up removing the Dinosaur tie in from CTE right?

Universal turned earthquake into disaster, etc.


It will definitely go well beyond a decades old forced perspective theme that other parks have decided to use after Disney having such success with it.
Kinda like WWOHP did? Minus the castle, but still...
 
Jul 22, 2010
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Youhow2 said:
*opens can of worms*

I beg to differ. Disney ended up removing the Dinosaur tie in from CTE right?

Universal turned earthquake into disaster, etc.
You mean renamed it to Dinosaur and tied the name and the name only to a movie.
 
Aug 27, 2010
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My point more or less was that the tie in was removed. Could it have to do with the success of the movie?

Also, there were a few show elements added with the dinosaur tie-in. I believe the main dinosaur character from the movie was added into a show scene or after the ride or something like that...
 
Jul 22, 2010
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Nope. Nothing internally was touched. Only change was with the fountain out front and the main character added in there

With this and the Fantasyland expansion and another unreleased major expansion. Good things to come!
 
Jul 22, 2010
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More info is out.

http://www.wdwmagic.com/Attractions/avatar/News/26Sep2011-James-Cameron-reveals-a-few-more-details-of-AVATAR-land.htm
 
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