In one of the greatest announcements I’ve heard in a while from Disney Parks, they have announced a mega “Avatar” themed land for Disney’s Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Florida. All the details are below in the official press release, although they are very sparse. There are no details on what type of attraction or attractions this will be, and they are simply calling it a “land” for the time being. It is a great fit for Animal Kingdom, and considering the movie was groundbreaking in so many ways, it opens the door for some amazing attraction possibilities. Will we see a 4-D film combined with a dark ride experience, or will Disney use a new type of technology never seen before like what Universal did with “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey“. I’m thinking it would be incredible for this attraction to exist indoors, as to make the illuminated glow forest an all encompassing experience. I remember seeing the film when it came out thinking what a breathtaking theme park experience it would be. What has me most excited is that the press release is saying “lands”, as in more than one! To be clear, these lands will exist in different parks around the world. One must remember these plans are all based on the assumed success of the 2 sequels coming down the pipeline, and let’s not forget they are always subject to change like with the Fantasyland expansion. This is a big play for Disney, the project is reported to be costing around $400 million dollars. “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” was a major risk for Universal to invest in (and reportedly cost around $265 million to build), and ended up paying major dividends in the end. Does “Avatar” have the legs to sustain the same amount of success for Disney. What do you think?
DISNEY, FOX AND JAMES CAMERON TO BRING AVATAR TO LIFE AT DISNEY PARKS
Long-term agreement will bring AVATAR themed lands to Disney parks, with the first at Walt Disney World in Orlando
BURBANK (September 20, 2011)
– Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Worldwide is joining forces with visionary filmmaker James Cameron and Fox Filmed Entertainment to bring the world of AVATAR to life at Disney parks. Through an exclusive agreement announced today by Disney, Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment and Fox, Disney will partner with Cameron and producing partner Jon Landau to create themed lands that will give theme park guests the opportunity to explore the mysterious universe of AVATAR first hand. Disney plans to build the first AVATAR themed land at Walt Disney World, within the Animal Kingdom park. With its emphasis on living in harmony with nature, Animal Kingdom is a natural fit for the AVATAR stories, which share the same philosophy. Construction is expected to begin by 2013.
“James Cameron is a groundbreaking filmmaker and gifted storyteller who shares our passion for creativity, technological innovation and delivering the best experience possible,” said Robert A. Iger, President and CEO of The Walt Disney Company. “With this agreement, we have the extraordinary opportunity to combine James’ talent and vision with the imagination and expertise of Disney.”
“AVATAR created a world which audiences can discover again and again and now, through this incredible partnership with Disney, we’ll be able to bring Pandora to life like never before. With two new AVATAR films currently in development, we’ll have even more locations, characters and stories to explore,” said James Cameron. ”I’m chomping at the bit to start work with Disney’s legendary Imagineers to bring our AVATAR universe to life. Our goal is to go beyond current boundaries of technical innovation and experiential storytelling, and give park goers the chance to see, hear, and touch the world of AVATAR with an unprecedented sense of reality.”
The agreement announced today gives The Walt Disney Company exclusive global theme park rights to the AVATAR franchise and provides for additional AVATAR themed lands at other Disney parks. The other locations will be determined by Disney and its international theme park partners. James Cameron, Jon Landau and their Lightstorm Entertainment group will serve as creative consultants on the projects and will partner with Walt Disney Imagineering in the design and development of the AVATAR themed lands.
“This exciting new venture combines the world of AVATAR with the enormous reach of Disney and the incomparable talent of Jim Cameron,” commented Fox Filmed Entertainment chairmen Jim Gianopulos and Tom Rothman. “While Jim is bringing audiences further into Pandora with the next two chapters in the AVATAR motion picture saga, the theme park attraction will likewise bring a new dimension to the amazing universe he created.”
“AVATAR is a uniquely powerful franchise that has global appeal with audiences of all ages. Its spectacular settings, intriguing characters, imaginative creatures, and strong themes of family and loyalty make it a perfect fit for Disney,” said Thomas O. Staggs, Chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. “We can’t wait to give our guests the ability to journey to Pandora and explore the incredible immersive world of AVATAR in person.”
In addition to setting a global box office record, AVATAR has been hailed as one of the most innovative and visually stunning movies ever produced. With its advanced motion capture and 3-D digital projection technologies developed by James Cameron and his team, moviegoers were able to connect with the world of AVATAR in new and engaging ways.
This new venture complements Walt Disney Parks & Resorts’ strategic efforts to continue to invest in its core theme park businesses around the world while simultaneously expanding into other parts of the family vacation business.