Disney announces partnership with James Cameron for Avatar attractions, starting at Disney's Animal Kingdom

Posted Wednesday, September 21, 2011 10:47 AM | Contributed by maXairMike

From the Disney Parks Blog:

Walt Disney Imagineering, Bob Iger and Tom Staggs just announced a long-term creative partnership with James Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment and Fox Filmed Entertainment to bring the fantasy world of AVATAR to life at Disney Parks. And it’ll all begin at Disney’s Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort.

Read more from the official Disney Parks Blog, as well as Q&A about the announcement.

Related parks

Wednesday, September 21, 2011 10:51 AM

This is the strangest announcement ever. "We're gonna build something, and it's gonna be awesome!" I still haven't seen Avatar. I think my inner-hipster resisted until it just wasn't on anyone's mind anymore. Which begs the question... does anyone care about this?

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011 11:12 AM

I honestly can't see an Avatar area having the same impact or appeal as a Harry Potter area. While Avatar was undoubtedly a financial success, it does not seem to have a proportional cultural impact to something like Potter. For as much money as Avatar made you never really hear about it much beyond the fact that it was 3D and it made a lot of money. It's never quoted or referenced and it's not the like the song from the movie (yes, there was a song in it, remember?) was playing on the radio for years afterward like My Heart Will Go On from Titanic. I know Avatar has its fans but it just doesn't seem to have resonated culturally like Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Lord of the Rings, or Harry Potter.

Last edited by TimChat2, Wednesday, September 21, 2011 11:13 AM
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Wednesday, September 21, 2011 11:18 AM

I think it can tie in well at either Animal Kingdom or MGM Studios. But I have to agree, while I think you could make a few exciting attractions based on the movie, this is no WWHP Killer.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011 11:30 AM

The brilliant thing about Harry Potter as a theme park land is the almost limitless, natural tie-ins to food and merch, which as we all know is where the real $$ is made. Butterbeer, Chocolate Frogs, Wands, Scarves, etc etc etc. There is nothing about Avatar that is screaming "Theme Park Exclusive Food and Merch", so even if it's a tourist draw, once they are there it will not have the same bottom-line impact that WWOHP has for Universal. Though I'm not an Avatar fan, however, if they do it right a ride based on this world could be amazing. Heck, if they just took the tech from "Journey to the Center of the Earth" at TDS and overlayed the avatar creatures, that alone would make a kick butt ride.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011 11:40 AM

This was just making me think of other financially successful movie (series) that could have been made into a ride... I wonder why there was never a Matrix ride?

(Is not starting a debate about the quality of the films)

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011 12:45 PM

I always wanted a Nintendo themed land.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011 12:54 PM

Very very excited about the opportunity to walk into the land of Pandora. Love the movie, but mostly for the stunning beauty of the world it takes place in.

But now you mention it, they really should have made a Lord of the Rings land and a Star Wars land and yes, why hasn't there been a Matrix ride yet?

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011 1:38 PM

I guess this means we will see Avatar 2 and 3.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011 1:58 PM

^

Avatar 2 - The night he came home
Avatar 3 - The Spawning 3D
Avatar 4 - The Final Chapter
Avatar 5 - A new beginning
Avatar 6 - The Curse of Sully
Avatar 7 - Trouble with Tribbles
Avatar 8 - In the hood
Avatar 9 - Sully goes to Coney Island
AX - Sully vs. Noah

Last edited by CoasterDemon, Thursday, September 22, 2011 7:41 AM
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Wednesday, September 21, 2011 2:04 PM

^Eh??

I agree with Tim. Avatar was awesome, I saw it 5 times. But it really did not resonate with the public (think cult classics like The Hangover...). I think most of its sales came from the curiosity of the masses and the outrageous 3d prices. Disney realized that their "eh" Redo of Fantasy land will never compete with WWoHP and is trying to jump into the fray. I give them a B- for effort, but only time will tell.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011 3:10 PM

I would have rather seen something original or some other property. Avatar was OK, and like Jeff I resisted for about a year. I don't even remember any of the character names.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011 3:28 PM

If this of all communies is 'meh' about the news, it probably isn't a particulary good omen for the success of the investment.

If anything, it might bump Animal Kingdom up from also-ran status* to the next tier of parks in Orlando. 'Visit if you can', I guess.

*Not speaking for me personally, since I have no experience in the matter. I haven't been back to central Florida since AK opened, though my daughter has visited with her grandmother. (Seriously, her having that EE credit and me not doesn't goad and burn me. It doesn't hurt. Honest.)

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011 3:33 PM

Ensign Smith said:
. (Seriously, her having that EE credit and me not doesn't goad and burn me. It doesn't hurt. Honest.)

Denial is more than just a river in Egypt, Mike.

And I lack that credit as well.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011 3:37 PM

I just want to get on the darn thing before they remove Tony, shorten the queue, and add groovy 3-D mood paint. Oh, wait, am I getting my chains mixed up again?

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011 3:38 PM

I'm excited, but mostly because they just told WDI: "Here's $400M and the IP rights to a pretty interesting visual landscape for inspiration. Do something interesting."

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011 4:13 PM

Ensign Smith said:
If this of all communies is 'meh' about the news, it probably isn't a particulary good omen for the success of the investment.

What I find interesting is the complete 180 in response compared to yesterday's thread.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011 4:19 PM

I wrote this on another board, but:


Only the Disneyana community could be told that their favorite theme park operator (a) secured the global theme park rights to the highest grossing movie of all time (by nearly 50%) that (b) happens to be based on an amazingly rich visual world that (c) gives the theme park operator's in-house design team nearly limitless opportunities to create immersive environments, and (d) publicly stated they'd spend hundreds of millions of dollars developing at least one serious attraction in a park that desperately needs one....

...and have those fans do nothing but kvetch.

Enthusiasts are kind of like that too.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011 4:25 PM

delan said:
^Eh??

My bad. The list of movies is in reference to the post above mine. I forgot the put the '^'. Plus, it was kind of a joke that some horror movie fans would get.


I agree with Tim. Avatar was awesome, I saw it 5 times. But it really did not resonate with the public (think cult classics like The Hangover...). I think most of its sales came from the curiosity of the masses and the outrageous 3d prices. Disney realized that their "eh" Redo of Fantasy land will never compete with WWoHP and is trying to jump into the fray. I give them a B- for effort, but only time will tell.

Cult classic? Like Piranha 2 - The Spawning?

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011 4:29 PM

If you had asked me a couple of years ago if I thought Potterville could do well, I probably would have said no. Not interested in Potter franchise at all. And don't know many people who are. But obviously, I would have been totally wrong.

I have the save view of Avatar world. But I suspect I will be wrong about that as well. Disney has a lot more info/insight into the potential for success of this project than I do (just like Universal did with Potterville). Seems to me they get it right a lot, lot, lot more often than they get it wrong. And no matter what, you know they will do an incredible job with design, implementation, etc.

Last edited by GoBucks89, Wednesday, September 21, 2011 4:36 PM
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