Disney Parks boss says Avatar Land for Animal Kingdom still in development

Posted Friday, December 7, 2012 10:24 AM | Contributed by VitaminsAndGravy

Disney has said almost nothing about "Avatar Land" since announcing it more than a year ago, but Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Tom Staggs said Thursday that Disney remains enthusiastic about Avatar Land, which designers hope will bring the lush world known as "Pandora" to life inside Animal Kingdom. Analysts do not expect the land to open until at least 2017.

Read more from The Orlando Sentinel.

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Friday, December 7, 2012 10:50 AM

Well, that sucks.

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Friday, December 7, 2012 10:50 AM

They should turn out the lights on this before the waste any more time and money.

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Friday, December 7, 2012 11:06 AM

Everyone saw Avatar, but it didn't stick in their minds like Star Wars, or Harry Potter, or several dozen other movie franchises. If Avatar 2 and 3 are the same, this is going to be a huge waste of money. I saw the plans for the Avatar attractions somewhere online, and so far, this looks lousy.

They should spend this kind of money on a Star Wars land immediately. Every year that a Star Wars land is not open is a year that they are not making the incredible amount of money that that franchise could generate for them.

Maybe they are waiting to see how well the recently announced Star Wars movies go before they start to design and build a Star Wars land. Maybe they are afraid that the last three films ruined Star Wars too greatly. However, they are building Avatarland on the bet that the Avatar sequels are going to be popular and people will like them. What if they are wrong?

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Friday, December 7, 2012 11:48 AM

LostKause said:

Everyone saw Avatar

Not I.

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Friday, December 7, 2012 11:48 AM

LostKause said:

Everyone saw Avatar

Present company excluded. But I DO have Prometheus to watch this weekend. I was invited to Dollywood, but couldn't take off work today or Monday.

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Friday, December 7, 2012 11:59 AM

I haven't seen it either. I think they should stop now. I don't think they really understand the limited appeal, especially in the long term.

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Friday, December 7, 2012 12:17 PM

I never saw Avatar.

But in fairness, I've never seen any of the Harry Potter movies either.

And in complete disclosure, I couldn't tell you the last time I saw a Star Wars movie and I know I've never seen the new ones in their entirety. (Hell, I may have never seen any of the old ones in their entirety in one sitting.)

And even I know Avatar Land is the worst possible decision.

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Friday, December 7, 2012 12:17 PM
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Friday, December 7, 2012 12:30 PM

Word on the street, and you don't have to be a MIT grad to figure this out, is that there is one 'high-up' exec really pushing Avatar, and its taking not only dollars but time away from WED, the attracton engineering dept, and other resources.

However, many Disney folks are hoping cooler heads prevail with the Lucas Film possibilities, like the Endor forest moon, etc. Avatar was one and done, and would have been suited for Universal in a single building, not an entire area.

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Friday, December 7, 2012 5:22 PM

Perhaps the land should instead be themed to another James Cameron film: Titanic. Then at least the success of the new land will parallel the subject matter.

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Friday, December 7, 2012 5:55 PM

Avatar was one and done for me. Make it Endor. Star Wars is still a cash cow. Unless they have major plans for Star Wars at Disney Studios, then by all means do both.

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Friday, December 7, 2012 8:44 PM

There's an angle I didn't even think about. I think about how relatively uninteresting the content would be, but the merchandise would be a disaster. Who wants to buy Avatar crap? It's a total merchandise failure.

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Friday, December 7, 2012 10:18 PM

Yeah, that was the biggest success of Potter. Not the ride, the castle, or the land. It was the merchandising. They sold what they had projected to be one year's worth of merchandise in about 4 months, and it hasn't slowed much.

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Saturday, December 8, 2012 12:23 AM

Universal is the talk of several food/bev workshops. 1 million butterbeers were sold in the first year. Do the math, then see how much square footage the cart takes up.

Back to Animal Kingdom, lots of resources are went into the flying machine prototype that doesn't work for Avatar in California. Engineers are dying to have landspeeders, AT-AT's, etc as vehicles. Its so simple as people are 'used' to what they do.

The first trilogy brought new fans into the mix, plus new worlds like the Wookie homeworld, etc. Man, you could have a whole Star Wars themed park. Spaceship Earth would make a great Death Star.

Disney has cut back Cap-Ex projects of late, like rebuilding WDW MK Space Mountain, instead of a replacement of track and scrapping the Monsters, Inc. suspended coaster. Therefore, while the company was 'all in', or 100% for Cars Land, ever since this Avatar nonsense and James Cameron thinks he is Spielberg stuff, Fantasyland is not finished, maybe there next big thing needs to be a homerun, and Avatar is a single at best. I just think compnay focus on Avatar has taken magic from other needs.

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Saturday, December 8, 2012 1:29 AM

I see at least one movie a week, sometimes a lot more. It's a second hobby of mine. :p

I just can't believe that so many people on here have never seen Avatar. It was the movie event of the year, whatever year that was. It was worth seeing. As far as how it looked, it didn't suck. The 3-D was mesmerizing´╗┐ . They put colors on the screen that I have never seen before.

However, the story was not all that great, and I failed to emotionally connect with the characters. The plot just borrowed ideas from a few other movies, and it was very obvious. Some of the dialogue was pretty much line for line with other movies.

But I still can't believe that you guys never saw it. It's not going to be that great on your Blu Ray 3-D TV thingie. It was made for theaters. It was worth seeing at least once in the theaters just because of the magic trick it produced.

There were reports of people feeling very depressed after seeing it because real life was not that beautiful. Some people longed to go back to Pandora, and I fully understand how that could be true, and not exaggerated.

Keeping all that in mind, I still think that Star Wars would be a much better choice of lands to build, for the many reasons already pointed out by everyone's comments. I just thought I would give Avatar a little love. It's not the worst property ever, but I think there are so many better choices for Disney to build from.

The next two Avatar movies are going to have to be pretty awesome for this to be a halfway not-crappy idea.

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Saturday, December 8, 2012 2:29 AM

Avatar in 3-D IMAX was probably one of the most beautiful, coolest things I have ever seen. Looks pretty good on 3d TV if you have a good large set. However, the things that made Avatar so cool are, in my opinion, impossible to recreate successfully in a "land". Plus, if I remember, Avatarland was supposed to be open in 2015, so it appears they are dumping a ton of money into a large section of a mediocre park, preventing further gains from that park. I don't think it will pay off for them like Star Wars sections could, but I must admit: I am EXTREMELY curious and hopeful. Animal Kingdom has so much potential, but I always feel like they kinda blew their wad on the giant fake tree and Everest and let the rest of the park suffer. If they do it right, who knows? I could see a big beautiful flying coaster from B&M with custom shaped cars a la Manta winding through trees and around waterfalls.

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Saturday, December 8, 2012 2:32 AM

Yeah, but with Cameron, the Terminators are an ongoing saga. We get it, and it can be updated with the movies. Titanic, no matter how you shape it, or who does their version, the ship still sinks, the rich are in the boats, and the poor go down with the crew.

Avatar, where does this go? Looks like Americans colonized some planet, and just had to have the magic trees of life, and some guy gets to make 'happy time' with Lt. Uhura in leiu of riding the wheelchair to the shopping mall. I don't know if this story is having a sequel, but would we go back to that planet, or does anyone really care? We don't like to lose.

Harry Potter, I never saw a movie, but there is enough books and film to milk this pretty severe for muchos years down the road. So much that Universal Hollywood scrapped building houses for a big castle surrounded by a moat filled with butterbeer.

Star Wars, with 6 movies, umpteen books, comics, and enough Jedi stories and merchandising, this is a home run for everyone. Unless they feature the Holiday Special with Bea Arthur and Chewbacca, and those 2 made for TV Ewok movies, this is gonna be big.

Just think about this......where would Disney's Studios be if the Tower of Terror and Star Wars were located in Universal Studios? The #1 ride in Disney worldwide is Indiana Jones at Disneyland. Disney needs Lucasfilm.

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Saturday, December 8, 2012 3:22 AM

LostKause said:

It's not going to be that great on your Blu Ray 3-D TV thingie.

So many choices of response from this one line. I'm in overload right now.

1. Some joke about it not being that great regardless of where you saw it.

2. Mentioning that it was not only released on disc quite a while back, but also came and went on the premium channels and should be popping up on regular tv soon - and somehow it still easily managed to stay off my radar.

3. Wondering aloud who exactly bought a 3D TV. Because no one did.

4. Questioning who owns a Blu Ray player or buys/rents Blu Ray movies. I thought we just streamed everything in crisp HD these days? Physical media is dead.

5. Combining all these thoughts into one effective slam about watching stupid Avatar on stupid Blu Ray on a stupid 3D TV. If you're that guy, you've made exactly all the wrong choices.

Unobtainium. Bwahahahahaha! Stupid Avatar.

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Saturday, December 8, 2012 6:32 AM

Agent Johnson said:

. 1 million butterbeers were sold in the first year.

Somehow, with the attendance numbers I've seen, that doesn't seem like a lot.

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Saturday, December 8, 2012 7:10 AM

I too was surprised by Avatar because it definately not what I would consider a "Disney" type movie. For starters the language in it is pretty rough with swearing left and right. I dont think you could even have the movie playing in the park without heavy editing.

As for the Land itself, if the movie could be recreated it may be one of the most spectacular things ever built. However, not for a second do i think that even Disney could pull it off.

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