Disney talks about new Avatar land and teases other theme park updates at fan event

Posted Saturday, November 19, 2016 12:48 PM | Contributed by Jeff

Walt Disney World visitors will be able to enter Pandora, a land based on the movie “Avatar,” at Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park “next summer,” according to Bob Chapek, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. Chapek shared that and other theme park news at a gathering of D23, Disney’s official fan club, at Disney’s Contemporary Resort on Saturday morning. In addition to updates in progress at Disney's Hollywood Studios, he said a major update was coming to Epcot.

Read more from The Orlando Sentinel.

Saturday, November 19, 2016 12:51 PM
Jeff's avatar

I may never understand the Avatar decision, but maybe that's because I haven't seen the movie. But between promised sequels that haven't happened yet, and the trivialization of the film as eye candy, I can't say I'm particularly excited.

I'm curious about the Epcot plans, that's for sure. There are some really tired attractions there, and the science angle isn't really there anymore. On the other hand, they had to turn away cars on several weekends during Food & Wine this year, so I don't think they have an attendance problem.


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Saturday, November 19, 2016 4:27 PM

See the movie. It was indeed eye candy. But it was absolutely gorgeous. If they can stay even remotely true to the movie, it will be amazing. And if they can make Pandora come alive at night, it could be one of the coolest night time attractions anywhere (which will be the centerpiece of Animal Kingdom staying open later). I only ever saw Avatar at home. I regret dismissing it as "dumb" when it was released in theaters, because it would have been a hell of an experience in 3D on the IMAX screen.


But then again, what do I know?

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Saturday, November 19, 2016 8:36 PM

It was truly staggering in the theater. It looks "odd" on HD4K. Consider me anxiously hoping it's worth the decision and the wait.

Having just been to Universal for both sides of Harry Potter, the bar is raised high.

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Saturday, November 19, 2016 8:43 PM
Jeff's avatar

While things like the Harry Potter stuff are well executed, I think it's still rooted in the fact that the underlying stories and related IP are so good. It's why I'm excited about Star Wars and Toy Story. I'm skeptical, but mostly irritated because I probably should see the movie before it opens. :)


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Sunday, November 20, 2016 8:06 AM

I seems to Executives at Disney were "Job Scared " So this area was slow walked to split up construction cost over multiple Years So as not to take a hit on any quarterly income statement. This area will come out 8 years after the movie .Is any child going to say " I liked Avatar lets go see it at Disney World " That Child (who saw it at movie theater) will be 16 or 17 by now .

But by now Executives who approved this will have moved up (or out) So if it bombs no one currently employed at Disney will be held accountable.

It may be a great Ride and Area in a park that sorely needed more to do but Bill and Teds show has been making fun of time it is taking to build for 3 years now. Are people going to be saying "I waited 9 years for a ride that lasts less than 2 minutes " ?

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Sunday, November 20, 2016 11:04 AM
Thabto's avatar

I think there's an Avatar sequel in the works. If this comes out around the same time, it could be a good way to cash in on it.


Brian

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Sunday, November 20, 2016 11:51 AM
Tekwardo's avatar

There are two Avatar sequels coming. I thought the first one was fun. I've never watched it again. I don't like 3D because it gives me a headache. I probably won't bother with the sequels.

Having said that, at this point I think the park will look great and no one is going to care about the IPmantmore than they did for Everest.


cebeavers.tumblr.com

Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.

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Sunday, November 20, 2016 12:38 PM

kevin38 used a ton of unnecessary capital letters in his post. I think that means it's really important.

And by his logic, Disney executives must be pretty confident that the Star Wars attractions are going to bomb.

Last edited by bigboy, Sunday, November 20, 2016 12:40 PM

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Sunday, November 20, 2016 1:36 PM

Jeff said:

mostly irritated because I probably should see the movie before it opens. :)

I don't think you need to. The setting is well after the events of the film, and while there will be allusions to it the film won't be particularly important to the land, I don't think.

I've been saying all along: they aren't making Avatar. They are making Pandora. That relies only on the eye candy and the "world template" of flora/fauna/geography, which are potentially quite interesting. It won't generate events like Pottercon or move a ton of merch, but I suspect it will significantly up AK's game and push it to a three-meal park.

And, really, the Pottercon/merch thing will be happening over in Studios in a few more years, so all is well on that front too.

The WDWMagic insiders (specifically, Martin) have offered some details about the current vision for the Future World plan. It's interesting, but not groundbreaking, IMO.


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Sunday, November 20, 2016 1:44 PM
LostKause's avatar

When Avatar came out, I really liked it. I was adamant that one needed to watch it in 3-D, on the largest screen you could find. I saw it many times in theaters, and really enjoyed it.

A few years later, I saw it on TV, and got extremely bored with it. It's an okay movie, but not as great as it looked in theaters.

My conclusion about Avatar Land is that if it looks good, that's all that will matter. The setting in the movie was interesting enough for a theme park. The story in the movie is a distant memory. It doesn't matter. That's why I think this will work.

As for the sequels, people have already been wowed by the setting and the special effects of the first movie, so the spectacle has kind of worn off. Because of that, the stories these sequels tell had better be entertaining.


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Sunday, November 20, 2016 3:05 PM
Jeff's avatar

They're apparently not messing around when it comes to animatronics...

https://d23.com/first-look-at-the-navi-river-journey-shaman/?share_...f0fe172676

Last edited by Jeff, Sunday, November 20, 2016 3:06 PM

Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Sunday, November 20, 2016 8:00 PM

Brian Noble said:
I've been saying all along: they aren't making Avatar. They are making Pandora.

This is a great point. The actual storyline of Avatar could be completely dismissed (don't want to spoil it for Jeff) and you'd still have an amazing area of the park with Pandora. But it would really help it become an immersive experience if you're familiar with the culture of the Navi.

Jeff said:
They're apparently not messing around when it comes to animatronics...

This brings up another interesting point that I hadn't thought of... Disney usually stays pretty true to the source material. Will any of this be to scale? I think the Navi were about 12ft tall and everything in their world was equally huge...

Last edited by ShaneDenmark, Sunday, November 20, 2016 8:04 PM

But then again, what do I know?

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Sunday, November 20, 2016 8:43 PM

Hopefully they don't stay too true to the source material because in the movie humans can't breathe the air on Pandora. That might be bad for business.


"Thank the Phoneticians!"

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Sunday, November 20, 2016 9:28 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar

I agree completely with the "world over story" idea. Some of the real life places that inspired the locales in the movies are amazing and I trust that Disney can capture that, even without the benefit of 500' cliffs or skyscraper trees.


Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

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Sunday, November 20, 2016 10:46 PM
Jeff's avatar

I wish we could get some of those hardcore Disney idiots over here to argue about this stuff. Imagine the page views!


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Monday, November 21, 2016 6:58 AM
Tekwardo's avatar

What makes them idiots? ;-)


cebeavers.tumblr.com

Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.

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Monday, November 21, 2016 12:48 PM
Fun's avatar

Brian Noble said:

I've been saying all along: they aren't making Avatar. They are making Pandora. That relies only on the eye candy and the "world template" of flora/fauna/geography, which are potentially quite interesting.

Thanks Brian, I think was a light bulb moment for me. Pandora is visually interesting, in the same way Tomorrowland is visually interesting. Even if the IP doesn't take off, we have the makings of a really beautifully themed area that makes Animal Kingdom stand out.

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