First Look: AVATAR to Come to Life at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Saturday, October 12, 2013 12:15 PM

Finally some renderings and info.

Obviously, a lot of emphasis is on keeping the park open later by adding things to do/see at night.

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Saturday, October 12, 2013 12:42 PM

It definitely looks cool, but not being a big Avatar guy (I only saw a portion of the movie and haven't felt compelled to finish it), I have to wonder if some of this will be lost on me. I like the visuals, but I hope there's some substance.

As for having nighttime entertainment at the park and being able to stay there past 6 pm, that's the big winner for me. I absolutely love that park and I look forward to experiencing the in-the-dark version of it.

Last edited by sirloindude, Saturday, October 12, 2013 12:44 PM
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Saturday, October 12, 2013 3:24 PM

I like AK a lot at night when its rarely open past sun down, so anything that keeps it open a bit later sounds great to me. While Avatar has the potential to make for some neat attractions and visually stunning theming, I don't see it as that huge of a draw. Definitely not on par with the potential of Star Wars and Harry Potter at least...

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Saturday, October 12, 2013 3:55 PM

sirloindude said:

I like the visuals, but I hope there's some substance.

The movie's mostly about the visuals and has little substance.

Last edited by bjames, Saturday, October 12, 2013 3:55 PM
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Saturday, October 12, 2013 7:28 PM

I guess we should keep in mind we're talking 2017 here, and by that time Avatar will be even less relevant or Disney has some kind of resurgence in mind. I'm guessing the latter.

The renderings sure are spectacular. Those floating mountains look for all the world like a hidden Mickey.

A nighttime spectacular will be just what that park needs, and it looks like the Banshee ride will be something like a Soarin type of attraction, and....

BANSHEE?!?!!? Oh, no...

"Thank you for riding ThunderMantisHawk...Kings Island's record setting inverted coaster..."

Last edited by RCMAC, Saturday, October 12, 2013 7:36 PM
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Saturday, October 12, 2013 7:51 PM

Avatar sequels? Three? No one cares. Here's why.

This article touches on everything we've said since this was announced.

In a nutshell, the movie seems to have failed to make a connection.

Or as the article puts it:

“the most successful film in history, has left nary a blip on pop-culture.”

And that sums it up in one line (in both cases). I wonder what happens with this if the sequels are met with the "meh" reaction that so many seem to expect?

Seems like they knee-jerked to the success Universal had with Potter...and didn't they score Star Wars after they snagged this? Wonder how that changes things too?

My guess? It becomes a nice, but not overambitious, way to keep the animal park open late and keep people there...and it's done in a way so that a few years down the road when an Avatar reference is as hilariously dated as a Wayne's World reference, they can quietly slip the Avatar-iness out of the area and let it stand on it's own. No harm, no foul.

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Saturday, October 12, 2013 8:28 PM
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Sunday, October 13, 2013 12:51 PM

I'm disappointed that they're going through with this. It seems like a colossal failure for the long-term. Like doing a Stitch-themed attraction, times a hundred.

Part of it is that this seems to me to weaken my naive sense of purity about that Animal Kingdom is. It has a combined set of timeless themes that range from a best-in-class zoo, to regional cultures and a little (barely connected) dinosaur stuff. Putting in a movie theme that was heavy with eye candy but completely lacking any pop culture longevity seems like a huge mistake. It's not Star Wars, Harry Potter or even Jurassic Park. How can they not see that?

In any case, I suppose this is the reason they're building the new Festival of The Lion King theater, so they can use the old one, and all of Camp Minnie Mickey for this nonsense.

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Sunday, October 13, 2013 1:02 PM

I got, when this was announced, that Disney wanted something to compete with Harry Potter. I didn't get then, and don't get now, why Avatar? Even before acquiring Lucasfilm, Disney parks had a long-standing relationship with the company, going with a big budget Star Wars attraction would seem to make more sense.

With any luck, this will go the way of Hyperion Wharf.

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Sunday, October 13, 2013 1:51 PM

Take all the money and resources you are planning to put into this, and pump it all into Star Wars Land. You can make an Ewok village to be open at night over in Animal Kingdom if that's what you want.

I just don't get the logic here at all.

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Sunday, October 13, 2013 3:01 PM

OhioStater said:
You can make an Ewok village to be open at night over in Animal Kingdom if that's what you want.

Just so long as they don't play that damn song over and over, ad nauseum. That would be worse than "It's A Small World."

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Sunday, October 13, 2013 7:23 PM

It's A Small Ewok World, filled with Mary Blair Ewoks....

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Sunday, October 13, 2013 9:57 PM

I think Avatar has a sporting chance at being a satisfying theme park attraction if they focus on the general idea of an alien world filled with floating mountains, glowing plants, and wacky creatures and not the specific plot (particularly the military stuff) from the movie. The floating mountain structure could be impressive if done on the proper scope and perhaps with some waterfalls coming off the sides. It won't matter if the source material was less than satisfactory if they can create something that makes guests want to lift up their phones and take a picture because it looks spectacular.

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Sunday, October 13, 2013 11:55 PM

TimChat2, I'm kind of in agreement with you from the perspective that if Disney can build an attractive, large scale area, people will want to see it. However, the thing that is lacking in the AK park is enough things to do. If they've got permission from Cameron to use the Avatar art and name, they're probably going to HAVE to theme attractions heavily to Avatar, and this is where they're going to run into problems with relevance. I liked Avatar enough, but I think they may have made a bad decision here, which seems to be a theme with this particular Disney park.

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Monday, October 14, 2013 2:15 AM

TimChat2 said:

I think Avatar has a sporting chance at being a satisfying theme park attraction if they focus on the general idea of an alien world filled with floating mountains, glowing plants, and wacky creatures and not the specific plot (particularly the military stuff) from the movie.

So Avatar with all the Avatar taken out of it.

Hmmm.

Lord Gonchar said:

...and it's done in a way so that a few years down the road when an Avatar reference is as hilariously dated as a Wayne's World reference, they can quietly slip the Avatar-iness out of the area and let it stand on it's own. No harm, no foul.

What's most funny to me is the way we've all said (in different ways), "This Avatar thing would be pretty cool if they just took the Avatar out of it."

That says a lot.

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Monday, October 14, 2013 8:57 AM

From what the renderings/info so far it seems like Disney is taking some of the Avatar out of Avatar and focusing on the environments. I think they realize (to a degree) that Avatar the movie doesn't really provide its own version of Butterbeer, Ollivander's Wand Shop, or Three Broomsticks in the sense of moments that the audience wants/expects from seeing the movie. By making it about the alien stuff they might be trying for some amount of "timelessness" in the theme.

Last edited by TimChat2, Monday, October 14, 2013 9:08 AM
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Monday, October 14, 2013 9:47 AM

I've said from the beginning that taking the Avatar out of it is exactly what they should do---and it looks like what they will do. And, I think if they pull that off, it will be a very nice themed environment that, together with the night-time shows, can help push AK from being a 2-meal park to a 3-meal one.

After all, if you take Avatar out of Avatar, you aren't left with nothing. You are left with Pandora---and that's a place with a compelling palette of geography, flora, and fauna that you can do a lot with given the right budget.

-brian, who prefers to view his half-full glass through his rose-colored glasses.

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Monday, October 14, 2013 9:50 AM

Here's the thing though, if the goal is in part to make this a park they can keep open later, and ease the burden on MK (the Sentinel article suggests AK visitors end up there at night), then do what Animal Kingdom already does well. They said they'll adapt Kilimanjaro Safari for night time, do another signature ride like Everest, do another excellent show like Nemo: The Musical or Festival of The Lion King, and for God's sake, open another real restaurant. All you've really got is Yak & Yeti over there.

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Monday, October 14, 2013 11:58 AM

They've uploaded a video from James Cameron and Joe Rohde that's worth watching.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j3fkuaQNGHI

I will visit once it's all done.

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Monday, October 14, 2013 12:12 PM

Given that Disney is (usually) certainly smarter than all of us, I can't believe that we're getting the full story on this. We've all done a pretty good MBA case study on why this doesn't appear to be the equivalent home run that Potter was. I just keep thinking that, given the extra long lead time on this project (now 2017 opening, much later than the initial press releases stated), and the fact that the land is being designed at the same time as the multiple sequels, is it possible that there's a lot of movie 2 and 3 baked into the "land", and that's the reason this thing is still being pushed forward? That somewhere Cameron and Disney have truly worked in tandem, and that someone sees the answers to the merch, food and character deficiencies being solved in films 2 and 3, and that's the reason this is still going forward?

The only thing that intrigues me regarding the simulator attraction is whether the hardware is indeed the Simtec product that other sites have mentioned. If so, that looks interesting, but I see a total design error from the aspect of patrons in the upper seats being able to drop things onto the lower rows (at least from the initial designs of the Simtec hardware). I'm sure it can be mitigated but still... (me always thinking like a 10 year old).

Last edited by CreditWh0re, Monday, October 14, 2013 12:13 PM
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Monday, October 14, 2013 12:34 PM

And (as is the story of my life) after I posted that, I see that the Disney blog actually has the video of Cameron and Joe Rohde talking about the collaboration process. It also has some footage of what I assume is the simulator ride film. We'll just have to see how this shapes up.

Last edited by CreditWh0re, Monday, October 14, 2013 12:35 PM
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