Seemingly authentic plans for AVATAR Land have been posted online, and there are growing rumors that James Cameron has signed off on these plans, with a formal announcement and art to come on December 7, 2012 and construction to begin shortly thereafter. After months of rumors that the project was on life support or dead (see below), it sounds as if an agreement between the parties has been reached concerning the content of AVATAR Land. After the colossal success of the Disney California Adventure overhaul, let’s hope AVATAR Land is similarly well-done. Supposedly, Disney wants to fast-track these plans to counter Universal’s Transformers announcement. It sounds as if the theme park wars in Florida have been reignited!
This all after our September 5, 2012 Update, in which we indicated that we had been hearing for months that Avatar Land (or “The World of Avatar”) has been on life-support or is to be quietly canceled by Disney. These rumors seemed reliable, and there was intense speculation that the project was shelved along with Cameron’s 4th Avatar film.
Original article: Today is one of those days where the Disney community received such monumental, discussion-provoking, and exciting news that we felt behooved to share it with the 3 or so of you who haven’t yet heard about it: I’m talking about James Cameron’s Avatar coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
You read correctly–as of September 21, 2011, Disney’s Animal Kingdom gift shops will be selling the Avatar Blu-ray/DVD Combo for the low price of $29.99!
In other news, James Cameron and Disney announced today that Disney will be building attractions based on the film (soon to be films as two sequels are released) Avatar under a long-term, exclusive agreement with the parties involved in creating the films. The attractions are going to be built in an all-new Animal Kingdom “land” and is set to begin in early 2013. The Wall Street Journal estimates that the initial phase of the project is likely to cost $400 million.
At a Tuesday Walt Disney Imagineering press conference, Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Thomas Staggs said: “We’re just beginning the development phase on this project.” These plans will include heavily themed recreations of the environments from Avatar and its sequels, to be fleshed out with Walt Disney Imagineering at the helm, in collaboration with James Cameron.
Disney CEO Bob Iger was also on hand for the press conference, and he said new the project would let park visitors “enter the ‘Avatar’ universe and explore it first hand.”
Sarah and I haven’t seen Avatar (I think we’re like 2 of 6 people on the planet who haven’t seen it), and until this announcement, we really had no desire to see it. I’m not at all a fan of James Cameron, as I think he’s about as overrated as Michael Bay. I question whether Avatar made so much money because it was a good movie, or because it was a visually stunning movie. I prefer thought-provoking films and well-scripted drama to special effects, and his films are definitely the latter. Additionally, I would have preferred an original concept to drive Disney’s Animal Kingdom expansion, rather than relying on a franchise.
All of that said, I respect quality and think it always “outs.” From what I have seen of Avatar, it looks like an incredibly themed universe, and I have no doubt that Walt Disney Imagineering will faithfully execute the design into something absolutely breathtaking. I think the transition from Song of the South to Splash Mountain is a perfect example of this. I’m not wild about Song of the South at all (I do understand its historical significance, though), but Splash Mountain is an amazing attraction. Likewise, I think the attractions in Avatarland have the potential to be amazing, regardless of their source material. I also think that, with the Wizarding World of Harry Potter right down the road, Disney needed to bring a high profile franchise into the fray as an appropriate response. Thus, when viewing this purely as an objective business decision, I think it is likely to be a brilliant decision that will pay great dividends. Even the best original idea WDI could have executed wouldn’t have the same built-in fanbase as a franchise, and to that end, I completely understand why bringing in something like Avatar was necessary. Overall, I think it’s very exciting news, and am really looking forward to 2015, ’16, or ’17 when it finally opens!
Rest assured we’ll be covering the progress of this project…
If you enjoyed this post, please help us out by clicking the +1 button above to increase DisneyTouristBlog.com’s visibility on Google (no Google account necessary). If you have Facebook, click the “Like” button, too!