Remember the movie Avatar? Well, if you have wandered around the Disney blogosphere at all, you probably have heard Disney acquired the park rights to the film that was nominated for 9 different Academy Awards for 2009. Disney plans to incorporate key attractions reminiscent of the film in a land themed, in typical Disney fashion, to the moon of Pandora, which is the setting of the film. This new alien land is set to make its way to an Animal Kingdom near you!
That’s right, the next park to get a new land looks to be Disney’s Animal Kingdom, not Hollywood Studios as some predicted an hoped for (Cars Land). Why Avatar? Why Animal Kingdom? Since this is not a movie review blog, I will refrain from reviewing the film but I do suggest you see it. If you have easy access to a time machine and can go back in time and see it in an IMAX 3D theater, I highly recommend it. It really is pretty phenomenal! Now, to answer the two questions I made you ask….
Besides Avatar being the highest grossing box-office film in history, the better question might be “Why James Cameron?” Again, I will refrain from side tracking to a biography on James Cameron but if you take time to read about his work in developing the film you will find out Cameron had the idea for Avatar long before production ever began on the film. In 1997 Cameron also had the highest grossing box office film, Titanic, and was already working on Avatar but the technology he wanted for the film was not yet available. Cameron was very instumental in the development of the technology that was finally used for the film in 2009. Much like Disney, James Cameron is a renowned name in the film industry and is known not only for his quality productions but also for revolutionizing the industry he works in. Both Disney and Cameron exemplify the popular Horizons quote, “If you can dream it, you can do it!”
Why Animal Kingdom?
For those of you who have seen the film, you might have picked up on the theme of learning to live in harmony with nature. I think the theme of Animal Kingdom and of Avatar could not go more hand in hand. It’s hard not to pick up on this same theme in Animal Kingdom as it is built into almost every attraction and even in the atmosphere of the park. The addition of a land themed to Avatar will just be an extention of Animal Kindom’s environmental edutainment.
I was originally skeptical about this coming addition to Animal Kingdom, thinking it would not fit well in this park because of it’s highly fictional storyline but after hearing and seeing more from Disney about its development, they have won me over.
I think there is a great deal of potential for the atmosphere of the land with all of the effects they can incorporate to portray the bioluminescent setting of Pandora. The effects will be most effective at night, which we all know Animal Kingdom is not a night park but that is going to change as well, which I am extremely excited about! They are also developing a nighttime version of Kiliminjaro Safaris and a nighttime show for the park as well!
I am excited to see this new land in action! It will be taking over Camp Minnie Mickey, which I feel has been a dead end in the Animal Kingdom for the most part with the exception of Festival of the Lion King. I think this will be a better use of that space. I do not recall seeing Disney refer to the new land as “Avatarland” and I really hope they do not. I believe it would be more appropriate and effective to call the new land what it is, Pandora. I believe Pandora more accurately reflects the reason it was added to Animal Kingdom. Avatarland would be more reminiscent of the movie whereas Pandora would be more reminiscent of the theme of the movie, which is also a theme of Animal Kingdom.
What do you think of Avatar being represented a Walt Disney World and in Animal Kingdom? Check out this video by Disney Parks and check out the articles on the Disney Parks Blog for some concept art of the newest land coming to Walt Disney World!
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