For those that don't know, not only am I a huge Nintendo fan but I'm an even bigger Disney fan. Just announced on Disney's blog was a new Avatar-themed land for Disney's Animal Kingdom . Could this be Disney's answer to Harry Potter world at Universal? Probably not but I'm still excited and let me explain why...
A lot of people who know old Disney will look at this and say, "that's it, Disney finally lost its roots and is now selling out to the highest bidder". If you look at every park in Disney World, there is not a single land that promotes a non-Disney film in the way this Avatarland would with the exception of maybe some stuff in Hollywood Studios (e.g. Star Tours/Indiana Jones area). Disney has even been hesitant about moving even their newly owned properties into the park such as Marvel as it just does not fit into the Disney theme (and why would they since they made money off Universal using Marvel in their parks).
I for one welcome our new Na'vi overlords and think that this land fits in perfectly into Disney's Animal Kingdom. First off, if you are a frequent Disney World traveler, you will realize that Animal Kingdom is not an all-day park and they have trouble keeping people in the park past the parade. Avatar, if it contains an awesome ride/experience, might be just the thing to spruce up the joint. For those that have not seen Avatar, it is basically a pretty Ferngully and its theme is protection of the environment and the Na'vi's home . While I do not believe the movie was "amazing"... graphically yes, but the plot has been done before, it still was a pretty decent movie. It was certainingly high grossing and has warranted a 2014 Avatar 2 and a 2015 Avatar 3 . However, this is NOT the movie that is going to knock out Harry Potter, but I don't know if Disney is really trying to do that anyway, as their ticket sales are still well above that of Universal Studios.
Another thing to observe with this is that it's another change from Disney's CEO Robert Iger during his tenure. Iger hasn't really been in the news too often and many folks aren't really sure what he is doing for the company as he is not as prevalent in the news as to opposed to former CEO Michael Eisner (for better or worse, I'll let you decide on that). However, Iger has been instrumental in a couple key initiatives such as the acquisition of Marvel and Pixar. He is overseeing the expansion of Fantasyland and also the complete re-imagining of Disney's California Adventure.
People will complain that the movie isn't good enough to be in Disney World, the movie isn't owned by Disney, and no way would Walt Disney himself ever make this move. While all the above are pretty much true (who really knows what Walt would do), I think it fits and we'll see how well Pandora fits into Orlando in the future.
* Header image from Disney Parks Blog .