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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Mickey Mouse meets the Na'vi: Disney announces plan for Avatar land




Disney has just released plans for an Avatar style land to be built in the existing Animal Kingdom Park.  Walt Disney Co. was able to come to an agreement with James Cameron and Fox Film Entertainment to gain the license to the rights for the park.

As reported by Reuters, they describe the project.  Under their agreement, Disney -- which typically sticks to its own franchises and properties in designing rides -- won exclusive global theme park rights to the Avatar franchise. It will eventually take Avatar "lands" beyond Orlando's Disney World.
"Our goal is to go beyond current boundaries of technical innovation and experiential storytelling, and give park-goers the chance to see, hear, and touch the world of 'Avatar' with an unprecedented sense of reality," Cameron said in a statement. To read more from the article click here.

This is the biggest licensing agreement since Universal Studios came to an agreement with J.K. Rowling to build the Harry Potter World.  After seeing the success and reduced ticket sales from Universals new gem, this seems to be a direct attempt to regain some attention with this move.

Construction is to begin in 2013, and will be the biggest addition to Animal Kingdom since the ride Expedition Everest opened in 2006.  This will also coincide with the opening of the expansion of Fantasyland in Magic Kingdom, which will be fully completed in 2013.

The Orlando Sentinel reports that The Avatar land should provide a huge jolt in the arm for the 13-year-old Animal Kingdom theme park. The youngest of Walt Disney World's four theme parks has been criticized by some park fans for lacking attractions and not amounting to a full-day experience on par with the Magic Kingdom or Epcot.

Although a precise date hasn't been set for completion of the Avatar attractions in Animal Kingdom, an opening sometime in 2016 could allow Disney to capitalize on a fresh wave of fan interest in the 'Avatar' film franchise from the two sequels currently in development. Cameron said the tentative plan is to release the first sequel around Christmas 2014 and the second around Christmas 2015.
"The timing seems to work out well in terms of the sequels," Cameron said. "Really, what we need to resolve is how much of the elements of the second and third films are incorporated into the Avatar land."  To read more from the Orlando Sentinel click here.

Sources:

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/the-daily-disney/os-disney-parks-announcement-20110920,0,5194769.story

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/09/20/us-disney-avatar-idUSTRE78J5AK20110920

http://theworldtrends.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/experience-thrill-avatar.jpg

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