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Arthur Levine

Avatar in Real 3-D (Really!)

By September 21, 2011

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I'm in Hawaii for the grand opening of Aulani, Disney's new resort on the island of Oahu. I'll have plenty of features, photos, video, and other content to share with you about this wonderful place in the coming weeks. But let's turn our attention to the stunning Avatar announcement that Disney just made. According to the company, it signed a long-term deal with James Cameron to create lands and attractions based on his hugely popular films (two follow-ups to the blockbuster are in the works) at the theme parks. First up: an Avatar land at Disney's Animal Kingdom.

If you think you'll be able to take a trip to Pandora in the near future, however, you might just turn blue in the face. Tom Staggs, the chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, says that development is in the very early stages, that the company doesn't expect to begin construction on the project at Disney World until 2013, and that it wouldn't open until a few years after that. But he did say that the Avatar land should include multiple attractions. Other parks may get Avatar-themed projects as well.

This wouldn't be the first Cameron movie to get a theme park tie-in. The filmmaker directed a 3-D mini-movie based on his Terminator series (starring Arnold my-marriage-has-been-terminated Schwarzenegger) that's been showing at the Universal parks. But Avatar, which holds the record for the highest-grossing movie (by far) and should maintain juggernaut status with its sequels, has the potential to generate incredible buzz as its fictional worlds make the leap to theme park reality.

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Photo: Disney, 2011. Used with permission.

September 28, 2011 at 8:03 am
(1) Jason says:

I have mixed feelings about this. I like being able to go to Disney studios and enjoying the Star Wars themed areas, Indiana Jones, and of course the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. I do understand kind of how this would have somewhat a better fit in the Animal Kingdom, but does it have the following that the above shows/movies do? I did go see the Titanic length movie and granted it was a good movie, again I just don’t know, for me, that it is something that would make me rush to the Animal Kingdom. We visited the Orlando parks for a week this summer. With the layout out as it is now, it makes me wonder, are they going to have to expand the park, as there were certain areas that were somewhat tight as it is

September 29, 2011 at 9:04 pm
(2) Tom says:

Thanks for sharing this, Arthur. Hmmm…not really that excited to see this there. Avatar was interesting, but I can’t say I’m excited about rushing to see the movie sequel. Been there, did that. But then it’s Disney. They tend to do wonders with attractions. Hope they make it a thrill ride. Then if the theme doesn’t hold interest, the thrill part will make up for it. I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

September 29, 2011 at 11:12 pm
(3) Arthur says:

Tom, the story offers so many creative possibilities for Disney. I can’t wait to see how they incorporate technology and transport guests to the world of Pandora.


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