The Walt Disney Company announced today that they have partnered with James Cameron to develop lands in Disney theme parks based on the movie "Avatar" and its sequels, slated for Christmas 2014 and Christmas 2015. The first land has been planned for Animal Kingdom, and is anticipated to begin construction in 2013 and will take about five years to complete, according to Tom Staggs. Staggs also said that Disney plans to add more Avatar-themed lands to other parks but did not announce any other specifics.
Like I said, I honestly don't think highly of this idea, though I usually try to reserve judgement until I see more, especially with Disney. I saw Avatar in theaters without really knowing any of the hype of the film, especially the 3D aspect (unknowingly saw it in 2D), and I thought it was pretty good. The visual effects were well done at least. Upon later viewing, I could not really understand what was so amazing about it. The plot is extremely overdone and overly environmentalist, which I have heard best described as "Dances with Wolves with big blue aliens." I'll be glad for the addition to Animal Kingdom, which is incredibly detailed but somewhat lacking in attractions (which makes it a half-day park for our family), but only if it is well done. I really hope that the Imagineers will do justice to the beautiful visual design already established in AK and bring a vital addition to the park as well. If Joe Rohde; lead designer for Animal Kingdom, Expedition Everest, and the Aulani resort; is attached to the project in any way, than we can be fairly confident that it is in good hands.
For more details, head over to the Around Disney blog for The Orange County Register.