Top 5: Reasons Why Avatar is Great for Animal Kingdom

In April of 2011, Disney lovers everywhere got hit with a bombshell announcement from left field. Nobody saw it coming! Disney announced a collaboration with James Cameron and Lightstorm Entertainment which would bring the film Avatar and the world of Pandora to Disney Parks. What? Why? How? This was all pretty crazy. The last thing anybody could have thought was that Cameron’s opus of a film would be part of the Disney parks in someway. The only announced fact was that Avatar would call Disney’s Animal Kingdom home but would it just be one attraction? Would it be a whole land? Where would this world of Avatar go? Would it be a new area of the park or would it replace something? Answers came a little at a time but sure enough we’ve had some serious breakthroughs in the last few months and at the Japanese version of the D23 Expo we got our first concept art for what this park was going to look like as well as some extra announcements for Animal Kingdom. So what’s going to happen and why is this a good thing? Here are my top 5 reasons why Avatar is great for Animal Kingdom.

Walking Through Pandora

Walking Through Pandora

#5-So Long Camp Minnie-Mickey. Since opening day, Camp Minnie-Mickey has been less of a land and more of a spot holder. Despite it having the Festival of the Lion King show, one of the best things in the whole park, the land had little else to share. Fortunately we get the best of both worlds here. Festival of the Lion King is moving to the Africa section of the park and we say goodbye to Camp Minnie-Mickey. If you know your history of the park, you know that the area that makes up the Camp was supposed to be Beastly Kingdom, a land made up of animals and creatures that never were. Dragons and unicorns would fill this land and as great as it could have been, we will never know it’s awesomeness. However, we now know that we will at least get something of decent size and depth in the former spot holder area.

#4-The Scenery. Regardless of whether you’ve liked or hated the Avatar movie and movies to follow in the upcoming years, we can’t deny James Cameron’s brilliant imagination for a world so lush in scenery. From the glowing plants at night to the floating mountains, the world of Pandora is as amazing as anything I’ve ever seen. That’s what is truly coming to Animal Kingdom. Forget about the plot lines and characters from the film. For me, it’s all about discovering the beauty of a world I’ve never been to. That’s pretty darn exciting.

A boat ride through Pandora's evening beauty

A boat ride through Pandora’s evening beauty

#3-New Attractions. Adding rides and shows always means one thing at Disney Parks and that’s spreading the wealth. Sure there will be big lines for a while in this new section of the park, but if we can bring down the lines at other popular attractions while still keeping lines for the attractions of Avatar to a reasonable time then that’s a success. Not only are we talking about spreading the wealth, but we are also talking about putting new advancements to use and creating new experiences for guests. Again, whether you liked the film may not matter here. What matters is the adventure Disney wants to take you on and how they get you there. Even if you don’t like Avatar, you’ll still love that fact that Expedition Everest now takes 10 minutes to get on!

#2-Serious Advancement in Technology. Like previously mentioned, the thrill of technological advancement at Disney excites me to no end. I’ve felt that for far too long, Disney Parks haven’t grown technologically in the way they should. In the 1960s we went from stationary figures in dark rides to a talking realistic version of Abe Lincoln. Sure we’ve seen some advancement in audio-animatronics and the EMV (Ehanced Motion Vehicles) for attractions like Indiana Jones Adventure are particularly impressive, those are really the only big advancements we’ve seen in the last 20 years. The tech savvy James Cameron lending his hand as well as the engineering problems with bringing Pandora to life could mean the most advanced forms of Imagineering that we’ve seen in years. Could this be Disney’s breakthrough into something bigger and better? I’m excited to find out!

Nighttime at Animal Kingdom

Nighttime at Animal Kingdom

#1-New Hours Make Animal Kingdom a Nighttime Park. The world of Pandora is a different place at night in the film version and it looks like Disney wants to showcase that, but you can’t shut down the rest of the park except for one land during the night time hours. Tom Staggs, Chairman of Disney Parks, announced that nighttime will be a great time to visit Animal Kingdom. A new evening show will take place on Discovery River and attractions like Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest will stay open late. New lighting enhancements will be added to the park for nighttime enjoyment and of course, Pandora will light up with it’s bio-luminescent plants. If nothing else, this is a welcome expansion to the Animal Kingdom park. It’s needed a reason to stay open past 5pm for many years and it’s found it’s reason in Avatar.

What are your thoughts on Avatar coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom? After all of the announcements, has it persuaded you to move to one side or the other? What are you looking forward to the most or the least. Give your thoughts and ideas!

Josh Taylor


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Posted on October 12, 2013, in Articles and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Didn’t like the movie, but…the visuals are definitely impressive and Disney can cash in on that.

  2. Finally saw the movie a few months back and thought it was good. The themes in the movie, nature conservation, extinction, etc., line up perfectly with Animal Kingdom. Thinking about the animals in the film this could be the beastly kingdom we never got.

    James Cameron is the embodiment of Imagineering. He values quality, detail, story, and pushing technology. Paired with Joe Rohde I have nothing but high expectations for AvatarLand. Disney fans need to get over the fact that Avatar is not a Disney movie and look at the positives. I’ve been lucky enough to experience Animal Kingdom during the rare times of year when dusk sets in and it’s amazing. The night show will open that up to so many more people.

  3. I think this is one of their best ideas yet ! Such a wonderful way to not only stay current, but I think its time to start introducing more sci-fi for familes who arent princess-obsessed ! Cant wait to see it !!

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