Saturday, September 8, 2012

Rumors and Whatnot

Ooof. It’s been a while.
I wanna take a little while to talk about some of the rumors swirling around the development of different stuff at Disney World.

The main new rumor is surrounding the new “Avatar” themed area at Animal Kingdom. The newest information says that the entire project has stalled out, because James Cameron is difficult to work with, and is obsessing over “Avatar 4”. This is especially weird due to the lack of an “Avatar 2” or ‘Avatar 3” yet. Different sources are saying that Cameron’s tendency toward perfectionism is threatening to drive Imagineers to insanity, and at the same time they’re talking about how even if the new land does get off the ground, the cost to achieve Cameron’s vision will simply be too high when the interest level isn’t really even coming close to that of the main competitor for this type of attraction, Universals “Wizarding World of Harry Potter”.

So… the question is… is it worth it to pursue? Initially, I thought the Avatar themed area was a great idea. It provided a sort of built-in full immersion vision straight from a true creative innovator in James Cameron (if not also a total egomaniacal nut). It had the potential, assuming they expanded the “known Avatar universe” to include creatures and beasts from the 2nd and 3rd films, to really be a beautiful, unique addition to Animal Kingdom.

The more I thought about it, though, the less interested I became. Avatar just seems so… fleeting. It seems so much just a thing of the moment, and not an enduring classic in much of any sense. I also started to have real issues with using a largely non-Disney creative property to devote so much time and money. If Disney wanted to add a new area to Animal Kingdom based on a movie, or movies… what about Finding Nemo (even though The Seas in Epcot already sort of does that), or Tarzan, or The Jungle Book. Seems like The Jungle Book would be a fantastic option. It’s iconic and memorable and wholly Disney (at least the animated version. ). I feel like they could even create some really cool attractions around it. I am imagining a wild mouse type roller coaster ride using the King Louie sequence. It just seems really fun in my head.

You know… I just thought of this, but what about a world dedicated to “Brave”? I know it wasn’t AS popular or AS well received as some of the other Pixar movies, but the visuals of it were stunning, and it has a shitload of bears…. Maybe that’s not enough to build a whole “land” around, but whatever. My point is there are options.

Anyway… the other big rumor is sort of connected to the Avatar thing, so I wanted to address this too…

The supposition is that if Avatar isn’t happening, that Disney will have to do some other big thing in order to grab crowds and interest. There’s a lot of talk around the grapevine that Disney will close off “Lights, Motors, Action” in Hollywood Studios and build in a carbon copy of “Cars Land” that they just completed in Disney’s California Adventure.

This… doesn’t interest me.
It’s not that I’m against “Cars” as a movie… Well… I sort of am, but I’m not against the Cars Land in Disneyland. I think it’s one of those things that makes sense financially, because Cars is so damned popular, and Disney is ALWAYS looking for ways to market to pre-adolescent boys.

I just think that porting it, wholly, over to Disney World would be just straight-up lazy. It’s not a thing that’ll garner big interest from anyone really. It was when it opened in Cali, but I believe that aside from Magic Kingdom, Disney should be working hard to make Disney World and Disneyland two divergent experiences. Doesn’t that even make more sense money-wise? If DL and WDW aren’t interchangeable, people will want to experience both places individually, instead of seeing them as an either/or kind of experience.
As of now, there’s no official word from Disney that would lead us to believe anything other than Avatar being on schedule, but keep an eye on Festival of the Lion King in Animal Kingdom. If it doesn’t close in January, that’s a surefire sign that Avatar isn’t happening , at least as planned.

Next time? I talk about Disney and how they can take advantage of the Marvel Universe.

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