Why Put Avatar Land in Disney World?

Why Put Avatar Land in Disney World?


Pandora, also commonly known as Avatar Land,
is all set to open in just a few months and one of the most common questions I’ve seen
is: Why? It doesn’t make any sense! I’m here to tell you why it did make sense,
at least at the time. That’s the key part there, isn’t it? At least at the time. To get a better understanding of why Disney
is opening a themed area dedicated to James Cameron’s sci-fi epic, you have to look
at the context of the time. Let’s start in the summer of 2007. If you don’t remember that summer, or perhaps
were too young, Harry Potter was immensely popular. Not only was the fifth film in the popular
franchise set to release that year, but the world would also be getting the final book
in the series. The films in the series at that point were
grossing nearly a billion dollars each, and there were still three more planned for the
future. Most importantly, that would be the summer
that Universal would announce their plans for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, a
themed land in one of their parks dedicated to the franchise. For context, in 2007 Bob Iger was just
two years into his role as Disney CEO, and had just spent a whopping $7.4 billion dollars
on Pixar the year before. It’s also important to note that in 2007
Disney did not own Marvel or Star Wars. Now let’s jump ahead to December of 2009. James Cameron and 20th Century Fox releases
Avatar. The film is a massive success that blends
science fiction with a tale of preserving nature. It goes on to gross a total of $2.7 billion
dollars, making it the highest grossing film to this day. Furthermore, it would only be a matter of
weeks after the premiere before Cameron would announce his intention on making more Avatar
films. The following year in 2010, Universal opened
the first portion of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. It is not only met with critical praise by
guests and the media, but it would help Universal boost their revenue that following year. Disney, meanwhile, would be just a year into
their ownership of Marvel. The Marvel Cinematic Universe would still
be in its infancy as an untested concept. That said, even if it was a wild success it
wouldn’t matter, thanks to a carried-over contract between Marvel and Universal that
gave Universal theme park rights east of the Mississippi for Marvel properties. That brings us to 2011. Disney announces that it is working in partnership
with James Cameron to bring the Animal Kingdom. The original planned date for its opening
is 2016. The original release for Avatar 2 was two
years before that in 2014. So there’s the context: When Disney penned
this deal to bring Avatar to the parks they didn’t own Star Wars, a series that had
seemingly ended with Episode 3 six years earlier. They owned Marvel but couldn’t use it thanks
to contract still in effect, and they owned Pixar, but were busy working it into the parks
already over in California with Cars Land. They’re feeling the pressure to step up
the game after The Wizarding World shows them that guest want themed worlds based on franchises
they love, and along comes Avatar, a well received sci-fi space opera with a heavy focus
on nature that just became the largest grossing film of all time, with a sequel just a few
years away and more films planned after that. To Hollywood, the world was potentially about
to experience the next Star Wars phenomenon with Avatar. With all of that said, the question becomes:
Why wouldn’t Disney put Avatar in the Animal Kingdom? It was a gamble that offered a massive payoff
for Disney. Now of course, that gamble is at risk of being
a big loss. As we know, the Avatar films faced numerous
delays, to the point where Avatar 2 hasn’t even begun filming yet over seven years later. Pandora itself faced setbacks, missing it’s
2016 opening by a year, and as a result of the combination of the two, people are starting
to ask what appeal still exists for a themed land based on that world. So why didn’t Disney cancel it? Well, by the time Avatar missed its first
release window Disney had already broken ground on construction of Pandora. Forgetting the possibility that contractual
obligations might have made it too expensive for them to pull out of the deal, it’s likely
that they had already spent a significant amount of money on the planning and development
of Pandora to just cancel it. And really, what else would they have done
with it? Star Wars was in the works, but is Disney
really going to put their new prized jewel in the Animal Kingdom? Marvel was still a no-go and while today Zootopia
sounds like it would be a nice fit, it was still in it’s pre-production infancy and
a far ways from being proven as worthy of a project that large. The truth is for better or worse, sticking
with Pandora and Avatar was probably the best choice for them at the time. So the real question becomes: Will it pay
off them in the long run? The answer?

100 thoughts on “Why Put Avatar Land in Disney World?

  1. I think if Disney makes an immersive themed land with unique, exciting rides, it doesn't matter what the movie property is. Cars wasn't the most beloved Pixar series but it sure made for one hell of an expansion.

  2. I genuinely still believe they should have gone with Beastly Kingdom.

  3. The outro "put a sock in it bb8"

  4. I think if they do a good job of bringing the world of Pandora to life, whether or not you really enjoyed the movie, being able to explore the big and beautiful landscapes would just be amazing. The main thing Avatar had going for it was the beauty of Pandora. I'm kind of hoping I can make it down to see this at some point.

  5. Pandora is something I think would have made more sense in a Universal park than Disney.

  6. The popularity of an attraction does not depend on what property it is attached to, but the attraction itself. And, after some footage of the rides being released, it does look like the rides will be pretty great, so I feel that this will be a worthwhile venture.

  7. Wizadding world

  8. Zootopia land is the best thing that can happen! Can't believe I didn't think about it earlier, I hope they would actually do it, this is genius!!!

  9. Avatar was "okay", but should not be a part of Disney World, especially The Animal Kingdom. I feel this way about Star Wars Land, too. ( And I love Star Wars!) Disney Parks should be DISNEY/PIXAR characters and themes. There is so much land available in Walt Disney World that they could build a 5th Park for all the non-Disney films the company buys, like Star Wars, Marvel movies, and Avatar. Besides, Avatar doesn't really fit in with The Animal Kingdom theme. If Disney wanted ' imaginary ' animals, they could have used the dragon from Sleeping Beauty, and the creatures from Fantasia, and The Black Cauldron. Much better than Avatar. Just my opinion, of course.

  10. It all makes sense now! Great video!

  11. Where can I find the Soarin song?

  12. Just came back from there, and I can't wait to return to the Animal Kingdom just for Flight of Passage.

  13. Well Splash Mountain is based off a movie I'm betting 90% of riders have never seen and I love that ride. As long as the ride is immersive and entertaining it doesn't matter what the catalyst for it was. In fact I would argue that the further the movies get delayed the more Disney should wish that the movies get permanently cancelled as it seems in most cases the longer the delay the worse the result which may unfairly affect Pandora land. Although Cameron has bucked this rule in the past so who knows. The problem with Avatar is I don't know anyone who even still thinks about it or anyone that actually watched it again after watching it in theaters mainly for the 3D novelty.

  14. People love to hate on "Avatar" now, but the popularity of it at the time was insane. The only movie that compares in my experience is "Titanic". And even the haters of the movie will admit the world Cameron created was spectacular. I think this park will be a huge success, and only create more competition between Universal and Disney for who has the ultimate "destination" park. In the end we all win.

    But… I think Universal needs to lay off the screen simulators. I went over Christmas and three of the rides (Mummy, Kong and Gringotts) broke down after we had already spent a big chunk of time in the queues.

  15. I didn't like the Avatar movie when it was released and I kind of forgot about it altogether, but the idea of an area dedicated to Pandora is really cool. I really think the reason people liked that movie so much was the beautiful CGI and being able to interact with that beautiful world is an exciting concept. I would love to go even though the movie (aside from its beauty) was disappointing to me (much like the B.F.G., it was gorgeous but lacking in plot, in my opinion anyways).

  16. If done right I think It'll be a beautiful expansion to animal kingdom.
    It all depends on where they go from here, now that it's opened. With only two rides (if I'm correct) at the moment it does sound like they need something else…one of the rides is a dark river boat style, so there may be room for a more exciting one to match their E-ticket ride in the future.

  17. lol soarin' theme in the background.. love it!!

  18. The reason Avatar Land makes no sense is obvious. There is almost no lore in the Avatar property. No memorable characters, no memorable set pieces, nothing. This is a ridiculous waste of money and time. It'll be gone in a decade.

  19. Now that it's open and it doesn't rely heavily on knowing the movie, it makes sense. Though having been through it, the conservation and protecting the earth story isn't prominent. It's a beautifully designed jungle with one exciting ride and one short and pretty ride. Neither really hits you over the head with any moral.

  20. Zootopia themed attraction? hell yeah I would go to USA just for that.

  21. i want them to replace DCA's bugland with land of pandora 🙁 heck if youre going to push away from the california theming, might as well take a big leap away from it

  22. Good video. I didn't get caught up in the Avatar fandom so I was wondering why the new land, seemingly out of the blue, in Disney relating to it. The fact that it was planned out years ago, when the craze was at it's peak, and that other options weren't available makes sense. Still not interested personally, but it makes sense.

  23. Love the Soarin music in the background

  24. pandora looks awesome tho

  25. Avatar is not the highest grossing film, we can not simply act like inflation isn't a thing

  26. whether you like avatar or not, the park is going to be so cool. floating islands, luminescent plants and animals, its just going to look amazing. and honestly i want to walk thru it while on shrooms

  27. James Cameron's Avatar is a very unique mirror story film with that can not be compared to films like Star wars that are merchandise driven after there release ,, lots of thought has been given as to how Avatar weaves itself into Animal kingdom Avatar source reflects examples from Global cultures that "see" and hold core relations to the natural the world viewed through diffrent eyes , given positive guest reactions now that the park is opened only time will tell .

  28. I wish Disney would give Robin Hood more attention. I know it probably won't happen, but I feel like it could work as something new. It's my favourite Disney movie and I'd love to see them try something new with it, maybe a new attraction or possibly a spin off cartoon series like Tail Spin or Ducktales.

  29. To answer the question of what Disney could put in the animal kingdom, there was already a land that was planed to be in the spot before Avatar land. It was a fantasy land to show case mythological animals. I believe it was called Beastly Kingdom.

  30. Avatar was so magical… imagine that in real life with the glowing lights and stuff

  31. Universal and Disney should have a major trade. Universal give all rights to Marvel rides, and Disney gives Universal the rights to Avatar.

  32. This is actually the reason I went back to Animal Kingdom this year. I had to wait over two hours to get on the Banshee ride to so it seems pretty popular. I do agree that Avatar hasn't held up though, you don't hear anybody talking about it anymore and the movies keep getting delayed.

  33. I went to Pandora The World of Avatar and it was by far mine blowing the rides extremely amazing and breath taking Flight of Passage made it actually feel like you where in the world and the movie was amazing and I think the sequels will be just as amazing Pandora was a really smart decision and I am happy they stuck with it

  34. simple. Disney blew it with Harry Potter and grabbed the next license they could get their hands on. 😛

  35. I hope they make tommorowland this immersive

  36. Omg avatar land totally worked tho I made a video about my experience and it's amazing and absolutely awesome I love it so much

  37. I love the soarin music in the background

  38. IMO, Disney World's Pandora created a new generation of Avatar fans. My kids, 8 & 3 yr old girls, are too young to have seen the movie. But after going to Pandora, riding the rides, eating the food, and coming home w/ a Banshee, they now have personal history with the franchise and enjoy the movie because of the experience.

  39. I can't say how much I love Pandora. The scenery is unseen of, the ride is one of my favorite, the food is incredible. I just wish they had more rides. I can stay in Pandora for a whole day

  40. Pandora is lit

  41. My family went to America especially to see Avatar in 3D (we did other things though) and I ended up sleeping through it XD

  42. Just started watching… I love your outros!

  43. But why in ANIMAL KINGDOM? Ya know, the Animal Park? They could've put Beastly Kingdom and made Beastly Kingdom fans happier

  44. You look like Damien from Mean Girls

  45. It also kind of works in animal kingdom, the original concept for that area was mythical (Unnatural Animals). Aliens aren't natural (here anyway). So it makes sense, their IP or not.

  46. I agree that the Pandora land itself is really cool, showcasing what Disney is capable of currently. However, the films, as mentioned, are increasingly overdue, and leaves a lot to be desired.

  47. Looking at the lines for Flight of Passage, I would say Pandora is doing quite well.

  48. Is the music in the background here from Soarin'?

  49. So I wonder where we are at now? Is AVATAR land a success? Is it a Failure? What are your thoughts Rob?

  50. i just think its a cool addition to animal kingdom aesthetically

  51. I think Disney should have made a Narnia land instead.

  52. I was one of those "what the…?" people. Especially given the reasons you mentioned like time since the movie and a release date for the second not even announced. In fact, we didn't even sit down and watch the movie until the week before the land opened.

  53. They could've done Beastly Kingdom.

  54. Wait, Avatar is 8 years old? Oh my god, time is going by way too fast. It feels like it's only been 4-5 years.

  55. They could have done Beastly Kingdom

  56. Update- best theme park land ever. Period. Absolutely beautiful, astonishing rides, can’t get enough

  57. Beastly Kingdom would make me happy

  58. Well because Disney bought fox

  59. I like your idea there of a Zootopia themed land in Animal Kingdom. I imagine it being comparable to a Mickey's Toontown, although slightly less exagerated curves/looney-toon look.

  60. I think it did pay off. Avatar land is incredible and has attracted A LOT more people to Animal Kingdom

  61. A Zootopia World would’ve been incredible and so well received.

  62. Thank you for your entertaining & quality channel, Rob.

  63. I never understood the popularity of the movie – it was a total ripoff of "Fern Gully". Quite frankly I enjoyed the Fern Gully cartoon more than the movie. I remember coming out of the Avatar movie thinking it was all hype, no substance. One of the few movies we never bought on DVD (even the kids did not ask for it)

  64. I honestly believe the movie sucked.. I'm sorry avatar fans ( if there are any). I don't know the reason why Disney would invest time and money on a movie that has nothing to do with them. I mean referring to what this video stated, competing with Harry Potter which Disney failed to get back in the day by the way. ( shame). Who talks about avatar? Harry Potter is an amazing movie đŸŽ„. Anyway… I rode the avatar ride the flight of passage and its amazing. But I feel they could of done it with any movie, maybe rocky lol. Jk. Well that's my two cents. Yay Disney. Still love you guys. Money to burn I guess. 😊

  65. You mean a couple mounts becuse a few is 3 and I think it goes January ,February ,March ,April ,May

  66. ENDOR in ANIMAL KINGDOM

  67. they should have made some sort of beastly kingdom and pandora hybrid

  68. I think Pandora Land isn't a bad idea… that is my explanation for saying that. By the way I actually like your videos so I'm not like a hater or anything.

  69. Beastly Kingdom will always be better than Pandora

  70. Sure the park might be fun but I've never met anyone that's given a shit about the movie

  71. i know this is an old video, but i find it funny that people bashed pandora so much six months ago (edit: a year ago) and now that it’s open the rides have a consistent 2-4 hour wait each day. like, i waited 3.5 hours for flight of passage and still enjoyed the ride immensely. “well what if i didn’t like the movie?” i hear you say. just don’t go! there’s no need to spoil others’ fun because you didn’t like one movie (the highest grossing movie ever, mind you). irayo, eywa ngahu.

  72. If you do all of this and Disney still hasn’t offered you a job someone needs to be fired

  73. fox is now disney haha Avatar is nu disney haha they already knew that wanted to buy!

  74. I can't believe how good the CG is in avatar, especially for the time.

  75. Nothing to do with animals, nothing to do with Disney, and based on a mediocre film few people even remember. Am I missing anything?

  76. Went there, the uneven walking surfaces everywhere put my wife's knee over the edge and she had to have surgery. LOL. It was boring for the most part, and laid out so that it was very crowded and traffic didn't flow.

  77. I’m watching this video after the land was finished and the land is one of the best in Disney, Good Work Disney

  78. Tbh, I do NOT like the Avatar films, but by golly, does the property work well as a theme park ride. The allure of the films was ALWAYS "I want to be there," not "I like these characters." So the world and rides at AK actually made me love the property a lot more than I did, and it's one of my favorite areas of that park. It's kinda like Splash Mountain. I don't care one iota for Song of the South, but boy howdy, I love everything about Splash mountain and its themeing (theming? not sure the spelling). Honestly, the next movie could bomb, but I'd still think people will like the park area.

  79. I know this is thinking after the fact, and Disney didn't even have Star Wars at the time, but I'm not a bit saddened of the possibility that we could have gotten two separate themed Star Wars lands at WDW.

    Hollywood studios has the planet Batuu, a grungy, port city where you can experience the typical "Civilization" of star wars. But for Animal Planet, instead of Pandora, we would be able to experience a more "earthy" planet like the Forest Moon of Endor(home to the Ewoks) or Kashyyyk(home to the Wookiees)

    Star Wars is such a MASSIVE franchise with a huge following. Much bigger than Harry Potter, and I'm confident that if WDW had two separate experiences into someone's favourite film fantasy, that sat in two different parks(while still keeping with the theming) that it would be extremely successful.

    Disney is trying hard to inject extra draw to their other parks. So far Animal Kingdom, Epcot, and Hollywood Studios are in 6,7,8th for visitors, all sitting around the 10-12 million a year mark(while MK & DL are 1&2 at 20&17 mil.)

    There's no doubt that Hollywood studios will see a GIANT spike after Star Wars: Galaxies Edge opens (also with help from Toy Story Land & Mickey/Minnie ride), but Star Wars is what will most likely boost it from 10 million guest to 14-15.

    The same would be for Animal Kingdom if they had a Kashyyyk like land in replacement of Pandora…AK did see a jump last year from 10 million to 12 million guests, but once again, Star Wars fandom is 100 times stronger than Avatar, and if there were two Star Wars lands in WDW, that would completely change guests plans.

    Usually people try to hit all parks once, but have a second visit to MK and sometimes Epcot before leaving, but you would see people opting to stay extra days, or instead of doing MK for a second day, maybe park hopping between Hollywood & AK to experience it once last time.

    I dunno, thats just my opinion. I feel like it's a huge opportunity missed, but not even Bob Iger knew that it could have been a possibility when they were thinking about Pandora.

  80. Disney's buying 20th Century Fox which owns Avatar so this does make perfect sense

  81. They should have made Pocahontas land. It'd be the same story just not in space. Or a Star Wars Endor theme are and make the flight of passage a speeder bike ride. It would be WAAAAAAAAAAAAY cooler.

  82. what is his number

  83. And now….. Disney is about to own Avatar. Along with The Simpsons, Planet of the Apes, Alien, Predator, and a fuck ton more movies and tv shows

  84. Excellent explanation!

  85. JC the Awesome will probably blow our brains again with the Avatar sequels. T2 and Aliens sure did.

  86. I think they should have stuck with Beastly Kingdom

  87. It looks like it did since both of those rides gave huge ass lines!

  88. Are you going to make a follow up to this video?

  89. the wizahding world

  90. So why did Disney buy Pixar? They already were working on movies together before. What I'm seeing here is just a person playing chess and decides to move two spaces forward and two spaces back. Nothing really changed.

  91. It sure did

  92. ha ha, well now zootopia land is coming as-well

  93. The real question is why hasn't anyone told that guy his earring is too d*mn big?? 😀

  94. What I wouldn't give for a Monster Hunter attraction for Disney Parks

  95. Disney going with the "do what universal is doing" mindset was fine once or twice (most notably the hollywood themed park) but now it seems as though Disney is basing 100% of their projects on whatever Universal is doing

  96. Now it makes perfect sense

  97. I love the fact that they couldnt use marvel, yet marvel would be the franchise to dethrone avatar from the highest earning movie spot

  98. Well it brought us back to Disney. Last October we stayed at Universal for a week but wanted to visit one other park. We loved FOP the previous year so chose AK as our other park

  99. Well. It did. Pandora is very popular.

  100. I LOVE HARRY POTTER THE BOOKS ARE WAY BETTER BUT I LOVE THE MOVIES TO!!!!!!
    I LOVE AVATAR TO ITS SUCH AN AWESOME MOVIE.
    But I like Harry Potter better but I still like avatar.😁

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