Today it was announced that Disney, together with 20th Century Fox and director James Cameron, have struck a deal to bring 2009′s Avatar to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, a theme park located at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.
Disney is no doubt feeling the heat from Universal Orlando’s wildly successful Wizarding World of Harry Potter (which got high marks from our own Editor Kathy), and feels latching on to the highest-grossing movie of all time is a way to compete.
The Avatar-themed land will be an all-encompassing experience, similar to Wizarding World or Cars Land, which is currently being constructed at Disney California Adventure. There will be attractions, shops, tours and more, and Cameron himself will be directly involved in creating the real-life (kinda) world of Pandora.
Now, I’ve never seen Avatar, and I’ve never been to Disney World, so really, this news shouldn’t mean a whole lot to me. But it does, and here’s why: Animal Kingdom is the first park to get the Avatar treatment; eventually it will be incorporated into other Disney parks. If that means Euro Disney or Hong Kong Disneyland, whatever. But if that means Disneyland in Anaheim: ugh.
Look, I’m no purist. I don’t mind Indiana Jones or Star Wars or even the Muppets invading the Magic Kingdom. But with Disney’s takeover of Marvel, and now its partnership with Cameron, I just worry that the company is turning its back on the already awesome universe of characters it’s created and/or adapted.
I get that Disney’s a business first and foremost and new, fresh ideas are the way to stay in business, but you know. I selfishly want to see more Simba, Belle, and Bambi in the park, and not so much Iron Man, the Incredible Hulk, and whatever those blue things in Avatar are. I can’t be the only one, right?
Construction for the Avatar land in Florida begins in 2013. Avatar 2 and 3 are expected to come out in 2014 and 2015, respectively. Here’s hoping the sequels don’t tank and take Disneyland East with it.
In the meantime, I guess now I have to watch Avatar so I know exactly what I’m complaining about. You win again, James Cameron, you 3D-loving bastard.
[Photo via L.A. Times]