Avatar Experience Coming to Walt Disney Resort in 2016

Posted by Staff on Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

New Avatar-Themed World at Disney Animal Kingdom

The enormous success of Universal Studios’ Wizarding World of Harry Potter no doubt sent a clear message to Disney. While mega media franchises such as Star Wars and Indiana Jones have served Disney well for many years, it was high time they partnered up with one that belongs to the current generation of young movie fans. Obviously Harry Potter was out of the question, so Disney sought out the man behind one of the most hyped and successful movies in recent years, James Cameron, writer and director of AVATAR.

The partnership between James Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment, Fox Filmed Entertainment, and Walt Disney Imagineering (WDI) was first announced at a WDI press conference held last September. At the press conference, Disney president, Bob Iger, and chairman of Disney Parks and Resorts, Tom Staggs, revealed plans for an AVATAR­-themed land to be built at Disney’s Animal Kingdom at the Walt Disney Resort in Florida. Beyond that, there aren’t a whole lot of details available yet. As to why the Animal Kingdom park was chosen as the location for the new AVATAR world, Disney  pointed to the themes of “living in harmony with nature and environmental stewardship” that are shared by both the film and the existing park.

We’re sure that the question you really want answered is, “when will I get to experience this AVATAR-themed world myself?” As of now, the project is still in the design phase, with construction expected to begin by 2013. In a blog post at the Disney Parks Blog, in which Tom Staggs answered reader questions, Staggs states that “a project of this size and scope takes about 5 years to design and build.” No one knows for sure exactly when Cameron and Disney started designing the AVATAR world, but this time frame laid out by Staggs sets the opening date somewhere in 2016.

When 2016 finally rolls around, don’t be surprised if Disney’s AVATAR world is the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter. 2016 is also the year AVATAR 2 is slated to hit theaters, so the timing for Disney is perfect. If we see as much excitement generated  for the sequels (a third film is also in the works) as we did for the original, Disney’s AVATAR world is sure to steal the spotlight away from nearby Universal Studios.

James Cameron and Bob Iger at Press Conference for Avatar World at Disney Animal Kingdom

James Cameron and Bob Iger

Although we have no details concerning what sort of rides will make up AVATAR land, there’s no doubt they’ll be cutting edge. Cameron pushed the boundaries of filmmaking with AVATAR and we expect that he’ll do the same with theme park rides. Until we can actually ride them ourselves, we’ll just have to trust Tom Staggs when he promises that the AVATAR world is “going to be a truly unforgettable experience.”

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