Saturday, March 10, 2012

A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow

One of the key observations that has been made about the new Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom interactive game is that every land except Tomorrowland has a tie-in to the game. This has led many to speculate that Disney does not want to spend to add SotMK elements only to have to remove them for a giant upgrade to the land that may be in the planning stages right now.

The new Disney parks leadership (aka Tom Staggs) and Walt Disney Imagineering agree that Tomorrowland at both the Magic Kingdom and at Disneyland is in great need of help. Cars land opens in June at DCA and New Fantasyland opens in November at the MK. This is fortuitous for the prospects for a new Tomorrowland. If the crowds and spending come to DCA and New Fantasyland as predicted, WDI will get the greenlight to move ahead with plans to update Tomorrowland in both parks.

Historically, Disney management has been much more likely to green light an attraction if it can be duplicated and used in multiple parks. They now believe they can get two Tomorrowlands for the price of one (so to speak). Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom would get clones of a new E-Ticket, clones of a C or D ticket,  and updates to theming that will be nearly identical at both parks.

Everything would be tied up around space travel and a very futuristic vision of far off places and new creatures. The C or D ticket is tentatively scheduled to be a WALL-E based next-generation omnimover (a more varied range of motion for the cars and onboard screens to interact with). The E-Ticket you've probably already heard of.

It will be more than just a single ride, but rather a whole pavilion. Everyone knows that Avatarland has been put on hold at Disney's Animal Kingdom. The reason might be because Imagineering has long held an interest in graphing an alien world onto Tomorrowland and the Avatar movies might provide the perfect vehicle. It also lets Disney have a working concept that won't see the park needing to re-invent the land every 15 years again.

That's all I have for today. Looks like we could be in for a very interested next 5 years.

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Friday, March 9, 2012

Wither Avatarland?

Heard an interesting rumor from two sources today. Apparently cooler heads are prevailing at Walt Disney Parks & Resorts and the idea of building a themed area dedicated to the worlds created by James Cameron in his Avatar movies at Disney's Animal Kingdom is getting a second look.

The biggest plot of land available at Disney's Animal Kingdom was at one time designated to be built as a new land with animals and culture from Australasia region. The park already has a few animals that fit that mold, but they aren't getting much traffic due to their off the path locations. Plus it would allow them to tie in the popular Finding Nemo movie along with other aquatic beasts, something very much missing from DAK at the moment.

The plans for Australia were pretty much in place before Tom Staggs had his ah-ha moment while walking through DCA. But Staggs had only recently moved into his position above Walt Disney Parks & Resorts and wasn't 100% familiar with the vision and goals of Disney's Animal Kingdom. Staggs only new that the park needs some help with keeping guests attention a full day and that Disney World was getting their pants handed to them by the Boy Wizard up the street. So a giant movie property like Avatar was available and Staggs smartly snagged the themepark rights to it.

However, that's not to say Avatar is a perfect fit for Disney's Animal Kingdom. That seems to be the growing consensus and word is that Avatar could be put on indefinite hold for DAK, perhaps popping up instead for the first time in Shanghai or as a stand alone Location Based Entertainment property in Hawaii near Aulani. The first sign of this would be a move to start construction on Australia at Disney's Animal Kingdom.

Stay tuned. This could get interesting.

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