Disney made a very surprising announcement today, one that I never heard a peep about in any of the usual rumor mills. Walt Disney World will be adding a new area of the park, but it's not a land of mythical beasts like the park was originally intended to one-day add. Instead, they'll be turning to outer space, and an outside-of-the-company property...
No, your calendar isn't broken. It's not April 1st, and this isn't a joke. Don't take my word for it, you can read the official announcement on the Disney Parks Blog.
Questions and Talking Points:
1) This is Disney's answer to Universal's The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, right?
2) An alien-world themed land sounds great, and the world of Avatar is certainly visually resplendent, but... I don't know if this is the greatest fit. I guess they don't want to wait to see if their own John Carter series hits it big or maybe they're pretty sure it won't.
3) Are they this sure Avatar has long-term fan appeal? I know there are sequels in the works, but will they have the same success as the first? People (I'm not one of them) already wonder if the Harry Potter franchise has enough long-term appeal to sustain a land. There's a lot less surety about the future of Cameron's series.
4) If Disney wanted a large area based on a long-term successful sci-fi franchise, why not expand on the one they're already in bed with? Star Wars has proven to be evergreen, and there's plenty more Disney could do with it.
Viable questions, but I bet I'll forget all of them if Disney can really deliver an impressive and immersive visit to Pandora. We'll find out in the future.