It looks like the success of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter hasn’t gone unnoticed by others in Hollywood, because now James Cameron is teaming up with Disney to bring Pandora, the alien world from Avatar, to life at Walt Disney World in Florida.
Disney’s press release indicates that the partnership will first result in a themed “land” at Animal Kingdom in Florida, but that other parks will eventually get Avatar-themed lands of their own. In addition, with Cameron working on two more Avatar movies, Disney will eventually expand their corresponding attractions to incorporate elements from those new films.
Cameron says that he intends to “bring Pandora to life like never before,” with the goal of going “beyond current boundaries of technical innovation and experiential storytelling, and give park goers the chance to see, hear, and touch the world of Avatar with an unprecedented sense of reality.”
Animal Kingdom was chosen because Disney and Cameron saw similarities between the two and how they both emphasize “living in harmony with nature.” Construction will begin on the Animal Kingdom attraction in 2013, with no projected opening date yet announced.
Do you suppose Disney’s Imagineers will find a way to replicate the floating mountains? Will there be Disney “cast members” on stilts, dressed as Na’vi? “Home Tree” seems like a no-brainer as some kind of ride or attraction, but what about the human settlement? Will it be represented as well? Will there be a “Scorpion Chopper” ride?
But here’s the bigger question. Disney remade Pirates of the Caribbean in the image of the Johnny Depp movies. Universal Orlando transformed a significant part of its theme park into Hogwarts. And now Avatar is coming to Disney World. Is this kind of marriage with Hollywood the future of mega-theme parks? And if so, what major Hollywood property will be next? Lord of the Rings? Marvel? Star Wars? (Frankly, I’m amazed that George hasn’t invested in a full-on Star Wars theme park already.)