"Around here, however, we don't look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things...and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths."
---Walter Elias Disney

Monday, September 10, 2012

Hoping The Latest "Avatarland" Rumors Aren't True

According to the blog StitchKingdom, the gymnasts performing the Festival of the Lion King show in Animal Kingdom have been put on notice that they will no longer be needed after about six months. This is StitchKingdom's take on the news:

If this is indeed the case, it basically sets FOTLK for an early 2013 closing at the latest, lasting perhaps no longer than February (we were provided only with a rough timeline, not a specific date). Even so, it would be possible for the company to simply end the show and pay off the remainder of the contract should it determine to be more cost effective to do so.
The logical explanation provided for the end of the popular show’s reign (which has been a staple at the park since it opened in 1998) is that Camp Minnie-Mickey will be leveled in favor of ‘Avatarland’ which is expected to break ground in 2013. Most recently, reports have come in that ‘Avatarland’ is anywhere from stalled-to-canceled, but these reports mostly cite an IGN report which mentions only that the project is delayed, but even that arguably incorrectly culls its info from its own cited source, which effectively bases the rumor on nothing more than a combination of no concept art being publicly shared and (what amounts to) fanfic.
While The Walt Disney Company is being conspicuously mum on its plans for ‘Avatarland,’ it has seemingly been moving forward with the project, conducting balloon surveys and, of course, telling its current cast members their services will no longer be required soon.

I really really hope this isn't true. I much preferred the rumors of Avartarland's demise. At the least, I'd hoped it would be built on land that wasn't now being used, sparing the need to tear down presently existing attractions. I wondered how long Camp Minnie Mickey would survive "as is" though. It seemed a lot of land to be used for a character meet and greet. But damn it, it worked! In the atmosphere of Animal Kingdom, having a tucked away spot to find Mickey or Pluto or Donald away from the main part of the park seems to fit right in. Animal Kingdom is about exploring and finding the little off the beaten path spots.

And to close the Festival of the Lion King is completely wrong. That show was our favorite on our last trip and I'm very much looking forward to seeing it again in a week, hopefully not for the last time. Lion King gives the parks a show not geared to little girls or small children, though both will enjoy it. It is truly a show for everyone, featuring some of the most spectacular costumes and songs Disney has ever produced. To see it go in favor of an idea as poorly conceived as Avatarland would be a true shame.

Avatar the movie deserves no land. Maybe, if you begged, I might concede to a ride, but a whole section of a Disney park? I think not. Avatar was visually stunning, but one of the most trite collection of bad cliches to ever find it way to the big screen. There was no story, and Disney is all about the story, first and foremost. The Imagineers would have a huge pallet to work with, but no subject to paint. I think it's a horrible idea no matter where they place it, but to tear down Mickey's camp to build a tribute to James Cameron is one of the most un-Disney ideas imaginable.

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