In Defense of the Avatar Expansion

Disney and AvatarIn September 2011, The Walt Disney Company announced what is to be the largest expansion of Disney’s Animal Kingdom to date: the Avatar expansion. About one and a half years later, we still don’t have very much information about what is specifically planned for the park and many are skeptical that it will be successful. Personally, I think it’s a great idea for the Park and I can’t wait for it to open.

It’s no secret that Disney’s Animal Kingdom could benefit from an expansion. The last major attraction to be added to the park came in 2005 when Expedition Everest opened. While Expedition Everest is an amazing attraction, it didn’t create the kind of lasting draw to keep guests in the Park for a full day. Without a nighttime show, many guests leave the park after the afternoon parade and, consequently, DAK typically closes earlier than the other three Parks. The Avatar expansion is expected to fix this issue and turn DAK into a “full day Park.”

Pandora
Disney will do an amazing job Imagineering Pandora

Many argue that the company should utilize its own characters rather than using outside properties. However, some of the best Disney attractions are based on properties licensed from other parties. Consider, for example, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. At its core, it’s not a Disney property. Yet, Disney Imagineers created an attraction that appreciates the original series and brings it to a whole new level, specifically fit for a Disney Park. Today, the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is considered one of the classic Disney attractions. While we don’t know the exact plans for the Avatar expansion, we can expect that it will be created with the same high standards.

So, why Avatar and the world of Pandora? The scope of Pandora provides limitless possibilities. Pandora is so expansive that the opportunities for what can be done in a theme park are endless. And, with at least two more sequels in the works, the first film is just a glimpse into the world of Pandora.

Pandora at night
Pandora will add a beautiful nighttime element to the Park

Disney’s Animal Kingdom is the perfect place for an Avatar-themed land. The movie’s theme of respecting and cohabitating with nature is one that impeccably aligns with the themes of DAK, which include conservation and dedication to nature and animals. And, importantly, the Avatar expansion will also provide an additional element of fantasy to the Park.

If you haven’t yet seen the movie, I strongly encourage you to watch it. After seeing the scenes of Pandora at night, you’ll also wish that you could visit that world.

What do you think? Are you looking forward to the Avatar expansion at Disney’s Animal Kingdom?

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