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  • 10/4: 40 & Blue

    Kevin takes a closer look at DisneyWorld's Avatar expansion, and for WDW's 40th, shares two of his video slide shows. Discuss all of it here...

    DIRECT ARTICLE LINK: 40 and Blue - MiceAge.com
    "Politics is the profession whereby the inevitable is made to seem a great human achievement" - Quentin Crisp

  • #2
    Re: 10/4: 40 & Blue

    I'm just majorly disappointed that Disney has totally given up on being creative. It used to be their hallmark.

    And it's been many years since anyone seriously believed that Harry Potter only appealed to kids.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: 10/4: 40 & Blue

      There are some good ideas there on Avatar. I do see Pandora as an indoor attraction. The movie suggests a cool temperature environment rather than the hot humid climate of Orlando. I thought that riding a dragon would be the preferred attraction. Disney would obviously have to design it to be safe. If you can imagine many lifelike animatronic dragons waiting in a queue to pick you up for a tour, it would be absolutely stunning and completely blow away the competition.

      I do think Dino-land should go. Your map is actually pretty good. Dino-land can be razed and replaced as an entry point for Pandora. Gradually, the plants and landscape will transition to the far away planet. You then enter a eco-sphere similar to what you see in zoos of a cool and jungle like forest. You see a mixture of real and fake alien plants. As you enter further, it gets darker and brighter from the blue illuminations. You'll see the huge Pandora mother tree, which has turned into a life sized fun house of places to explore, places to eat, and stores to shop.

      Of course, the rides are what people are after. Along with the dragon ride, there needs to be other journeys. How about being an Avatar yourself? You mimic a creature and proceed to live his life for a day. Have a few different scenarios so you'll come back a different person each time. A few gentle kids rides would be fun too and complete the experience.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: 10/4: 40 & Blue

        I'm on the side of this Avatar land thing being a huge mistake, and for the exact reasons Kevin brought up in his great article. While I am a moderate fan of Potter (never saw the last two films) it is the only reason that on my next visit to WDW I would make the trak over to IOA. The same could not be said for Avater. Never saw the film and could care less about it. As for Kevin saying it has a "track record" - it in fact does not! It has no long-lasting track record of any kind (as does Potter, or Cars for that matter).

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: 10/4: 40 & Blue

          No memorable story, no memorable characters, no merchandising.

          Congratulations, Disney. You're dropping a half billion bucks on a movie's set design. And it isn't even your movie.

          For the stockholders' sakes and yours, you'd better hope that however many years from now when you finally open Pandora to the public, the novelty of the "Pandora look" hasn't worn off.
          "With the acquisition of Marvel and now of Lucasfilm,
          Disney may have finally found the grail. You don't need
          imagination or art. All you need is a brand."

          - Neil Gabler

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: 10/4: 40 & Blue

            Wow, the Disney suits really are idiots. They actually thought that a Harry Potter theme park wouldn't be popular? Even after making billions in books, movies, and merchandising? They sat around thinking "we're Disney, we got nothing to be scared of" and now look at the mess they're in. Again, I say that no one can replicate something on the level of Wizarding World and expect it to be a hit with the public. The only I think that will come anywhere close to it would be Carsland.

            As for where Pandora would be located, I think they might do a new plot of land instead replacing Camp Minnie-Mickey. A big reason being that Festival of the Lion King is located in that land and I don't think Disney wants to deal with the money or trouble to have to tear down and relocate a complex attraction that's pretty popular.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: 10/4: 40 & Blue

              That's not quite right. Harry Potter is popular and every knows it. It's just that Disney didn't perceive a threat to their own parks. Some have argued that Disney is doing just fine even with the perceived threat from Universal. One thing people fail to realize is being Number One means they cannot tolerate any threat. That's why Eisner decided to build its own Studios park after Universal announced its own park. Disney has increased its own presence in the Orlando area due to the competition. Do you think Animal Kingdom will exist without Sea World or Busch Gardens? I don't think so. I wonder what Disney will do with Legoland coming on line.

              Disney misjudged the threat from Harry Potter. Now, they are fixing their oversight by acting like the 500 pound gorilla that they always were.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: 10/4: 40 & Blue

                Nice column, Kevin. I almost hesitate to comment here as the site (sadly) seems to really not be getting the traffic it once did. I noticed that when commenting on Al's column last week ... people aren't posting. Guess that's the online community fragmenting (as Disney wishes) with everyone and their mother starting a 'Disney Lifestyle' site in the hopes of garnering favor and swag from TDO.

                How many folks at the MK Halloween event weren't part of website/blog/podcast etc?

                Anyway, I am betting the folks at UNI aren't exactly blue with envy (c'mon that's worth a giggle!) over Disney getting into bed with the notoriously difficult James Cameron for an Avatar project in a move that can only be seen as one of desperation by Iger and Co.

                Avatar, which IMHO was boring as hell (yes, Pandora looked pretty, but that IS what CGI and a HUGE budget are supposed to deliver), has almost no pulse in the merchandise department (which is what Disney cares about ... look at Cars) and isn't a franchise as of yet. It is one film. One not universally embraced by fanbois either.

                My point isn't to rip it because everyone has different tastes and many will point to its BO tally to claim this was some kind of no-brainer for Disney, which I very much disagree with.

                If it ever gets built, and one must wonder why Disney is pushing off construction until well into FY'13, it probably will look amazing because Cameron (like Rowling or Lasseter) won't accept the typical TDO product.

                And while I see how people can argue that it fits DAK, I absolutely think it's forced at best.

                And what does it say about Disney's confidence in its own IP (which also includes Pixar, Muppets, Marvel and theme parks rights to Lucas properties) that it has to go outside the company in such a way? Why have all these characters and franchises if you're not going to use/exploit them to the fullest? That $4-billion plus on Marvel sure is paying off (as I see everytime I walk into a Disney outlet and see them unloading Spidey and Ironman merchandise!)

                Back to Blue ...

                Two other issues that I see very few people bringing up, so this old Spirit will:

                1.) Not only is the film PG-13 for sexual encounters amongst giant blue aliens, but also for being very violent. Sex and violence don't bother me ... BUT take a look at the film and who the bad guys are. They are a futuristic version of the USA's military (and make no mistake, Cameron was making a point here) who are out to steal a peaceful race's resources and commit genocide if need be to do so. Now, put this into the O-Town market where you get many conservative visitors who live a God, Guns and Glory mentality and love the military and one wonders how that aspect will be pixie dusted. and;

                2.) That Pandora needs a large air conditioned showbuilding is a given. You can't create the kind of vistas and show scenes in Central FLA scrub and 95 degree heat/humidity. But think about the fact the park is supposed to be about nature and going green and all that good stuff and think about the energy that will be spent to AC Pandora to make guests (the ones not blue and 8-feet tall) comfortable and you have one helluva conflict.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: 10/4: 40 & Blue

                  Walt Disney once said that he did not design for kids or adults but for the "child within all of us." I have to say that my "child within" is not that excited about Avatar. While I think it could be a great ride, I feel it needs more fanciful creatures to really excite kids. I think Jarassic Park would have been a stronger theme for DAK than Avatar. I would have liked to see more fantasy and magic in the whole concept. Right now it just seems so adult. I don't believe that kids are going to drag their parent to the new Avatar section of DAK as they are to Harry Potter at Universal.
                  Jiminy Cricket Fan
                  .................................

                  Love Disneyland and Walt Disney World!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: 10/4: 40 & Blue

                    Originally posted by WDW1974 View Post
                    1.) Not only is the film PG-13 for sexual encounters amongst giant blue aliens, but also for being very violent. Sex and violence don't bother me ... BUT take a look at the film and who the bad guys are. They are a futuristic version of the USA's military (and make no mistake, Cameron was making a point here) who are out to steal a peaceful race's resources and commit genocide if need be to do so. Now, put this into the O-Town market where you get many conservative visitors who live a God, Guns and Glory mentality and love the military and one wonders how that aspect will be pixie dusted. and;

                    2.) That Pandora needs a large air conditioned showbuilding is a given. You can't create the kind of vistas and show scenes in Central FLA scrub and 95 degree heat/humidity. But think about the fact the park is supposed to be about nature and going green and all that good stuff and think about the energy that will be spent to AC Pandora to make guests (the ones not blue and 8-feet tall) comfortable and you have one helluva conflict.
                    There's no arguing with either of these points. You nail it with the movie's message: it's not just pro-environment, it's anti-Republican... and Central Floridians may not react the way Disney hopes.

                    And a big carbon footprint from the A/C is a certainty too. Am I a bad person for not caring? DAK is so very hot and humid. If we wanted to do the right thing by the environment, we ought to abandon the whole state of Florida and have no AC at all!
                    Kevin Yee
                    MiceAge Columnist

                    I am the author of several Disney books:
                    Jason's Disneyland Almanac - a daily history of Disneyland
                    Walt Disney World Hidden History - tributes, homages, and ride remnants at WDW
                    Your Day at the Magic Kingdom
                    Mouse Trap
                    Tokyo Disney Made Easy
                    101 Things You Never Knew About Disneyland
                    Magic Quizdom (The Disneyland Trivia Book)

                    “The press [should be] a watchdog. Not an attack dog. Not a lapdog. A watchdog. Now, a watchdog can't be right all the time. He doesn't bark only when he sees or smells something that's dangerous. A good watchdog barks at things that are suspicious.” – Dan Rather

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: 10/4: 40 & Blue

                      "So many of the rides and experiences at DAK are infused with the message of conservation and responsible stewardship of the planet—could there *BE* a movie more in line with that thinking than Avatar?"

                      Pocahontas, and that was actually a good movie.

                      I am hoping that Disney purchased the rights and set a 2013 start date to keep this movie out of Universal's hands. Maybe they don't want to build anything, plans haven't leaked nor have any ideas come out about the land. I can only hope.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: 10/4: 40 & Blue

                        Originally posted by WDW1974 View Post
                        And while I see how people can argue that it fits DAK, I absolutely think it's forced at best.
                        To say it is forced is ignoring how Disney easily fits any attraction it wants into its parks. After you add it, you forget completely how or why it got there. It's there.

                        As for construction till 2013, goodness, this is a rushed schedule. They only have 1.5 years to design the land and attractions. This is ambitious.

                        And what does it say about Disney's confidence in its own IP (which also includes Pixar, Muppets, Marvel and theme parks rights to Lucas properties) that it has to go outside the company in such a way? Why have all these characters and franchises if you're not going to use/exploit them to the fullest? That $4-billion plus on Marvel sure is paying off (as I see everytime I walk into a Disney outlet and see them unloading Spidey and Ironman merchandise!).
                        This is one license in how many years? It doesn't happen too frequently. Disney does have confidence in its IP. From looking at the box office receipts, Disney owns the majority of the movie franchises. But Disney has 4 parks to fill. That's a lot of creativity; however, Disney doesn't have a monopoly on creativity. Some people on the outside do in fact have better ideas.

                        As for Marvel, that agreement in the past with Universal has put a damper into plans. Just be patient.

                        For the final 2 points on PG-13 and A/C, no big deal. Heck, no one will care. PG-13 means Disney will scrub out the bad parts for the theme park attraction. I will even bet that James Cameron will make the sequels a safe PG with plenty of new kiddie merchandising opportunities. In fact, Disney will help to Disneyfy Avatar.
                        Last edited by StevenW; 10-04-2011, 08:58 PM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: 10/4: 40 & Blue

                          Originally posted by KevinYee View Post
                          There's no arguing with either of these points. You nail it with the movie's message: it's not just pro-environment, it's anti-Republican... and Central Floridians may not react the way Disney hopes.
                          But WDW relies more on out of state/country visitors than locals, I wouldnt worry too much about the Republicans in FL.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: 10/4: 40 & Blue

                            Originally posted by KevinYee View Post
                            There's no arguing with either of these points. You nail it with the movie's message: it's not just pro-environment, it's anti-Republican... and Central Floridians may not react the way Disney hopes.

                            And a big carbon footprint from the A/C is a certainty too. Am I a bad person for not caring? DAK is so very hot and humid. If we wanted to do the right thing by the environment, we ought to abandon the whole state of Florida and have no AC at all!
                            I'm more Red than Blue, but I really don't care about what James Cameron thinks of the military and the religious. It's funny how someone who might dislike the military seems to make movies featuring the most awesome weaponry that one might enjoy. Avatar is more spiritual than not so Cameron also missed out on advancing atheism.

                            As for A/C, only the most rabid conservationist would not use A/C in Florida. They gotta be a believer.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: 10/4: 40 & Blue

                              Originally posted by KevinYee View Post
                              There's no arguing with either of these points. You nail it with the movie's message: it's not just pro-environment, it's anti-Republican... and Central Floridians may not react the way Disney hopes.
                              It's absolutely anti-GOP ... or at least what they have come to represent. I know folks will make an arugument that the military in Avatar isn't representing a nation, but mercenaries. Doesn't matter. It's a special ops unit that reeks of Blackwater (now XE because it has such a negative rep) and Haliburton and our private armies that now conduct operations that we don't want to get our official forces hands dirty in. It is anti-military all the way ... and Cameron isn't taking a shot at the military of say Iceland or ... Italy ... or Slovakia. It's the USA!

                              But maybe many folks just view it as entertainment and like the 'splosions and the flying dragon creatures and shut their minds off to the message. Plenty don't.

                              Originally posted by KevinYee View Post
                              And a big carbon footprint from the A/C is a certainty too. Am I a bad person for not caring? DAK is so very hot and humid. If we wanted to do the right thing by the environment, we ought to abandon the whole state of Florida and have no AC at all!
                              No, you aren't a bad person for not caring. I have my AC on 71 degrees right now (have friends who actually keep theirs on 78, which to me is a why even bother type of deal). But DAK is all about conservation and Disney can even talk about how most of the park is outdoors, so you aren't using all of this power for simple functions like cooling and lighting.

                              But building a mammoth show building to house a land that proclaims to be all about living in harmony with nature is kinda ... well ... sorta ... the height of hypocrisy.

                              I don't have an issue with it and hope to enjoy it, but let's not call it anything more than what it is.
                              Last edited by WDW1974; 10-04-2011, 10:15 PM.

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