The planned Avatar land at Walt Disney World's Animal Kingdom could feature an attraction that simulates flying, according to the movie's creator James Cameron.
Speaking to the LA Times, Cameron said of the concept: "I definitely want to do a flight attraction of some kind. Flying is a big part of the movie. One of the things people liked the most at test screenings was going up into the floating mountains in the flying sequences."
Citing Soarin' over California at Disney California Adventure as one of his favorite theme park rides, Cameron went on to suggest that creatures from the two planned Avatar sequels could feature in such a ride: "We may have banshees, Leonopteryxes, maybe some other flying creatures that don’t make their appearance until the second and third films.”
Meanwhile, the Huffington Post's Jim Hill claims that the deal between Disney, Cameron and Fox Filmed Entertainment to license the Avatar characters for use in theme park attractions came about quickly. Hill reports that Tom Staggs, the Chairman of Walt Disney Parks & Resorts, was inspired to try and combine the best elements of the recently-opened Star Tours: The Adventures Continue simulator and the upcoming Cars Land at Disney California Adventure. Staggs reportedly convinced Disney CEO Robert Iger that Avatar would offer the perfect brand upon which to base a fully immersive land.
While many industry observers have praised the deal, some are unconvinced about Disney's plans to install its first Avatar land at the Animal Kingdom park. Speaking to Blooloop, Super 78's Brent Young said of the deal: "The minute the new experience opens, it becomes the Avatar theme park, upstaging the Animal Kingdom brand. The better play would be to leverage the new Marvel relationship and blend it with Avatar to create a new park that’s more appropriate for the more adult themes those brands represent – Disney’s Sci-Fi Kingdom."
Disney announced the Avatar deal earlier this week, revealing that it has secured exclusive rights to build Avatar theme park attractions. While Disney's Animal Kingdom will be the first park to host an Avatar attraction, the company does have the option of exploiting the franchise at its other global theme parks should it choose to do so.
The move to secure the rights to Avatar theme park attractions has widely been reported as Disney's response to the massive success of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando's Islands of Adventure. The first Avatar movie grossed more than $2.7 billion at the box office worldwide, and is based on the story of the indigenous Na’vi people's attempts to fend off mining activities on the idyllic planet of Pandora.
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