By Dewayne Bevil, Orlando Sentinel
1:38 PM PDT, September 21, 2011
The theme-park world and the movie universe have been atwitter since Monday's announcement that an "Avatar"-themed land would be added to Disney's Animal Kingdom and, eventually, other Walt Disney Co. parks worldwide. Online reaction is varied and falls squarly into the wedding-day classification: Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.
Here is a sampling:
•"We can always question why Disney turned to a rival studio's cinematic property instead of tapping its deep Disney, Pixar and Marvel benches, but it's at least refreshing to see Disney not take its market leadership for granted as the competition closes the gap." Rick Aristotle Munarriz, The Motley Fool
"Even if I could make the decision to put AVATAR Land in Disney's Hollywood Studios, the reality is there's nowhere to put it given the size of the land that the project needs. There's certainly not enough vacant land within the confines of the park's boundries to do so and if you're thinking of knocking something down to make way for it, the only option is the Backlot Tour, but I'm not sure Disney perceives the Backlot Tour as needing to be replaced." Matt Hochberg, StudiosCentral.com
"I've never watched the movie. I've seen 'Pocahontas' and 'Dances with Wolves.' Same storyline. I think it's going to be a poor use of Disney Parks money; kind of like the Duffy the Bear thing but on a much bigger scale," Reid Loveland on Google+
"Remember, Snow White, Cinderella, etc. were all non-original stories that Walt and crew did something amazing with. Avatar will be the same, I just know it. Give it a chance, and you might be pleasantly surprised," Brian Dancer on Google+
"While we're still in the very early stages of design and planning, we expect this land to be anchored by multiple attractions, entertainment, merchandise locations, restaurants and other immersive elements. Our AVATAR lands will give guests the chance to see, hear and touch the world of Pandora and we can't wait to dive in with James Cameron and his team as we create new experiences that will delight and thrill our guests," Tom Staggs, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts chairman, on the Disney Parks Blog.
"Given how much money it made and how popular it has become, we're frankly a little astonished that it took this long for someone to pitch James Cameron on the idea of creating an Avatar-based theme park attraction," James White, EmpireOnline.com.
"Has there been any details announced yet? Not sure why everyone would be upset without knowing what's truly planned. AK has needed something for a long time." Robert Greenwood on Google+
"When thinking of action in "Avatar," the flying 'Ikran' creatures immediately come to mind, with the Na'vi (blue alien people) having to make a special connection/bond in order to fly them around the planet. … There certainly are possibilities for a roller coaster to be themed to these beasts, but what if it was an entertainment offering instead? A recent Walt Disney Imagineering patent filed in March 2010 shows the possibility for manned flying creatures, puppeteered by trained performers as they fly through the sky. And the creatures shown in the patent's artwork sure do look a lot like those seen in 'Avatar,' " Ricky Brigante, Insidethemagic.net
"If we're diving into an alliance between 'Avatar' and Disney Parks, Na'vi are a must. But it's still worth pondering what we'll observe of them in their 'natural habitats.' Will we see them hunting? Catching Ikran? Making the bond? Pretty sure the kids aren't allowed to see that last part," Josh Wigler, MTV Movies Blog.
"I have vowed to never see another James Cameron film or support his career in any way (not a fan to say the least.) I'm trying to decide if I am going to: 1. Skip this land all together 2. Go back on my vow 3. Pray that Disney dumps the project in favor of something else. Hoping for 3." Jeff Chaney on Google+
"Kids will love it. Disney is one of those brands that can almost, just almost do no wrong," David Chin, commenter on Mashable.com
"With a sequel to 'Avatar' in pre-production, and a third film already planned, Disney will have a huge resource of creative ideas and talent to draw from to import this popular property to its parks. My initial guess is that Disney's Imagineers will try and tie in the Total Immersion Technology they've developed to add an augmented reality layer to any real world theming," John Frost, The Disney Blog
"Did I miss something and today is April 1st? This would be just miserably awful. It was a terrible movie and I hope that this falls through," Karen, commenter on The Disney Blog
"Considering that Pandora was mostly created via green screen for the movie, it's actually pretty nifty to imagine seeing it rendered lovingly in real-life by Disney's gang of puppeteers, botanists, and chemical engineers. … Still, as a film fan, I'm starting to get a little concerned. James Cameron already spent the better part of the last decade working on the first 'Avatar,' and with two more films and now this massive undertaking, is it worth asking when — if ever? — he's going to move on from Pandora?" Darren Franich, Pop Watch blog, EW.com
"I know some of you may be upset that Disney is spending their time and money on an Avatar theme park when they've bought Marvel and could be making the world's greatest superhero-based adventure and rides known to humanity. But all they have to do is take their Pocahontas exhibit and paint everybody blue. Boom. Done. Thanks to everybody for the tip," Rob Bricken, ToplessRobot.com
"I hope they don´t use an existing technology but surprises us like Universal did with Spider-Man and Harry Potter. I´m also wondering about the shops and restaurant. Will they be set in the greedy corperation basecamp? It would be so appropriate for Disney Co." OT, a commenter on AttractionsMagazine.com.
"My first thought has been echoed in many places - this is not a great choice and will not age well, that in 10 years (when the new land is only 6-7 years old) it will feel dated and irrelevant. However, as I began to think about it a bit more, I realized that if they only were to do a ride based on the movie(s), then it probably would feel dated. But, if they theme an entire new area based on this alien world, then the new land itself might begin to define Avatar, instead of Avatar defining the new land. If that's the case (and I hope it is), it could open up very intriguing possibilities." Scott Clark on Google+
"Avatar is creepy. What happened to redoing Pleasure Island? If this happens, maybe 2020," Realworld, a commenter on OrlandoSentinel.com.
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