Welcome to Pandora: 'Avatar' To Be Recreated at Disney Theme Parks

Tuesday, 20 September 2011 14:02 Written by  Jordan DeSaulnier
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Welcome to Pandora: 'Avatar' To Be Recreated at Disney Theme Parks

When writer-director James Cameron's Avatar debuted in 2009 and became the highest-grossing movie of all time, audiences proved that they could unironically enjoy watching an overtly environmental allegory while indulging in the modern luxuries of air-conditioning and 3D movie-going.  There were  even many reports of people suffering post-Avatar depression because the bio-luminescent jungles of Pandora exist merely as expensive digital environs.  Today, anyone suffering from that peculiar psychological malady can jump for joy, as Pandora will soon be physically recreated as an attraction at Disney Parks.

According to no less a source than the Disney Parks Blog, Disney's Bob Iger and Tom Staggs announced at a press conference today that a newly formed long-term deal between Walt Disney Imagineering and Fox Filmed Entertainment  will see Avatar locations incorporated into Disney's amusement parks.  James Cameron, producer Jon Landau, and their team at Lightstorm Entertainment will be providing creative oversight.

"James Cameron is a groundbreaking filmmaker and gifted storyteller who shares our passion for creativity, technological innovation and delivering the best experience possible," said Iger in a quotation from Variety.  "With this agreement, we have the extraordinary opportunity to combine James' talent and vision with the imagination and expertise of Disney."

Cameron is currently planning two Avatar sequels to be created using motion-capture at the Manhattan Beach Studios in Southern California.  Those sequels, set for consecutive releases in 2014 and 2015, will provide some new settings and characters to be included in the Disney Parks attractions. 

Construction of the first Pandora-style environment is tentatively scheduled to begin in 2013 at the Disney World Resort's Animal Kingdom park in Florida.  Florida is a subtextually interesting location, since Avatar told the tale of an alien species obviously modeled on Native Americans entering a guerrilla war against the encroaching human imperialists with their unquenchable thirst for Unobtanium.  American history buffs will remember Florida as the location of the prolonged guerrilla war in which the Seminole resisted relocation for a solid decade following the Treaty of Paynes Landing.

Disney said that the Magic Kingdom park is the perfect fit, as it shares Avatar's themes of environmental responsibility and natural stewardship. 

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