Will Avatar Fly at Walt Disney World?

by MouseStation Crew, staff writer

MouseStation 436 - Will Avatar Fly at Walt Disney World?

(Download show - Main podcast page - Subscribe - Podcast radio player)

Show run time 0:51:52

On today's show, Mark and Mike talk about the announcement of Disney's deal with Lightstorm Entertainment and Fox Filmed Entertainment to bring the universe of Avatar to Disney Parks.

You can subscribe to MouseStation from the links at the bottom of this page, or via your favorite podcast aggregator. If you'd rather pop up our podcast radio player into a separate window so that you can continue browsing MousePlanet in this window, click here. (NOTE: Our podcast radio requires Adobe Flash Player. You can dowload the player here.)

Let us hear from you!

Send in your suggestions, comments or tips via our email feedback form or via voicemail on our toll-free feedback line (1-866-939-2278).

Meet Mark next month in Florida!

Do you want to meet Walt Disney World Resort Update editor Mark Goldhaber? There's a fun event coming to Walt Disney World this fall. Join Mark on Sunday, November 13, at 4 p.m. through park closing for the Big Bad Voodoo Food-Do To-Do.

We'll wander the last day of the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, sampling cuisines from around the world, taking pauses to watch each of the three performances by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy (one of Mark's favorite groups) at 5:15, 6:30, and 7:45 p.m. on the final day of the Eat to the Beat concert series. After the last performance, we'll get one last snack, secure some international desserts, and then find a place to enjoy the evening's performance of Illuminations.

You can RSVP on Plancast, or by email. You can also just show up, but if Mark can snag some swag from the MouseAdventure goodie bag, he'll want to have enough for you! We'll meet at 4:00 p.m. at the World Showcase side of the Odyssey bridge. You can also follow @ on Twitter for updates on November 13 if you want to join the group later on in the day.

Calling all with a spirit of adventure!

Are you ready for MouseAdventure: World Explorers III? The third iteration of the scavenger hunt/puzzle quest/race through Walt Disney World's parks takes place on Saturday, November 12 at Disney's Hollywood Studios (the game has been going on at the parks of the Disneyland Resort for more than 10 years now). Do you think that you know Disney's Hollywood Studios? We bet you don't know them as well as you think you do. Test your wits against those of our puzzle masters. For more information, check out the MouseAdventure information page and sign up now. Hurry up! Registration closes October 21!

The Kid's Bar Mitzvah Project

Mark's son (a.k.a. "The Kid") will be having his Bar Mitzvah at the end of October. For his Bar Mitzvah community service project, he has elected to raise money for the March of Dimes to help them promote research that can help more kids born prematurely like him. To raise that money, he is writing a new song for this project, and will send a CD with the new song and two more of his "greatest hits" to anyone that donates at least $5 to the March of Dimes on his fundraising page.

The Kid is actually a very talented musician and songwriter (though Mark helped out with the lyrics for this song), as demonstrated in the background music for Mark's discussion of this topic. Please consider donating to The Kid's fundraiser, and you too can own a copy of an original song written, performed, sung, and mixed by The Kid.

Tip of the Week

This week's tip comes via Facebook from Vance Cope, who recommends a strategy for saving money when buying your three-year-old's first Annual Pass if you are already an Annual Passholder. If you're already a passholder, the child's pass can be processed as a renewal instead of a new pass.

Feature: Will Avatar Fly at Walt Disney World?

Mark and Mike talk about the announcement of Disney's deal with Lightstorm Entertainment and Fox Filmed Entertainment to bring the universe of Avatar to Disney Parks.

Mark set out a lot of the points that he originally covered in last week's Walt Disney World Update, and the conversation went on from there.

Topics included:

  • the actual and adjusted all-time box office grosses;
  • the staying power of the Avatar universe;
  • the fact that the movie was rated PG-13 for violence and other adult themes;
  • the possible themes from Pandora that could be explored;
  • using Avatar vs. using Disney content;
  • how Avatar would do compared to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter;
  • will Avatar be passe by the time that it opens;
  • will it be the immersive environment or the name that brings people in to see the land (and if so, could the Imagineers have come up with something amazing without the inspiration of Pandora);
  • what could they possibly build in a land inspired by the movie;
  • where the land would be built;
  • the length of time before the land can be built; and
  • when we might see some concept art.

Let us know what you think Avatar could bring to Disney's Animal Kingdom, and whether you think it's a good thing or a bad thing.

Mark forgot to do the drawing for the contest to give away two extra D23 Expo Guidebooks and six D23 Expo hand fans. We'll do the drawing and announce the winners on the October 18 show.

Magical Moment

This week's Magical Moment comes via email from Mary Tesch, who told us about the magical treatment that her family received when their room at the Disneyland Hotel was not ready when promised.

Listener Feedback

John and Cindy wrote in to say that on our Walt Disney World transportation episode, we forgot to mention the free transportation for Disney resort guests who wish to play golf on one of the Disney golf courses.

Paul wrote in (and posted on MousePad) that he wants to see the Dreamfinder come back to Journey Into Imagination.

IllusionofLife posted on the show notes for Update It! Replace It! Change it back! on MousePad that the big things for him are to replace or update Stitch's Great Escape, and to replace Laugh Floor and Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin. He likes the topic and can't wait for us to get around to doing it for the parks of the Disneyland Resort.

kvandmx posted on the show notes for Update It! Replace It! Change it back! on MousePad that they also like the show topic. The pointed out that we somehow missed talking about Mr. Toad's Wild Ride being replaced by Winnie-the-Pooh. We thought about it, but Mark blanked when trying to go back to Fantasyland.

mkelm44 posted on the show notes for Update It! Replace It! Change it back! on MousePad that he had a list of changes that he would like to see at the Great Movie Ride.

Join our networks


The MouseStation Podcast




Wrapping up

Don't forget to go to the iTunes podcast directory and give us a good rating for the combined feed!

You can get your MousePlanet (or MouseStation) swag from the MousePlanet CafePress store and the MouseStation CafePress store. If you'll be walking in the March for Babies or CHOC Walk; running the Walt Disney World Marathon, the Disneyland Half Marathon or any other endurance event; or even just trying to keep fit, you can also get your Team MousePlanet running wear from our Team MousePlanet Zazzle store!

Thanks to our announcer, Andrew Rich, and to our sound editor and audio engineer, James Granger!

Thank you for listening!

Stitcher Radio!

The MouseStation is now available through Stitcher Radio!

Subscribe to the podcast



  1. By IllusionOfLife

    It sounds like you guys have been keeping up with the main Avatar Land discussion thread, so you're probably already well versed in my staunch anti-Avatar Land stance, so I'm going to try to keep this brief. I agree with what you said, that Imagineering typically does excellent work and that they, at least, deserve the benefit of the doubt (there have been a few failures, Superstar Limo and Enchanted Tiki Room Under New Management spring immediately to mind, but over all they have a fairly spotless track record). If WDI came up with a really unique concept for an Avatar ride I think it could stand the test of time and end up outliving the popularity of its source material (I don't expect Avatar to remain a culturally relevant property beyond the end of the decade, with or without sequels). For instance, The Twilight Zone was not exactly a hot property when Tower of Terror was built, but the attraction has gone on to become a classic in its own right and has likely done more to raise interest in the great, but mostly forgotten show than anything else since Twilight Zone: The Movie tanked. However, the idea of a Twilight Zone Land would be absurd because it would be seen as creatively limiting and dated.

    Similarly, the idea of Avatar Land is just downright terrible. You're dedicating a large amount of space to a property that's already seen a fairly substantial drop off in cultural relevance after only two years, not only that but your limiting that whole space to revolve around ideas based on a property devoid of interesting characters or stories. Wizarding World of Harry Potter was a natural choice for a theme park land because there's so many memorable locations and ideas that could be easily adapted into a theme park; you could go to The Three Broomsticks for a butter beer and some food, shop around Diagon Alley or Hogsmead, you could head to the Quidditch Pitch for either a show or some kind of attraction, visit Hagrid's Hut and the Great Forest, and, of course, Hogwarts Castle itself. On the other hand, Avatar really doesn't have a lot of specific memorable locations that could be recreated in a theme park setting. Oh yes, Pandora was a neat creation, and visually beautiful, but it didn't have a lot of specific landmarks. Essentially you have the tree of souls and the human research/mining facility, neither of which exactly lend themselves to shops, restaurants, and entertainment. Even Radiator Springs has more memorable landmarks to recreate in a theme park environment than Avatar does.

    Oh dear, I've ranted for a lot longer than I wanted to. Please don't read this whole post on the show because it'll eat up all of your listener feedback time. Instead I'll try to summarize my points in a neat little paragraph for you to read on the show and if people care enough about the long form version of my thoughts you can send them here

    I just don't see Avatar Land having the longevity or creative potential necessary to sustain a theme park land. If Disney had made the deal with Cameron to include one Avatar ride as the flagship attraction of Beastly Kingdom 2.0 I could get really excited for this, but an entire Avatar Land seems like a major waste of money, space, and the Imagineering's talent. I seriously hope Disney scales back their plans on this one because the less space that it occupies is less space they'll be forced to re-theme 10 years down the road. So on a scale of 1-10 how excited I am/how much I approve, I'd say a 2 at best; if you were asking the same question regarding a single Avatar attraction I'd give it a cautiously optimistic 8/10. Avatar Land just reeks of a knee-jerk reaction from Disney and knee-jerk reactions almost never end up being good in the long run.

  2. By DisneyGator

    I actually like the idea of Pandora. The movie scenes are great, and as long as there's none of those animals that want to kill me and the air is breatheable, I'd love to see Pandora in real life. I only have one big beef with Pandora coming to WDW - the fact that it won't be here until 2016. That, to me, is stupid. Start builing it now. It'll be done by early 2014 or even sooner. By the time it's here, the anticipation of seeing it will be faded, if not gone.

  3. Discuss this article on MousePad.