Using Na’vi-inspired shovels and assisted by a Na’vi, (left to right) George Kalogridis, president of Walt Disney World Resort; Meg Crofton, president of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Operations, United States and France; Tom Staggs, chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts; a Na’vi; Jon Landau, Avatar Producer; Bruce Vaughn, chief creative executive of Walt Disney Imagineering; and Joe Rohde, creative executive, Walt Disney Imagineering, pose Jan. 8, 2014 during the ceremonial groundbreaking of an Avatar-inspired land at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
Although the D23 Expo doesn’t officially kick off until tomorrow morning, a private media event was held earlier this evening at the Disney Parks / Walt Disney Imagineering Pavilion. The most notable takeaway from the pavilion, which gives unprecedented looks at how Disney Parks attractions are and have been designed, from concept to realization, is that two hours just wasn’t enough to experience it all.
The second takeaway is that subtle hints at upcoming projects involving Star Wars and Avatar didn’t seem all that subtle — assuming what I saw was what I thought it was.
Disney’s ‘Avatarland’ expansion, based on the successful James Cameron film franchise, at Disney’s Animal Kingdom may in fact be in trouble as rampant rumors have speculated in recent months. Yet just as recently as December, Disney has remained adamant that everything was just fine, according to this article by the Orlando Sentinel.
But according to paperwork recently filed with the Orange County comptroller’s office, everything may not be hunky-dory in the land of the Na’vi. The document calls for the installation of FASTPASS+ for ‘Festival of the Lion King,’ a show that was expected to close and relocate elsewhere in the park to make way for the ‘Avatarland,’ which is said to replace Camp Minnie-Mickey.
It doesn’t seem to rain much in the rainforest-like environment of Avatar’s Pandora, but we’re pretty sure that if and when it does rain there, it pours. No sooner than a forum thread pop up suggesting James Cameron gave the okay to Disney to proceed with AvatarLand at Disney’s Animal Kingdom at the Walt Disney World Resort, that purported ‘leaked’ blueprints of some sort involving the layout of the new land’s attractions.
The latest species on the endangered list to be highlighted at Disney’s Animal Kingdom at the Walt Disney World Resort will be the Tumble Monkey, if reports are to be believed. A reliable insider has advised us that the gymnasts performing at the popular ‘Festival of the Lion King’ show located at Camp Minnie-Mickey have been put on six month notice (as of last month) and — to date — there have been no changes or amendments made to said job loss notification.
What you see here is one of Walt Disney Imagineering’s newest inventions being tested earlier this year at Minter Field Airport in Shafter, California — a flying dragon puppet that even — get this — breathes fire.
The flying fantasy object was recently spotted as reported by the Bakersfield Californian, but this picture here, amongst others, has actually been online since May. It comes via the Facebook page of Tammy Jackson-Zaninovich who reports the sighting as ‘just another day’ at the airport.