Sunday, December 30, 2012

Looking Back and Wishing Forward; Avatar and Dragons

Today we begin our year end series of postings where we look back at our favorite moment of 2012 and offer our wish for 2013 at Disney's Animal Kingdom.  The famous Safari Mike kicks us off, sending in this communiqué from somewhere high up in the Himalayas.   (We can only imagine what wildlife he will find there!!)

Looking Back at 2012: I think the biggest story of 2012 has to be the on again, off again, on again and off again story of Avatarland. Since the deal with James Cameron was announced last September, it has been a lightning rod of controversy. For months,we got zero information. As the spring turned to summer, there were rumblings that Avatarland would never happen. We heard Cameron was too difficult, the backlash from the Disney community was too great, the imagineers had no interest in the franchise. 
image copyright Disney
Then, just when we were sure it was a dead project, we got leaked plans apparently showing a Soarin' type ride system (a consistent rumor for the project from the get-go) combined with a long boat ride. These were supposed to be linked to Avatarland which now seemed to be back in business. But then, Disney buys Lucasfilms. All of a sudden the Avatarland is dead rumblings return. Iger wants more Star Wars in the parks, that is a Disney property now and Avatar is not.  Avatar 2 would be released the same year as Star Wars 7, a direct rival for the new Disney family franchise.  And then, yet again the tide turns as Disney releases a photo of Joe Rohde, James Cameron and others discussing a model of Avatarland. So now, it seems the project might move forward after all.  Or maybe not.  Disney did announce Hyperion Wharf, Flamingo Crossing and other projects that died on the vine.  I imagine by the end of 2013 though we will know for sure which way the pendulum ultimately swings.

 A Wish for 2013: So then, what is my wish for next year? Well, that actually starts in Fantasyland. You see I want that dragon that appeared during the media event for a one time only appearance. An appearance that the general public was not permitted to. I want it at Animal Kingdom every night. Apparently, we can't have fireworks at the park but I think that the place does need a night capping event. It is the only park that does not go out with a bang like Wishes, Illuminations or Fantasmic, and I think a night ending flight of the dragon would fit the bill. People would stay to see it (and eat dinner and shop while waiting). All of a sudden the logo and dragon headed ticket booth would make a lot of sense. And we would have another mythical creature in the park besides the yeti.

to contact Safari Mike use Twitter: @JamboEveryone

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