Friday, December 28, 2012

The Word for 2013, Avatar


The coming of the New Year is a time to not only look back at 2012, but also to look forward to what may come in 2013.  And at the Animal Kingdom, gazing into the promise of the new year can mean only one word...Avatar.

Since the first train left the station at the village of Serka Zong and journeyed toward the Forbidden Mountain, little else has changed at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  The opening of Expedition Everest in 2006 was the last major addition to the park.  Since than, all the other parks have seen major attractions added, plussed, or re-imagined, while the Animal Kingdom has remained stagnant.  But it appears all of that is soon to change.

image copyright Disney

As we have been talking about for months, Disney is in the process of pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into the Avatarland project, which promises to be one of largest expansions in the history of the Florida parks.  The next year will most likely be dominated by talk and construction of this new land, as little else is in the works for DAK.

A year ago, we could have said the same exact thing about 2012, but instead what we got was another lost year in terms of DAK expansion.  It seems, however, that 2013 will be different, well..sort of.  While Avatarland will likely not open during the calendar year of 2013, what we will get is hope.  Hope that Disney is finally investing into making the Animal Kingdom bigger and better.

image copyright Disney
Hopefully, 2013 will also give us a better idea of what Avatarland will be like when completed.  We have already seen some plans, but those were vague and we all know that everything can change especially since shovels haven’t even hit the ground yet.  Will this be a fun and fantasy-filled extension of the park’s conservation theme?  Or will it be just the beginning of a Disney’s Hollywood Studios-style slippery slope towards thematic mishmash?  

I know many a fan of the Animal Kingdom, a few of whom work for this website, hold out hope for a cancellation of Avatar in favor of something else, something more fitting of the park’s current theme.  But that seems out of the question now.  Avatar will happen.  We just need to keep our fingers crossed that it will be an expansion more like the new Fantasyland or Cars Land, and less like the kind of Camp Minnie-Mickey style expansion it appears to be replacing.

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