Staggs Says Avatar Land Is Still On

During the Grand Opening Press Event for Walt Disney World’s New Fantasyland, Parks and Resort Chairman Tom Staggs confirmed that another one of the WDW projects is still on track – that being the Avatar Land to be built in Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

News on the “Avatar” land front has been quiet for some time since it was announced more than a year ago.   This has caused the rumor mill to be filled with stories that the land was either being re-evaluated or even cancelled.  Fuel was poured on the rumor mill fire recently when Disney announced the acquisition of Lucasfilms and the rights to the “Star Wars” franchise.

But Staggs reaffirms that the development plans are continuing. “We’ve gotten more excited about Avatar as we’ve gone through development. Because we are finding that really playing around with this notion of allowing guests to visit Pandora can be very magical. We’re not in construction yet. We’re still in development. And we’re still honing exactly what we’re going to do. But it’s going to be big.”

Staggs compares the Avatar development to that of the newly opened “Cars” Land in DCA and the New Fantasyland at MK. “We love that as a direction,” Staggs said. “We’re going to go for that in Avatar. Cars Land has been a tremendous hit in Anaheim. It’s such a hit with our guests that it clearly factors into our thinking about the long-range plans for our other properties,” he said. “We haven’t made any final decisions about if or when that might happen. But we’re excited to see how much the guests are really loving that land.”

Staggs also confirmed that the presence of “Star Wars” in its theme parks will expand, “You’ll see more Star Wars in the parks,” Staggs said.

Prior to any Avatar or Star Wars development however, Disney must complete the roll out of  it’s “NextGen” project which has been in development for years.  “NextGen” pieces include a reservations system which allows visitors to book rides from home, keyless hotel-room doors and interactive ride queues.


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