While we got virtually nothing out of our D23 Expo, the folks in Japan are getting spoiled by theirs.
Disney has pulled the wraps off of two new projects this week, with one of them being the famous, (or to some infamous,) Avatar project for Animal Kingdom, as well as an unexpected Iron Man simulator for Hong Kong Disneyland.
Now, before we get to the real headlining news, something that really took many by surprise was the announcement of the Iron Man Experience coming to Hong Kong Disneyland in 2016. The story is that the Stark Expo has set up shop in Tomorrowland, bringing with it loads of Stark inventions, and of course the famed Hall of Armor. Then, riders will board the simulators and take to the skies fighting of villains, (which many expect may be Hydra from the Captain America franchise,) in a thrilling, E-ticket attraction.
Tom Staggs, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, had this to say on the attraction in his post on the Disney Parks Blog:
Audiences around the world have been captivated by the amazing inventions and innovations of Tony Stark and we’re basing this experience within a piece of the Stark Expo. Located in Tomorrowland at Hong Kong Disneyland, the Expo will allow guests to see firsthand the progression of Tony’s Iron Man suits and many other Stark innovations.
Upon entering the ride vehicle our guests will be able to take flight with Iron Man on an epic adventure that not surprisingly pits Iron Man, and our guests, against the forces of evil. This adventure will take place in the streets and skies of Hong Kong, which will make an even more unique and special experience for our Hong Kong Disneyland guests. In addition, guests will be able to meet and take photos with Iron Man.
Now, in what one may consider to be one of the biggest recent announcements in Walt Disney World’s history, Disney has released concept art for Avatar land coming in 2017 to Animal Kingdom. No real details were released, but this is our first glimpse into what this will look like when we finally get to walk into Pandora in 4 years time.
Also shown was this piece of artwork for the Pirates style boat ride through the jungle. If done right, this could turn out to be another instant classic Disney attraction, as it looks to me like it’s a back to basics ride like Mystic Manor.
As you can see, this will be no small feat, as we are looking at making something totally fictitious real, with plants that don’t exist, and rock formations that defy gravity, as seen in this picture featuring the talents of Joe Rhode, Parks and Resorts Chairman Tom Staggs, and franchise creator James Cameron
It should also be noted that coinciding with the opening of Avatar land, will be Animal Kingdom’s first night-time entertainment experience, with a glowing Tree of Life, live performers, and more “entertainment” focusing on Discovery River, (can you say World of Color DAK Edition?)
The lack of details on both projects implies that there are still concepts to be flushed out as far as story goes, but I’m thrilled to see that Disney is putting this much attention into doing Avatar right, as well as testing the waters with their first Marvel based attraction. With such a long timeline for each of these projects things could easily change with either project, I just wished they’d been able to pull an announcement together while the expo was a little closer to home.