AVATAR Land at Disney's Animal Kingdom

Discussion in 'Walt Disney World News, Rumors and General Disc' started by See Post, Aug 15, 2015.

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  1. Talk-to-Ethan

    Talk-to-Ethan Member

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    Your concerns about potential fading are warranted..
    The human built plants/vegetation/vines/moss/fallen tree logs and rockwork absolutely astonish due to the extremely highly and varied details.
    There is so much new plant life and species to discover. Pandora teems with 'life' and rich color on an unprecedented scale. This all translates to logistical maintenance nightmare due to an unrelenting Florida sun. Expect terrible fading.
    The amount of colors and tones used throughout Pandora is too hard to describe. One needs to see in person to appreciate.

    Another concern I have are humans(guests). I already saw one plastic water bottle and a candy wrapper in the Flight of Passage queue. I don't mean they were laying in the walkway but dropped in the show scenes/sets of the bioluminescent forest portion. But mosty I fear breakage and defacing throughout Pandora.

    If one wants to experience Pandora's full glory he best tour in the first 6 months. This is not Tokyo where guests know how to treat things..... unfortunately.
     
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  2. Talk-to-Ethan

    Talk-to-Ethan Member

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    Sorry, I didn't answer your question as I got carried away.

    The vast majority of vegetation and rockwork look surreal and very convincing.
     
  3. phruby

    phruby Moderator

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    I wonder if they used the same glass paint they did on the sub lagoon at Disneyland. It's suppose to reduce fading for 10 years.
     
  4. FerretAfros

    FerretAfros Active Member

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    That's certainly possible, but even those colors faded pretty quickly (though sunshine isn't nearly as powerful as constant chlorine exposure); the last time I rode the subs everything had faded from the bright colors of the film to the muted blues, greens, and greys of a real coral reef. Then again, it's been a decade since the Subs reopened, so perhaps there's a newer long-lifespan product

    But even more that simply keeping the colors up, I'm concerned about all the different textures. Things like the moss wall, tiny trees on the floating mountains, and hairy-looking faux plants are all going to collect rain water (and other gunk) and soak it up, which is just asking for mold, mildew, and staining, especially with many things near/under waterfalls and ponds

    I'm also curious to see how they plan to refurbish the floating mountains, when the time comes many years from now. The scaffolding they had for construction looked like it would require shutting down most of the land's pathways, and it seems like too big of a project for boom lifts. It looks great for the moment, but I really have to wonder what they were thinking when they designed them
     
  5. Talk-to-Ethan

    Talk-to-Ethan Member

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    Something to consider here: Disney positioned countless real/living plant species all over Pandora to really make the land convincing. The man made plants/vine/moss/boulders blended with the real ones is masterfully executed. The waterfalls and streams around the land serve as the lifeblood. Moving water is plentiful and is run through a massive filtration and pump system.

    What I'm getting at is that this is a
    quasi working ecosystem and the more it ages the more it will look authentic. Most of Pandora will likely not need an overhaul because so much is authentic nature. But the many super colorful man made plants at some point will need repainting----- a huge undertaking because of the intense details. Repainting the likes of a ToonTown(remember when that blew us away in the 90's with its extensive colors) is child's play compared to restoring Pandora.
     
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  6. phruby

    phruby Moderator

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    I just hope they built the floating mountains better than the Tree of Life. I really don't want to see pieces of that thing falling on people.
     
  7. FerretAfros

    FerretAfros Active Member

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    I got to visit the new Avatar area over the weekend and wanted to share my thoughts. I haven't seen the movie (though I DVR'd it a couple weeks ago, so I hope to see it soon), so I got to experience it as a totally new environment

    On first impression, it's a really spectacular place. The floating mountains make a huge impact, and even having watched their construction, the engineering behind them is kind of mindblowing. The detailing throughout the land is quite good, with lots of fake plants mixed in with real ones (though the balance never quite felt alien to me), and lots of small things to observe. That said, I found the natural/military juxtaposition somewhat jarring, especially in Flight of Passage queue, where you suddenly find yourself inside a concrete bunker. Maybe it's something that will make more sense having seen the film, but it sort of felt like that's just where they ran out of money

    The land's layout is a little awkward, with the main path being much deeper into the land than you expect, and the minor path has nothing of note on it other than some nice landscaping (that path was blocked off some of the time we were there for filming of the Christmas special). They had temporary-looking wayfinding signs throughout the land, which presumably was a response to guests who couldn't find what they were looking for. Considering how much wayfinding signage has been retroactively added to the other parts of DAK (more than any other park I've ever been to), it feels odd to me that they apparently forgot their past lessons. It also felt like a very lopsided land, with the floating mountains and big show building on the south side, but nothing really on the north; it made for great photos, but it was all lost when you turned and faced the other way. It would have been nice to have a couple more mountains on/near the minor path that connects toward the Canteen

    I really appreciated that River Journey was a return to Disney's roots, essentially as a plotless atmospheric ride. With so many attractions these days having tortured backstories and overly-specific events, it was great to just get to sit back and look at the environment. It could stand to be about 25% longer, have more AAs, and a much higher capacity, but I was surprised by how enjoyable it was. It wasn't worth the nearly 2-hours we waited for it, but it's a nice addition to the park's lineup that exceeded my (admittedly low) expectations

    We used FPs for Flight of Passage, helping us bypass most of the 3-hour wait, but there was still a long-ish wait after the merge point (due in part to at least one theater going out of service). The boarding/grouping process seemed overly complicated, with CMs needing iPads to keep track of who goes where, but it made for a more intimate pre-show experience. Unfortunately, the pre-show is just terrible; I'm not sure what they were going for with the spaced-out scientist, but the whole thing just felt sloppy and cheap. It's also said that it's better to show people something than to tell them, and this pre-show requires a ton of explaining things that simply didn't make sense to me (potentially because I haven't seen the movie). The ride itself is well done, with lots of bells and whistles, but it feels more like another step beyond other simulators rather than an entirely new experience. For how immersive it tries to be (complete with a rumbling seat that's very...personal), it was disappointing that they couldn't figure out a way to make it actually look like you were riding on a banshee; instead it felt like I was just hovering in space in my little seat pod thing

    The food at the restaurant was really good, though it was impossible to find a seat. Despite signs saying that seats were reserved for guests with food, at least a third of the tables were being held by guests waiting for a family member in line and CMs were not helpful in helping us get seats after we purchased our meals. Similar to the woven artwork throughout the land that was created by Balinese artisans, the emphasis on southeast Asian foods and ingredients as something so crazy that it must be alien didn't feel right to me, especially in a park that attempts to celebrate and respect traditional cultures; it felt a little cultural appropriation-ey to me, but your mileage may vary

    We visited again after dark, and it was neat to see everything glow, but the nighttime experience was way oversold. Disney's advertising would make you believe that it was equivalent to an attraction of itself, but it felt to me more like the additional charm that Main Street has after dark. It's a neat additional layer, but I wouldn't go too far out of your way to see it. I was impressed by how far up the floating mountains the glowing plants could be found, but in general I didn't think it came anywhere near the hype

    As I alluded to earlier in the thread, I'm quite concerned about what maintenance will be for this area. Despite only being open for 6 months, there's already some significant wear and tear, most visibly in the River Journey queue, where most of the handrails are already completely worn down due to the very-slow moving queue. Some of the vines within guest reach have already worn down to the metal cables inside, and I saw chipped paint on about 1/4 of the glowing plants. It still looks better than most areas of the parks, but it's cause for concern given how new it is. The designs will be a challenge to maintain in the long term, so I'm really disappointed that they didn't use materials that could stand up to more wear and tear

    In all, I think it's a good addition to the park. For what it is, it's horribly expensive and still manages to miss some of the park's needs, but it's a step in the right direction. I would personally still prefer a broader land based on fictional animals, but I was surprised by how well it fits in with the themes in the rest of the park. The park still needs a few more things to do in inclement weather and after dark, but this definitely helps round out the experience
     
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  8. dagobert

    dagobert Well-Known Member

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    Thanks a lot for this comprehensive and realistic review of Avatar Land. While I can't wait to see it in person, in my opinion it still looks very impressive, even by night, I want to keep my expectations rather low. The main reason for that is the movie, which I don't like at all.
     
  9. FerretAfros

    FerretAfros Active Member

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    One of the things that was really unexpected to me is the River Journey ride system. Because the boats are much smaller than most boat ride systems, they're able to make very tight turns, and spend a lot of time zig-zagging through the scenes. The result is a layout that more similar to a darkride like Mr Toad or Snow White than other boat rides, however it's still slow-moving like a boat ride. Given that real river currents never have turns that sharp, it's an unexpected sensation, but it sort of works here
     

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