Disney World Is Getting An Avatar

I was just checking through some news that I get about Disney.  I have quoted from The Independent the following piece that I found totally amazing.  Whether or not this actually happens will totally depend on Disney.  It seems that they change their plans continuously.

Disney will build a new Avatar-themed amusement park, the entertainment giant confirmed September 20.

The world’s first Avatar-themed land will be constructed at multi-park Walt Disney World in Florida, within the existing Animal Kingdom area, but with an option to expand into other Disney parks.

Avatar director James Cameron and producer Jon Landau will work with Disney to create the park, which Cameron said would “go beyond current boundaries of technical innovation and experiential storytelling.”

Guests will be able to experience the mysterious universe of Avatar firsthand through the park, with construction expected to begin in 2013.

With two further Avatar films expected in the coming years, the park will explore locations, characters and stories that have not yet appeared on screen, James Cameron confirmed.

The park will include rides, shops and places to eat and drink and will take around five years to build.

The enhancement is the latest in a series of new features forWalt Disney World, the world’s most popular theme park, with millions being spent on enhancing the brand’s theme park offerings.

Earlier this year, a new attraction based on the epic Star Warsfilm opened, featuring 50 different storylines, 3D digital video and motion-based simulators.

Despite a global growth in world theme parks, visitor numbers at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom fell by 1.5 percent last year – although with 16.9 million visitors, it remains far and away the most popular theme park in the world, accounting for the lion’s share of visitors to Walt Disney World.

Animal Kingdom, where the Avatar attraction is to be built, attracted just over 9.6 million visitors, according to the Theme Entertainment Association – a number that is sure to surge when the Navi’i arrive.

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Wild Africa Trek Coming Soon

Disney is bringing another adventure to visitors of Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  Here is the information.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Navigating a rickety footbridge over a river chasm can be dicey enough for explorers. In an all-new Disney adventure, what lurks below that bridge may quicken their step to get to the other side: Crocodiles!

A ravine of menacing-looking crocs, pools of hippos, bushwalks along untracked terrain and other thrills await guests on Wild Africa Trek, a unique wildlife experience scheduled to launch in early 2011 into the deepest, most-remote reaches of Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Reservations can be booked beginning Oct. 15, 2010, for the three-hour, expert-led adventure that will immerse guests in the realms and wildlife thrills of far-off Africa – without leaving Walt Disney World Resort. In small groups, guests on the Wild Africa Trek will enjoy an “up-close-and-personal” experience with African wildlife species that make their home in Pangani Forest as well as other areas of the park’s Harambe Wildlife Reserve.

As part of the adventure, guests will clip onto a lifeline as they step to the very edge of a cliff to get amazingly close to the hippos and crocs waiting just below. Talk about cliff-hangers!

Adventure-minded guests will have the experience of a lifetime as they get immersed in an authentic African safari experience that only Disney can deliver,” said Michael Colglazier, vice president of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. “We are thrilled to be offering this unique outdoor adventure aimed at active vacationers, taking interactions with the incredible animals that inhabit the Harambe Reserve to the next level and literally blazing new trails in our park.”

Highlights of what’s in store for guests on this add-on adventure:

  •  Trekking with experienced guides through areas of Harambe Wildlife Reserve that aren’t explored during regular Disney’s Animal Kingdom experiences.
  •  Navigating through fern and vine forests on a bushwalk that sets a course for adventure.
  •  Clipping into a harness attached to a safety line, crossing a seemingly precarious rope bridge over the Safi River and cliff-hanging at the edge of gullies that are home to hippos and crocodiles.
  •  Experiencing the thrill of “over-landing” in customized open-air vehicles following the edge of a magnificent, wide-open savanna.
  •  Unwinding from an unforgettable adventure at a private safari camp for wildlife viewing.  At this station elevated above the savanna, guests savor sample tastes of Africa as their adventure draws to a relaxing and satisfying close.
Wild Africa Trek will be offered several times daily at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Groups will be kept small, consisting of no more than 12 trekkers per safari.

Reservations for Wild Africa Trek can be arranged by calling 407-WDW-TOUR (939-8687). Pricing for this unique adventure will vary seasonally. Guests who reserve a booking from Jan. 16-Feb. 26, 2011, may take advantage of an introductory offer starting at $129. Park admission is required for participants.

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The Yeti Is Still Completely Frozen.

I think it is high time that Disney thinks about what they are going to do about the inoperable Yeti at Expedition Everest.  The last time that I rode Everest the Yeti wasn’t working either.  That is one of the best parts of the ride, and it doesn’t even work.  Maybe the engineers need to get some snow boots on, and get up there, but don’t come down until it is fixed.

Here is a article about the situation that they have going on.

Engineers at Walt Disney World say they trying to figure out how to re-activate a 25-foot tall mechanical abominable snowman that stopped working last year.

The animatronic yeti that once lunged at rollercoaster riders at the Florida theme park stalled in March 2009 and has been idle ever since with no more than a flashing strobe light giving it the illusion of motion.

“It’s embarrassing that this technological marvel is left … to just sit there,” Tony Crane, 35, St. Louis, told the Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel during a recent visit to the park.

Disney told the newspaper the 20,000-pound yeti has a lot of moving parts and is the most complex of Disney’s animatronics. A spokeswoman said getting the yeti back in motion was equally complex and the company was considering its options.

The Sentinel said the frozen state of the snowman goes largely unnoticed by most customers on the Expedition Everest ride, but at least two Facebook groups lobbying Disney to fix the creature have been formed.

“The yeti not working to me is akin to riding the Haunted Mansion and not having any ghosts in the graveyard,” Martin Smith, 38, Manchester, England, told the newspaper.

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Animal Kingdom Gains Weight

I have been to the Animal Kingdom in Disney World many times, and have seen many of the babies that they have there.  On one of our recent trips we saw some baby giraffes.  This has got to be better than the best weight loss pill could do for anyone.  Here is a release about a new addition to the animal population at the Animal Kingdom.
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., May 21, 2010 – The elephant herd at Disney’s Animal Kingdom just expanded – by about 288 pounds. That amount represents the weight of the newborn female calf born late last night.

Twenty-two-year-old Donna gave birth to the herd’s fifth offspring after gaining more than 400 pounds during a 22-month gestation. This latest addition, which has yet to be named, is the second calf for Donna, which gave birth to a female calf, Nadirah, in 2005. This birth raises the number of elephants in the Disney’s Animal Kingdom herd to thirteen, including five males and eight females.

“Elephant births are among the most amazing and complicated processes in the animal kingdom,” according to Jackie Ogden, Ph.D., vice president of Disney’s Animal Programs. “A team of dedicated animal professionals have worked with the expecting mother attentively throughout the course of her pregnancy. At this point, we’re optimistic for the calf’s likelihood of survival and are thrilled that both Donna and her calf are doing well.”

With assistance from the animal care team, the newborn, whose first tentative steps are becoming stronger and more confident, is now successfully nursing from her mother. Donna has been getting to know her calf, gently touching the young animal with her trunk. The next critical milestone is for the calf to continue the bonding process with her mother who will teach her important lessons and protect her as she is introduced to the rest of the savannah herd in several weeks.

Donna became pregnant through artificial insemination in July 2008 and received extensive pre-natal care throughout her pregnancy. Zookeepers added more exercises to her daily routine, hoping to strengthen the muscles needed during the birthing process. In addition to regular ultrasounds, veterinarians and elephant managers monitored her hormone levels on a daily basis to help them determine when she would give birth. Labor appeared imminent last night and the animal care team remained with her to provide round-the-clock care until the female calf was born May 20 around 11:30 p.m. 

This is the fifth elephant born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. In addition to Donna’s first female calf, Nadirah, Tufani, a male, was born in 2003; Kianga, a female, was born in 2004; and Tsavo, the youngest male, joined the herd in 2008. All remain on the savannah at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Disney has been at the forefront of efforts to better understand and care for endangered elephants. Disney’s Animal Kingdom is part of a breeding program coordinated by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) that is focused on sustaining the elephant population in North America. AZA’s Elephant Species Survival Plan has called for a five-fold increase in African elephant reproduction efforts – using both natural and artificial breeding methods – in order to create a self-sustaining elephant population among North American zoos and wildlife centers

Baby Elephant Facts

· Depending on the calf, it could take several days for the calf to coordinate trunk movements. Initially, it may only be able to wave it in the air, suck on it or trip over it. Typically within a week the calf has gained enough control to begin picking up small objects and food.

·  Suckling up to 12 liters a day, baby elephants may depend on mother’s milk for up to three years, although they can be weaned at two years of age.

·  By the time a calf is nine months old, 40 per cent of its diet is vegetation. The calf learns how and what to eat by watching the older elephants.

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Educational Planet Watch

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When visiting the Animal Kingdom in Disney World make sure you visit Rafiki’s Planet Watch.  Each time we visit we get to see more.  We have yet to actually get to see the doctors doing any work on any of the animals.  From something I read the doctors do various types of testing, like DNA Testing.  When you go there you get to see various specimens of bugs, and other creatures.

There is an area that you can experience some of the different sounds of the world.  You can meet a few of the Disney characters while there.  There is a camera area that allows you to see some of the aminal holding areas.

To get to Rafiki’s Planet Watch you take a train to a secluded area of the park.  Once off the train you walk down a path that has employees that are having children participate in some learning tasks.  Once at the main building there is a petting zoo with goats, pigs, and other animals.  This is FREE with park admission, and the hours vary.

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Final note… There are no dining facilities at Rafiki’s Planet Watch.

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