Festival of the Lion King Moves and AVATAR Land Construction Begin 2014

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Disney today officially confirmed that Festival of the Lion King at Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park will be moving to that new theater in Africa we recently posted about and stated that the new theater will open sometime in 2014.


This announcement confirms that AVATAR Land construction that was supposed to break ground in 2013 will instead be starting in 2014. This also means that we will probably not be visiting Pandora anytime before 2017. While this is another delay, the moving of Festival of the Lion King does in fact dispels all rumors that AVATAR Land is in trouble or might be cancelled. It is coming… just a little later than we thought.

So, what do you think?

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About the author

Tom Corless

Tom has been regularly visiting the Walt Disney World® Resort from the time he was 4 months old. While he has made countless visits in the last 28 years, he did not become a truly active member in the Disney fan community until the summer of 2007, when he decided to launch the WDW News Today website and podcast. Tom has since become an Orlando-local and is a published author on Walt Disney World.
Contact Tom at [email protected]


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  • I still think Avatar land is a waste of time and money. I don't see the staying power of Avatar after the 4 movies are done. I feel the area would be better utilized as a creatures of Star Wars area or even just some new rides to expand the offerings at the park.

    I just feel that after about 2020 no one is going to care or remember Avatar.

    • I feel like no one cares about Avatar at this point. How about we bring in mythical creatures, but the kind that everyone already knows. More things like the Yeti. A Cryptozoology section of the park.

  • I really wish they would bring in mythical creatures and Percy Jackson instead makes more sense

  • Waste I time and money. I have no desire to see Avatarland. Disney is behind the times on this one. Why???? Makes no sense to me. I'm sure there is a story behind this decision and it has nothing to do with what guests would want.

  • I agree that Avatarland is a losing move. But mythical creatures? Oh, YEAH! Where's the unicorns? I understand that they want to use Avatar to teach about conservation. But why not use mythical creatures to do the same? Present it as a new story of a "different world" that has what for US are mythical creatures. And they need our help to "save" them through conservation. You can even use the same "look" as Avatar's world for this "different world", without the blue people.

  • I'm curious: does anyone know someone that has seen the movie more than twice? From my experience, most people saw it in theatres, gushed about how pretty is was, then moved on to the Next Big Thing. Maybe they saw it again with a different group of friends or on television, but even the biggest movie buffs I know don't own a copy.

    Avatar is cool, but for some reason it just doesn't capture the imagination like Star Wars or scifi movies do. Investing in the "make-believe" portion of the original park idea would be a much better idea.

  • I can't believe they are going to put effort into such a bad idea. But, how long will FOTLK be open? Will it still be playing in October?

  • I think the plans will change before construction starts… Doubtful if Avatar makes it to the park.

  • Along with Avatar being a waste of time and money the should get rid of that idea and take the dinosaur area with it!! Both lands do not match the theming of the park and they would be better off adding Australia or South America or ocean type areas/exhibits/rides.

  • I have seen Avatar more than once and enjoyed it each time. To me, its a movie I can pick-up anywhere and just start watching. Do I own it? No. Is it my favorite movie? Not close. If the area is well done, I think it will be accepted by the majority and will make a nice addition. Just because an area is based off of a movie you don't like doesn't mean it can't be highly entertaining. Does the movie "Song of the South" have a wide appeal? No, but Splash Mountain is hugely popular. People line up for an hour because the ride is well done. The same could be true for all of Avatarland.

    And unicorns and beasts land sounds awful in my opinion. But, if they built an amazing unicorn based attraction, it would probably change my mind quickly.

  • I agree that with the comment about Australia. Why not have an Oceans area of the park, let guest ride and learn about the animal kingdoms that live in H2O.

  • I think that Avatarland could be beautiful to see. I am sure that Disney will do a very good job of it but I would also love to see a Beastly Kingdom or an Australia portion to the park. Personally, I think Dinoland with its carnival type rides just does not fit in at all.

  • I am SO EXCITED!!!! How did you not fall in love with Pandora in the film? It's so beautiful! So incredible! The type of place that begs to be experienced rather than just seen! And who better to bring the magic to life other than Disney? =)

    Everyone loved Avatar until it suddenly became "uncool" to admit that you actually liked it. All of you who are complaining, that's fine with me. You're just going to sit at home and pout about the new land you don't care about while the rest of us get to have a HELL of a lot of fun experiencing something you're too lame to get up and see! =D Complain all you want. Disney knows what they're doing. And I am happy about it. You all make me laugh.

  • While working at Disney World, I tried to get involved in Animal Kingdom and learned about different parts of the park. Turns out… The little dino carnival area (which I honestly don't care for at all either) was intended to be a temporary area just to fill a void while they worked on plans for other attractions that would fill the area. But after receiving both positive feedback from parents who liked the area for their children, and the projects for that area being put on hold, they ended up postponing the construction that would have taken place there. And unfortunately, that little area has been like that for years now. Honestly, I know that it is absolutely below Disney's standards to keep all those rides there and I can't wait until they do something different in that area.
    I've heard rumors among the cast that since all of their attention has been geared toward Pandora, they have not made any progressions with the dino area. But it may be their next targeted area when Pandora is finished.

  • We, as a family, have certainly seen the film on numerous occasions. And yes, we do own a blu-ray copy of the film too. To us it embodies the magic of Disney, the depth of conservation that Walt inspired to and offers so much to the imagination. We think it will be a thrilling addition to AK and cannot wait to experience Pandora.

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