Over the last nine years, we have certainly made a name for ourselves at WDWNT.com by taking photos and video as often as possible of ongoing construction projects around the Walt Disney World Resort. In that time, I don’t recall ever being asked not to take pictures or video of such a sight. That being said, I’ve seen photographers from other websites asked to get down off of trash cans or nearby planters, but in fairness, those are things that violate park safety guidelines.
At this point in time, we have received several reports of guests being asked not to photograph or video record the Pandora: The World of AVATAR construction site from inside the front gates of Animal Kingdom. I myself have been asked twice to stop recording, but after asking why, the case was typically dropped by the cast member who clearly didn’t want to have a discussion about it.
Why is this happening? Well, a meeting was held with front gate cast members at Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park just a few weeks ago where they were instructed to ask guests to not photograph or video record in the direction of the AVATAR site when entering through the Rainforest Cafe entrance to the park. The cast members were not given a direct reason for this.
Other cast members at the park were not given such instructions, so don’t be surprised if no one says a word to you if you are taking pictures by the construction walls next door to Tiffins and Nomad Lounge on Discovery Island.
Most believe this is an attempt by Disney to curtail the continuing narrative that the project is taking too long to complete. Some believe the reason is that there may be something Disney doesn’t want the public to see, or perhaps it is just a mandate by James Cameron, creator of the AVATAR franchise. If this was the case, I’m not sure why a slightly taller wall wouldn’t be installed. I also can’t imagine why WDWNT.com would have not been contacted regarding our aerial footage and pictures of the site just a few days ago.
Whatever the reason is, don’t be surprised if you hear a polite throat clearing behind you the next time you try to take a picture or video of Pandora: The World of AVATAR, still scheduled to open sometime in 2017.