Tag Archives: Walt Disney Parks & Resorts
Long-term agreement will bring AVATAR themed lands to Disney parks, with the first at Walt Disney World in Orlando
Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Worldwide is joining forces with visionary filmmaker James Cameron and Fox Filmed Entertainment to bring the world of AVATAR to life at Disney parks. Through an exclusive agreement announced today by Disney, Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment and Fox, Disney will partner with Cameron and producing partner Jon Landau to create themed lands that will give theme park guests the opportunity to explore the mysterious universe of AVATAR first hand. Disney plans to build the first AVATAR themed land at Walt Disney World, within the Animal Kingdom park. With its emphasis on living in harmony with nature, Animal Kingdom is a natural fit for the AVATAR stories, which share the same philosophy. Construction is expected to begin by 2013.
“James Cameron is a groundbreaking filmmaker and gifted storyteller who shares our passion for creativity, technological innovation and delivering the best experience possible,” said Robert A. Iger, President and CEO of The Walt Disney Company. “With this agreement, we have the extraordinary opportunity to combine James’ talent and vision with the imagination and expertise of Disney.”
“AVATAR created a world which audiences can discover again and again and now, through this incredible partnership with Disney, we’ll be able to bring Pandora to life like never before. With two new AVATAR films currently in development, we’ll have even more locations, characters and stories to explore,” said James Cameron. ”I’m chomping at the bit to start work with Disney’s legendary Imagineers to bring our AVATAR universe to life. Our goal is to go beyond current boundaries of technical innovation and experiential storytelling, and give park goers the chance to see, hear, and touch the world of AVATAR with an unprecedented sense of reality.”
The agreement announced today gives The Walt Disney Company exclusive global theme park rights to the AVATAR franchise and provides for additional AVATAR themed lands at other Disney parks. The other locations will be determined by Disney and its international theme park partners. James Cameron, Jon Landau and their Lightstorm Entertainment group will serve as creative consultants on the projects and will partner with Walt Disney Imagineering in the design and development of the AVATAR themed lands.
“This exciting new venture combines the world of AVATAR with the enormous reach of Disney and the incomparable talent of Jim Cameron,” commented Fox Filmed Entertainment chairmen Jim Gianopulos and Tom Rothman. “While Jim is bringing audiences further into Pandora with the next two chapters in the AVATAR motion picture saga, the theme park attraction will likewise bring a new dimension to the amazing universe he created.”
“AVATAR is a uniquely powerful franchise that has global appeal with audiences of all ages. Its spectacular settings, intriguing characters, imaginative creatures, and strong themes of family and loyalty make it a perfect fit for Disney,” said Thomas O. Staggs, Chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. “We can’t wait to give our guests the ability to journey to Pandora and explore the incredible immersive world of AVATAR in person.”
In addition to setting a global box office record, AVATAR has been hailed as one of the most innovative and visually stunning movies ever produced. With its advanced motion capture and 3-D digital projection technologies developed by James Cameron and his team, moviegoers were able to connect with the world of AVATAR in new and engaging ways.
This new venture complements Walt Disney Parks & Resorts’ strategic efforts to continue to invest in its core theme park businesses around the world while simultaneously expanding into other parts of the family vacation business.
About Walt Disney Parks and Resorts
Walt Disney Parks and Resorts are where dreams come true. More than 50 years ago, Walt Disney created a new kind of entertainment families could experience together, immersed in detailed atmospheres and vibrant storytelling. His vision now includes a collection of five of the world’s leading family vacation destinations – Disneyland Resort, Anaheim, Calif.; Walt Disney World Resort, Lake Buena Vista, Fla.; Tokyo Disney Resort, Urayasu, Chiba, Japan; Disneyland Paris, Marne-la-Vallée, France; and Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, located on Lantau Island. A sixth resort, Shanghai Disney Resort, is currently under construction in Pudong New District, Shanghai. In addition, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts includes the world-class Disney Cruise Line; Disney Vacation Club; Adventures by Disney, a guided group vacation experience to some of the world’s most popular destinations; and Walt Disney Imagineering, which creates and designs all Disney parks, resorts and attractions.
About Fox Filmed Entertainment
One of the world’s largest producers and distributors of motion pictures, Fox Filmed Entertainment produces, acquires and distributes motion pictures throughout the world. These motion pictures are produced or acquired by the following units of FFE: Twentieth Century Fox, Fox 2000 Pictures, Fox Searchlight Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox Animation, Blue Sky Studios and Fox International Productions.
Certain statements in this press release may constitute “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are made on the basis of our views and assumptions regarding future events and business performance as of the time the statements are made and we do not undertake any obligation to update these statements. Actual results may differ materially from those expressed or implied. Such differences may result from actions taken by the Company as well as from developments beyond the Company’s control, including governmental actions and changes in domestic and global economic conditions. Additional factors are set forth in Item 1A of the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended October 2, 2010 and subsequent reports.
- Disney to build ‘Avatar’ attraction in Animal Kingdom theme park (orlandosentinel.com)
Guests of All Ages Will Discover the Beauty, Stories and Fun of the Islands
Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, combines the beauty and spirit of the Hawaiian islands with the magic of Disney storytelling and guest service, creating an unforgettable family vacation experience.
Set on a beautiful lagoon along the coast of Oahu, Aulani welcomed its first guests on Aug. 29, 2011.
Aulani serves as a gateway to the fun and enchantment of the islands, noted Tom Staggs, chairman of Walt Disney Parks & Resorts.
“We are thrilled to welcome guests from around the world to experience Aulani,” Staggs said. “This resort is a unique and exciting project that combines the magic and storytelling of Disney with the rich culture and beautiful scenery of Hawaii. It is the ultimate family paradise with a touch of Disney magic.”
Hawaiian heritage and Disney magic
Each day of their stay, Aulani guests can customize their experience – relaxing on the beach or in Laniwai, a Disney Spa, playing in the pools or discovering the island on a specially planned excursion. Among the unique experiences at Aulani are gathering at the fireside Mo’olelo for storytelling (mo’olelo is the Hawaiian word for story) and spotting statues of Menehune, the legendary island little people, hidden throughout the resort.
Aulani traditionally means “a messenger of a chief – one who delivers a message from a higher authority.” The name Aulani is fitting, as the resort serves as a messenger of the Hawaiian spirit, people and culture.
“The name ‘Aulani’ expresses a connection to tradition and deep storytelling – and its roots are in this land right here,” said Joe Rohde, senior vice president and creative executive, Walt Disney Imagineering, who led the design of the resort.
“We want this resort destination to reflect the vibrant culture that surrounds it. We believe in artistry, in excellence, and in the beauty of a well-done thing. Our commitment to excellence mirrors the cultural values one sees in the arts of Hawaii.”
Aulani occupies 21 acres of oceanfront property in Ko Olina, adjacent to a nine-acre, crystal-blue lagoon and white-sand beach. Ko Olina is 17 miles from Honolulu International Airport and less than an hour from Waikiki Beach.
When all phases are complete, Aulani will include 359 traditional hotel rooms and 481 two-bedroom equivalent Disney Vacation Club villas in two towers, each featuring rooms that offer thrilling views of the ocean, mountains and the magnificent, lush surroundings.
Something for everyone
Family-friendly resort amenities include the 18,000-square-foot Laniwai, a Disney Spa, with 15 treatment rooms and a fitness center. Many spa treatments draw upon Hawaiian healing traditions.
Aulani also features two signature restaurants – the full-service ‘AMA’AMA and the buffet-style Makahiki – offering foods unique to Hawaii.
- At the chic, beachside ‘AMA’AMA, ocean breezes soothe the spirit as chefs use fresh local ingredients and island flavors to create distinctive dishes at breakfast, lunch and dinner. The menu includes vegetarian options and classic cocktails with new twists, plus desserts house-made daily.
- The buffet-style Makahiki offers guests breakfast among Disney characters or, in a magical midday transformation, dinner in artful surroundings, including a stunning ceiling light sculpture and beautiful wall murals hand-painted by local artists.
Young guests have their very own kids’ club, Aunty’s Beach House. Here children can explore Hawaiian culture through supervised entertainment, including interactive touch tables, wildlife and nature programs, arts and crafts, Disney movies and traditional Hawaiian games.
Children of all ages will delight in Waikolohe Valley, Aulani’s seven-acre water play area. The overall landscape mimics the flow of a watershed as it moves from the mountain to the ocean, complete with the Waikolohe Stream, the resort’s mysterious (yet fun) tube-floating watercourse. Here guests encounter bubbling water, a cloaking mist and several hundred feet of additional surprises.
Adventure, conventions and weddings, too
For those who love waterslides, Tubestone Curl, the resort’s tube slide, and Volcanic Vertical, Aulani’s tunnel slide, provide thrills galore. Guests will also interact with native Hawaiian fish, including angelfish, butterfly fish and tangs, in the 3,800-square-foot Rainbow Reef snorkel lagoon, the only one of its kind on Oahu.
The Makai Preserve conservation pool offers an interactive experience that allows guests to stroke the velvety backs of gentle stingrays (available by reservation only). A portion of the proceeds from this activity will support research and conservation efforts in Hawaii through the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund. Water activities at Aulani also include a quiet adult pool, wading pool and, for the ultimate relaxation, sunset-facing whirlpool spas.
Looking beyond its own magical grounds, Aulani offers a menu of discovery excursions with the aid of local experts. These include exploring tropical forests, hiking local mountains, sailing aboard catamarans, swimming with dolphins, cooking with local chefs, following a ghost tour and more. The excursions are specially designed for Aulani guests by Adventures by Disney and feature a knowledgeable, friendly Adventure Guide.
Aulani is the ideal place for events. When all phases are complete, groups will find nearly 50,000-square-feet of meeting space, including a 14,545-square-foot conference center, the main ballroom (which is divisible by six), four breakout rooms and generous pre-function space.
Since outdoor events are so popular in Hawaii, Disney also has created three distinct event lawns, including an oceanfront wedding lawn for Disney Fairy Tale Weddings & Honeymoons.
In the normal development process of any ride-based attraction at Disney Parks, Imagineers spend weeks and even months testing the ride vehicles. Many of you may have seen one of the first ride vehicles, which was on display at the D23 Expo in Anaheim this past weekend in the Parks & Resorts Pavilion. While it might be a while before you see this or any of the other ride vehicles racing around Ornament Valley, keep checking back with the Disney Parks Blog for the latest updates.
Source Disney Parks Blog
- ‘Carousel of Projects’ from Disney Parks at the D23 Expo (chipandco.com)
- D23 Expo Day 1: Walt Disney Parks/Resorts Panel (chipandco.com)
Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Vice President of Lodging Mark Rucker has been named to the board of directors at Clean the World Foundation, an Orlando-based organization that recycles soap and shampoo and distributes them around the world to those living in poverty.
Each year, millions of children die from hygiene-related illnesses because essential items for proper hand washing are unobtainable. Clean the World aims to stop those needless deaths from occurring by distributing soap products and educational materials to impoverished countries worldwide and here domestically to local homeless shelters.
“At Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, we are proud to partner with Clean the World and support their mission of helping save lives here in Central Florida and around the globe,” said Rucker. “I’m pleased to join the board of directors at Clean the World and support their mission to help prevent the spread of diseases that impact so many children.”
So far this year, resort hotels at Walt Disney World Resort have donated more than 19,000 pounds of soap, shampoo, conditioner and lotion.
Assisted by donations from Disney, Clean the World played an important role in aiding efforts to contain the cholera outbreak after last year’s devastating earthquake in Haiti.
Rucker says Disney’s support of Clean the World’s recycling efforts goes beyond the 24 resort hotels on Walt Disney World property. Resort hotels at Disneyland Resort in California are now hotel partners for the organization. Upon opening later this summer Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Hawai’i, will also recycle hygiene products with Clean the World.
- Top ways to beat the heat at Walt Disney World (couponingtodisney.com)
- Disney World Quick Tips: You’re Paying For Your Resort, Now Enjoy It (chipandco.com)
Disney is busy putting the finishing touches on all of the incredible experiences guests will immerse themselves in at D23 Expo 2011, and Walt Disney Parks and Resorts just announced an out-of-this-(Disney)-world line-up!
Attendees to the Expo, from August 19–21 at the Anaheim Convention Center, just across the street from Disneyland Resort, will be able to visit the “Carousel of Projects,” a pavilion that pays loving homage to a favorite classic Disney Parks attraction: “Carousel of Progress.” Inside, guests will get a sneak peek at what’s in store for Disney’s five resorts around the world, as well as what’s next from Disney Cruise Line, Disney Vacation Club and more. There will be figures, props and ride vehicles from Radiator Springs Racers – plus a look behind the scenes and the creation of Cars Land, as well as concepts, models and plans for the tremendous expansion of Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom park at Walt Disney World Resort.
Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Tom Staggs will offer guests a glimpse at some of the biggest projects currently in development at Disney Parks (along with a few surprises!) during his presentation on Friday, Aug. 19. And there will be a slew of other must-see presentations and panels throughout the weekend that park enthusiasts of all ages are sure to enjoy, including Radiator Springs Reality: Imagineering Cars Land for Disney California Adventure with John Lasseter, The Making of Star Tours – The Adventures Continue hosted by Imagineer Tom Fitzgerald, A Good Look at Buena Vista Street (giving guests a closer look at the new entrance to Disney California Adventure park), Imagineering the Dream and the Fantasy, and Legends of Walt Disney Imagineering (a spectacular gathering of talent including Alice Davis, Orlando Ferrante, Bob Gurr and Don Iwerks, with special guest and current Imagineer Kim Irvine, daughter of Disney Legend Leota Toombs – hosted by Disney Legend Marty Sklar).
There’s much more magic in store for guests at the Expo, including the previously announced Disney Legends Ceremony, Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives 12,000-square-foot exhibit, an advance exclusive screening of “The Lion King” in 3D, the D23 Expo Dream Store, the Ultimate Disney Trivia Tournament, the D23 Expo Live Auction – plus Disney and ABC stars and much more. To learn more about all the excitement coming to Anaheim this August, visit D23Expo.com.
Source Disney Parks Blog