Avatar Arrives

Avatar – what pops into your head when you read that word? Do you think of the little photo of yourself posted in the profile of your social media accounts? Or possibly of the characters that live within online gaming? Or even the incarnation of a Hindu deity such as Vishnu – Webster’s definition of the word. Does anyone think of the 2009 sci-fi movie of the same name. The movie featured some special effects that were billed as ‘advanced for their time’. And….. OK, so I’m at a loss to think of anything else. It had limited appeal and fairly quickly fell off of the radar screen of the majority of the public. If you haven’t seen the film, don’t waste your time – you’d be underwhelmed by the effects, and assaulted by its in your face, preachy, stereotypes that pass for a story line. Civilization is evil, the military is evil, native tribal people groups are peaceful….I can’t remember the rest as it was borderline ridiculous. But this week its making its way back into the headlines as Disney prepares to open a new World of Pandora themed land inside of its Walt Disney World Animal Kingdom park. When I think of the amount of capital and resources that was invested into this new area it is frustrating – this is valuable funding that could have been allocated to build attractions based upon or linked to Disney’s own stories and characters, which have a proven track record of timeless and multi-generational appeal. Early videos are surfacing of the two attractions that will open this month. The first is a short (3 min) boat ride down a river in Pandora – with a view of the banks and trees that are grown over with the native plants and animals in this fictitious world. The other is a flight simulation ride through the landscape and countryside of the fictitious world of Pandora. Other features of this new area are footpaths that will light up at night – and plants that will appear to glow in the dark. Its so disappointing to me that Disney is serving up what amounts to a video game/virtual reality experience as their latest offering. I’m sure I’ll take time to visit Pandora when we go to WDW in February, but this new area won’t have me rushing to my travel agent to visit Orlando any sooner.

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