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Friday, September 23, 2011

Walt Disney Co. partners with James Cameron & Twentieth Century Fox for Avatar Land

When the Walt Disney Co. announced Tuesday a partnership with filmmaker James Cameron and Twentieth Century Fox to develop a themed land based on the blockbuster movie “Avatar,”

Walt Disney Co. partners with James Cameron & Twentieth Century Fox for Avatar Land
The 2009 animated film is about the conflict between humans and giant blue-skinned aliens over natural resources on an alien planet, featuring lush jungles, giant flying creatures and horse-like creatures with six legs.

Other than the location and start date, neither Staggs nor Disney CEO Bob Iger offered little details. Staggs answered questions from readers on the Disney Parks Blog, including one on possible attractions.

“We expect this land to be anchored by multiple attractions (rides), entertainment, merchandise locations, restaurants and other immersive elements,” Staggs wrote.

However, patents filed by Disney over the years show there are several ideas that could easily be incorporated into James Cameron’s futuristic world.

In 2010, Disney received a patent for an invention that closely resembles a Toruk – the giant pterodactyl-like creature that protagonist Jake Sully tamed in the movie. The patent is for a controlled device that can be used as part of a parade or a show.

In 1999, Disney received a patent for a roller coaster simulator that could be used to simulate motion through the world of Pandora. The patent called for seats that could move in 360 degrees along two axises, as well as the ability of riders to experience water, heat and cold through the ride.

Finally, in 1996, Disney received a patent for a virtual reality presentation that might actually take park-goers in the land of Pandora. In the movie, humans used a virtual-reality system to enter a physical avatar resembling the Na’vi, the natives inhabitants. The patent called for the user being able to be guided in a virtual space, with the user being given the impression they can roam that space at will.

Attractions based on those patents could allow Staggs and Disney to accomplish the company’s goal of giving park-goers “the chance to see, hear and touch the world of Pandora.”