We’re now three months away from the planned opening of Disney ‘s(NYSE: DIS) Avatar -themed expansion. Pandora — The World of Avatar will open at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Florida.

Pandora — The World of Avatar is the theme-park operator’s most ambitious addition to its domestic resorts since 2012, when it opened Cars Land in California and New Fantasyland at Disney World. With the May 27 official grand-opening date closing in, Disney can’t afford to drop the ball. It just raised ticket prices on Sunday, and attendance at Disney World has declined in three of the past four quarters.



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Let’s go over a couple of the things Disney is doing to make sure its most ambitious expansion in five years is a hit that brings back crowds who won’t flinch at the higher ticket prices.

 

1More movies are coming

A Fox sequel to Avatar has been in the works for years, even before Disney’s deal in 2011 to compete against Comcast’s Potter push by building out Pandora. Six years is a long time, and it’s a safe bet that this would’ve been an Indiana Jones-themed expansion if Disney had acquired Lucasfilm before this deal was announced.

Thankfully for Disney, the Avatar franchise will be coming to a multiplex near you reasonably soon. Signs point to a late 2018 Fox release for the first of what should be several Avatar sequels. If guests at Disney’s Animal Kingdom fail to warm up to Pandora the way they have to Comcast’s take on Hogwarts and Diagon Alley this year, that could change in the coming years as Cameron’s fictional realm gets refreshed on the big screen.

A lot is riding on Pandora — The World of Avatar to turn around grim attendance trends at Disney World. A promotional website, a magnetic side attraction, and more multiplex visibility should do the trick.


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