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.
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.
2Rivers of Light is finally opening
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The ballyhooed nighttime show on the lake that was supposed to catapult Animal Kingdom into joining its peers as a full-day destination failed to open on Earth Day last year. Technical issues tripped up its rescheduled debut in late May, and its replacement wasn’t enough to justify keeping the park open until that summer’s 11 p.m. close.
We’re now 10 months late, but Rivers of Light finally began offering preview performances last week. The show officially opens this weekend. This will give the park just enough buzz and momentum to head into the Memorial Day weekend ready to justify extended hours. If Rivers of Light can overcome its initial technical snags, it could be a big piece in drawing guests into the park if Pandora doesn’t do the trick on its own.