Disney Announces Avatar Experience Coming to Disneyland

The Na'vi are coming to Earth — the Happiest Place on Earth. Disney CEO Bob Iger announced during the company's first-quarter earnings call Wednesday that an "exciting Avatar experience" will open at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, as the James Cameron franchise's first theme park tie-in on the west coast. (In 2017, before the company acquired 20th Century Fox, Disney partnered with Cameron to bring Pandora — The World of Avatar to Disney's Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Florida.) It's unclear if the experience is a Pandora themed land, an Avatar attraction, or live entertainment, but Iger said Disney will share more details "very soon." 

Iger announced Disneyland's Avatar experience after touting to investors the box office success of Cameron's nearly $2.2 billion earner Avatar: The Way of Water. The 13-years-later sequel was "easily the most successful film of the quarter," Iger said, having surpassed Disney's own Star Wars: The Force Awakens to become the fourth biggest film of all time globally.

"The global popularity of this film will result in the creation of more opportunities for fans to engage with the franchise," added Iger, pointing to Disney World's Avatar land and the original Avatar's "very strong" streaming numbers on Disney+.

"We're going to bring a version of Avatar to Disneyland," Iger said later on the call. "We have other opportunities as well — and I've talked to Josh D'Amaro [Chairman, Disney Parks, Experiences and Products] about this very recently — to really look at all the great franchises the company has and see where we can invest them in the parks."

In 2019, Walt Disney's original magic kingdom expanded to include the immersive Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, a 14-acre area themed to Disney's Star Wars franchise. Disney Parks also mined Marvel Studios' blockbuster franchises for Avengers Campus, the Marvel-themed area that opened at Disneyland Park's neighboring Disney California Adventure Park in 2021.

That same year, Disney announced DisneylandForward, a multi-year theme park expansion project with plans to mix hotels, theme parks, retail, and dining as part of "one immersive experience." A possibilities map conceptualized "new experiences" potentially inspired by Toy Story, Frozen, and Zootopia —all of which are getting new sequels, Iger revealed on the call — so might an Avatar experience fall under those plans? For now, Disney has slated release dates for Cameron's Avatar 3 (December 20th, 2024), Avatar 4 (December 18th, 2026), and Avatar 5 (December 22nd, 2028).

See more news from Disney's earnings call here.