Disney at Work Podcast #8: Anticipating Pandora – The World of Avatar

Disney at Work Podcast #8: Anticipating Pandora – The World of Avatar

There are a lot of people anticipating Pandora – The World of Avatar, opening this week at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Disney is king at creating anticipation. And that excitement is very real as this new land gets ready to premiere to the public. Our latest podcast talks about how Disney gets people anticipating Pandora – The World of Avatar, as well as other approaches they’ve taken over the years. The following are a few show notes and photos to go along with the podcast, and a look at how Disney is so successful in getting people excited about visiting their parks and attractions.

Part I: Anticipating Pandora – The World of Avatar

There are several messages Disney has been sending since it first announced this entirely new land. And with press events, they too are delivering very deliberate–very key messages intended to get people anticipating Pandora – The World of Avatar. Here are some of those key messages:

1. It has rides you will want to go on. It offers two new attractions–one that everyone can ride on, and one that will be a thrill ride you won’t want to miss.

anticipating pandora the world of avatar
The bioluminescent forest of Pandora comes alive in Na’vi River Journey. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

2. It is an immersive setting. The setting of the floating islands with all of the detailing and elements is a big factor.

anticipating pandora the world of avatar
An interactive, immersive world of detail. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

3. It will link to conservation. Joe Rohde speaks a great deal about how the attraction links to the premise of Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Anticipating Pandora the World of Avatar
Displays in the queues link to real conservation efforts here on Earth. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

4. It will have new cool souvenirs. A popular choice are the interactive banshee puppets.

Anticipating Pandora the World of Avatar
An array of interactive banshee puppet toys. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

5. It will offer unusual food options at its food & beverage locations.

Anticipating Pandora the World of Avatar
Just some of the dishes available at the Satu’li Canteen. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

6. You don’t have to see Avatar or even like the movie to enjoy the attraction. It is a story and a place independent of the original film’s plot.

anticipating pandora the world of avatar
Pandora represents a time and generation of peace after the account of the film Avatar. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

7. It will have high tech cool things to see. This is especially true in its rides and attractions.

Anticipating Pandora the World of Avatar
An Avatar being created–an incredibly cool effect in the queue. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

8. Finally–and this is important to Disney’s bottom line–it will be worth spending the entire day. To that end, Disney has created other “must see” experiences like Rivers of Light and a nighttime version of Kilimanjaro Safaris to its portfolio.

anticipating pandora the world of avatar
Floats, fountains, and fire combine to create Rivers of Light. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Those eight messages are being posted, podcasted, Tweeted, Facebooked, televised, Instagrammed, and radioed. Disney is using every media–and especially social media–to get its message out there. But Disney’s been doing that for many years. Here’s an example of ways Disney has created enthusiasm for its parks and attractions.

Part II: Memorable Ways Disney Created Enthusiasm for new attractions & parks over the years

Disneyland and Television. I was born after the Disneyland television program premiered, but The Wonderful World of Disney did an awesome job getting people excited for attractions like Pirates of the Caribbean and The Haunted Mansion.

The Magic of Walt Disney World. When Walt Disney World opened, there was a 30 minute film between a double Disney feature that showcased the entire Walt Disney World resort. The feature wasn’t so great but the Disney World film was fantastic. A variation of this was created later in a VHS film named A Dream Called Walt Disney World.

Upcoming Attractions. Disneyland had a place on the corner across from the Emporium where they featured new attractions being built for Disneyland. Dumbo’s Circus, Fantasia, and Discovery Bay were all featured in this exhibit. Unfortunately, many of them were never built, but it was exciting to see the maps, drawings, and models.

Epcot Live Feed. When Epcot opened, they installed a major satellite dish to allow stations to provide a live feed from the parks. This was uncommon back then, and was a cool new feature that got people excited.

20 Reasons. Good Housekeeping had a magazine sold on store shelves that featured “20 Reasons to Visit Walt Disney World During Its 20th Anniversary.”

Unfolding of Fantasyland Forest. Because of the size of its undertaking, and because it changed course over time, Disney got you excited about Fantasyland Forest by unveiling portions at a time. The first came with Storybook Circus. That was followed by the main sections involving Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid. Even the Tangled restrooms had guests curious and interested. The capstone was when the Seven Dwarfs Mine Ride was opened.

Here’s an older commercial David spoke of on the podcast about anticipating going to Disney:

Part III: Souvenirs for Creating Interest and Action

The approaches for anticipating Pandora – The World of Avatar can be utilized in your own organization. Here are a few approaches to consider applying in the work you do. They are souvenirs for you to apply to your day-to-day activities.

Anticipation. Announcing the attraction ahead of its time and keeping people posted about its progress gives people an opportunity to plan ahead as to when they want to visit. D23’s announcement of the new Star Wars Land and subsequent articles and notices is a major example of this.

Repetition. Hearing about it from so many different sources keeps the topic front and center, and makes you give greater consideration to visiting the parks. This is why for many years Disney has had major press events with the opening of big attractions.

Association–Linking products or services to another famous individual or brand. The “I’m going to Disney World” campaign is an example of this. Hosting and promoting the visit of other celebrities is a big part of this. So is the introduction of big IPs such as Marvel and Star Wars to the parks portfolio.

Promises–Whether you’re declaring facts or using hype, claims focus on expectations customers may have. “Memories that last a lifetime” is a subtle, but emotive approach. The 21st Century begins October 1, 1982 promises you that if you want to see the future, you need to visit Epcot when it opens.

Exclusivity–This is offering something special that most can’t get unless you pay the premium. Club 33 is a great example of this. Concierge service is another. Exclusive hours in the parks is still another.

Incentive–Incentives offer something extra if you sign up. Meal-included packages are an example of this. Free parking and PhotoPass with an annual pass is another example.

Bandwagon–This is when you send a message that everyone is on board, and you don’t want to be the one to miss out. Disney likes to do montages where we see people of every size, age, experience.

If you like this episode, please subscribe to the podcast, and please share a positive review. We appreciate any effort you can make to help get the word out.

Are You Anticipating Pandora – The World of Avatar?

For more insights and details behind the efforts to get people anticipating Pandora – The World of Avatar, be sure to get our complimentary and complete guide to this amazing park. It is filled with details that will help you plan your next experience. Be sure to check it out!

Anticipating Pandora the World of Avatar

J. Jeff Kober

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