Could ‘Avatar’ Will Replace This Iconic Disney Park Area?

Avatar Disneyland

Walt Disney Imagineers announced that they are bringing Pandora: The World of Avatar to the Disneyland Resort, but where the heck are they going to put it?

Disneyland Park arguably has little to no room for any outward expansion. Its acreage is essentially boxed in with many “backstage” buildings like the Casting office providing crucial burn blocking to I-5 and the rest of the outside world.

Disneyland Map

Credit: Disney

“If you’ve had a chance to experience Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, you have a pretty good idea of what Imagineers are capable of,” said Disney CEO Robert A. Iger when he announced the plans during the 2023 Q1 Earning Report on February 8.

Considering the available space in Southern California, this reporter was quick to think that Disneyland Guests would simply get a small taste of The Valley of Moara’ by probably replacing the Star Wars Launch Bay in Tomorrowland with the beloved thrill ride “Avatar: Flight of Passage.” But recent developments suggest that we should be in for something much bigger, even “equal” to what we see at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

After scanning maps of Disneyland Park, my bet is on Walt Disney Imagineering removing Critter Country entirely to make room for Pandora.

Critter Country will be Removed with Splash Mountain

Critter Country, Disneyland Park

Credit: Disney

Critter Country is a relatively small corner of Disneyland that sits between New Orleans Square and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Its two main attractions have been the “critter”-oriented Splash Mountain and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.

But when Disneyland’s Splash Mountain is closed, all signs point to the log flume ride being officially integrated into New Orleans Square. As it becomes Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, Eudora’s Chic Boutique and Tiana’s Palace Restaurant will also take up residency. This will leave Critter Country a rather stale and abandoned section of the Theme Park, with a few things arguably out of place. At Magic Kingdom Park, for instance, the Winnie the Pooh ride is in Fantasyland. Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes launch belongs closer to proper Frontierland or should be moved to Tom Sawyer Island.

Critter Country, Disneyland Park

Screenshot Credit: TK Bosacki/Disney Fanatic

This would offer enough space for one, maybe two attractions with enough space to put a smaller version of the Floating Mountains. But it is not just a matter of “available” land. The timing and location make sense as well.

Splash Mountain Retheme Waiting for ‘Avatar’ Retheme

disneyland protest splash mountain

Retheming Critter Country to Pandora makes sense when you consider the timing and overall location within Disneyland Park. It will be pitched on the doorstep of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, allowing that whole corner to be devoted to the new Sci-Fi niche beneath the Disney Umbrella. Critter Country is also already an area that has always been incredibly devoted to nature, which is at the heart of what Guests find at Animal Kingdom’s Avatar-themed land.

There is also the matter of timing beyond the recent release of the record-breaking sequel Avatar: The Way of Water. With the closing and retheming of Splash Mountain to Tiana’s Bayou Adventure set, the opportunity to replace all of Critter Country opens as well. If my prediction is true, it could also explain why Disneyland’s Splash Mountain did not close at the same time as Walt Disney World’s back in late January. Walt Disney Imagineers could be planning to shut down all of the currently-incorporated Critter Country for a 2-for-1 refurbishment effort, timing the opening of Tiana’s Bayou Adventure along with the opening of Pandora: The World of Avatar.

pandora animal kingdom

Pandora, Disney’s Animal Kingdom/Courtesy of Disney

It should be noted at this time, however, that this is purely my own prediction. There is no official word from Disney Parks at the time of this article’s publication as to where Disneyland’s Avatar additions will be.

We at Disney Fanatic will continue to monitor this story and will update our readers as more information comes to light.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s and may not reflect the sentiments of Disney Fanatic as a whole.

About T.K. Bosacki

Born and raised in Tampa, Florida, TK Bosacki is a professional writer, amateur adventurer, and lifelong Disney Fanatic. His Disney Park days include Space Mountain, Tower of Terror, Kilimanjaro Safaris, and Nomad Lounge. He believes in starting at the Canada pavilion (IYKYK), and the Monorail is superior to all Ferry Boats.

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