Do you think that the Avatar expansion at AK will be what Disney needs to compete with Harry Potter at Universal? Somehow, I severely doubt it
Short answer: no. It can’t compare merchandise and food-wise, to be realistic, and Disney wants the big merchandise and ticket money - look at the rush to make ‘themed drinks’ for new areas, like Radiator Springs and Gaston’s Tavern that mostly fizzle out because it’s not central to the experience of the film. Harry Potter has built in food and merch people want, from both films and movies - interactive wands, Butterbeer, Death Eater masks, wizard robes, pumpkin juice, chocolate frogs, and many many more - those are intrinsic to the texture of the fictional world. Avatar has zilch of that kind of thing as organic part of ‘world building’, so they won’t see the high demand Wizarding World is for the products and the cash flow - and that’s apart from if Disney builds a high quality end product (which I think they will) and beside the point of if the new rides are any good - it is just ‘built in’, there is nothing to compare to the Potter money-spinners, and there’s no fix for that. People don’t give a shit about Pandora alien wigs with USB sex ports, or mud glorp juice, or whatever marketing tries to come up with, especially compared to Potter’s merch.
I do think the ‘nighttime boat exploration’ type ride with bioluminescent animals and plants and all can be a winner, if done compellingly, not reliant on the movie stories and mythology - create a compelling environment and engrossing ride, that can win people over. I am hoping for that. But Avatarland designers are also at a distinct advantage in that Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade are recognizably human even to non Potter-fans: it’s British, they’re humans, there is magic. Things can be added, details, visual flourishes, entertainment, that people recognize and relate to without even picking up a Potter book or knowing all the characters. People know about British food, ideas of magic wands, jokes and gags, magical creatures, dark magic, etc - those tropes can be integrated and smartly utilized in creative ways and the audience will get it without knowing the plot of Prisoner of Azkaban. Avatarland could struggle in - OK, here are these cat aliens, here’s a bunch of plot, so what?
The key is making a compelling, fully convincing ‘alien’ environment that encourages curiosity and desire to explore, like the rest of Animal Kingdom does - experience and small detail rather than plot, and that will win over fans in terms of the in-park experience. All the same, if they do that perfectly and don’t fall into the trap of, oh, it has to be about the characters and plot as the Number One Priority from Cameron’s films, it still isn’t anywhere near as beloved as Harry and his world and friends/enemies. There is no two ways about that. I think AK will get a boost if word spreads the area is well detailed and interesting, certainly - but it won’t be, fans be all, WE HAVE TO GO SEE THIS as the impetus for a whole trip, which Wizarding World does inspire, that I can at all realistically foresee.
I am not sure how it is that Quincy and I have never come across cows before, but we met out first one on Saturday evening while trying to work off some pre-hunt energy. It went a little something like this.
Me:Oh, look! what an adorable cow!
Eevie (hunting friend):Oh, that's Butter. She's a sweetie.
Butter the Cow:Did someone say my name? I shall moo with glee!
Quincy:What the eff is that?
Me:Relax, Q. It's just a cow.
Butter the Cow:Friends! I will come galloping up to say hello!!
Quincy:WHAT THE EFFING EFF IS THAT?
Butter the Cow:Friend?
Quincy:I HAVE SUDDENLY REMEMBERED I AM A FLIGHT ANIMAL. FLEE!!
Eevie:OMG are you okay?
Me:Yes. We're fine. Let me just let her stand here and think for a minute.
Butter the Cow:MOOOOOOOOOOOO
Falcon (Eevie's horse):You are both RIDICULOUS. I am going to eat grass now.
Stop arguing with the waiter that “THIS IS NOT THE PIZZA THAT I WANTED!” because it’s your fault.
And don’t even get me started on “paninis” because I’m going to cry
Fun fact: pepperoni pizza wasn’t invented in Italy. The only pizza flavour invented in Italy was the margherita. Most of the others were invented in the US.
Funnier fact: Italy has actually invented a lotof pizza flavours in addition to the margherita (marinara, quattro formaggi, capricciosa, diavola, contadina, tonno, acciughe, principessa, just to name a very few).
What the US has “invented” is simply not regarded as pizza at all, in Italy.
I’d like to suggest a better title: “What happens when you don’t bother checking the meaning of foreign words”.
What the US calls “pepperoni” is actually salame (“salami” is a wrong spelling, panini is the plural of panino). This is what real peperoni (singular peperone) look like. They come in different shapes and colours and have so many beneficial properties that I’d need more pages than the whole asoiaf saga to describe them. Especially since they change depending on the colour of the pepeone. Salame is seasoned salted meat and fat (usually pork). It can be hot/spicy or not. It can also be spreadable, like the ‘nduja from Calabria (Wikipedia calls it a sausage, but it’s salame). It obviously is not as healthy as peperoni (no double p). The plural of pizza is pizze as much as the plural of neko is neko.
Another thing I usually hear a lot about pizza abroad is that they replace mozzarella with cheese, which are two completely different things. A pizza with cheese (formaggio) is not a Margherita anymore, for example. There are a lot of pizza types that involve cheese of different kinds and a lot of pizza types that involve mozzarella of different types (mozzarella di bufala, for example). Mozzarella di bufala is a DOP product: it’s unique because of the place it’s produced in, the raw materials used and the way they are obtained (the bufale are bred in specific ways and fed specific and controlled food), the methods used to produce it and so on.
We invented pizza bianca, which you can either fill with ingredients on the inside or use as a base to put stuff upon, like the pizza boscaiola (mushrooms, mozzarella and sausage; no tomato). We invented pizza al taglio, which is hard to find even in Italy itself, depending on the city you’re in.
But that’s not the problem. I don’t care about who invented what, I don’t care if Italy invented pizza, pasta, gelato or limoncello. It’s about the process. It’s about using good ingredients. It’s about making a good dough that doesn’t taste like fucking rubber when you chew it. Or pizza that has been drowned in oil (ugh). It’s also about respecting another culture, because you should never feel entitled to say “I know this better than you even though your culture has been making it for hundreds of years”. Especially since this whole attitude towards Italian food damages our economy. And is just generally disrespectful. You can put whatever the hell you want on your pizza (in the limits of decency), just be conscious of what pizza really is. Like, have a taste of regular pizza before you go around yelling that [pizza with weird ingredients whose name is probably misspelled] is the one and only.
This is the place where if you speak a different language than your own it’s “appropriation”, but if you try to talk about Italian food (which, newsflash, is deeply rooted in our culture and history) “the US invented more flavours”. We can be better than this.
Whatever, if it’s vaguely labeled “pizza” I will eat the hell out of it. Don’t care about cultural accuracy when it tastes really freaking good. Or moderately terrible. I have no shame in eating frozen “french bread” pizza on a bachelorette dinner night.
Also, the idea of “preserving authentic cuisine” was a lost cause in, like, 500BCE. Humans are a nomadic bunch and through colonialism, trade, and general migration, ain’t no fucking place anywhere that has “originally authentic” cuisine. We like to pretend that “fusion” cuisine is a new invention of the globalized market when, realistically, cooks have been swapping/adapting recipes and ingredients since the dawn of fucking time.
Hell, tomatoes - one of the main basis for all pizza everywhere including fucking Italy - originated in Latin American. Therefore, ALL PIZZAS WITH A SAUCE WERE TECHNICALLY MADE POSSIBLE BY MEXICO. So really, it’s an authentic Mexican cuisine. Oh, wait, no it’s not. Because wheat.
a lot of ppl seem confused on what cultural appropriation is so lemme break it down
IT IS NOT: enjoying food from another culture, enjoying music from another culture, learning about another culture, or learning another language
IT IS: using another culture as a costume, wearing religious articles as accessories when you are not a follower of that religion, using a race as a mascot, disrespecting religious or cultural practices.
Honestly, the Mythbusters could do anything and it would be the most interesting thing I’ve ever seen. I’m at the episode where they yell at yogurt to see if it feels sadness and I’m so fucking into it.