Disney has unveiled a first-look preview of James Cameron's Avatar at its Florida theme park, Animal Kingdom. Ground was broken for the construction of Pandora: The Land of Avatar in January 2014, three years after Disney signed an exclusive contract with the director.
“This project is really pushing the boundaries of what is possible,” wrote Bruce Vaughn, Walt Disney Imagineering’s chief creative executive, in a Disney Parks blog post last Thursday.
“Since we first broke ground last year at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, we’ve been looking forward to welcoming guests into Pandora, the mythical land based on the blockbuster film ‘Avatar,” he said. “We’re having a lot of fun dreaming up ways to bring to life the land’s iconic elements from the magnificent floating mountains to the interactive bioluminescent forest, and even to the soaring banshees.”
Vaughn called the creative process in developing the park with Disney and James Cameron’s Lightstorm, “one of the most dynamic and collaborative ones we’ve ever undertaken.”
“I think one of the things that people loved about the movie is that they felt as if they had visited Pandora,” said James Cameron in a statement about his tour of the attraction. “Thanks to Disney’s amazing Imagineers, people are going to truly experience Pandora firsthand. From the details in the plants to the production and design, extraordinary thought and care has gone into this entire world.”
“The teams have really created something special, and it’s not going to be like anything else.”
Pandora: The Land of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the largest expansion of Animal Kingdom in the park’s history, is expected to open in 2017 to coincide with the release of Cameron's Avatar sequel. Avatar 2 will be released on Christmas Day in 2017, with two more sequels to follow through 2019. The original film's stars Sam Worthington, Sigourney Weaver, and Zoe Saldana are all slated to return.