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Pandora - The World of Avatar at Disney's Animal KingdomLast updated by Nick on Monday, December 02, 2013 13:09
Submitted by Nick on Wednesday, September 21, 2011 08:11
Pandora - The World of Avatar will be a new land at Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World's fourth theme park, and will be themed around James Cameron's Avatar.
The land will be more on less on the same scale at Disney California Adventure's new Cars Land, and will be anchored by a very impressive looking "floating mountain" centerpiece that may rival the park's existing Tree of Life icon in terms of scale. The entire land will replicate the dense, alien forests of the planet Pandora from the film. Paths will be scattered along twisting gigantic roots, exotic flora, and perhaps an appearance or two from local creatures as guests make their way to the mountain in the distance.
Pandora will be a massive land - more or less on the same scale as Disney California Adventure's new Cars Land - and will be anchored by a very impressive looking "floating mountain" centerpiece that may rival the park's existing Tree of Life icon in terms of scale. The entire land will replicate the dense, alien forests of the planet Pandora from the film. Paths will be scattered along twisting gigantic roots, exotic flora, and perhaps an appearance or two from local creatures as guests make their way to the mountain in the distance.
We can expect two main attractions in Pandora when it opens - the first will replicate a flight over the massive and mystifying terrain of the planet, no doubt encountering flying creatures and hovering landscapes. The second will be a boat ride through Pandora's forests (see more on these rides below).
To coincide with the opening of Pandora, Disney's Animal Kingdom will permanently alter its park hours to stay open late. As it is, the park closes in the early evening (well before any of the resort's other three theme parks) since its main draw - the animals - have strict dining and sleeping schedules that begin long before sunset. Replicating the most impressive of the visually-stunning film's scenes, Pandora will come alive at night as every tree, plant, stream, and even path glows with supernatural, alien bioluminescent colors.
Where will it be?
Pandora will occupy the area currently known as Camp Minnie-Mickey at Disney's Animal Kingdom. One of the original six lands at the park, Camp Minnie-Mickey was originally planned a temporary placeholder until the park's Phase II expansion, during which the "camp" would make way for a land based on ancient mythological creatures called Beastly Kingdom. Phase II never occured, and Camp Minnie-Mickey remained. The only attraction in Camp Minnie-Mickey, the exceptionally popular Festival of the Lion King show, will be relocated to a brand new theatre in the park's Africa section as construction on Pandora begins.
3-D "flying" ride
The headline ride in Pandora - The World of Avatar will be a major, "E-Ticket" attraction that will offer a simulated experience of flying over Pandora. Inevitably, this has led to comparisons with the existing Soarin' ride at Epcot, which uses a suspended, hang-glider-style ride system to take guests on a tour of California. Given Cameron's involvement, though, and the elements that are visible in the plans, it appears that the Avatar ride will actually be considerably more technologically advanced than Soarin'.
The plans show four separate theaters, spread across 3 floors. The ride system itself remains something of a mystery, although there are rumors that it will support enhanced, more realistic movements than the existing Soarin' system. The video will seemingly be presented in 3-D on a wrap-around screen, with riders donning 3-D specs. This would, of course, be in keeping with the Avatar license, with the movie having made heavy use of 3-D effects.
The most recent report on the ride suggests the following details:
- There will be four theaters hosted in a massive five or six-story show building.
- Guests will view a pre-show, and will wear 3-D glasses for the main show.
- The show itself will be projected onto an enormous, curved IMAX-style screen, just as it is in The Simpsons Ride at Universal Studios Florida.
- Riders will board vehicles that rise to one of three show levels in front of the screen, in a similar style to The Simpsons Ride. Seemingly, multiple ride vehicles will view the same screen. These vehicles may be suspended from the theater's ceiling.
It has also been rumored that riders will be in a lying-down position on the ride, much as they are on SeaWorld Orlando's Manta roller coaster. This is yet to be confirmed.
Housed partially on the ground floor of the same building that will host the flying attraction, and partially outside, will be a "C-Ticket" boat ride. Speculation suggests that Disney will employ advanced audio-animatronics to bring to life the inhabitants of Pandora as guests travel around the circuit.
This, at least, is what fans have read into the relatively small amount of information that has been leaked about Avatar Land's second attraction. At present, only a small portion of the ride is visible in the plans, showing how it overlaps with the headline attraction.
The attraction will be a water-based dark ride through the planet's beautiful jungles at night, when bioluminescent plants begin to glow. This boat ride will be only the second dark ride at Disney's Animal Kingdom (after the fast-paced, thrilling Dinosaur) and will offer a much-needed family ride to the park's roster as well.
Other rumored attractions
Animal experiences: The focus at Disney's Animal Kingdom isn't just on thrill rides, but on interacting with nature. While Avatar Land will be inspired by fictional creatures, that doesn't necessarily mean you won't be able to "meet" them. Rumors point to a walkthrough attraction and regular "visits" that will enable guests to see Pandora's inhabitants up-close.
Sidewalks and plants that come to life: It's clear from Disney's concept art that lighting will play a very important role in Pandora's theming. This could go as far as "ripple effects" built into the sidewalk, as well as glow-in-the-dark plants (remember, Disney plans to open Animal Kingdom late into the evening once Pandora opens).
An "army mess hall" restaurant: While it features some stunning eye-candy, much of the original Avatar movie is set in a fairly grim army base. And that could provide the setting for the area's quick-service dining location. No word yet on if there'll be a more upscale restaurant, too.
When will it open?
There is no confirmed opening date as yet for Pandora - The World of Avatar. Initial reports suggested that it would open in 2016, but more recent reports have suggested that the land will open in phases, with the first phase not coming online until 2017.
30th November 2013: Disney has confirmed that the Festival of the Lion King Theater will close on January 6, 2014 with the show's final performance being on January 5, 2014 and will stay closed for six months. This has long been speculated, but the six month transition to the new theater in Africa is longer than expected.
If the Festival of the Lion King is closing on January 6, 2014, that could very well mean that the rest of Camp Minnie-Mickey will also be closing on January 6. The meet-and-greets for Minnie and Mickey have already moved out of the camp into their new spot in the Adventure’s Outpost. The other characters left in the Camp are rumored to be leaving on January 6, 2014. This would leave Camp Minnie-Mickey empty for future development on Pandora - The World of Avatar.
More information about Pandora - The World of Avatar:
Weekly Orlando Theme Parks Rumor and Refurbs Update (November 23, 2013)
Saturday, November 23, 2013 03:08
This is the weekly rumor and refurbishment update for Orlando-area theme parks for the week of November 17, 2013.
Dreaming of Pandora: 5 Rumors About Avatar Land at Disney's Animal Kingdom
Monday, October 29, 2012 12:32
With "leaked" blueprints for the planned Avatar Land at Disney's Animal Kingdom circulating on the web, we take a look at 5 of the strongest rumors that have since emerged.
Latest news on Pandora - The World of Avatar:
Revealed: Plans for Walt Disney World's 3D Avatar attraction
Monday, December 2, 2013 10:02
A new report has emerged which purports to describe the ride experience for the headline attraction at Pandora - World of Avatar, the new land that will open at Disney's Animal Kingdom in 2017.
Avatar Land update: 5 rumors about Disney's Animal Kingdom's new addition
Friday, November 15, 2013 10:45
With Pandora - The World of Avatar now confirmed for Disney's Animal Kingdom, we take a look at 5 of the most interesting rumors circulating about the new land.
Video: Disney releases more concept art for Animal Kingdom's Pandora - The World of Avatar
Wednesday, October 16, 2013 08:45
Disney has released a video of the announcement of Pandora - The World of Avatar for Walt Disney World's Animal Kingdom, featuring more concept art for the new land.
Upcoming refurbishments, rehabs and closures
We are not aware of any scheduled refurbishment periods for Pandora - The World of Avatar. Do you know of any upcoming "rehabs" that we're missing? If so - please contact us so that we can keep the list up-to-date.