Skip to main content

Pandora unveiled: First images of Walt Disney World's Avatar attraction

By Karla Cripps, CNN
updated 9:02 AM EDT, Mon October 14, 2013
Due to open in 2017, Walt Disney World Resort's Avatar-themed land is being developed as part of massive expansion plans at the Animal Kingdom park in Orlando, Florida. This artist rendering shows a jungle of bioluminescent plants, alive with light and sound, that guests will experience at night. Due to open in 2017, Walt Disney World Resort's Avatar-themed land is being developed as part of massive expansion plans at the Animal Kingdom park in Orlando, Florida. This artist rendering shows a jungle of bioluminescent plants, alive with light and sound, that guests will experience at night.
HIDE CAPTION
Disney brings Pandora to life
Master your own banshee
First look at Disney's Avatar-themed land
Creating the Avatar experience
Expanding the Animal Kingdom
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Avatar-themed attraction set to open at Walt Disney World's Animal Kingdom in 2017
  • Design renderings depict guests experiencing Pandora's floating mountains and bioluminescent plants
  • Three sequels to the "Avatar" movie are planned for release in 2016, 2017 and 2018

(CNN) -- When James Cameron's box office smasher "Avatar" first hit theaters in 2009, fans couldn't stop raving about the special effects used to bring Pandora, the beautiful home of the blue-skinned Na'vi, to the big screen.

Disney, which has stepped up to give visitors a real-life version of Pandora, just announced that Avatar land -- yet to receive an official name -- will open in 2017 at Walt Disney World Resort's Animal Kingdom.

Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Tom Staggs unveiled the first images of the park during the D23 Expo at Tokyo Disney Resort over the weekend.

"As these concept renderings show in epic scale, in the world of Avatar guests will encounter awe-inspiring floating mountains and wander through a nighttime jungle of bioluminescent plants that are alive with light and sound," said Staggs in a blog post.

James Cameron's scientific discovery
No instant access for disabled at Disney

"Guests will also discover what it feels like to soar into the sky riding a banshee."

The Avatar-themed land is being developed by Walt Disney Imagineering alongside filmmaker Cameron and Lightstorm Entertainment. Disney first announced plans for the attraction back in September 2011.

"As I walked through the park, I kept imagining Pandora coming to life all around me and found my mind racing with all the possibilities of what we will be able to create in the years ahead," said Cameron during his site visit in October that year.

"Disney's Animal Kingdom is truly a remarkable place and I can't think of a better home for our first Avatar experience."

As part of the largest expansion in the history of the Animal Kingdom park, which opened at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida in 1998, Disney will also be adding new entertainment experiences including a night show with music, floating lanterns, water screens and swirling animal imagery, said Staggs.

More Avatar movies to come

"Avatar" is the world's highest grossing movie of all time, bringing in more than $2.7 billion worldwide.

In July, Fox announced the studio will release three sequels. Production will begin in 2014, with the movies due for release in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

When the first "Avatar" was released, many fans reportedly experienced depression because they longed to enjoy the beauty of Pandora themselves.

Should a similar phenomenon occur following the next three releases, they'll have a place to go to sate their cravings.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 6:26 PM EST, Sun November 16, 2014
Take a trip to the Chinese town that has more relics than people.
updated 12:42 PM EST, Thu November 13, 2014
You know about reggae and Usain Bolt -- but you probably aren't aware of these other Jamaican superlatives.
updated 6:52 AM EST, Fri November 14, 2014
Artist creates brilliant tribute to Dutch impressionist painter -- a cycle route that glows in the dark
updated 1:33 AM EST, Fri November 14, 2014
European airlines beware: These 320kph trains are upping the travel game with roomy seats and onboard wi-fi.
updated 3:19 AM EST, Mon November 24, 2014
For such a relatively small collection of islands, the UK packs in an phenomenal range of beautiful scenery.
updated 5:37 PM EST, Wed November 12, 2014
Animals run behind the Rovos Rail train's observation balcony in Africa.
Rovos Rail's epic trips out of South Africa pamper passengers with fine dining, vintage comfort and even a bathtub.
updated 8:37 PM EST, Mon November 17, 2014
Nasir al-mulk Mosque, Shiraz, Iran
Self-taught Iranian photographer gains rare access to shoot religious buildings as they've never been seen.
updated 10:45 PM EST, Mon November 10, 2014
The subject of erotica has a way of making people uncomfortable.
updated 7:37 PM EST, Thu November 6, 2014
A
UK's Heathrow Airport pairs destinations with fragrances to evoke long distance travel. We do too.
updated 4:00 PM EST, Thu November 6, 2014
Bumper cars, a freefall simulator and robot bartenders are just a few of the cool features on Royal Caribbean's new Quantum of the Seas.
updated 5:58 PM EST, Sun November 2, 2014
Up in the mountains and across deep chasms, these bridges are both spectacular and terrifying.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT