Skip to main content

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

By Karla Cripps, CNN
October 14, 2013 -- Updated 1302 GMT (2102 HKT)
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
April 3, 2014 -- Updated 0049 GMT (0849 HKT)
As the new season of "Game of Thrones" approaches, we pick out 20 stunning spots in one of its most oft-used locations.
April 10, 2014 -- Updated 0940 GMT (1740 HKT)
They're hot, they're popular, they're stylish. Now they're your tour guides to Italy's fashion capital.
April 8, 2014 -- Updated 0410 GMT (1210 HKT)
A quarter of the year's flown by, it's time to plan a vacation. TripAdvisor's list of Top Destinations should help.
April 8, 2014 -- Updated 0523 GMT (1323 HKT)
You may not have those $10 Heinekens and $6 bags of M&M's to kick around anymore. Happy now?
April 7, 2014 -- Updated 0725 GMT (1525 HKT)
Japan isn't a country to which you just show up and wing it. Here's how to arrive prepared.
April 3, 2014 -- Updated 1402 GMT (2202 HKT)
The Economist is latest to dogpile on the reputation of U.S. airports; one industry leader says he knows why.
April 4, 2014 -- Updated 0623 GMT (1423 HKT)
Laojun Mountain Natural Reserve gave out bags of mountain air to Chinese residents. After seeing these photos, you'll want some too.
April 2, 2014 -- Updated 1304 GMT (2104 HKT)
Forget space. Our very own planet is ripe for investigation. Here are some of the spots we know least about.
March 31, 2014 -- Updated 0651 GMT (1451 HKT)
A colossal empire of little houses stacked on top of each other, connected by staircases snaking under dangling wires -- Kowloon Walled City in Hong Kong.
April 2, 2014 -- Updated 0141 GMT (0941 HKT)
Move to squeeze in extra passengers brings dose of economic reality to dreams of luxuriously pimped aircraft.
April 1, 2014 -- Updated 0803 GMT (1603 HKT)
British sound engineer wants you to ditch the camera and open your ears to "sound tourism."
March 30, 2014 -- Updated 2256 GMT (0656 HKT)
Think bouncing on the end of an elastic rope is tough? Try jumping off a wooden tower with only a vine tied to your ankle.
March 28, 2014 -- Updated 0538 GMT (1338 HKT)
Decimated by poaching, black rhino numbers are starting to increase again, thanks, in part, to on-foot tracking tours for tourists.
March 28, 2014 -- Updated 0259 GMT (1059 HKT)
Singapore Changi Airport has been crowned the best in the world for the second year in a row at the World Airport Awards.
March 24, 2014 -- Updated 2202 GMT (0602 HKT)
What do you get when you combine 60,000 photos, eight-hour cliff treks and months of patient processing? One of the year's great time-lapse videos.
ADVERTISEMENT