Disney Releases Concept Art for New Avatar Land
It’s hard to believe that two years have passed since Disney announced that they had partnered with James Cameron to bring Avatar to Walt Disney World. But indeed, over two years have passed with almost no information from Disney as to what the project would entail. This year’s D23 Expo came and went with nothing more than some vague teases that confirmed that after all this time, the project was still on.
Over the weekend, Disney finally released some concept art that shed some light on the mysterious Avatar expansion. They did so at the D23 Expo in Japan of all places which means the news escaped the notice of a lot of Disney fans in the US. So after waiting for two years, here is what we know about Avatar-land.
The project includes at least two confirmed attractions. The first has been described as Soarin’ Over Pandora. It will be a simulator ride similar to Soarin’ at Epcot. It will recreate the sensation of riding a Banshee over Pandora although it is doubtful guests will actually sit atop a winged creature of their own. Unlike Soarin’, this new ride will likely be presented in 3-D.
The second confirmed attraction is a boat ride down the rivers of Pandora. Little is known about the scope of the attraction or its intensity. The rumor mill says that it is likely a D-ticket. So I wouldn’t expect a thrill ride ala Splash Mountain. But hopefully it will prove to be a nice dark ride. Animal Kingdom could definitely use one of those.
There was a third attraction proposed for the land. It was rumored to be an E-ticket roller coaster. At present, this attraction has not received a green light and it is not expected to be built. There are also rumors of a minor attraction which was also cut from the plans. But you never know. There is still potential for a pleasant surprise or two.
Additionally, guests will explore the world of Pandora on foot. The idea here would seem to be similar to what Universal has done with its Harry Potter expansions. The land itself is immersive. I’m sure you can expect new shopping and dining locations themed to Avatar to fill out the land.
Additionally, Disney will be adding night-time offerings which are clearly intended to transform Animal Kingdom into a full day park. The announcement mentions a night-time show which is likely a repurposing of the long rumored Rivers of Light show. There will also be a night-time safari. Although these additions are not related to Avatar, they are long overdue. The park has been in need of something to do at night ever since it opened.
Disney also showed the following video in which James Cameron and Joe Rhode talked about the project a little more in depth:
The video includes some simulated footage of the ride experiences.
I know a lot of people have not been overly excited about the idea of Avatar at Animal Kingdom. But intellectual property aside, I think the park definitely needs some additions. These may not be the specific attractions I would have chosen. But I’m excited to see some new things opening at a park desperately in need of new things to do.
But don’t get too excited. You won’t be experiencing Pandora any time soon. Camp Minnie Mickey currently occupies the land where Avatar will be built. It is sceduled to close in 2014. Avatarland is unlikely to open before 2017.
Posted on October 14, 2013, in Animal Kingdom, theme parks, Walt Disney World and tagged Avatar, Avatarland, Disney, Disney Animal Kingdom, Disney D23, james cameron, Pandora, Walt Disney World. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.