Saturday, October 12, 2013

Disney Showing Off Plans for Avatar at Animal Kingdom

We first heard official news that Disney was working on an Avatar themed area at Disney's Animal Kingdom just around two years ago, can you believe it has been that long already?  With almost no detail on the project coming out since then, Disney has finally given fans a look at what they've been working on.

In time for the Disney D23 Expo currently being held in Japan, some information and these images were released of the Avatar plans so far.  Above is a general view of the mythical Pandora setting guests will find, complete with floating islands and unique plants and surroundings.  Impressive goes without saying if the actual area looks like this.

This photo of the current model of the land shows even more details of the lush setting.  If you click on the larger version you can see a more clear idea of how the land will really transport visitors to another world.  In the photo are (left to right) James Cameron, Tom Staggs, and Joe Rohde.

While the press for the announcement of these images does not detail too much of the area's attractions, it appears as though this shot is meant to show off an attraction where "guests discover what it feels like to soar into the sky riding a Banshee."  I would think this would be a simulator styled attraction, though I'm sure the technology behind it is well beyond the simulators of the past.

This shot looks like the rumored boat ride that explores the world of Pandora and it's amazing settings.  This one seems to match up with the description of visitors being able to "wander through a nighttime jungle of bioluminescent plants that are alive with light and sound."  I'm excited for a traditional, no thrills, Disney style boat ride to make a return to the parks!  No gimmick ride system I hope, just a high level of detail and theme.  Looks beautiful in art form, for sure.

This latest news also gives an early 2017 opening for the Avatar area, so we're still a rather long way off.

The announcement also included some changes for Disney's Animal Kingdom as well.  With such a major expansion the park will finally stay open later into the night, which means we can experience the park after dark.

A big addition will be a "new nighttime spectacular where live music, floating lanterns, water screens and swirling animal imagery all combine to bring a show to Discovery River," but there will also be live entertainment on Discovery Island and a "nighttime version" of Kilimanjaro Safaris.

All images © Disney