Arts / Trending

Take a Sneak Peak at Disney World’s New Attraction, Pandora: The World of Avatar

The James Cameron blockbuster Avatar premiered in 2009 to broad critical acclaim and major box office mojo. The movie became the biggest grossing movie of all time just 41 days after its release. The strong reception was something of a surprise, since movie analysts predicted that the very expensive futuristic film might end up being a disappointment.

Despite Avatar’s huge budget – the film cost more than $250 million to produce and $150 million to promote – its triumph is almost an underdog story.The history of Avatar actually begins more than a decade earlier, when Cameron wrote an 80-page treatment outlining his vision for the world. Although he planned to film the movie in 1997, Cameron said the technology just wasn’t there to fully depict the world he saw in his imagination. In 2005 and 2006, Cameron spent time inventing the language and fictional worlds in greater detail. The film eventually used new motion capture technologies and was released in both 3D and 4D.


The film was inspired in part by Cameron’s interest in Hinduism and it centered on themes of ecology and imperialism. Sequels were planned, but they have been beset by delays. Cameron now says the next movie will not debut until December of 2018. He also optimistically promised four sequels.

In 2011, Disney approached Cameron about optioning his movie for a Disney World attraction. Initially the company planned to develop the movie for its Hollywood Studios Backlot Tour. However, after the deal was completed, the parties decided to make the Avatar attractions part of an expanded area of Animal Kingdom. The fictional land will be based on Pandora, an exoplanetery moon featured in the film. The area will include floating mountains, alien wildlife and bioluminescent plants.

Construction in progress for the Avatar part of Animal Kingdom.

Construction in progress for the Avatar part of Animal Kingdom

Disney started construction of Pandora in 2014, with an estimated budget of more than $500 million. Disney has not been deterred by the lack of planned sequels. The company is betting that visitors will be sufficiently intrigued by the concept to bolster its Animal Kingdom numbers. After years of development, Disney has released an inside look at the Pandora: The World of Avatar. The company offered a five-minute video to fans during the Awaken Summer media event held at the Walt Disney World resort. Visit Orlando shared it on their YouTube page and you’ll find it below.

The video  shows how fans will be able to fly over Pandora on the back of a banshee, experiencing the luminescent forest and surroundings on the moon. The most visually dominant part of Pandora is the Floating Mountains. Disney released a detailed model mapping the mountains, which have numerous bridges that are said to be constructed out of wood by the Na’vi people. The land also includes long rivers, with plant life dotting the entire landscape. The new installment to Animal Kingdom will be heavy on animatronics. Disney has revealed there will be life size Na’vi and advanced animatronics that will make the blue creatures truly come to life.

Neither Disney nor Cameron has revealed whether the Pandora addition will tie in at all to the planned sequels. However, Disney executives have worked closely with Cameron so the area will undoubtedly be influenced by the director’s complete and evolving vision.


  1. Max says:

    This might be cool IDK

  2. Arin L says:

    Great writeup, i guess time will tell on whether people like the movies. but they will love the park.

  3. Mickey Mouse says:

    Lots of changes at Disney. I am still bitter over Sorcerer’s Hat and the removal of the Matterhorn in Norway

    • Fangirl says:

      Well the hat wasn’t intended to be permanent. I agree about adding frozen to epcot though. hate that idea.

  4. James Jamison says:

    so fascinating, Cameron has spent 20 years on this stuff

  5. Nate Burress says:

    Nice article. Video is pretty cool. Might be a neat ride.

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