All photos courtesy of Walt Disney World Resort
The ultimate goal of any vacation is to leave your world behind; to be transported to another place and experience life like you’re on another world. According to the latest rumors, Disney is going to take you there when it finally brings Pandora-The World of Avatar to life at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The project has been several years in the making, but 2017 could finally see the arrival of the Na’vi, as guests will be transported to their homeworld of Pandora. While we do not have an official opening date yet, we do have some information on how Disney is looking to make good on their promise of “It’s Real.”
The new land at Disney’s Animal Kingdom not only represents the largest expansion in park history, but it also represents the park’s jump into ultra-immersive entertainment. With the new attractions and land, you won’t be just a guest walking through the story, you’re going to be in the story. You will not only be able to see and hear, but you’ll also be able to touch, taste, smell and feel your way through the new land. The ability to feel your way through a land is something that Disney has missed of late with their newest expansions. Sure, you are able to follow the story, but Avatar will make you one of the Na’vi through the attractions.
So far we know that the land will be home to two major attractions. One will be a whitewater boat ride through a bio-luminescent forest. The Na’vi River Journey will take you on a voyage through the forest where you will see the world of night come to life around you as the plants glow with the spirit of the planet. The other attraction will be the Avatar-Flight of Passage. This ride will be a 3D adventure that takes you through a flight on an actual Banshee.
According to Industry Insider Screamscape, the immersion will not just end with you sitting in a stationary seat in front of a screen. Guests will actually straddle the ride vehicle, which will be fashioned after a Banshee creature from the movie! The vehicle is a next-level system that will have you believing that you are riding on a living, breathing, warm bodied creature. According to Disney CEO Bob Iger “There’s never been anything like it.”
On top of all that, guests will be riding against a larger than life 3D screen, with in-house effects like wind, smells and even water.
If this is true, Disney will be bringing guests into the world of Avatar on a level that has never been accomplished before. Hopefully, we get to see the world unveiled sooner, rather than later. All of this comes in addition to the scenery of the world, which Disney is building with “Floating Mountains.” There will also be touch sensitive bio-luminescent pathways that will respond to the touch and steps of guests. Plus, there will be food inspired by the film, that will help bring the world full circle.
In 2010, many industry insiders touted the Wizarding World of Harry Potter as the new standard in themed entertainment. If the rumors surrounding Avatar are true, then Disney is about to prove to the world why it was crowned the king of theme parks so many years ago. We could very well see a new revolution in the theme park wars, as Disney not only reclaims the crown, but sets it on a very high mountain for all to try and reach.