Disney Reveals a First Look at Their ‘Avatar’ Theme Park Land
Five years after its initial release, does anyone care about James Cameron’s Avatar or its upcoming sequels? Disney bet countess millions of dollars on a “yes” when it officially broke ground on The World of Pandora, a new expansion to their Animal Kingdom park at Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Although the actual park “land” is still a massive dirt pit filled with construction equipment, Disney has released a brief new video showcasing some of the technology and scenery that will be featured in their latest theme park endeavor and we’d be lying if we said it didn’t look awfully impressive.
The video is dialogue-free, but there’s no need for words. All you really need is the look of sheer terror on the faces of the Disney “Imagineers” (and yes, non-theme park fans, that is what they call them) as they give director James Cameron a tour of their progress so far. The video follows the famously detail-oriented/terrifying filmmaker as he examines fake alien foliage, tests out a bio-luminescent pathway that glows as you walk on it, and stares deep into the souls of the poor men tasked with pleasing him.
But the results of these designer’s labors look spectacular! Only time will tell if some of the concept art is up to snuff (can they really pull off those floating mountains?), but when they turn off all of the lights and those Pandoran plants start to glow, it‘s easy to imagine the world of Cameron’s film really coming to life in a theme park setting. In an age where all of the major parks are battling each other to create more immersive experiences, this looks like next-level stuff.
It’s no secret that The World of Pandora is Disney’s attempt to directly battle Universal Studios’s massively popular and gorgeously executed Harry Potter-themed areas a few miles away. But that brings up the big question: even if this ends up being a perfectly executed recreation of the film, will it draw Potter-sized crowds? People are still awfully fond of that boy wizard, but Avatar has fallen off the cultural map in a big way. With Avatar 2 delayed from its original release date, the estimated 2017 opening of The World of Pandora suddenly seems to be about a year too soon.