New ‘Avatar’ Land Videos Take You on a Lazy River Ride Through Pandora’s Glowing Rainforests

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With Avatar 2 delayed yet again, it’s starting to sound like we’ll never see James Cameron’s much-hyped return to Pandora and his tribe of blue aliens. That is, unless you can grab yourselves some tickets to Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom and hop onto their new “Pandora — The World of Avatar” ride. The concept has been teased for months, and today we get our first look inside at all the magic, and, honestly, it looks pretty incredible.

As a theme-park ride, or even as a movie set, the detail and expanse of this ride looks phenomenal. While Cameron’s original Avatar movie was mostly shot using a green-screen, the environments in these videos look straight out of the practical sets of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings movies — just with more bioluminescent anemone-like plants. There are two locations in the ride featured in these videos: the floating islands connected to each other with vines and tree roots, called “The Valley of Moa’ra,” and the “Na’vi River Journey,” watched over by those weird little six-legged dog things.

We don’t get a look at what the dragon flight simulator part — called “Flight of Passage — looks like, as that information is probably being kept as under wraps as possible, but these other two parts look breathtaking.

Listen, I am one of those people who was blown away by the movie when I first saw it in a theater (in IMAX, no less), and while the story is derivative, yes, okay, fine, whatever, it still holds a soft spot in my heart. And Avatar Land is kind of a perfect addition to Disney World’s theme parks, as an adventurous ride and as a calming, visually stunning respite from the festive atmosphere outside. If the river part is as low-stress and relaxing as it looks, I could see myself buying enough tickets for that to last me a couple hours while the rest of my buddies go ride Space Mountain.

Pandora — The World of Avatar will be ready for the public May 27 of this year.

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