Pandora – The World of AVATAR
Even though the opening of Avatarland at DAK isn’t until mid-2017, construction on the new land really picked up this summer!
Disney announced last month that the new land will be called ‘Pandora – The World of AVATAR.’ [I prefer Avatarland.]
Right now, most of the activity is hidden behind construction walls at the former Camp Minnie-Mickey area. Avatarland has taken over the entire area at the front of DAK once occupied by the Disney character meet-and-greet area and the “Festival of the Lion King” show, which relocated to a new, much bigger theater in mid-2014.
Towering construction cranes – at least 2 or 3 at a time – can be seen from DAK’s entrance area, working away all day long.
The bridge to the former Camp Minnie-Mickey area will be the main entrance, with another entrance from Africa near the new land’s cliffs.
Several new buildings are being built onsite: “buildings that were used by previous human travelers to the planet, which have been retrofitted into food and supply source,” i.e., restaurants and merchandise locations.
The futuristic Avatarland will be populated by lush jungle foliage, floating mountains and the ruins of a military base camp sprinkled with audio-animatronics, 3-D projections and hologram effects. An area themed as the Pandora Landing Station Mess Hall will serve as a quick-service restaurant.
The main attraction will be a banshee flight simulator similar ride to Soarin’ at Epcot. Disney Imagineer Joe Rohde, who is spearheading the project, says the new ride system will be “considerably more thrilling” than the current Soarin’ attraction. Guests will “climb up the mountains of Pandora” in the queue for the ride before entering the show building where they will take off, literally launching off the cliffs on a Banshee. [No thank you!]
Disney is also building an indoor boat ride similar to Pirates of the Caribbean which will take riders on a river journey through the beautiful LED-illuminated forests of Pandora.
After dark, special lighting effects will play a prominent role in Avatarland, with LED-lighted sidewalks and illuminated plants that respond to the touch.
Read our update on Rivers of Light: New Rivers of Light Coming in 2016
Video of the groundbreaking ceremony on Jan 10, 2014: Breaking Ground on Avatarland
Preview of Avatarland: Highlights of Coming Attraction
Two Girls and a Mouse Tale
by Elly Collins & Caroline Collins
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