Walt Disney World unveils Pandora country, the newest park based on “Avatar”

In 2009, director James Cameron took the alien adventure film “Avatar” to the big screen after 15 in the production. Eight years later, Cameron along with the Disney Imagineers are bringing the film to life in Walt Disney World.

“Pandora – The World of Avatar,” officially opened as an expansion of Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park on Saturday, May 27. The park, which was first announced in 2012, combines elements from the fictional Na’vi world in an immersive new country with unique food, interactive landscapes and attractions that are out of this world.

So what can “Avatar” fans expect? Nothing less than a truly magical experience, says one of the film makers.

“We found with Disney a partner who was not afraid to dream big,” Jon Landau, a co-producer of the original film, told Fox News. “When the guests the first step in the new land of Pandora for the first time, they will undoubtedly be overwhelmed with what Disney’s designers have dreamed of.”

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Under the Floating Mountains

As the link between Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Pandora – a planet 4.4 light-years away – the Valley of Mo’ara allows visitors to make the transition over a bridge. During the trip, the guests immediately confronted with a story of peace, nature, and more than a few alien inhabitants along the way.


In Pandora’s heart are the impressive floating mountains avid film fans will recognize. Surrounded by colourful flora and the sounds of otherworldly fauna, along with beautiful waterfalls, Pandora does not feel like your average amusement park attraction. The Disney Imagineers were not only focused on the appeal on the ears and the eyes, but also the connection with the guests on an emotional level.

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“We built this country for awe, wonder and joy,” said Imagineer Joe Rohde, Executive Creative Director for Pandora. “There are very different emotions, I would like to see that people experience. Awe is a real emotion. Wonder is a real emotion. Joy – not only fun – joy is a real emotion. That is a high bar, but that is what we have for ourselves.”

A High-Tech Connection

When “Avatar” first hit theaters, was praised for his hyperreal 3-D visuals that helped the audience to connect with the world of Pandora and the characters. Disney has followed by filling of the newest country with two groundbreaking attractions, each with its own technological developments focused on the linking of theme park guests to Pandora’s story.

“We want you to feel like you’ve gone to an alien world that is so realistic is that it is a true” Imagineer Mark LaVine, the Lead Writer for Pandora’s, told Fox News. “The whole park over. ‘Avatar’ is very direct about this connection with the natural world. We want you to have that connection here, too.”

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Ready for that connection? Imagine locking eyes with incredibly lifelike character on board of the new Na’vi River Trip ride.

The “Shaman of the Songs” is one of the Na’vi – tall, blue, humanoid inhabitants of Pandora. She is also Disney’s most advanced Audio-Animatronics figure to date. Her wild movements are so smooth that you will think that there is a real person behind them. But the real connection is created when she looks you in the eye as you sail by. Her minute facial expressions when she sings the words in the native Na’vi tongue are designed to draw guests further into the alien world.

On “Avatar, Flight of Passage,” Pandora’s other signature attraction, guests experience the splendor of the earth’s natural luminous plants, just stumbling in a modern lab where, as the story goes, scientists prepare a link visitors to their own banshees through the ‘avatar’ program.

Once the story is established through the beautifully themed queue, you will feel the great sensation of flight together with a real sense of the banshee’s breath, while rising about Pandora’s lush landscape, Disney’s high-tech new ride mechanism.

Open Your Eyes

Outside the attractions and glowing landscape, Pandora is packed with interactive moments designed to make its visitors feel as if they are no longer on the planet Earth.


The area of the new restaurant, Satu ‘ li Canteen, serves dishes with an “alien” twist. There is cheeseburger “pods” and shocking blue Blueberry cream cheese Mousse. The store, Windtraders, guests can take home their own shoulder banshee (only after taking the Na’vi oath to take, of course). This extra energy can participate in an interactive drum circle that changes the entire soundtrack of the country with each hit. In the dark, Pandora takes on a new personality as many plants, and even the floating mountains, glow vivid from within– a feature fans of the Disney fireworks show will keep.

With different “Avatar” movie sequels in the work, the team behind the films is expected that the park will only increase the guests ‘ connection to Pandora and its inhabitants.

“I hope that when people come here, and come to Pandora, that their eyes will be open,” said Landau. “That they will look at our world a little differently when they come back across the bridge.”

Ricky Brigante is a theme park expert and fan who edits InsideTheMagic, a blog focusing on Disney and theme park news and entertainment. He is also host of the award-winning “Inside the Magic” podcast.

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