Disney's Animal Kingdom Parks & Resorts Walt Disney World Resort

New Details on Rides and Stunning New Image of Pandora: The World of AVATAR

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (March 9, 2017) – Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom opens May 27 at Walt Disney World Resort. The all-new land will immerse guests in a mystical world of massive floating mountains, bioluminescent rainforests and breathtaking new experiences.

Floating mountains grace the skyline while exotic plants fill the colorful landscape inside Pandora – The World of Avatar, which opens May 27, 2017 at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Pandora – The World of Avatar will bring a variety of new experiences to the park, including a family-friendly attraction called Na’vi River Journey and new food & beverage and merchandise locations. Disney’s Animal Kingdom is one of four theme parks at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Kent Phillips, photographer)

The largest addition in the history of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Pandora carries on the park’s tradition of celebrating the intrinsic value of nature, transformation through adventure and a personal call to action.

Based on Oscar-winning filmmaker James Cameron’s record-breaking box-office hit, AVATAR, the new land welcomes guests to the lush world of Pandora long after the human conflict with the native Na’vi inhabitants has ended. The dramatic daytime beauty of the land transforms to glow by night when bioluminescent flora and intricate nighttime experiences add a dreamlike quality to Pandora.

Pandora – The World of Avatar is a creative collaboration of Walt Disney Imagineering, Cameron and Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment.

“We are taking our guests on a journey to this world in an experience that’s as realistic and immersive as possible,” says Joe Rohde, Walt Disney Imagineering portfolio creative executive. “In the movie, the world of Pandora is a setting for the action and characters whose story we follow. Here, guests are the primary characters immersed in an extremely vivid, authentic experience.”

Guests to Disney’s Animal Kingdom cross the park’s Discovery River into Pandora – The World of Avatar and continue along a winding rainforest path for their first glimpse of the land’s iconic floating mountains.

“When guests come across the bridge, they are transferred light-years away, to the Alpha-Centauri solar system and Pandora,” says Jon Landau, AVATAR producer, Lightstorm Entertainment. “It’s an otherworldly, fully-themed experience.”

As guests explore the verdant terrain sprawling beneath mountains that appear to float in the sky, they see waterfalls cascading down the mountainside into meandering streams and pools, and they discover two thrilling new expeditions: Avatar Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey.

Avatar Flight of Passage launches each guest on an exhilarating, wind-in-your-face experience on a winged mountain banshee over the awe-inspiring world of Pandora. Guests will actually feel the banshee breathe beneath them as they soar through the forest and past floating mountains. What was a rite of passage for Na’vi in Cameron’s film becomes a multisensory experience for guests seeking the ultimate adventure – a faceoff with the most feared predator of Pandora, the Great Leonopteryx.

The Great Lenopternyx will appear in the AVATAR Flight of Passage attraction.
The Great Lenopternyx will appear in the AVATAR Flight of Passage attraction.

On the family-friendly Na’vi River Journey, guests travel down a sacred river deep into a bioluminescent rainforest. The eight-seat reed boats float past exotic glowing plants and Pandoran creatures into the midst of a musical Na’vi ceremony. The mystical journey culminates in an encounter with a breathtakingly realistic Na’vi Shaman of Songs who is deeply connected with Pandora’s life force and sends positive energy through her music into the forest.

“The Pandora landscape will be alive with creatures,” Rohde says. “We’re bringing to life everything from the largest creature you might encounter to the most microscopic. Animals will appear out of the underbrush – big Pandoran animals will appear at the edge of the forest and you’ll hear the very complicated calls they issue back and forth.”

The thriving Pandoran landscape conveys intrinsic park messages of the value of nature, transformation through adventure and conservation and stewardship.

The artful storytelling in Pandora continues as guests stop for sustenance at the land’s Satu’li Canteen (pronounced “Sa-too-lee”), a Quonset-hut-style building. The fast-casual restaurant is inspired the healthful bounty of Pandora – wholesome grains, fresh vegetables, and hearty proteins. Guests can grab a drink at nearby Pongu Pongu.

Windtraders is a shopper’s delight where guests can choose from Na’vi cultural items, toys, science kits and more.

Authenticity and realism were drivers in the creation of Pandora, and the result is a world beyond belief.

“The attractions have very deliberate emotional moments crafted into them, the way a good story does, the way a good film does.” Rohde says. “It’s not as simple as just coming to a place that looks realistic. It’s a place that’s been deliberately imbued with the emotions of awe, of wonder, of respect, of harmony.”

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About the author

Tom Corless

Tom has been regularly visiting the Walt Disney World® Resort from the time he was 4 months old. While he has made countless visits in the last 28 years, he did not become a truly active member in the Disney fan community until the summer of 2007, when he decided to launch the WDW News Today website and podcast. Tom has since become an Orlando-local and is a published author on Walt Disney World.

14 Comments

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      • Yeah you are right, they should just continue with the same old painted plaster, there’s certainly no need to strive for something more immersive and impressive. It’s just so comfortable to rest on your laurels. Cough…wizarding world…cough cough.

          • Well at least it looks like real buildings. If I can see the spray paint on your rocks in 480p resolution, you screwed up. It’s cool, enjoy looking at those rocks and then figuring out what to do for the rest of the day

    • @Geller…He said the view was breathtaking. Dumb a$$. Can’t you comprehend what you have read?
      Try comprehension classes instead of being a troll.

      • @Randy…

        My reply was to “spoon bender”, although I can see why this may not have been obvious. So read it all through again, this time slowly – deep breaths – the key is to avoid being so easily triggered. You may find that I was responding to a troll, not being one myself.

  • The floating mountains look like a mushroom cloud from a nuclear bomb. I don’t know if it’s the angle or the lighting, but they just don’t look as cool in this picture.

  • Do you think there will a soft opening for this the week before? We are visiting the week before it opens and are hoping to be able to see it and ride the rides!

  • Seriously? Plaster rocks? Evidently you have not been on THE RIDE. Because this ride makes Soarin look like it was invented as the best thing my grandmother’s generation ever did for rides. Then comes THIS??? You ARE riding on a bird. You are soaring, spinning, diving, halting and viewing, ducking and diving under a giant wave, or as a huge whale as big as a mountain jumps up in front of you….you fly over the backs of a herd of galloping beasts, and at every turn as you dive down a waterfall, a giant banshee appears to take off your head. Trust me, this is not a roller coaster. It is ALIVE in every detail and for five minutes you hang on for dear life the whole time completely amazed and transported into a beautiful, dangerous, mysterious land that gives even WONDER a new name. THIS is a game changer. THIS RIDE will be the ride that ALL immersion rides will be judged against until something tops it….because if you do not think this is a cut throat race to the last dollar you own? You are simply not paying attention. I repeat, the rest of the land is lovely and certainly a step up, but THIS ride on the back of a banshee? THIS ONE? Is the game changer of rides. Do not miss it if you possibly can.

    After a 2.5 hour wait I was angry, bored, and wanting OUT of all mountain tunnels. I was NOT a happy camper [and Disney has to fix the wait part so that people are not LEFT alone with no communication NOW] but when I got off that ride? All I, or any other rider, said for 10 minutes was WOW!! WOW!!!! and WOW!!!!!! Yup. It’s THAT good….well, it would have to be THAT good to be the game changing ride that will change all rides forever.