BREAKING: Details of AVATAR Land Announced, New Nighttime Show & Attraction Revealed!

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Very late this evening, Disney decided to reveal to the world the details of the AVATAR project for Animal Kingdom, including the announcement of a new nighttime spectacular and a nighttime version of Kilimanjaro Safaris for Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park!

Walt Disney Imagineering in collaboration with filmmaker James Cameron and Lightstorm Entertainment is bringing to life the mythical world of Pandora, inspired by Cameron’s AVATAR, at Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park. The awe-inspiring land of floating mountains, bioluminescent rainforests and soaring Banshees will become real for Disney guests to see, hear and touch. Scheduled to open in 2017, the AVATAR-inspired land will be part of the largest expansion in Disney’s Animal Kingdom history. (Concept art, Walt Disney Imagineering)

Scheduled to open in 2017, guests will enter the world of Pandora and experience what seems to be two attractions…

Walt Disney Imagineering in collaboration with filmmaker James Cameron and Lightstorm Entertainment is bringing to life the mythical world of Pandora, inspired by Cameron’s AVATAR, at Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park. The awe-inspiring land of floating mountains, bioluminescent rainforests and soaring Banshees will become real for Disney guests to see, hear and touch. Scheduled to open in 2017, the AVATAR-inspired land will be part of the largest expansion in Disney’s Animal Kingdom history. (Concept art, Walt Disney Imagineering)

First will be a boat ride through the nighttime forests of the planet, sure to be an audio-animatronics extravaganza like Pirates of the Caribbean…

Walt Disney Imagineering in collaboration with filmmaker James Cameron and Lightstorm Entertainment is bringing to life the mythical world of Pandora, inspired by Cameron’s AVATAR, at Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park. The awe-inspiring land of floating mountains, bioluminescent rainforests and soaring Banshees will become real for Disney guests to see, hear and touch. Scheduled to open in 2017, the AVATAR-inspired land will be part of the largest expansion in Disney’s Animal Kingdom history. (Concept art, Walt Disney Imagineering)

Another attraction will allow guests to board a Banshee and fly through the skies…

As part of the largest expansion in its history, Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park will be adding all-new entertainment experiences including a new after-dark spectacular centered around and above Discovery River, new nighttime entertainment including live performers on Discovery Island (pictured) and a new night version of Kilimanjaro Safaris. (Concept art, Walt Disney Imagineering)

Disney didn’t stop at AVATAR projects tonight, also announcing a nighttime show that will take place on the Discovery River. The new show will combine live music, floating lanterns, water screens and swirling animal imagery to delight guests and truly cap off their day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Also announced was that there will be a nighttime version of Kilimanjaro Safaris for guests to enjoy!

Live evening entertainment will also be added to the park, like that seen in the above concept art. We can also assume new nighttime lighting on the Tree of Life will be added like you can also see in the concept art above.

Walt Disney Imagineering in collaboration with filmmaker James Cameron and Lightstorm Entertainment is bringing to life the mythical world of Pandora, inspired by Cameron’s AVATAR, at Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park. WDI’s Joe Rohde (right) shares highlights of the project model with Cameron (left) and Walt Disney Parks & Resort Chairman Tom Staggs. Scheduled to open in 2017, the AVATAR-inspired land will be part of the largest expansion in Disney’s Animal Kingdom history. (Disney)

No more information is available at this time, but you can expect we will keep you updated as more becomes available on this breaking story!

So, what do you think? Are you excited about all of these additions to Disney’s Animal Kingdom?

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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.
Contact Tom at [email protected]

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Ryan
Guest
Ryan

FINALLY!

kevinp
Guest
kevinp

Glad they are adding to Animal Kingdom, but AVATAR was a train wreck of a movie and if I have to see those blue cat things walking around, I may puke. I mean, if it wasn't for the Gungans in the Star Wars prequels, they'd be the lamest characters in movie history. So I'm kinda "mixed" on my feelings on all of this.

Trisha
Guest
Trisha

One of my favorite movies!! Cannot wait to see this new section.

Johnny
Guest
Johnny

Thank god!!!!!!

sk
Guest
sk

yesssss!!!

Michael Sabani
Guest
Michael Sabani

Extremely underwhelmed. This literally falls directly in my Do Not Care file. I would not make any special effort at all to see this. Saddened.

Annette
Guest
Annette

So, Michael, let me get this straight. This is in your "Do Not Care file"…but you cared enough to comment on it. Kind of a pointless "file" for you to have, isn't it?

Michael Sabani
Guest
Michael Sabani

Yeah, I'm sorry I said what I said that way.
I've actually thought more about it and I can see a place for it there and can look forward to it.

I wasn't exactly polite in my comment. Kind of rude actually and I apologize for it. I wish you didn't feel the need to be mean.

Michael Sabani
Guest
Michael Sabani

What's actually really exciting to me now is to see the message behind the movie, protecting the environment, really has a place at Animal Kingdom, even if I didn't find the movie to be nearly as incredible as others did. So upon further reflection I am able to see how it could fit, and admittedly be pretty cool.

That's what you get going off on first impressions! I've learned a valuable lesson to think harder before I post a comment!

:)

Lexi
Guest
Lexi

It's a very smart move to add evening entertainment to Animal Kingdom, they were missing that element and I think it will improve park attendance. I'm glad to see some updates, but I still think AVATAR land is a bad investment…

It was a cool movie and it does have fans, but I don't see it being something that will stand the test of time.

Lawrence Han
Guest
Lawrence Han

Yes Over time it may become…dated. But then again, hasn't DW updated just recently with Tomorrowland, and Fantasyland (and probably rightly so as some of the attractions IMO were getting dated). However, I know that there are some attractions that I dearly miss now as an adult like the 20,000 leagues under the sea…Granted you only went about 7-8 feet underwater, but it will still a fun ride as a kid. I, for one, have not yet seen the AVATAR Film, yet amusement parks have been becoming more and more themed as of late. Harry Potter,Jurassic Park, Batman/Superman, Snoopy/Peanuts/Garfield. Universal… Read more »

disneyphilip
Guest
disneyphilip

Alright, people! Time to stop bad-mouthing the Avatar project now! >:(

Lynniemp
Guest
Lynniemp

I think it looks beautiful…and if you don't like Avatar, you can just ignore the Avatar link…pretend Pandora is just an interpretation of the "mythical" area that was expected at AK. Love the boat ride idea…simple, yet open to amazing possibilities. Thanks WDWNT! :)

The Puppeteer
Guest
The Puppeteer

I love it, it's amazing. And they add 2 rides to AK, a boot ride partly trough a black light lit building and a Sourin clone in 3D. That is definitely what AK needs although I hope they don't make them to big because that is difficult. Can't wait to see a Sigorney Weaver character walking around cursing and smoking and the huge robots ploughing trough the tree of life with huge explosions. I would love to get my photo taken with the blue genital hair aliens and eat chicken waffles under the fibber optic tree. And thank god for… Read more »

Jason Albert
Guest
Jason Albert

This looks incredible. Being a Disney fanatic, I CANT WAIT!! Disney seems to always get it right. And they continue to show everyone else how its done.

Debbie
Guest
Debbie

If anyone can do it, it is Disney!!! Looks spectacular!!! We are a Disney Family, have been coming since WDW opened, with our one year old, now we are coming with our children and grandchildren.

Kelly
Guest
Kelly

I see another trip to Disney in my future :)

Courtney
Guest
Courtney

I'll enjoy anything if it means AK will be open past 5:00.

John
Guest
John

Has there been any speculation as to what the folks (performers and audience) in the nighttime entertainment picture are wearing on/around their eyes? I can't tell if they are meant to be glasses (my best guess), face paint (maybe on some of the audience), or what. If glasses, what would their purpose be? 3D something or other, or am I being silly?

jeanysanchez
Guest
jeanysanchez

awesome!

Lin
Guest
Lin

If we are trying to protect the environment and respect the animals why the night time show? Wasn't that the whole reason NOT to do all this, because it would upset the animals in their natural habitat? Or don't we care about that anymore? Also, did Disney buy Avatar?Wish it was ANYTHING else…Star Wars land, pretty much ANYTHING land. Avatar is so empty of real emotion, it is all special effects…Disney has always had a heart. Hope they redeem themselves at Epcot with the Imagination Pavilion and bringing back Figment and imaginative activities that actually involve kids' thinking and creativity.

jeanylaser
Guest
jeanylaser

yeah me too! Avatarland will be awesome for the Disney’s Animal Kingdom and the new nighttime entertainment will be awesome too!