Guarded Optimism: ‘Avatar Land’ is Going to Be Disney’s Most Impressive Project Yet

In what seemed like a lifetime away upon its announcement in 2011, Disney fans are finally just months away from the grand opening of Pandora: The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom this summer. While it has been a controversial project since it’s very announcement, one thing that all Disney fans can certainly agree on; Avatar Land is going to be one of the most impressive theme park projects to come out of The Walt Disney Company.

While Disney has been keeping a tight lid on information and finished footage from the nearly-finished area, fans have been treated to a brief look and idea of what the park will look like through finished footage, concept art and state-of-the-art Audio-Animatronics, some of the most impressive AAs to date. While opinions of James Cameron’s Avatar range from praiseworthy to poor, the film stands as an important piece in cinematic history, creating breakthrough visuals that would inspire a new era of filmmaking, stretching as far as The Walt Disney Company itself, making way for stunning visual breakthroughs like The Jungle Book and Maleficent. Translating that beauty and innovation from the big screen into a physical, interactive, and four-dimensional theme park is a challenge right out of the gate, but it’s still one that Disney Imagineering didn’t shy away from. If the small bits of footage we’ve seen are any indication of the eye-candy we’re going to get this summer, that’s certainly something impressive to look forward to.

What We Know About The World of Avatar So Far:

Though it’s been in the works for a few years, details of how the area will be structured are still scarce, but we’ve luckily been given a glimpse as to some of the attractions guests will be able to experience. One of the attractions, ‘The Na’vi River Journey’ will take guests on a river journey through the world of Pandora. With stunning visuals and state of the art, lifelike Audio-Animatronics, the ‘Na’vi River Journey’ is bound to be one of Disney’s most impressive dark-rides yet, and we can’t wait to experience it first-hand.

The second known attraction, Avatar: Flight of Passage is a flight simulator and the area’s major E-ticket attraction. While we have yet to see footage from the finished attraction, fans have been treated to a look at the thrills that the attraction has to offer.

Why Pandora is Unlike Anything We’ve Seen Before:

Taking the amazing world of Avatar and translating it into the real world is something that many would have thought unimaginable, almost impossible. Building the world that feels reminiscent of the one that audiences journeyed to in 2009 is easily Disney’s biggest challenge yet, and it’s difficult to build an actual, tangible world within the Disney theme parks. But as Disney Imagineering continues to impress, we’re already getting a closer look at how the world of Avatar is going to be constructed.

The World of Avatar includes everything from floating mountains to flying banshees. Therefore, the structure of Avatar Land instantly needed to be unlike anything Disney has ever built before. Some of the most stunning works from this project includes the jaw-dropping work on the iconic ‘Floating Mountains’, complete with waterfalls, ropes and realistic detail, the moment you walk into the world of Avatar, you can tell this is unlike any theme park experience anywhere else in the world.

The Spirit of the Park is Very Much Still Present:

One of the biggest concerns that many Disney fans shared upon this theme park announcement was; “How is Avatar, a big blockbuster, non-Disney franchise milked just for its intellectual brand supposed to fit into a park that’s built on the message of world conservation and the environment?” Luckily, Disney hasn’t abandoned the vision for Disney’s Animal Kingdom yet, and one of the key parts of marketing Pandora is to make certain that the message of the theme park is still very front and center. Some of these important aspects are outlined by Disney Imagineer Joe Rhode in the video below.

So while Avatar in the Animal Kingdom is still and likely will forever be Disney’s most unique and unexpected projects ever, we’re thrilled to see Disney Imagineering take their talents and push it to the limits, and finally get a glimpse at the amazing world that Pandora has to offer when it opens this summer.

Are you excited for Avatar Land? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

10 thoughts on “Guarded Optimism: ‘Avatar Land’ is Going to Be Disney’s Most Impressive Project Yet

  1. Coming from a guy who hates the ‘Avatar’ movie, I’m actually pretty excited for this theme park land.

  2. NO. WAY. I’m sick of Disney stuffing bad IPs into their parks for no reason. Ugh. Please no. I don’t want it.

    1. I’m completely with you on this one. While I obviously think Disney characters should be in a Disney theme park, I also believe that the themed areas need to stick to their respective themes, which is why the idea of ‘Guardians’ or ‘Avatar’ kinda disappoint me. However, I am looking forward to these on a technical/architectural standpoint.

  3. I still say they probably should do “Zootopia” instead. I mean what if the second “Avatar” film bombs and gets a bad rep? Would Disney be ready for that?

    1. Oh, I absolutely agree. Which is one of the main reasons I’ve been wary of the idea from the first place. I know ‘Avatar’ was once the biggest blockbuster of all time, but that doesn’t exactly mean it has any longevity and having been almost a decade since the first film came out and the legacy of the film has all but faded, I’m not sure there is a large ‘Avatar’ fanbase or any pop culture relevance at all. Should ‘Avatar 2’ bomb and the franchise wither out, I think Disney would be stuck with one of their biggest billion-dollar mistakes yet.

      Also, I would have loved to see a Zootopia themed area. Would be more financially stable and not to mention that Disney actually owns the property, in comparison to Pandora, which they share a stake with James Cameron.

  4. I think this was Disney’s comeback at Universal’s Harry Potter glory and I’m afraid it’s not comparable. Coming from someone who really enjoyed Avatar, I don’t think this is an everlasting franchise of the same magnitude of say Harry Potter or Star Wars. I’m excited to see what Disney Imagineering pulls off as everything they’ve done lately has blown me away including my recent visit to Belles Tales (Those animatronics are amazing!!!) but I can’t see this being a section of the park that will outlast the test of time. I hope their investment pays off though. I know a few film sequels are in the works but I’m afraid if they are flops that Disney will have an unpopular land in their hands. I’ve become a fan of Animal Kingdom in recent trips and I feel like they could’ve used existing Disney franchises like Jungle Book and The Good Dinosaur. Not to mention the living seas really belongs in Animal Kingdom over Future world at EPCOT… I know that’s a stretch as far as them moving it but it would work better with more Nemo presence and sea life conservation. We’ll have to see in May if Avatar ends up being a good fit.

    1. Some great points, Alexandra! You are definitely right that this was a scramble for Disney to compete with Harry Potter but I’m afraid that it’s been eight years since the release of ‘Avatar’ and the film has failed to leave any footprint in pop-culture. For the sake of Disney, I truly hope Cameron’s sequels don’t flop as bad as I expect them to, but I’m certain that ‘Avatar Land’ was a dangerous investment from the start. Not to mention that Disney has no control of where the Avatar franchise will go or how the films will be marketed, especially considering Disney has an endless amount of franchises they do have control over (Zootopia, The Jungle Book, The Lion King etc).

      I’m excited to see what Imagineering has in store, but something tells me that this isn’t quite going to pay off the way that they hope it will.

      1. I’m surprised no one commented on Disney’s approach to create hype for the new park addition. Can we agree that their marketing has been genius so far? Advertising Pandora as a travel destination with website and all is a nice touch.

  5. I’m so not excited that this is a thing but I cant deny the concept art is pretty impressive so I’m gonna go in and I might even like it but I still feel queasy about the integrity and brand of Disney being lost because of this area. I never liked Avatar but I hope I can enjoy this park area.

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