Today was a sneak peek of D23 Expo for those who paid, media, and assorted vendors. Among the big reveals were models and displays in the Disney Parks area of the exhibit floor.
First, we’ve seen tantalizing glimpses of the Avatar Land model in the various videos released by Walt Disney Imagineering, but never have we seen the whole land as it will look when it opens.
In the model we can see not only the unique natural world of the Pandora flora and fauna, but the existence of a military zone with large buildings and perimeter fences. It appears there’s still an uneasy balance between the encroachment of humans and the symbiotic ecology of the planet and its people.
The bridge to the left looks to be the main entrance (formerly the bridge to Camp Minnie Mickey). But there’s also a second entrance and possibly third entrance. If you look to the right of the cliff, you can see what looks like the entrance to the land from Africa. While Camp Minnie Mickey was a dead-end, Avatar will present more opportunities to move around.
In the back of the model are the floating mountains and a cliff face, which appears to employ forced perspective to make the arches on top appear large even though they’re small. The cliffs will hide the main show building for the Banshee ride, which will feature motion simulator technology similar (and yet different from) Soarin’.
Not shown is the boat ride, which will be second big attraction of the land, although it’s rumored to be getting reworked and may not open with the grand opening of Avatar Land.
This video has a version of the model from February of 2015. I think I see a few differences.
You may also want to visit Disney at Work for some recent construction photos.
Also on display is this bust/model of a Navi which was used as a Meet and Greet location today..
Avatar Land is expected to open at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in 2017 or early 2018.