With ABC’s The View recording their show from inside Disney’s Animal Kingdom this week, we are being treated to our first extended looks at the new land based on James Cameron’s movies. Pandora – the World of Avatar features floating mountains with waterfalls cascading down into streams and pools, otherworldly plant life that glows in the dark and two new expeditions: Avatar Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey.
Yesterday, Good Morning America gave us a quick teaser of “Flight of Passage” and today Whoopi Goldberg takes us on the Na’vi river journey:
Here’s the pre-tour discussion with James Cameron:
I’m most intrigued by learning that the idea that this land exists after all of the Avatar movies, even the four that haven’t been filmed yet. Now we just have to wait until May 27.
Here’s a bit more recently released information about the new land:
“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.
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.”
This is Disney Imagineering’s big chance to shine, so far it looks like they’ve hit it out of the park. What are you’re thoughts so far?