Pandora: The World of AVATAR is inspired by the 2009 James Cameron movie, Avatar. Guests enter the Valley of Mo’ara where they encounter interactive plant life in the bioluminescent forest as well as floating mountains.
The time frame of the land takes place a generation after the original Avatar movie and its four sequels. The conflict between humans and Na’vi is over, but remnants of the conflict are found throughout the land. The cast members found in Pandora: The World of AVATAR belong to one of three separate groups:
- Alpha Centauri Expeditions (ACE): This is a human run organization of Eco-tour guides that is facilitating our travel to Pandora. They are they hosts of the land.
- The Pandora Conservation Initiative: This is a group of scientists that study Pandora. This group researches the flora, fauna and culture of Pandora.
- The Expat Community: This is a group of people that have come to Pandora and “fell in love with it”. They run some of the smaller locations in the land like Pongu Pongu.
The Mission Statement for ACE is as follows:
“Our dream is that all those who crave exciting adventures in nature can find that with ACE. We look forward to helping you discover the wondrous beauty that the world of Pandora has to offer.”
Interviews with Writer and Director of AVATAR, James Cameron as well as Producer Jon Landau reveal the connection that this land has with Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Cameron describes Pandora itself as a Garden of Eden, and Landau explains that one of the core components of Disney’s Animal Kingdom is the “intrinsic value of nature”. By recreating an alien environment and focusing on the flora and fauna of Pandora as opposed to the plot of the movie, Disney, Cameron and Landau could have this flora and fauna help tell the story of the land.
As guests enter the land from Discovery Island, they encounter a large Pandoran plant known as the Flaska Reclinata (or Baja Tickler). The plant is interactive and responds to guests touching it. It glows at night and the bioluminescent forest glows and reacts along with the plant. The plant is one of many that helps detoxify the atmosphere helping humans breath in the otherwise poisonous air.
The animals of Pandora have distinct sounds that are heard throughout the land. There is a relationship between these animals and a call from one will often illicit a response from another elsewhere in the land. As night falls, the bioluminescent forest reacts with the animals as well.
The land features a snack stand called Pongu Pongu where guests can get offerings exclusive to Pandora. A quick service restaurant called Satu’li Cateen offers a wider selection of food inspired by the movie.
The two main attractions in the land are Na’vi River Journey and Flight of Passage. Na’vi River Journey is a nighttime boat ride through the bioluminescent forests of Pandora culminating with an encounter with the Na’vi Shaman of Songs. Flight of Passage allows guests to link with their Avatar and ride a banshee outside of the confines of the Valley of Mo’ara.
Na’vi River Journey
Flight of Passage
Throughout the land guests can enjoy the Na’vi drum circle, Na’vi totems, and interactive walkways and foliage.
At night, the flora and fauna lights up giving a new look to the land.
An additional interactive game in Pandora: The World of AVATAR can be played using the My Disney Experience app. “Connect to Protect” will allow guests to instant message with one of the Pandora’s ecological specialists, Fitsimti “Fits” Buckley using the My Disney Experience app.
Fits will highlight the flora and fauna of Pandora as well as send guests on missions. After proceeding through the missions guests will have the opportunity to make a contribution of $5 or $10 from Disney Parks to various conservation efforts.
The land is 12 acres in size and the floating mountains reach heights of 143′ tall.
The land was first announced in September of 2011, broke ground in January of 2014, dedicated on May 24, 2017 and opened officially on May 27, 2017. It took the footpring of the former Camp Minnie Mickey area as well as adjacent plots originally intended for the Beastly Kingdom Expansion.
GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN
- Joe Rohde: Portfolio Creative Executive Walt Disney Imagineering
- Zsolt Hormay: Creative Executive Walt Disney Imagineering (Rockwork)
- Stefan Hellwig: Executive Creative Director Walt Disney Imagineering
- Matt Beiler: Producer Walt Disney Imagineering
- Mark LaVine: Lead Writer Walt Disney Imagineering
- James Cameron: Lightstorm Entertainment (Writer/Director AVATAR)
- Jon Landau: Lightstorm Entertainment (Prodcuer AVATAR)
- Richie Baneham: Lightstorm Entertainment
The below video is used with permission from the YouTube channel SoCal Attractions 360. These videos are in 4K or 1080p resolution for peak quality.