The Pandora exhibit reveals some of the backstory for the land. It appears we've moved well past the conflict of the Avatar movie, and Pandora's become a tourist destination rather than simply a mining site for the wonderfully/ridiculously named Unobtanium. Alpha Centauri Expeditions is the travel company that will be arranging trips to Pandora for Disney's Animal Kingdom visitors.
After watching a short promo video with testimonials from Pandora "visitors," including Imagineering's Joe Rohde, we are shown around the corner to see a scale model of the new land.
If you listened carefully to the video, or read one of our many previous posts on the new land, you might be able pick out the new "Soarin'"-style 3D Mountain Banshee ride building, or the entrance to the river ride.
The highlight of Pandora will be the massive floating mountains in the middle of the new land. The lighting on the model gradually shifts from day to night, and the video showed that the land will change in the evening, lighting up with bioluminescent flowers and other plants, some of which appear to interact with visitors.
The video also promised unique themed food items for the new land, and there appears to be a large restaurant building located on the right side of the model. After viewing the Pandora model, Expo visitors get a photo opp with one of the Nav'i natives of Pandora.
(Update: Avatar director James Cameron came on stage at the Satuday afternoon Disney Parks presentation to offer more details about the new Avatar land, including its name. See more in our Disney Parks presentation coverage.)
And here is a look at the Shanghai Disneyland exhibition, courtesy Disney:
As for other new attraction news, we are hearing from sources confirmation of new roller coaster coming to Disney's Hollywood Studios as part of its makeover. We haven't seen the plans yet, but we suspect that this will be part of the expanded Pixar presence in the soon-to-be-former Hollywood Studios park.
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Otherwise... don't really see how that Planet will fit in the park? And the floating continent too. Also, hope Mountain Banshee isn't just Soarin with a new video. Though my first thought for how to improve the Soaring formula would just make it a rip off of Harry Potter, with incorporating the dark ride segments with the Soaring videos...
Also, I agree that dedicating a fourth of a park to this IP is stupid. I know they needed something that could fit Animal Kingdom in some manner, but I'd rather have an Australia land or something instead.
Another roller coaster? So they are out of ideas.
I can't wait to hear more about the coaster, and I think it being Pixar-themed will be perfect! Why? Because I'm scared to death (figuratively speaking) that the plan is just to copy Toy Story Playland. If they install an actual honest to goodness roller coaster in Disney's Hollywood Adventure that's say...Monsters Inc or Incredibles-themed, it'll really boost the park's attractiveness.
Star Wars will have a huge presence at the park, I have little doubt about that. A roller coaster doesn't really feel like a fit for me in that universe. Dark rides is really where they'll strike gold IMO.
Finally, as far as Avatarland goes, I actually think the model looks pretty awesome! For me, the key is those floating mountains. If they are tall enough and large enough, I think it'll be a big win, and people will be completely blown away. Nobody has ever seen anything like this, and I think Disney is really trying to push the envelope with this area of the park. It's no small feat to make a great looking land from a movie set in a world as beautiful and magical as....uh... Spotify, is it?
Anyway, I am super psyched about Avatarland, and the model doesn't put any kind of damper on my enthusiasm.
And that's coming from someone who hasn't even seen Avatar!!!
Then again, I haven't seen Frozen either. :p
Funny that the storyline is awfully similar to star tours haha. I think they could've come up with something better than that!
As for the Pixar coaster...most likely it is Crushs coaster from Disneyland paris but we'll see!
Eveything we keep hearing about this expansion is full of win.
The trade will be Avatar and Rivers night show at DHS for Pixar Land and Fantasmic in Animal Kingdom. Does this make sense? DHS' plans are already predetermined well before the start of Avatar at Animal Kingdom.
I'm totally neutral on Avatar, but Pandora looks stunning. That's more than enough to get me excited.
It's unlikely the new coaster will be Crush - at least not in the same form it exists in Paris. Capacity there is a big issue, and that's in a park with half the attendance figures of DHS. I'm hoping for a concept we've not yet heard about.
The floating islands sound really cool, as does the bioluminescent (did I spell that right?) flowers lighting up at night. As for the fear that the motion simulator will be a Soarin clone, I would just like to say that if Universal can give Spider-Man a Transformers paint job and sell it as something new, then why can't Disney do the same?
As for the Rollercoaster, I'll accept it whether it's Star Wars or Pixar (provided, of course, that that they choose the right Pixar film).
Personally, I'm a little disappointed in the conceit of Pandora as being a tour destination. It's an old, tired crutch that Imagineers could have steered away from in this development. Practically half of the attractions at WDW are some spin on the "tour" conceit. What's wrong with flinging guests onto Pandora as colonists or adventurers, or perhaps the overarching concept of Avatar as people sitting in a tube somewhere embodying Navii on Pandora? The tour idea is so tired and worn out.
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Still wish this was at least Star Wars and Radiator Springs.