Disney Previews Animal Kingdom's Pandora at the D23 Expo
August 14, 2015, 1:57 PM ·
Disney Parks is previewing two of its previously-announced major new attractions in its show floor pavilion at the D23 Expo in Anaheim this weekend — the Avatar-themed Pandora land that will open in Disney's Animal Kingdom in 2017 and Shanghai Disneyland, which slated to open in China next year.
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.