Archive for Pandora – The World of Avatar

Inside Pandora – The World of Avatar How Walt Disney Imagineering Brought Pandora to Life

A WORLD APART: When Disney’s Animal Kingdom guests journey to the far-away world of Pandora as probable eco-tourists, they encounter floating mountains, a glowing, bioluminescent rainforest and other wonders of an alien world. The Valley of Mo’ara on Pandora is undergoing a rebirth long after a destructive mining operation known as the Resources Development Administration (RDA) ceased operation.  Eco-tourists, for the first time, can travel to this exoplanet located in the Alpha Centauri star system 4.4 light years from Earth.

Where Mountains Float . . .

  • The iconic floating mountains in the Valley of Mo’ara – there are 22 – peak at about 130 feet above the valley floor. .
  • Sharp-eyed adventurers will see Pandoran Stingbats nesting in the mountains. Despite their lethal tail spines, these animals can be summoned by the Na’vi with clicking sounds made between the tongue and teeth.
  • A team of more than 60 artisans from the U.S., Peru, France, Portugal, Japan and Ireland contributed to creating the art-scape of the floating mountains.

And the Landscape Glows and Hums…

  • It wouldn’t be an alien planet without bizarre plant life.  On Pandora, a diverse ecosystem is rebalancing as a variety of colorful plant life flourishes.
  • Plants have names like Puffball Tree, Dapophet, Vein Pod, Scorpion Thistle, Episoth and Flaska Reclinata.
  • Humans rapping on the Flaska Reclinata cause this large alien plant to pollinate by releasing spores within the environment. With its wide base tapering to a narrow top, the Flaska Reclinata is found just past the old RDA bridge.
  • Many plants are bioluminescent, with internal lighting or material that makes them glow.  Plants are interactive. Guests can see and sense the energy of the plants that moves in waves.
  • Pandora plays to a surreal soundtrack. Said Matt Beiler, WDI producer: “For the land to feel like a real jungle from another planet, we don’t have traditional background music in Pandora – we have a soundscape designed to make it feel as though it is an alien jungle. We hear vocalization patterns like mating calls and hunting moments, and this makes it feel real.  When those moments happen, the lighting ties into that with waves of energy.  It gives us a connectedness to nature.” 

Where Water Flows . . .

  • At the center of Pandora is a riparian area, where waterfalls cascade from the mountaintops into gentle pools and streams.
  • One stream follows a peaceful path along the entry to Pandora. The other flows into the Na’vi River Journey, where guests board reed boats for an excursion to see the revered Shaman of Songs.
  • The looming mountains are arid, and guests will hear different animal vocalizations from those areas.

And Earth Elements Integrate

  • The Walt Disney Imagineering landscape architecture team worked side by side with the land’s design and engineering teams to ensure that thousands of Pandoran plants, including epiphytes and barnacles, fit into the overall landscape plan.
  • For example, the Dapophet plant features a sort of starburst bloom that resembles the live agave planted next to it.  The Puffball Tree looks like the family of plants we know as cycads with its fern-like, palm-like characteristics.
  • More than 250 varieties of live trees, shrubs and epiphytes mingle with the Pandoran The Disney horticulture team planted more than 500 trees and nearly 10,000 shrubs across the Pandoran landscape.

Where Even the Walkways Glow…

  • Many of the walkways and paths, like the alien plant life that surrounds them, are also bioluminescent.  A treatment added to some of the Pandoran walkways gives them that glowing quality.  Charged by sunlight and reinforced by black light, the glowing pathways come to life.

And Creature Life Surrounds You

  • No matter where guests go in Pandora, they will feel the presence of many animal species. Pandora teems with them.
  • The pack hunter, the Viperwolf (with six legs and opposable thumbs) communicates with unusual coyote-like yelps. The Direhorse (a six-legged domesticated riding animal) exhibits a gentle demeanor.
  • Mountain Banshees, with wingspans averaging approximately 45 feet, inhabit the mountainous regions of Pandora.  The most fearsome land predator is the omnivorous, powerful Thanator.  And the Great Leonopteryx, larger and more solitary than the Mountain Banshee, is the most formidable winged creature.

Where You Can Fly on a Banshee . . .

  • At Avatar Flight of Passage, 48 guests at a time can enter a state-of-the-art theater and board mountain banshees as avatars for the ride of their lives across Pandora.
  • Immersion in the world of Pandora is complete thanks to a projection screen 69 feet wide and more than 97 feet high.
  • Flight time during the six-minute experience is about four minutes.

And Meet a Na’vi Shaman

  • During the 4½-minute Na’vi River Journey, guests will meet an Audio-Animatronics Na’vi Shaman of Songs. At nearly 10 feet tall, the shaman is typical height for a Na’vi.
  • New technology programs fluid energy into her every movement and gesture.

 

VISITING PANDORA: A PHOTO TOUR OF DISNEY’S NEW AVATAR LAND

The Verge’s own Bryan Bishop and James Bareham take you on a guided photo tour of what it’s like to spend a day (and night) in Pandora.

Full Story & Photos

THINGS TO EXPERIENCE IN PANDORA – THE WORLD OF AVATAR AT

Pandora – The World of Avatar is now open to Guests at Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park.

The land itself serves as an amazing attraction for guests to explore and interact with, and the area’s two experiences – the thrilling Avatar Flight of Passage and the family friendly Na’vi River Journey – are already wowing Guests. But did you know there are actually many other ways guests can have fun throughout Pandora – The World of Avatar?

Here are seven must-do suggestions on how guests can have the most immersive experience possible during their next expedition to Pandora – The World of Avatar.

1. Match With A Banshee – Already a Guest-favorite experience, the land’s Windtraders Merchandise shop is home to the Rookery, a nook where banshees reside, waiting to be “matched” with Guests.

2. Visit at Swotu Wayä (“Sacred Place of Song”) – Located in the heart of Mo’ara Valley, guests can interact with a collection of instruments fashioned by the Na’vi. They are connected into the moon’s root system and as Guests play the instruments, the area just may respond with music and light.

3. Test Out A Na’vi Translator – Also found in Windtraders, this fun device helps guests learn Na’vi words.

4. Dine at Satu’li Canteen – Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Satu’li Canteen offers one of the most interesting menus at the Walt Disney World® Resort. Featuring international-inspired cuisine, vegetarian options and specialty libations, it’s the ideal place to refuel on an expedition through the Valley of Mo’ara.

5. Help Regrow the Flaska Reclinata – One of the largest and most fascinating plants on Pandora, guests can help this rare plant “re-seed” itself on Pandora simply through touch.

6. Channel Your Inner Na’vi – Windtraders offers a selection of Na’vi inspired merchandise. Here, guests can buy their own set of Na’vi ears or a Na’vi tail. They can also get a Na’vi inspired look over at Colors of Mo’ara.

7. Get Camera Ready – Pandora – The World of Avatar is chock-full of unbelievable photo opportunities – from towering floating mountains, to surprising water falls and much more. And if guests want professional pics, Disney PhotoPass guides are on-hand at multiple locations throughout the land.

Walt Disney Parks and Resorts to Give up to $1 Million to Protect and Restore Wildlife Habitats

To celebrate the grand opening of Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts and the Disney Conservation Fund today announced Connect to Protect, a commitment of up to $1 million to help protect and restore habitats critical to 10 at-risk animals. The contribution will be unlocked by guests who participate in conservation ‘missions’ while exploring the immersive land of Pandora and for the first time ever, guests will get to choose which animal that donation will support.

“Walt Disney Parks and Resorts is thrilled to open Pandora – the World of Avatar, and to celebrate this milestone, we’re asking our Guests to help us protect the environment,” said Bob Chapek, Chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.  “Their participation will unlock up to $1 million in contributions to protect and restore the habitats of 10 at-risk animals.” 

Walt Disney World Resort President George A. Kalogridis made the announcement Thursday morning during a press event to officially launch Pandora and preview other offerings throughout the Resort.

“Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Pandora – the World of Avatar both demonstrate that every animal, endangered or otherwise, requires a healthy habitat to thrive,” said Kalogridis. “Through Connect to Protect, our guests will join us in helping protect the habitats critical to 10 animals here on Earth and share in our commitment to nature.”

Visitors to Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Pandora will be invited to take part in numerous conservation-themed ‘missions’ via Facebook Messenger, facilitated by one of the moon’s digital ecological specialists, Fitsimti “Fits” Buckley.

By completing one or more missions, each guest will unlock a $10 contribution to be made through the Disney Conservation Fund, or a $5 contribution just for discussing conservation with Fitsimti. Those guests will then get to choose how the contribution (of up to $100,000 per animal) will help protect or restore habitats important to one of 10 threatened categories of animals: apes, elephants, butterflies, coral reefs, cranes, monkeys, rhinos, sea turtles, sharks/rays, and tigers.

Guests will also be able to learn more about each animal the Disney Conservation Fund supports, the habitat conservation programs the contributions will support, and the nonprofit organizations they are working with to reverse the decline of the 10 animals.

In 2016, the Disney Conservation Fund announced a new initiative called “Reverse the Decline, Increase the Time,” aimed at reversing the decline of at-risk wildlife through scientific research, community collaboration, and increasing the time kids spend in nature to inspire them to care for the planet.  The Fund is supporting leading nonprofit organizations that are working to protect threatened wildlife and inspire a lifelong love for nature in young people. In addition to funding, the initiative is also providing opportunities for Disney’s Animals, Science and Environment team to apply the expertise and talents of its cast members and employees to help threatened animals.

The Reverse the Decline organizations supported by the Disney Conservation Fund that will receive the contributions from the Connect to Protect program are:

  • International Crane Foundation (Cranes)
  • International Rhino Foundation (Rhinos)
  • Save the Golden Lion Tamarin and Wildlife Conservation Network/Proyecto Tití (Monkeys)
  • Perry Institute for Marine Science (Coral Reefs)
  • The Jane Goodall Institute (Apes)
  • University of Florida Foundation (Sea Turtles and Butterflies)
  • Wildlife Conservation Society (Elephants, Sharks/Rays, and Tigers)

“The Disney Conservation Fund has been core to the history and values of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and we are excited to continue to engage our guests in our shared commitment to wildlife, people and the planet with Connect to Protect,” said Kevin Callahan, vice president, Corporate Citizenship, The Walt Disney Company. “The experiences our guests will have in Pandora, will not only continue to inspire families to connect with nature, but also give all those who visit the opportunity to protect some special habitats and species here on Earth.”

Pandora – The World of Avatar opens this week at Disney’s Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort. Based on Oscar-winning filmmaker James Cameron’s record-breaking box-office hit, AVATAR, the new land immerses guests in a mystical world of massive floating mountains, bioluminescent rainforests and breathtaking new experiences. The largest addition in the history of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Pandora carries on the park’s tradition of celebrating the intrinsic value of nature, transformation through adventure and a personal call to action.

 

Disney World’s New Pandora Park Has All the Booze and It Is Out of This World

Party on Pandora!

This week Walt Disney World opened its new theme park expansion, Pandora – The World of Avatar, at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. And among the eye-popping surprises and gravity-defying floating mountains is a truly unexpected treat: custom beer, wine and cocktail creations for adult visitors seeking an interstellar kick. (Parents of the universe, take note.)

Full Story

Disney’s World of Avatar: What It’s Like to Spend a Day on Pandora

f you’ve passed through the gates of Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom Park, you’re familiar with the signposts pointing toward exotic locales like Africa and Asia. Enter the Florida park now, though, and you’ll notice those signs have added a new directional arrow, one leading to the fictional land of Pandora.

Full Story

VIDEO: PANDORA – THE WORLD OF AVATAR DEDICATION HIGHLIGHTS

On May 27, 2017, guests can visit Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park and explore a new world of rainforests pulsing light and experience breathtaking flights soaring above an alien moon on the backs of winged banshees.

Yesterday Walt Disney World® Resort hosted a special dedication ceremony for Pandora – The World of Avatar to celebrate this new spectacular world.

At the ceremony, held under the magnificent floating mountains of Pandora – The World of Avatar, drummers performed traditional Pandoran rhythms and colorfully-dressed performers led a procession full of pageantry and artful banners to celebrate the occasion. Take a look!

 

NEW MAGICBAND 2 DESIGNS EXCLUSIVELY FOR PANDORA – THE WORLD OF AVATAR

Today we have a first peek at the new graphic MagicBands coming exclusively to this spectacular world at Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park. These MagicBands unite out-of-this-world Avatar designs with the innovation of MagicBand 2.

The purple limited-edition graphic band with scenes from nighttime in Pandora features the artwork of Dylan Cole, co-production designer for the upcoming “Avatar” motion picture sequels. The band retails for $32.99 and will debut at the official opening of the new land.

And for Avatar fans looking to coordinate their MagicBand with other cool Na’vi merchandise, check out the blue graphic band representing the Na’vi pattern. This band retails for $22.99 and will make any Avatar feel like a Na’vi.

For Annual Passholders, we are also thrilled to feature the first-ever Passholder exclusive limited edition teal graphic band featuring the phrase “I traveled to Pandora on May 27, 2017.” This band, available opening day, retails at $32.99.

The MagicBand continues to delight Guests as it unlocks the magic of a Disney vacation – from effortless theme-park entry, FastPass+ redemption and Disney PhotoPass association, to skipping the front desk and going directly to your resort room.

These new bands will be sold in Windtraders on Pandora – The World of Avatar.

Windtraders Treats “Pandora – The World of Avatar” Shoppers to an Immersive Experience and Unique Merchandise

Nestled under a thatched roof and covered in Na’vi totems, Windtraders is the place for a truly out-of-this-world shopping experience. The one-of-a-kind retail location is located in Pandora – The World of Avatar, a new land at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Here, shopping becomes an experience, one that’s every bit as special and unique as the Windtraders merchandise available.

The story of Pandora is one of a planet recovering from the destructive forces of the Resources Development Administration (RDA), a mining company that sowed the conflict in James Cameron’s AVATAR film. That recovery is evident in Windtraders, where an abandoned structure has been largely overtaken by sprawling roots from some of Pandora’s exotic plants. Many of these imposing root structures also happen to showcase Pandora merchandise, creating a truly nature-inspired experience.

The connection to the land is evident with a variety of items celebrating all things that make the bioluminescent world of Pandora special and celebrate the indigenous Na’vi. Look for animal plush, apparel that glows, or drums and other handheld toys that light up when shaken, tapped or activated. Guests can even bring home their own collectible glowing vein pod or helicoradian plant.

A very special feature of Windtraders is the Banshee Rookery. As the name implies, it’s home to some of the winged creatures made famous in Cameron’s epic film. The rookery sits beneath a brightly colored hand-painted map depicting banshees soaring over Pandora.  The rookery is also where guests can select their own banshees to care for. The experience begins with a naturalist who helps each guest find the banshee that’s just right for them. Guests are then asked to take the Banshee Pledge, which teaches the importance of the banshee as a symbol of their commitment to the environment.

Continuing their immersion into Na’vi culture, guests can purchase items that let them take on characteristics of Pandora’s blue indigenous inhabitants; Na’vi ears, tails, hooded jackets and cultural items are among the many accessories available.

Guests can also design personalized necklaces reminiscent of Na’vi culture using beads and feathers at the store’s Bead Bar. Here again, those natural root structures creep through the building, offering a dramatic display for various jewels, stones and more.

Those wanting to speak like a Na’vi will find language translators available. These pocket-sized devices use a series of cards to translate common English words into their Na’vi counterparts. Each translator kit comes with 15 cards, and more are available for purchase. With more than 90 cards available, guests will be speaking Na’vi in no time.

Guests will truly feel one with Pandora through the many captivating merchandise offerings. In fact, guests can even become avatars themselves through the ACE Avatar Maker. This immersive experience lets guests take home replica avatar figures of themselves. ACE refers to Alpha Centauri Expeditions, the tourism company working with the Na’vi to present Pandora as a new destination for ecotourism and scientific research.

In this experience, the natural feel of Windtraders gives way as guests step into a futuristic transformation booth.  Using a digital process, a custom action figure is created that features a facial likeness of the guest. The 10-inch figures are also revealed in a fun, only-on-Pandora way. Male, female and child avatars are available, as are accessory kits for customizing the figures.

A stop inside Windtraders is the perfect way for guests to feel connected to Pandora and take some of the other-worldly land home with them.

Photos – Disney Dedicates Pandora – The World of Avatar

In grand preview dedication ceremonies for media today, Disney’s Animal Kingdom unveiled a world out of this world — of massive mountains floating in the sky, rainforests pulsing light and breathtaking flights for explorers soaring above an alien moon on the backs of great winged banshees.

When it opens to the public on May 27, Pandora – The World of Avatar will transform, transfix and transport Walt Disney World Resort guests to an all-new Disney land beyond belief – 4.4 light years away from Earth.

Set with artifacts found throughout the Pandoran landscape, the dedication stage was a tapestry of sights and sounds. Drummers pounded out traditional rhythms, colorfully dressed performers led a procession full of pageantry and artful banners fluttered in the morning sky.

Inspired by the blockbuster motion picture AVATAR from filmmaker James Cameron, the new 12-acre land immerses guests in the lush world of Pandora in a time frame a generation after the human-Na’vi conflict in the Oscar-winning film.

In a collaboration of two master storytellers, Disney joined with Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment in a multi-year project to bring to life the mythical world of Pandora.

“Working with Jim and his team was a dream come true for us, as we pushed the limits of creativity and innovation to bring the digital world of Pandora to the real world of Disney’s Animal Kingdom,” said Bob Iger, chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company. “Now anyone who has ever dreamed of visiting this extraordinary world can explore the astonishing landscape and ecosystem, soar on the back of a banshee and actually become part of the AVATAR adventure.”

The breathtaking, otherworldly beauty of Pandora that amazes by day will glow at night when bioluminescent flora and special nighttime programming add to the fascination guests will feel.

Na’vi, the indigenous blue people in the film, call Pandora home. Cave paintings give hints of the Na’vi culture, and totems they weaved point guests down pathways threading through the overgrown rainforest, punctuated by bizarre sounds of animals not of this world and alien plants that glow with light. Disney Imagineers created a soundscape meant to evoke an alien jungle.

Some of the most creative sculptors in the world were recruited to help shape the new land, with the overriding message of connecting everything to the value of nature — and the transformative power of adventure and conservation.

“I never thought I’d see the day when the Pandora I imagined could be made physically real,” said Cameron. “Working with Disney to bring this world to life has been an amazing experience, and the result is something I think everyone will love for generations to come. It really feels like you’re stepping into a dream.”

While inspired by Cameron’s film, Pandora – The World of Avatar was not envisioned as an extension of the film.

“It’s not the movie AVATAR that we are portraying,” said Joe Rohde, Walt Disney Imagineering portfolio creative executive. “It is the planet Pandora where you can come, you can visit, and have your own unique adventure. Rather than reliving the adventures of characters from the film, you’re going to come to the planet where those things happened — and have your own set of adventures you can own.”

And what an eye-filling, sky-filling planet it is.

Crossing an entry bridge, rusted-over across the years, guests follow a winding forest pathway to where the surreal landscape first comes into view. The exotic Valley of Mo’ara spreads before them.

Other-worldly sights, sounds and scenes abound. Adventurers roam verdant pathways underneath floating mountains laced with waterfalls dropping to quiet ponds. They venture deep inside a bioluminescent rainforest amid the sounds of Pandoran creatures roaming the underbrush.

Two extraordinary attractions anchor the new land:

  • Avatar Flight of Passage sends explorers swooping and soaring on a simulated flight above the awe-inspiring world of Pandora on the back of awinged banshee. Floating mountains, rushing waterfalls, vast seas and dense jungle pass under-wing. This multi-sensory, wind-in-your-face experience is unlike anything Disney has created before. “You are grounded on a winged predator and flying through these amazing environments with special effects to add to the thrill,” Rohde says.
  • Aboard the eight-person reed boats of Na’vi River Journey, families follow a sacred river deep into the bioluminescent rainforest under a canopy of exotic glowing plants, passing rock formations and Pandoran creatures on the move. This mystical journey culminates in an encounter with the Na’vi Shaman of Songs, who has a deep connection to the life force of Pandora and sends positive energy out into the forest through her music.

After roaming a landscape pulsing with entertainment happening throughout the day and night, adventurers can recharge at Satu’li Canteen, the fast-casual restaurant for Pandora housed in an old Quonset hut. Windtraders stocks Na’vi cultural items, toys, science kits and more. Pongu Pongu, with a design as eclectic as its expat owner, is a specialty-beverage kiosk that serves up cooling refreshments and a treat called Lumpia (loom-pee-ah), a pineapple-cream cheese spring roll.

Pandora – The World of Avatar expands the day-into-nighttime adventures at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, including new after-dark experiences such as the majestic Rivers of Light show, sunset safaris, live-entertainment street parties and vivid, animated imagery bathing the Tree of Life, centerpiece of the adventure park.