Official map of the attraction

Signs of past conflict still exist, but Pandora is now a harmonious place. And with our help, nature always wins.

- Visit Pandora[1]

Pandora: The World of Avatar is a themed area at Disney's Animal Kingdom theme park in Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. The area is based off of James Cameron's film franchise. Construction began in 2014, with the area officially opening on May 27th, 2017.


Dragon Rock Fountain (05-09)

The dragon fountain on the site

As far back as 1995, Disney intended on building a Wild Animal Kingdom on the site, with a planned opening date in 1998 (coinciding with the other attractions in the park). It would have featured large animatronic creatures, including dinosaurs and mythical beasts.[2] Camp Minnie-Mickey was built as a placeholder for the site while the Wild Animal Kingdom was in development. With the exception of minor aesthetic pieces such as a dragon-shaped fountain, the area was never built, and the temporary Minnie-Mickey attractions remained in place in the northern half of the site for nearly sixteen years. The southern half remained an empty field for this period.

From 1998 to 2008, the site was also host to Pocahontas and her Forest Friends, a live show to teach children about living in peace with nature.

How Pandora - The World of Avatar Will Continue the Values of Disney's Animal Kingdom

How Pandora - The World of Avatar Will Continue the Values of Disney's Animal Kingdom

Imagineer Joe Rohde explains how Pandora: The World of Avatar aligns with the main themes of Disney's Animal Kingdom. A common complaint during the attraction's development was whether or not Avatar was a good "fit" for the park.[3]

Initial talks on an Avatar attraction began in Spring 2011, with the intention of using the mostly empty site formerly earmarked for the unbuilt Wild Animal Kingdom area. Disney established the rights for the project in September of that year.[4] James Cameron announced that the area would contain elements from the second and third films- the only sequels planned at that point.[5]

The project was granted a budget of $400 million dollars. The first true public information about the project came about during the 2013 D23 expo, when a video was presented detailing the creative process that went on behind the scenes.[6] Further previews were presented via the Disney Parks blog on April 28, 2016.[7]


Hr avatar land 1

A model of the planned attraction.


Groundbreaking ceremony for Avatar Land

Construction was formally initiated on January 10th 2014, at a ceremonial photo-shoot with Jon Landau.[8] Chairman of Disney parks and resorts Tom Staggs referred to the development as “...a spectacular new world and an exciting set of attractions unlike any our guests have experienced.” The expansion will be the largest in the history of the park.[9] Camp Minnie-Mickey finally closed in 2014 to make way for the new area. The venue of Festival of the Lion King was demolished that April, with performances relocated to a new theatre in the Africa section.[10]

Avatar Full 25991

The first floating mountain, November 2015

Further details were unveiled at the 2015 D23 Expo, including a large model of the site and numerous concept images.[11] The event featured the debut appearance of Alpha Centauri Expeditions, the company that operates civilian flights to Pandora. In November and December, the first floating mountains were raised into place.

At the 2016 Destination D event, it was announced the area was set to open in Summer 2017. A behind the scenes preview, featuring James Cameron and Senior VP Creative of Walt Disney Imagineering Joe Rohde, was shown on Disney Parks Magical Celebration. The clip also reconfirmed the Summer 2017 opening.[12] A May 27th opening date was announced by Disney CEO Bob Iger[13].


Iger and Cameron dedicate The World of Avatar with drum circle performers.

A dedication ceremony, featuring performers from the attraction's drum circle live show, and press event took place before the event's opening and was livestreamed for the general public on May 24th. James Cameron, Bob Iger, and Pandora: The World of Avatar storyline character Kam Demarco present during the ceremony, with Jon Landau, Joe Rohde, and representatives from 20th Century Fox in attendance. Avatar cast members Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, Joel Michael Moore, Laz Alonso, CCH Pounder, and Wes Studi were also in attendance.[14][15] Head administrator of the Na'vi language learning community & Avatar fan forum Learn Na'vi Mark Miller attended the dedication ceremony and press event, thanks to an invitation from Lightstorm Entertainment and Disney.[16] Director Robert Rodriguez, Cameron's collaborator on the live action adaptation of Battle Angel Alita, was available for the press event.[17]

Design and BackstoryEdit

Pandora- The World of AVATAR Imagineering Exhibit at D23 Expo 2015

Pandora- The World of AVATAR Imagineering Exhibit at D23 Expo 2015

Video from D23 Expo 2015 featuring an Alpha Centauri Expeditions ad promoting Pandora travel to families. The video also features figurines of Pandoran creatures, Na'vi artifacts, and a miniature display of the area of Pandora explorable in the park.

The design of the area has an element of storytelling. Rather than simply adapting scenes from the film directly, the attraction is set on Pandora a century after the conflict has ended. "The gunships are all down and rusting in the jungle. Humans are being welcomed to Pandora.”[18] Lightstorm worked in partnership with Disney to ensure the land and its rides were consistent with the storyline of the Avatar films.[19]

Numerous promotional posters were displayed at D23 2015, advertising civilian trips to Pandora operated by Alpha Centauri Expeditions.[20] On the same day as the opening day announcement, an in-universe website run by ACE was revealed, .[21] Visit Pandora Twitter and Instagram accounts were launched alongside the website.[22][23] A "live chat" feature with lead ACE field agent Kam Demarco was introduced on February 27th, 2017, giving automated responses to visitor questions about Pandora.[24] Later, a 360° "live cam" of Pandora was added to the site, featuring hexapedes and woodsprites in a forest area.[25]

Pandora - The World of Avatar walkthrough

Pandora - The World of Avatar walkthrough

A guest-shot walkthrough of the entire park area in the daytime.

The attraction takes place in the Valley of Mo'ara, also referred to as the Mo'ara Valley.[26][27] The Valley of Mo'ara is home to the Omaticaya Clan.[28] Concept art and other promotional material from the attraction show that exopacks aren't needed for human excursions in the Valley. This is because the air in the Valley of Mo'ara is similar to Earth's.[29] Design elements of the area, specifically Na'vi totems, were inspired and made by indigenous crafters in Indonesia, Java, and Sumatra, who have a weaving culture similar to that of the Omaticaya Clan.[30] Additional hand-woven elements, including interior art installations, the totems for the two main attractions, and thatched roofs, were made by African artisans and provided by Ama Zulu Inc.[31]

Elements of the storytelling tie into Animal Kingdom's educational themes, with Pandora still dealing with the ecological aftermath of the Resource Development Administration's unethical mining practices on Pandora.[32] The main entrance to the attraction is an RDA-built bridge that has been reclaimed by nature. This bridge allows visitors to enter the ACE base camp in the Valley.[33] One of the first noticeable Pandoran flora past the bridge is a Baja Tickler.[34] Visitors are encouraged to touch the damaged plant to help it recover.[35]

Attractions Edit

Rides in Pandora: The World of Avatar include:

  • Flight of Passage: A motion simulator flight through Pandora on the back of a Banshee. Disney described the ride at D23 2015 as "a birds-eye view of the beauty and grandeur of the world of Pandora on an aerial rite of passage."[36] Disney described the ride as an E-ticket attraction[37], a term used to describe major attractions at Disney parks[38], and "the centerpiece of Pandora".[36] A video from the ride was shown briefly at D23 Japan 2013.[39] Behind the scenes footage of the ride simulator was shown in a behind the scenes preview on Disney Parks Magical Christmas Celebration in 2016.[1][39]
  • Na'vi River Journey: A boat ride on the Kaspavan River through the rainforest deep in the Mo'ara Valley, hosted by a Na'vi known as the Shaman of Songs.[40] Ride footage was shown in the 2016 Disney Parks Magical Christmas Celebration preview.[41]

The food, drink, and merchandise locations include:

  • Satu’li Canteen: The main restaurant owned and operated by ACE, a former RDA mess hall decorated with Na'vi art and cultural items symbolizing the friendship and cultural understanding between the indigenous Na'vi and humans living on Pandora. ACE hired a restaurant to convert the Quonset hut structure into a museum-like dining room featuring items gifted by the Omaticaya Clan.[28] The healthful "fast-casual" menu, made with ingredients from Pandora, features international-inspired cuisine, vegetarian options, and specialty drinks.[42][43]
  • Pongu Pongu: An eccentrically decorated and popular drink location ran by an ex-pat, a former RDA employee. Originally a gathering place for ex-pats, it became popular with both humans and Na'vi alike. The watering hole was christened Pongu Pongu ("Party Party" in English) by the Na'vi because of the wild and memorable times both species have had there. Eventually the owner worked with ACE to convert the building to accommodate tourists.[28] Pongu Pongu serves alcoholic beverages including a luminescent frozen cocktail and indigenous beers. The drink stand also serves snacks.[42] [43] Pongu Pongu's speciality snack is lumpia, a pineapple-cream cheese spring roll from China that is popular in Indonesia and the Philippines.[44]
  • Windtraders: Sells toys, science kits, Na'vi cultural items, apparel, and more. The former RDA structure, originally part of a base during the Na'vi-RDA conflict, was stripped and redesigned by ACE.[28] Over time, nature had reclaimed the RDA building, with roots growing inside. Instead of removing them, Windtraders uses the natural root structures n the store to display merchandise.[42][45] The Na'vi items stocked in ACE come from well-traveled Na'vi traders who trade with clans all over Pandora.[28]
  • Colors of Mo'ara: A face painting kiosk run by ex-pats that also sells select merchandise. The face painting patterns are based off Pandoran creatures.[46]
Pandora - The World of AVATAR Drum Circle - Walt Disney World

Pandora - The World of AVATAR Drum Circle - Walt Disney World

Preview of the drum circle. Pandoran expats explain the significance of the instruments to the Na'vi culture to guests.

Guests can play in a drum circle in Swotu Wayä, a musical area considered sacred to the Na'vi. The drums, built into the root structure of a tree, also allow guests to communicate with the Na'vi deity Ewya.[47] Local Pandoran expat musicians perform a traditional Na'vi drum ceremony several times daily.[48] The show was put on hold at the end of January 2018 to be reworked, with the revised show set to premiere in late February.[49]

Glowing bioluminescence in Pandora - The World of Avatar at night, Walt Disney World

Glowing bioluminescence in Pandora - The World of Avatar at night, Walt Disney World

The landscape of the park changes greatly at night, with the land widely lit by Pandora's trademark bioluminescence.

The Valley of Mo'ara features bioluminescent plant life that glows at night and Na'vi totems & other cultural items to find. Guests can interact with characters portrayed by Disney Cast Members, including ACE tour guides, researchers from the Pandora Conservation Initiative, and expats from Earth. The area is also included in Animal Kingdom's Wilderness Explorer program, which gives visitors the chance to participate in various challenges and earn badges based on Animal Kingdom's educational themes.[50]

See AlsoEdit


  5. As important, he said, "Avatar Land" will include elements of all three "Avatar" movies -- not just the first.
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 28.3 28.4
  36. 36.0 36.1
  39. 39.0 39.1
  42. 42.0 42.1 42.2
  43. 43.0 43.1

External Links Edit

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