Disney Goes Behind the Scenes of Pandora: The World of Avatar

Before it returns to theaters, James Cameron's "Avatar" is being brought to life next summer in a new Disney theme park land called Pandora: The World of Avatar. Now, ahead of its opening, a new behind the scenes video reveals how the exotic locale of Pandora is recreated.

Walt Disney Imagineering Senior VP Joe Rohde said he was "very skeptical that it was even physically possible to build the world of Pandora" as scenes from the 2009 film play in the background. "I don't know if I can even express how it feels to see something that I imagined in 1995 suddenly made physically real," Cameron said.

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Announced in 2011, the land was originally expected to open in 2015 in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park, but that target was moved two years later to 2017.

Artist renderings in the BTS video show a family walking through Pandora's tropical jungle filled with colorful plants and trees. The majority of everything in the world is a custom designed, complex piece of show equipment. An example of this is in the Na'vi River Journey, which takes patrons inside Pandora's luminescent forest. One of the most exciting parts of the experience is connecting with a Banshee, a large bird-like creature from the film, and riding through Pandora's majestic landscape.

Recreating the exoplanetary moon Pandora is a huge undertaking that involves digital design artists, structural engineers, and robotic technicians. Some of these individuals can be seen walking the set wearing protective helmets, goggles and vests, with construction work taking place behind them.

Pandora: The World of "Avatar" will open well ahead of Cameron’s announced four movie sequels, the first of which is expected to arrive in theaters in 2018.

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