First Look at Disney World's Pandora -- The World of Avatar

The long-promised theme land based on James Cameron's blockbuster "Avatar" will at last open next summer at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.

The news was confirmed this morning by Bob Chapek, chairman of Walt Disney Parks & Resorts, who revealed scaffolding has been removed from the bridge that will connect Pandora -- The World of "Avatar" to the rest of the theme park. Along with that comes the first look at some of the land's attractions.

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.

The "Avatar" attraction is designed to transport visitors to the exoplanetary moon Pandora from the 2009 film, complete with floating mountains and bioluminescent plants. Excursions will include the Na’vi River Journey down a sacred river within a bioluminescent rainforest, and the "Avatar" Flight of Passage, in which guests can ride on a Banshee -- one of the flying, bird-like creatures from the film -- over the terrain of Pandora.

The theme land will also include the Satu’li Canteen restaurant, the Windtraders gift shop, and Pongu Pongu, described as a "special drink location."

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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