Sometimes it's good to be a fan. That's what D23 Expo members in Japan found out when they were served up a glimpse of what the "Avatar"-inspired land at Disney's Animal Kingdom is going to look like when it opens in 2017.
Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Tom Staggs was on hand to introduce a video featuring "Avatar" director James Cameron and Walt Disney Imagineer Joe Rohde talking about the features of the new land.
where something I created would live inside a Disney theme park," Cameron says in the video. "This project has been a perfect collaboration from the start. We share resources, digital assets and the talents of some the world's most creative designers from both our companies."
Cameron explains his company Lightstorm, which is also working on producing three film sequels to "Avatar" have been working alongside Walt Disney Imagineering to engineer what will be the largest expansion in Animal Kingdom history.
"From the moment we released 'Avatar,' there was this amazing visceral response from people around the world that they wanted to go to Pandora. Now thanks to Disney that's going to be possible."
The video then cuts to Rohde, who explains what's in store for visitors to the ucpoming attraction.
"We know that Disney fans and 'Avatar' fans want to visit this beautiful planet of Pandora and they will. They will fly across the planet on the wings of one of those giant creatures, they will go into the bioluminscent forest full of these glorious glowing plants," Rohde says. "Above and beyond the key attractions, the land of Pandora itself is filled with experiences the land comes to life when you interact with it and seems to be a living creature itself."
The video shows scenes of people on scaffolding going through a flying ride and also of people interacting with touch-sensitve light-up plantlife, just like in the film.
It also shows how walking through Pandora will feature a transformation, similar to how Disney Imagineering has made its cruise ship restaurants transform from day to night.
"There's a lyrical, beautiful quality in Avatar that's really compelling and we want our guests to experience that as well so we will take them on a journey into just the sheer beauty of the bioluminscent forest at night and all that that could be," Rohde said.
Based on the renderings released, the new land is set to feature a water-based attraction as well as an flying ride that Disney says will simulate riding on a Banshee, the flying creatures featured in the 2009 film.
"A world of this much imagination is pretty much flat-out impossible to build unless you think up and innovate new ways to do it," Rohde said. "So the project is filled with new technology, new art, new style, new materials. It's a tremendous tour de force of the innovative capacity of Walt Disney Imagineering."
Fans get first taste of 'Avatar' land planned for Animal Kingdom
Director James Cameron surprised Disney fans at the D23 Expo in Japan.