Get Ready for Pandoraland — Avatar-Themed Attractions Coming to Disney World in 2016

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In a rather predictable but still delightful move, James Cameron and Disney‘s Imagineers will be creating a theme park at Disney World’s Animal Kingdom in Orlando, Florida based on the movie Avatar. It’s still in its very early stages, but Cameron has a whole bunch of big ideas that will make visitors feel like they’re really, truly walking around the fictional blue-green planet of Pandora, including … smells! We’re finally going to find out what Pandora smells like!

Disney obtained exclusive licensing rights from Fox and Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment and with the director’s help, they will be recreating — or really, creating for the first time — a very tangible version of Pandora that will feature rides and restaurants that will bring the fictional planet to life. And as a part of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, I’m predicting that there will be elements of conservation and environmental awareness that were featured in the movie (perhaps a charitable element as well?) that will be right at home in the nature-themed park.

But the real tie-in will be with the Avatar sequels — those are set to hit theaters in 2014 and 2015, while construction on the park will begin in 2013. However, they are not projecting an opening date for the park until 2016, after both the sequels have been released.

But when you hear Cameron talk about his plans, it sounds better than just a large-scale marketing ploy:

“I definitely want to do a flight attraction of some kind,” the director said, citing the “Soarin’ Over California” flying ride at Disney’s California Adventure Park in Anaheim as a personal favorite. “Flying is a big part of the movie. One of the things people liked the most at test screenings was going up into the floating mountains in the flying sequences. We may have banshees, Leonopteryxes, maybe some other flying creatures that don’t make their appearance until the second and third films.”

Much like J.K. Rowling worked with Universal Studios to bring the Wizarding World of Harry Potter to fruition, Cameron will be working with the Imagineers to bring Na’vi culture to life, giving visitors a “general sense of the future.” True, this is just another gigantic way for James Cameron to make gigantic amounts of money, but let’s be honest — this might be really, really awesome. And he sounds nerdily excited about it, and that’s pretty important. He’s got plans, you guys. Leonopteryxes!

No budget has been announced for the park, nor any hints about the size or exact location. But it’s being compared to the 12-acre Cars Land site at Disney California Adventure Park.

(Hero Complex, Deadline)

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