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Disney’s Making an Avatar Theme Park, James Cameron Can’t Believe It, and Neither Can We

“This was a crazy thing to try to do,” says Joe Rohde, the Senior VP of Creative at Walt Disney Imagineering. He’s referring to the theme park version of Pandora from James Cameron’s Avatar, which is an actual thing that is happening, apparently.

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In the making-of video, you’ll also get to see James Cameron express his own excitement and satisfaction at the physical creation of the park, which is called “Pandora: The World of Avatar.” The theme park is made up of props that glow and, of course, look as much like the movie as one could reasonably expect. There are also going to be some animatronics, although none of that is pictured in this video.

Rohde describes at least one ride that will be traversing the park; it’s called the “Navi River Journey,” which apparently ends with something that James Cameron calls “pretty amazing…something you’ve never seen anything like, in your life.” That’s a lot of hype, Mr. Cameron, but okay!

There’s also going to be a separate ride involving those dragons (called “Ikran“) from the movie, and it kind of sounds like the ride will try to emulate the experience of riding those dragons–but those parts of the video aren’t specific enough for me to be able to tell what, exactly, that ride will entail.

The only thing I can tell for sure here is that the park looks really, really cool so far. I’m not even an Avatar fan, but I’m willing to admit that this set design is totally sweet. The theme park will open its doors in summer of 2017 at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Florida.

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Maddy Myers
Maddy Myers, journalist and arts critic, has written for the Boston Phoenix, Paste Magazine, MIT Technology Review, and tons more. She is a host on a videogame podcast called Isometric (, and she plays the keytar in a band called the Robot Knights (

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