James Cameron to Unveil New Details on Pandora – The World of Avatar at D23 Destination D: Amazing Adventures

AVATAR creators James Cameron (writer, director, producer) and Jon Landau (producer) will join Imagineer Joe Rohde for Pandora – The World of AVATAR, a presentation where they will unveil new details about the immersive, 12-acre land coming soon to Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

In addition, the event will include a conversation with Bob Chapek, Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. Plus, Moanas creenwriter Jared Bush (co-writer/co-director Zootopia) will be on hand to provide guests an exclusive advance look at the making of Walt Disney Animation Studios’ newest animated feature.

The two-day event will take place November 19 and 20, 2016, at Disney’s Contemporary Resort at Walt Disney World Resort.

Since Walt Disney first brought his groundbreaking True-Life Adventures to the big screen, adventure has played a pivotal role in Disney entertainment, from the Jungle Cruise and Pirates of the Caribbean to the new planet of Pandora, which will soon be unveiled at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. This year, members of D23: The Official Disney Fan Club are invited to join the excitement at D23 Destination D: Amazing Adventures, a celebration of these landmarks of the past, present, and future. The two-day event will take place November 19 and 20, 2016 at Disney’s Contemporary Resort at Walt Disney World Resort.

The Walt Disney Archives will present a special exhibit created exclusively for the event: Walt’s Great Adventures, featuring photographs, props, and models that showcase Walt Disney’s personal voyages, including his trip to South America in 1941, as well as some of his most memorable creations for television, film, and theme parks, such as 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Additionally, during the weekend, guests will be among the first to see the new Ethan Allen | Disney home furnishing line in person.

Cameron, Landau, Chapek, and Bush, join already-announced presenters and panelists Disney Legends Marty Sklar and Tony Baxter; Walt Disney Imagineers Joe Rohde, Chris Merritt, Jason Grandt, and Wyatt Winter; producer Don Hahn (The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast); and Walt Disney Archives Director Becky Cline.

Mickey’s of Glendale, the famed Walt Disney Imagineering store, returns to the event with a pop-up shop at the event for attendees, featuring a selection of exclusive Imagineering merchandise as well as limited-edition pins, T-shirts, and collectibles themed to the event.

Highlights of D23 DESTINATION D: AMAZING ADVENTURES will include*:

  • Welcome to Adventureland: Set off on a journey through “Adventurelands” at Disney Parks around the world, beginning with a rare look at artist Harper Goff’s exotic concepts for Disneyland and Walt Disney World.
  • Tales from the Jungle Cruise: Fans of “the backside of water” unite! Discover the legendary history of the world-famous attraction with a panel of wisecracking experts, including a behind-the-scenes look at recent holiday overlays and the new Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom.
  • Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort’s 45th Anniversary: From tropical hideaways to enchanting entertainment, celebrate the spirit of aloha as D23 looks back at 45 years of the classic South Pacific-themed getaway.
  • New Walt Disney World Adventures: From Soarin’ Around the World to Rivers of Light—Get an insider’s glimpse into the latest experiences across Walt Disney World Resort as Disney Imagineers provide a behind-the-scenes look at new and upcoming entertainment.
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom: Evolving a New Species of Theme Park—Explore the origins and incredible evolution of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, from early concepts to up-close looks at new enhancements to be discovered at the park.
  • Magic Journeys: 45 Years of Walt Disney World Adventures—Celebrate the 45th anniversary of Walt Disney World Resort with a nostalgic journey through some of the Vacation Kingdom’s most unique and fondly-remembered adventures!
  • A Look Back at Walt Disney’s True-Life Adventures—Join Disney historians on an expedition through the landmark True-Life Adventure series, which earned the Disney Studio eight Academy Awards®!
  • The Art and Adventures of Marc Davis—Discover the adventurous artwork of artist, animator, and Disney Legend Marc Davis with Walt Disney Imagineering Senior Production Designer Chris Merritt, who is authoring a new book on the Disney Legend.

The weekend event will take place in the convention center at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Tickets, on sale now, are $190 each for D23 Gold and Gold Family Members. Tickets are also available to D23 General Members for $250 per ticket. All guests will receive a special gift created exclusively for the event, and attendees are guaranteed seats at all panels and presentations. A limited number of Wilderness Explorer VIP are now sold out.

Please keep in mind, we have a special evening activity planned for Sunday, November 20 that attendees won’t want to miss. Stay tuned for updates.

Specially priced rooms and theme park tickets will be available to D23 Members who purchase Destination Dtickets.

Has Disney Filed Permits for More Avatar Work at Animal Kingdom?


There are rumors floating around that Walt Disney World may have filed some new paperwork with Orange County regarding the Avatar expansion at Animal Kingdom.

Two notice of commencements have been filed by Disney related to a project called “Morpho” that is reportedly the codename of the Avatar project.

The two permits describe their respective work as “DAK Expansion — Morpho 803 Completion Package” and “DAK Expansion — Morpho Canopy Mockups.” No other details of the work is included in the permit description.

Link to permit information

The permits don’t shed much light on the work, but the Avatar expansion which broke ground last January is said to include scenery taken straight out of Avatar Director James Cameron’s world, and imagineers also are expected to help recreate the floating mountains and illuminating plant life of Avatar’s world of Pandora.

The new area is expected to have rides such as guests riding on the movie’s flying creatures called Banshees, and maybe a boat attraction. In addition, it’s possible that the land may have nighttime entertainment that will help the park keep guests in later in the evenings.

The general contractor on the project is Balfour Beatty Construction LLC, and the architect is Morris Architects Inc.

The timeline of the attraction also coincides with news that Cameron expects the next sequels to Avatar to not be released until 2017. Earlier this week, it was reported those movies were now delayed, which may help further boost marketing efforts with the theme park’s opening.

“Pandora The Land of Avatar” is Tentative Name of New Avatar Themed Area


Ever since it was announced, we’ve just referred to it it “Avatar Land” but, at a recent Q&A, James Cameron told audiences what the official name of the newest addition to Disney’s Animal Kingdom might be. “It’s going to be called, I believe, Pandora: The Land of Avatar.”

Cameron also discussed some of the technical advances Disney Imagineers are making in the park, particularly with the animatronic Na’vi. 

Cameron spoke about the park at the Los Angeles Times Hero Complex Film Festivalon Saturday May 31. He said Imagineers were looking into doing something olfactory in the park to simulate the experience of being in a rain forest, then added the following.

“It’s going to have floating mountains. It’s pretty cool. I’ve seen the model and the design work the Imagineering people have done is spectacular. They’ve got a quarter inch to the foot scale model of the whole park and I’ve looked at all the sight lines…it’s not a park, it’s a land within the park but a land is not just a ride. There will be several rides and a number of other attractions. It’s really just a place you’re gonna wanna go and hang out. It’s gonna be gorgeous. Of course it’s gonna be gorgeous at night and they’re using every new trick, every new bit of technology that they’ve created.

The animatronics for the Na’vi characters are gonna be fantastic. For example, their early animatronics would use 12 axis of motion and I think the most they’ve ever done was 32 axis recently. I think they’re up to 64 just in the face of the Na’vi characters. So it’s gonna be remarkable. They really see it as a major, major attraction.”

Of course, until Disney makes it official, it’s impossible to say this is the 100% final name of the Land but, this seems pretty solid, considering the source.

Pandora The Land of Avatar is scheduled to open at Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom in Orlando, Florida in 2017, which will be between the release of Avatar 2 and Avatar 3. Construction began earlier this year.

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