Disney recreates Pandora, the world depicted in Avatar
Disney tries to recreate Pandora, the world depicted in the genre-defining 3D film ‘Avatar’. Here’s how the company did it
Disney’s Animal Kingdom aspired to recreate that experience. Did they pull it off? The answer is a resounding yes
The first time I saw the 2009 film
Avatar, I was pulled into its world. The gorgeous habitat of the moon of Pandora was rich and alive on screen in a way that made me feel as if I were there, able to touch its floating mountains.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom as- pires to recreate that experience, a tall order. There is an inherent challenge of transporting the world to a theme park: The movie’s Na’vi inhabitants had to contend with viperwolves in the forest, while visitors to Pandora: The World of Avatar mostly have to contend with crowds and lines. But the world aims to give fans of the film (and young fans in the making) the same jawdropping, immersive experience.
Did they pull it off? The answer is a resounding yes. When I visited the park in spring, I was as wowed as I was the first time I donned those 3D glasses to catch it on the big screen. A team of Imagineers - employees of Walt Disney Imagineering, which handles design and devel- opment - worked closely with the film’s director, James Cameron, and its producer, Jon Landau, to transport guests to the place where the mountains are floating and the flowers are glowing. This Pandora is set a generation after the events of the first film and its coming sequels.
The bad guys from the Resources Development Admin- istration, the movie’s eco-unfriendly mining group, have left Pandora’s Valley of Mo’ara. What’s left is sustained nature and Na’vi in communion with it.
That includes, of course, some of the floating mountains, the bioluminescent forests and the flying banshees. Below is a look at how the park incorporated those, and much more.
Sculpted mountains "float" throughout Pandora: The World of Avatar