When Avatar opened to monumental success in 2009, it became readily apparent that this would become a new franchise that would revolutionize the film industry in ways that very few films today can achieve. Once it went on to gross $2.7 billion at the worldwide box office — making it the most profitable film of all time — it became clear just what kind of power the juggernaut of film wielded. It was for this very reason that a pre-Marvel and pre-Star Wars Disney took such vested interest in bringing to life the fantastical world of Pandora.
Dubbed “Pandora: The World of Avatar,” Disney Imagineers have spent the last seven years crafting and pouring over every detail of James Cameron’s world (and trying to figure out how the hell they could make those floating mountains). After many grueling years of painstaking work, Disney has finally flung open the vine-covered gates of Pandora for the throngs of guests to enjoy at the Animal Kingdom theme park in Orlando.
Whether you love some high-tech thrill rides, a classic boat ride, or some of the best dang artificial scenery that Disney has ever created, Pandora is sure to have something that just about anyone can enjoy. It’s evident with every step you take that the Disney Imagineers truly spent an exorbitant amount of time working closely with James Cameron and his team of artists to bring this world to life.
As you traverse the natural paths and gaze at the mystery-holding floating mountains with the waterfalls issuing over them, you can’t help but feel a definite sense of transportation to a living, breathing world. Sixty artists toiled to make all 22 of the mountains feel uniquely different from the others.
Even with natural, real plants interspersed with the mythical and fabricated designs of Pandora’s plants, no botanist would be able to define the vast foliage that lines the landscape. Disney Imagineers also fully acknowledge the fact that this world will be seen at night, which is why they’ve made Pandora come to life in an entirely different way once the sun goes down.