If you thought the giant yeti found inside the Expedition Everest roller coaster was the most ambitious animatronic Disney World had to offer, think again.
In a few short weeks, resort visitors can trek to the otherworldly realm of Pandora, a fictional planet previously found only in James Cameron’s 2009 blockbuster Avatar, in a real-life recreation of the film’s fantastical environments. Ahead of the Animal Kingdom attraction’s scheduled May 27 opening, the theme park has offered a stunning video preview of what the estimated $500 million investment has to offer — including a glimpse at a towering, lifelike animatronic figure found inside one of Pandora’s marquee rides.
Over the weekend, Disney shared a clip (above) of the closing moments of the Na’vi River Journey boat ride, which sees a large Na’vi shaman singing a tribal hymn as passengers float by.
Several industry blogs were also recently invited to attend a media preview of Pandora — many of which have posted their own videos documenting the section’s intricately detailed theming, namely its bioluminescent foliage, light-encrusted walkways, waterfalls, and even a few new food items (including blue cheesecake and dumpling-style “cheeseburger pods”).
On Sunday, Theme Park Review shared footage taken inside Pandora’s main attraction, Flight of Passage, teasing the simulator’s ride cycle (it’s “like a combination of the giant screen of Soarin’ with the mild short drops of Tower of Terror“) and its elaborately crafted queue section, modeled after a research station as seen in Cameron’s Oscar-winning movie.
Though its been nearly eight years since the first Avatar flick became the highest grossing (unadjusted for inflation) movie of all time, in April Cameron announced four additional sequels — presently in concurrent production — are planned to debut on Dec. 18, 2020, Dec. 17, 2021, Dec. 20, 2024, and Dec. 19, 2025, respectively.
Pandora – The World of Avatar officially opens to the public on May 27. Check out more videos and images above.