avatar land videos

Oh, man. Theme park construction news grows up so fast. It seems like only yesterday we were scrutinizing blurry images from Walt Disney World’s Pandora – The World of Avatar. Now, full-blown videos walking us through this meticulously designed theme park land have arrived. I feel like I’m waving goodbye to a child as it drives to college, ready to finally complete its transformation from dirt pile to multi-million dollar tourist attraction. Let’s watch the videos below.

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avatar ride footage

For the past three years, we’ve slowly watched Walt Disney World’s Pandora: The World of Avatar transform from a giant dirt pile into a jaw-dropping recreation of the alien jungle seen in James Cameron’s Avatar. Now, we’re on the homestretch, flying toward the theme park land’s May 27, 2017 opening, and first footage from the interior of one the area’s two main attractions has arrived online.

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Na’vi River Journey Avatar Avatarland

We’ve written before about the ongoing theme park cold war between Disney and Universal Studios, both of whom are battling it out to become the top dog in this industry. Universal took the high ground when it debuted the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, but Disney is returning fire with a James Cameron-powered salvo: Pandora: The World of Avatar, which takes the highest grossing film in cinematic history and makes it a physical space you can explore. Honestly, there are no real losers in this conflict: both companies are forced to innovate (we have Star Wars and Nintendo-themed attractions on the horizon next) and we, those who enjoy theme parks, get to reap the rewards.

Even though Pandora is only a few months away from officially opening its gates (and will probably begin soft opening sooner than that), the area’s two main rides remain pretty mysterious. Do two new trailers reveal anything noteworthy?

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volcano bay

In this edition of Theme Park Bits:

  • Disney patents new technology that will let you alter a ride as you see fit.
  • An unofficial first look at the ride vehicles from the Avatar-themed Flight of Passage.
  • Universal Studios sets an opening day for the Volcano Bay waterpark.
  • The winners of the annual Imaginations Designs Competition.
  • Watch a piece of the safety precautions video for Universal’s Race Through New York ride.
  • DisneyQuest is official closing and Starcade is temporarily re-opening.
  • A look at Disneyland’s secret menu.
  • And more!

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Star Wars Land concept art - The Star Wars Experience

In this edition of Theme Park Bits:

  • An updated look at Star Wars land at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World.
  • Universal Studios files some very interesting waterpark patents.
  • Disneyland Paris’ Big Thunder Mountain Railroad reopens following a lengthy refurbishment.
  • Universal Studios’ Waterworld show is undergoing some renovations.
  • How the Grinch stole the Universal Studios backlot tour.

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avatar na'vi river journey

For theme park fans, Walt Disney World’s Pandora: The World of Avatar has long existed as a series of rumors wrapped in photos taken from a distance, a handful of intriguing promises that didn’t quite line up with the fact that the Animal Kingdom theme park’s newest themed land has looked like a construction site for most of the past year. So this new video, which teases this endeavor as an actual place with rides you can go on and things you can do, is a pleasant surprise after so many aerial photos tracking minuscule changes.

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Rogue One Reshoots

In this edition of Theme Park Bits:

  • Epoct temporarily transforms Spaceship Earth into the Death Star.
  • A new round of Star Wars entertainment comes to Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
  • Hong Kong Disneyland’s Iron Man Experience sets its opening day.
  • Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey loses its 3D.
  • Tickets to Universal’s Volcano Bay are now on sale.
  • Both Disney and Universal plunge headfirst into the aerial drone game.
  • The Secret Life of Pets comes to Universal Orlando.
  • Disneyland is getting its own Splitsville bowling alley.
  • And more!

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avatar na'vi river journey

Seven years after it became the highest-grossing film in history, everybody spends more time talking about why no one talks about Avatar than talking about Avatar itself. That’s why the upcoming Pandora: The World of Avatar expansion coming the Animal Kingdom theme park in Walt Disney World feels like a bizarre combination of risky move and sure thing – building a theme park land around the most successful movie of all time certainly sounds like a license to print money until you remember that the film seems to have bounced off pop culture in the long run. They may have made less money, but Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Marvel are all embedded more deeply in the common psyche than James Cameron’s eco-centric science fiction epic. What if you build the most impressive theme park land ever devised and everyone shrugs?

That’s a question for the long term. Right now, your focus should be on the first footage of a Na’vi from one of the land’s attractions.

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toy story 4

In this edition of Theme Park Bits:

  • Shanghai Disneyland breaks ground on a new Toy Story-themed land.
  • Michael J. Fox poses with the DeLorean at Universal Studios.
  • You can now meet Doctor Strange at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
  • New images show off the construction of Star Wars Land at Disneyland.
  • Watch the latest World of Color nighttime show.
  • Shanghai Disneyland has already been visited by four million people.
  • Donald Trump will be added to the Hall of Presidents next year.
  • And more!

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Cool Posts From Around the Web:

disney world drones

If you ever want to know the future of theme parks, you’ve got to look to the patents. Every ride system and every piece of technology that can be incorporated into an attraction or show first exists as a patent, a dry design with an even drier description that feels like it was specifically designed to sound as boring as possible. It’s a great way to hide in plain sight – to read about exciting theme park advancements that may be on the horizon is to also be bored out of your mind.

Over the past year or so, Disney has been steadily filing patents for various drone designs and it looks like we’ll finally start to seeing the fruits of those plans this holiday season. In addition to fireworks and projection mapping, drones are coming to Disney theme park’s nighttime entertainment and the first video teaser for a mysterious new show has arrived.

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