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Disney ‘Pushing Boundaries’ with ‘Avatar’ Land at Animal Kingdom Theme Park

Disney has pulled back the curtain on the creative process its Imagineers go through to bring theme park attractions to life, as part of an update on how its “Avatar” land is taking shape at its Animal Kingdom theme park in Orlando.

“This project is really pushing the boundaries of what is possible,” wrote Bruce Vaughn, Walt Disney Imagineering’s chief creative executive, in a Disney Parks blog post on Thursday.

“Since we first broke ground last year at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, we’ve been looking forward to welcoming guests into Pandora, the mythical land based on the blockbuster film ‘Avatar,” he said. “We’re having a lot of fun dreaming up ways to bring to life the land’s iconic elements from the magnificent floating mountains to the interactive bioluminescent forest, and even to the soaring banshees.”

A video included with the post provides a glimpse of what’s being built during a recent gathering of executives at Imagineering’s offices in Glendale, Calif. to survey the progress. The sprawling addition to Animal Kingdom is expected to open in 2017.

Vaughn called the creative process in developing the park with Disney and James Cameron’s Lightstorm, “one of the most dynamic and collaborative ones we’ve ever undertaken.”

He revealed that the idea came about when Disney Parks and Resorts chairman Tom Staggs proposed to Cameron that the companies recreate the world of Pandora at Disney.

“Since that time, our creative development team, led by Joe Rohde, has been working hand-in-hand with Jim, Jon Landau and their team of artists and designers at Lightstorm on every aspect of this project — from overall design to the smallest, yet crucially important, details,” Vaughn said. “And along each step of this process, Tom, as well as Disney CEO Bob Iger have been actively involved in helping guide the creative vision that is shaping the extraordinary world we’re building.

“When he was with us, Jim said, ‘I think one of the things that people loved about the movie is that they felt as if they had visited Pandora… now, thanks to Disney’s amazing Imagineers, people are going to truly experience Pandora firsthand. From the details in the plants to the production and design, extraordinary thought and care has gone into this entire world. The teams have really created something special, and it’s not going to be like anything else.'”

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