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'Avatar Land' concept revealed for Disney World

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Walt Disney CEO Robert Iger first announced plans to build an Avatar-themed area at Disney World's Animal Kingdom park in 2011. Two years later, his company has released the first concept art of what the Florida-based attraction will look like.

The renders show a world of floating mountains and bioluminescent plants. The images aren't grounded in reality: the shots are devoid of zig-zagging lines, and show no obvious earthly way to keep the floating mountains floating. The renders also include shots of colorfully plumed "Banshees" with what look like park guests on their backs. This is a high-concept visualization for a ride rather than notice of a Disney genetic modification program: Disney's parks division chairman, Tom Staggs said at the D23 Expo in Japan last week that he wanted guests to "discover what it feels like to soar in the sky riding a Banshee." More immediately feasible as an attraction is a rendered boat trip through a plant-lit swamp.

Construction won't start on the area until 2014, and it won't be open to the public until 2016. Conveniently, that's the same year the first of James Cameron's three Avatar sequels is set to be released.


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