‘Pandora’ promises to be immersive, breathtaking world at Animal Kingdom

KISSIMMEE, Fla. (WSVN) — The highly-anticipated Pandora, which is a world based on director James Cameron’s “Avatar,” is expected to open soon, but 7News’ Chris Van Vliet got a sneak peek at Disney’s newest addition.

Pandora: World of Avatar opens on Saturday at Disney World’s Animal Kingdom and is a park that takes visitors into the world of Pandora, based on”Avatar,” the highest-grossing worldwide film of all-time.

“When I walk through here, it’s like seeing it all for the first time. It’s really a wonderful experience,” said Cameron.

Parkgoers are able to walk through the world once seen on the silver screen and even get to see the Na’vi, Pandora’s indigenous people.

The attraction spans about 12 acres and has been in development since 2012, costing about $500 million.

The park even comes as a surprise to actress Zoe Saldana. “Even though I was a part of this movie and I shot it for eight, nine months of my life, I never really got to walk on Pandora, and this part gives us that opportunity,” she said.

Two new rides were developed for Pandora. On “Flight of Passage,” visitors get the chance to ride on the back of a mountain banshee, just like Jake Sully, played by actor Sam Worthington, did in the film.

“We have a standard at Disney that I like to talk about a lot, which is why do they do that? And this is a grat example of that,” said Disney CEO Bob Iger.

Pandora’s merchandise manager Steven Miller said guests may get the chance to interact with tiny banshees, themselves. “This is an Ikran, which is the Na’vi word for banshee,” said Miller.

On “Na’vi River Journey,” guests get to float on a bioluminescent river through a rain forest and are joined by some natives.

Miller said that those who attend Pandora will also get a chance to learn the Na’vi language with a handy translator. “We have this handheld device that actually has about 90 different phrases,” he said. “Syuratan is the word I was learning. That’s bioluminescence, and that’s the nighttime experience you’ll find here at Pandora.”

However, parkgoers are not required to learn the Na’vi language before entering Pandora. “You can learn Na’vi,” said Miller. “That’s the nice part. You’re going to hear that throughout our land. A lot of our cast members use those words. Na’vi translator is one of those ways. Sa va go means ‘rise to the challenge,’ and it’s something you’re going to hear on the breathtaking Flight of the Passage ride.”

Guests will also be treated to foods exclusive to Pandora. “This is one of two desserts we offer at Satu’li Canteen,” said culinary director Robert Adams. “This is a blueberry cream cheese mousse with a passion fruit curd, and it’s served with a little bit of dehydrated meringue.”

The inspiration for the dessert? “It gets its inspiration from two different sources. The flavor’s inspiration is really from the land itself, the tropical land,” said Adams. “The look of it is inspired by the skin tone of the Na’vi.”

Green beer is a beverage those who are of-age can enjoy, as well. “This is the Hawkes Grog Ale, which is inspired of course by Hawkes, who is an RDA former employee that developed this tiki-esque spot,” said food and beverage director Brien Kuziol.

Pandora promises to awe with new sights and sounds, Miller said, including lush vegetation and even floating mountains. “We really wanted to create these products that guests have never seen before. Really connect them with the land of Pandora. I’ll tell you, it is immersive, unbelievable and something the whole family can enjoy.”

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