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Bringing the World of AVATAR to Life at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

posted on February 26th, 2015 by Bruce Vaughn, Chief Creative Executive, Walt Disney Imagineering


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. 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.

This creative process has been one of the most dynamic and collaborative ones we’ve ever undertaken. It began when our then-Chairman of Disney Parks and Resorts proposed to James Cameron that together we might 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. 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.

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We all recently got together at our offices in Glendale, California and walked through the fantastic progress on the whole land—including the awesome experience of seeing Pandora while riding on a banshee.

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.”

This project is really pushing the boundaries of what is possible. But one of the things that makes Disney Parks so special is that it takes all of our Cast—across the segment—to really bring these experiences to life. We were glad to be able to share our work with the creative teams and thought you might want to see it, too. Here’s a sneak peek of what we showed them:



For previous AVATAR coverage, see these blog posts:

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Imagineers Celebrate 60th Anniversary Year with 60 Acts of Community Outreach

posted on December 20th, 2013 by Bruce Vaughn, Chief Creative Executive, Walt Disney Imagineering


At Walt Disney Imagineering we’ve just completed the final effort of their “60 for 60” initiative, a pledge during our 60th anniversary year to sponsor or take part in at least 60 outreach efforts in the communities where we operate.

Hundreds of Imagineers at WDI sites in Boston, California, Florida, Hong Kong, Paris, Pittsburgh, Shanghai and Tokyo got involved in their communities throughout 2013. While financial and material gifts were one aspect of the program, the emphasis was mainly on the donation of time and talent. Imagineers found themselves applying a wide range of skills to such projects as painting murals at a Boys and Girls Club, designing and planting a community garden, and helping build affordable housing for underserved families through Habitat for Humanity. Check out the video for highlights of this remarkable year-long effort.

Along with my fellow leader of Imagineering, Craig Russell, we thank our amazing fans and guests for supporting our 60 years in the happiness business and our Imagineers for making a meaningful difference in communities around the world.

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