Confirmation has been given that it will be opening Summer 2017 but there is no release of specifics regarding the opening date.
We have got some incredible details regarding the features of the new land. Happening years after the timeline of the first film Pandora has recovered from the war with people and is now greeting visitors. Festive, buildings with colorful designs ,reuse the ruins left over from the war. There was rendering released this past week by Disney, in which a robotic humanoid vehicle similar to one used in the first film can be seen. It has been fitted with a hula skirt and a tiki bar sign. Visitors are sent to Pandora by Alpha Centauri Expeditions, who is offering tours of the now peaceful planet.
We also renderings of a toy shop and restaurant. The gift shop rendering also has a D-Tech area which is located at the last of the shop. D-Tech is Disney’s in-house brand that features custom phone cases and many other customizable items.
The restaurant is located in a building themed to an old rounded roof military style metal hanger. Tim Grassey of WDWThemeParks, a fan-based rumor and news tracking site dedicated to Walt Disney World, has reported that the restaurant has a “Rainforest Café vibe” and poops filling the space.
There was a lot of discussions on bioluminescent plants by Disney but no details on where, how many or in what setting the plants will be shown was given. The powerful rumors point to a walking trail where guests can communicate with the plants.
The largest draws of the brand new kingdom are the new rides; Flight of Passage and Na’Vi River Journey. The Na’Vi River Journey will be a family boat ride where visitors will have a meeting with the Shaman of Songs, an impressive hyper-life like audio-animatronic Na’Vi. The AA features facial movements with some awesome details. It will be the only physical Na’Vi that guests will get to see on this land, but rest will be shown via video screens in other attractions. There will be similar ride system on the river journey and some technology that Disney first told about at the award-winning Pirates of the Caribbean in Shanghai Disneyland. That ride has quickly become the must-do of the Shanghai resort.
Another right, Flight of Passage, on which visitors will be allowed to board “living, breathing” banshees for a flight similar to the one taken in the first film. “Nothing would surprise me with this ride. Disney is going all out on it and is using every technology they have. At this point, we still don’t know what all it will entail but I expect both physical and digital aspects,” explained by Tim Grassey of WDWThemeParks, “While the River Journey is being billed as a C-Ticket both of these rides will be E-Tickets in the technology they use and the uniqueness of the experience.” Flight of Passage has been compared to the hang glider simulator Soarin’ but with individual cabins, similar to The Simpson’s ride at Universal Studios.
During the month of October in 2012, there was a leak of documents supposedly related to the two rides. The documents displayed 4 theaters featuring curved screens for what we now know as Flight of Passage and a winding boat ride, that we now know is the Na’Vi River Journey. It has been 4 years now since the documents have been leaked, seem accurate. That can tell us that no major changes have happened in that four-year span for the basic concepts used in the rides, though updates on the storyline, screen resolution, and other things very likely have been updated since the original leak.
You can access Pandora from Discovery Island in the Animal Kingdom and there will be a smaller, secondary entrance from Africa that may open after the initial crowds die down.
We are hoping that Rivers of Light, the other big thing expected to arrive at the Animal Kingdom, starts before Pandora though no timeline or even hints of one have been provided.