The Walt Disney Co. has finally unveiled new details about its proposed "Avatar"-themed land at Disney's Animal Kingdom, two years after striking a deal for the theme-park rights to the blockbuster film franchise.
Disney released its first artistic renderings for the project Friday night. They depict visitors immersed in the lush landscapes of "Pandora," the fictional planet setting for the 2009 film, including walking among floating mountains with cascading waterfalls and floating down a jungle river with bioluminescent plants.
Disney said the land will also include a ride in which guests "discover what it feels like to soar into the sky riding a Banshee," winged creatures that played a starring role in the James Cameron-directed movie.
Avatar is the highest-grossing movie of all time, with about $2.8 billion in worldwide ticket sales.
In addition to the Avatar land, Disney said it would make other additions to Animal Kingdom, the youngest of the four theme parks at Disney World.
They will include a new nighttime show with live music, floating lanterns, water screens and "swirling animal imagery" set along the Discovery River in the center of the theme park.
Disney said it will add further nighttime entertainment as well, including a nighttime version of its "Kilimanjaro Safaris" ride, the most popular attraction in the park.
By adding things to do in the evening, Disney hopes to get visitors to spend more time in Animal Kingdom, often criticized by guests as merely a "half-day" park.
Many visitors currently prefer to combine Animal Kingdom with something else, such as a second visit to the popular Magic Kingdom in the afternoon or evening, which has contributed to chronic overcrowding in the Magic Kingdom while leaving Animal Kingdom well under capacity.
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