It doesn’t seem to rain much in the rainforest-like environment of Avatar’s Pandora, but we’re pretty sure that if and when it does rain there, it pours. No sooner than a forum thread pop up suggesting James Cameron gave the okay to Disney to proceed with AvatarLand at Disney’s Animal Kingdom at the Walt Disney World Resort, that purported ‘leaked’ blueprints of some sort involving the layout of the new land’s attractions.
While many tout its authenticity and nobody appears to doubt its validity, at question is whether the leak was intentional or not, which is essentially the same scenario proposed when a far more detailed design of the New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom surfaced months before the formal announcement. Of course then it wasn’t a confirmed project at the time, whereas AvatarLand should come as no shock to anyone at this point (other than it apparently is in the on-again stage of the development process).
The surfaced images show layouts for two attractions, suspiciously identified as ‘E-ticket’ and ‘C-ticket,’ but it’s possible these are just terms to suggest their scope to an outsider such as a contractor or sponsor. The ‘E-ticket,’ which is known in some circles as ‘Soarin’ 2.0,’ is shown as a massive multi-level show building with four independent theaters, believed to house a 3D flight over Pandora, but using a ride vehicle that perhaps moves along a track or at least moves quite a bit more than the Soarin’ handglider vehicle does. Arguably even more interesting is that the layout calls for a 3D glasses cleaning area which is as equally fascinating as it is suspicious. Granted a new 3D attraction calls for more 3D glasses, Walt Disney World already has a ‘central’ location for cleaning glasses from all attractions at Epcot, so it’s worth noting that perhaps the additional load, coupled with Animal Kingdom’s ‘isolation’ is enough to justify an additional cleaning system which would presumably also handle the glasses from ‘It’s Tough To Be A Bug.’ The second attraction appears to be a water-based attraction such as a mild flume ride, that many are likening to ‘Living with the Land.’
AvatarLand is expected to consume the area of Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s Camp Minnie-Mickey, home to several character meet and greets as well as the Festival of the Lion King stage show. Although we did previously report that it looked as though the show would close at is present location in early 2013, reportedly for about six months until a permanent location in Africa was available, we also noted recently on Twitter that Walt Disney World is now casting for the show throughout November, suggesting an immediate closure is not nearly as likely to occur. As of this time, those auditions are still listed as happening, although we will advise of any changes.
Many are anticipating that Disney Parks and Resorts will make further announcements and perhaps release concept art during its media extravaganza for New Fantasyland on December 7, but it’s fair to note it would not be unprecedented if the day came and went without so much as a whisper.