Disney begins construction of Avatar theme park

Project will be the largest expansion in Disney’s Animal Kingdom history, phase one set to open in 2017

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Construction work has begun on an Avatar theme park at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World has announced, following years of delays and extensions to the project.

The project will be the largest expansion in Disney’s Animal Kingdom history, said Thomas Smith, social media director at Disney Parks, on the Disney Parks blog.

“The area, which is being designed by Walt Disney Imagineering, in partnership with ‘AVATAR’ creator, James Cameron and Lightstorm Entertainment will be unlike anything ever experienced at a Disney Park,” he added. “Guests will experience the wonders of Pandora when they fly with banshees and explore a rich natural environment with mountains that float and interactive plants that glow at night.”

“Disney’s Animal Kingdom is already home to some of our guests’ favorite attractions,” said Tom Staggs, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. “With AVATAR, we are adding a spectacular new world and an exciting set of attractions unlike any our guests have experienced. The expansion now under way will make the park a true full-day, must-see experience.”

The AVATAR project is just the first step in a larger expansion for the park that will also include the debut of a new evening spectacular, as well as a night-time version of Kilimanjaro Safaris.

Disney first announced the project in 2011 and the first phase is scheduled to open in 2017. It is expected to increase the number of tourists to Central Florida and will boost the region’s $50 billion tourism industry.

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