Disney's Animal Kingdom is introducing a 10-foot-tall way to get into the details of its World of Avatar. The Pandora Utility Suit, a mechanical apparatus guided by a human pilot, will debut at the theme park on April 22.
The new brand of street entertainment will inform guests about Pandora's flora – bioluminescent and otherwise. A video released by Disney shows a man carefully maneuvering through the area, which is based on a world created by filmmaker James Cameron in "Avatar" and which opened in May 2017 at Animal Kingdom.
"These are not the AMP suits that you see in the movie, but these are actually suits that have been developed by the scientists to go out into the wilderness to go out and explore the plant life and the animals," said Laura Offerdahl, an executive producer with Disney Parks Live Entertainment. "There's so much detail, and I think a lot of people miss that."
The suit's creation came from a partnership of Michael Curry Studios, Cameron's Lightstorm Entertainment, Walt Disney Imagineering and Disney Parks Live Entertainment.
Disney's backstory of its Pandora land is set many years after the events of the 2009 film. Visitors now are allowed to visit the planet of Pandora via a tourism company called Alpha Centauri Expeditions and courtesy of the native people known as Na'vi. There's an emphasis on conservation and nature. Floating mountains and plants, such as bladder polyps, puffball trees and the flaska reclinata, give Pandora a distinctive, otherworldly look.
In a behind-the-scenes video seen on the official Disney Parks Blog, show director Tony Giordano explained the use of the new suit in the Pandora storyline and its development.
"We're actually going to have these operators telling the story of Pandora and their experience of what it's like to be on this planet," Giodano said.
The arrival of the suit will coincide with the 20th anniversary of the opening of Disney's Animal Kingdom.