Avatar coming to Animal Kingdom

Avatar is coming to the Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World said Tuesday.

The theme park is teaming with filmmaker James Cameron to “create themed lands that will give theme park guests the opportunity to explore the mysterious universe of (Avatar) first hand,” the company said in a news release. The first such themed land is planned for the Animal Kingdom.

The 2009 film “is a uniquely powerful franchise that has global appeal with audiences of all ages. Its spectacular settings, intriguing characters, imaginative creatures, and strong themes of family and loyalty make it a perfect fit for Disney,” Thomas O. Staggs, chairman of the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, said in a news release. “We can’t wait to give our guests the ability to journey to Pandora and explore the incredible immersive world of (the movie) in person.”

Construction on the new land at the Animal Kingdom is expected to start by 2013. Walt Disney World is currently in the middle of a massive expansion of Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom.

“With this agreement, we have the extraordinary opportunity to combine James’ talent and vision with the imagination and expertise of Disney,” Robert A. Iger, president and CEO of The Walt Disney Co., said in a news release.

Added Cameron: “I’m chomping at the bit to start work with Disney’s legendary Imagineers … Our goal is to go beyond current boundaries of technical innovation and experiential storytelling, and give park goers the chance to see, hear, and touch the world of (Avatar) with an unprecedented sense of reality.”