Disney World partners with James Cameron for Avatar theme park

AvatarAvatar fans desperately hoping for a chance to visit Pandora someday might very well be able to get a taste of the lush planet here on Earth, if Disney and James Cameron get their way.

Disney announced plans this week for an Avatar-themed addition to its Disney World theme park, with Cameron and his Lightstorm Entertainment production company assisting in the development of the attractions.

Deadline has the full press release from Disney, which indicates that the new attractions will first pop up in Animal Kingdom in Orlando, and allow visitors to “enter the Avatar universe and explore it first-hand.”

The agreement announced today gives The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) exclusive global theme park rights to the AVATAR franchise and provides for additional AVATAR themed lands at other Disney parks. The other locations will be determined by Disney and its international theme park partners. James Cameron, Jon Landau and their Lightstorm Entertainment group will serve as creative consultants on the projects and will partner with Walt Disney Imagineering in the design and development of the AVATAR themed lands.

“To bring [Avatar] to life at Animal Kingdom is fantastic because it’s so thematically aligned,” added Cameron in the official statement. “We want to do things that maybe they haven’t even thought of.”

Disney is expected to begin construction on the Avatar complex in 2013. Theme park chief Tom Staggs compared the scope of the project to the company’s 12-acre “Cars Land” complex in California. The 2013 start is also expected to time the park’s opening until just after the release of the next two films in the Avatar franchise, currently slated for 2014 and 2015 premieres.

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