We’ve been following the construction of Pandora – The World of Avatar for almost the entirety of the project. As we get closer to the official opening on May 27th, 2017, we wanted to take a look back at the construction of the floating mountains.
October 15, 2015
In this view we can see the guts of the mountains. While the finished product is really quite beautiful, there is a ton of engineering that went into making all of this possible.
October 19, 2015
We came back a couple of days later to get some more detailed shots of the construction. Here’s a closer look at the main mountain that is visible from the turnstiles. Note that the reddish-brown sections of steel are actually the vines that connect the mountains.
On other sections of the project, we can see some concrete has been applied over the shaped wire.
November 14, 2015
It was in mid-November that we saw the highest floating mountain being lifted into place. The yellow steel here seems to be supporting the weight of the structure and has since been themed to vines.
November 28, 2015
We saw an additional, smaller, floating mountain installed on the far right of the main structure.
The wall that blocks off what will be the entrance to the land was themed to a Flight of Passage type experience.
We also noticed a facade going up to hide the ride building.
January 16, 2016
With most of the major structures in place, we started to see more crews dedicated to shaping and sculpting the mountain facades.
February 16, 2016
We took a look at the facade as seen from the parking lot.
A third floating mountain was spotted near the rear of the show building.
Many of the facades started to receive more rock work and the initial appearance of some foliage.
March 19, 2016
We saw some detail vines start to pop up and workers starting to pay attention to detail.
One cool thing to note is that the scaffolding was largely supported by beams that jutted out of the facade. Eventually, the beams would be cut away and the facade repaired. This is the same technique Disney used to construct the complex facade of Expedition Everest as seen below.
We also got a first look at the theming of a building within the land. It is thought that this particular building will be a restroom.
March 25, 2016
A few days later, we returned to see crews shaping vines to cover the large steel support beams.
These are the same beams we previously looked at, in yellow.
April 7, 2016
A few weeks later we saw a lot of progress on the painting side of things.
Foliage also became more dense and mature along with some of the vines.
July 21, 2016
A new wall near Tiffins appeared along with some new art.
We also spotted what I’ve been calling the “lollipop” mountains. These are located on top of the main show building and we’re assuming will play a small roll in the land itself. They’re probably there to mostly provide a forced perspective.
The foliage continued to mature.
We also saw the maturation of the vine work.
Unfortunately, our previously unobstructed view became… obstructed.
September 1, 2016
September saw the removal of a vast majority of the scaffolding from the section of the mountains that we could see.
We did notice a new plant that will welcome guests crossing over the bridge from Discovery Island into Pandora.
September 6, 2016
We were back a few days later to get a new look at the land from the bus stop loop. Construction had started on an expanded bus loop and that meant that Disney had to clear some land. Luckily for us that meant a new view of the land.
Our best look at the “lollipop” mountains.
This view will be blocked by foliage once construction is complete.
November 25, 2016
While enjoying a drink at the Nomad Lounge, we noticed lighting testing occurring within Pandora and snapped a few pictures.
A long exposure of the camera produced the first image, but the second was closer to what we could see with the naked eye.
A return trip to the area a few days later showed that LED bars were responsible for the light.
November 28, 2016
Speaking of that return trip, our main goal was to document the work being done on the bridge that leads into the land.
We also noticed some work had been done to the alien entrance plant.
New lamps were spotted as well.
December 12, 2016
By spending most nights at Animal Kingdom looking for Rivers of Light testing, we were actually able to spot the first projection mapping testing being done on the floating mountains themselves. This was the first confirmation that projection mapping could be used in the land once the sun goes down.
January 24, 2017
Disney continued to work on the projection mapping testing.
Here’s a video of the testing from the same evening.
February 7, 2017
We were actually at Animal Kingdom capturing the below video of the alien entrance plant when it was announced that Pandora – The World of Avatar would open on May 27, 2017 to guests. This is the best look we’ve had to date of the entrance plant.
Later that evening, we captured even more projection mapping testing.
February 10, 2017
Our latest update hasn’t been on the status of the floating mountains (they haven’t changed in months) or on new projection mapping (been watching too much Rivers of Light at night instead of mountains), it’s actually the time we heard smooth jazz being played from within the land itself. We were having some drinks at the Nomad Lounge and in between songs on the background loop, we were able to pick up some music coming from within Pandora.
Finally, as a parting gift, here are some looks at the mountains put out by Disney themselves.