It has been a couple years since Disney announced that it would be building a land themed after James Cameron's world from Avatar. The opening has been scheduled for 2017, and details are very slowly coming out as to what will be featured in this new land. We can count on atmosphere, decoration, "floating islands", food, rides, and long lines. In the realm of rides, Disney has confirmed the plans to open two specific rides: a boat-style ride and a flying ride on the back of a Banshee. Here is what we know:
The boat ride will be a slower ride. It will be dark at times, which will give Disney a chance to show off their technological breakthroughs for the land. Imagineers have hinted at an abundance of "bio-luminescent" plant life around your boat. They have also confirmed that there will be small drops on the ride, but made it sound like this would be a relatively tame ride, as compared to the other ride coming to the land. I would guess that your boat will be floating along peacefully in Pandora, on a tour of the land, when a corporation looking to harvest minerals interrupts you and tries to ruin your adventure. Just a guess.
The second ride that Disney has confirmed is a flying simulation in which guests ride atop Banshees. Joe Rohde of Expedition Everest Imagineering fame has commented that the ride will borrow some technology from Soarin' over at Epcot, but will also bring in new and innovative "ground breaking" technology. He also said it will be a much more thrilling experience than Soarin'. My guess is that Disney is going to use similar technology to that used in The Adventures of Spiderman and Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey over at Islands of Adventure. However, I'm sure Disney would never admit this. I am also sure that Disney's storytelling ability will push this attraction well beyond either of those previously mentioned in overall quality.
Another thing that should be mentioned is the testing of technology for flying creatures that fly independently in the sky. Disney has surprised guests a few times in the sky of the Magic Kingdom by shining a light on a dragon that flies by itself and breathes fire. I could see this working very well with Banshees flying in the skies of Pandora. Here is a link to the video that Disney has released of the dragon technology. That, of course, is speculation. I think Disney is doing exciting things here!
Thanks so much for reading!