In early 2011, James Cameron was approached by the Walt Disney Company's chief executive officer, Bob Iger, regarding the possibility of Avatar-themed attractions in Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. Originally, discussions were held about creating an Avatar-themed attraction at Disney's Hollywood Studios, perhaps at the park's then-functioning Studio Backlot Tour. Instead, Tom Staggs suggested to incorporate the film into a newly designed "land" at Disney's Animal Kingdom to improve the park's attraction roster. On September 17, 2011, a long-term exclusivity deal was signed between Disney, Cameron's Lightstorm Entertainment and Fox Filmed Entertainment. This deal was officially announced to the public on September 20, 2011, on the Disney Parks Blog. The highlight of the announcement was that Disney's Animal Kingdom would receive a new themed area entirely devoted to Avatar. The area is set to cost approximately $500 million. Construction began in January 2014, with a planned opening date between three and five years later. The deal could see Avatar attractions added to other Disney theme parks in the future, however, there are no immediate plans to do so.
Disney showcased a first look presentation of the land at the 2013 Japan D23 Expo. In September 2011, James Cameron confirmed that a flying attraction featuring "3-D projections and creature designs that were cut from the original film" was a concept on the drawing board for the area. Pandora: The World of Avatar will include elements from the original Avatar film as well as its four, yet-to-be-released sequels.
At Disney's 2015 D23 Expo, Walt Disney Imagineering confirmed two major attractions.
AVATAR Flight of Passage, a flying E-ticket simulator attraction, where guests will learn to fly with a mountain Banshee.
Na'vi River Journey, a boat ride attraction showcasing the native fauna and flora of Pandora, that will include Audio-Animatronics and small drops.