Disney theme parks have a big summer ahead of them with major new attractions opening May 27 based on two movies, one about the Marvel Comics superheroes from “Guardians of the Galaxy” and the other about the lush alien world of Pandora from the James Cameron film “Avatar.”
The Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout! attraction opens at Disney California Adventure in Anaheim. Pandora — The World of Avatar is a 12-acre land opening at Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
The creative designer behind the attractions says you don’t need to know anything about either movie to enjoy them.
“This is not a revisitation of a plotline of a film you already saw,” said Disney Imagineer Joe Rohde at an event Monday in New York previewing the attractions. “This is your opportunity to go to an amazing world and have adventures of your own. … The story is about you.”
The premise of the Guardians of the Galaxy ride is that the Guardian superheroes have been captured, and riders must participate in an adventure with a character called Rocket Raccoon to free them.
Guardians of the Galaxy is in a redesigned drop tower structure that once housed the Twilight Zone of Terror.
At Pandora there are two rides plus retail and dining components. Riders on Avatar Flight of Passage fly through the forest on the backs of creatures called banshees to participate in a tribal coming-of-age ceremony.
The sounds of creatures in the forest change from day to night, and the Pandoran plants glow by night, Rohde said. Rohde took his team on field trips to Hawaii, Bali and China for design inspiration from real landscapes and cultural touchstones.