Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom will be adding a new land in 2016, and Disney has announced that they have struck a deal with James Cameron to bring in AVATAR. Cameron and his team will work with the Disney “Imagineers” throughout the planning process to help ensure that Pandora comes to life for park guests.

It is estimated that the addition of an AVATAR-themed land at Animal Kingdom will cost around $200 million. Construction is slated to begin in 2013.

AVATAR is the highest-grossing film worldwide at $2.7 billion, and two other films are currently in the works, giving Disney much more room to include new material as it is created. Animal Kingdom only showcases real creatures at present, but this growing franchise gives it the opportunity to exercise creativity.

In addition to Pandora-themed rides, it is expected that the AVATAR portion of the park will also include shopping, dining, and other entertainment, stretching its appeal to a wide variety of visitors.

“We believe Disney’s Animal Kingdom is a great fit for this project because it was created to give guests the opportunity to experience the worlds of animals and nature – real and mythical – in new ways. Disney’s Animal Kingdom also celebrates adventure, living in harmony with nature and environmental stewardship – themes that are deeply rooted in the story of AVATAR,” Disney Parks Social Media Director Thomas Smith wrote in a blog post.

Universal Studios in Orlando, a major competitor for Walt Disney World, opened its Wizarding World of Harry Potter in 2010 to much hype and fanfare. AVATAR certainly has quite the following of its own, so it is not unreasonable to think that this might be Disney’s answer to Universal’s success.

A September 20 Q&A session is scheduled to take place with Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Tom Staggs. All questions should include your name and city, and can be sent to [email protected]. Answers to some of the top questions will be posted on the Disney Parks Blog.

Image Source: Rego Korosi | Flickr