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Welcome to Avatarland... Disney plans to bring movie to life in $400m theme park

DISNEY has agreed on an exclusive deal to build attractions based on James Cameron's Avatar at its theme parks, starting with Animal Kingdom in Orlando.

The first Avatar land, which begins construction in 2013 and is expected to open about three years later, is to be an immersive experience in a land spanning several acres. It will cost around $400m.

Tom Staggs, Disney's chairman of parks and resorts, said the land would be similar in scope to Cars Land, a 12-acre area based on the town of Radiator Springs in Disney/Pixar's Cars movies, due to open next summer at California Adventure Park in Anaheim.

Cameron said the attractions based on Avatar, the top-grossing film of all time, would bring the lush, bioluminescent planet of Pandora to life and would include animatronics and 3-D and holographic technology.

Fans of the film have said they wanted to visit Pandora, he said.

"The scenes that people liked best were not the obvious things like the big battle scenes," Cameron said. "It was the creatures, it was learning to fly, it was being in the forest at night.

"So here's an opportunity ... to bring this world to life and get you to wander in it and see things you didn't see in either in the first film or the subsequent two."

Cameron is working on the second and third instalments of Avatar, to be released in 2014 and 2015.

The first instalment of Avatar was a 3-D movie about a race of blue-skinned Na'vi who defend their planet from invading humans.

It has grossed about $2.8bn in cinemas worldwide since its December 2009 release and has brought in many millions more from home video sales.