A slice of the alien world of Pandora is coming to Walt Disney World.


According to sources quoted by the NY Times, Disney is set to reveal that they've licensed the rights to James Cameron's box office hit "Avatar"; with plans to build a "multi-ride" attraction within Animal Kingdom at the original Florida theme park. The 57-year-old director will also reportedly have a hand in the design. 


The move is considered a key acquisition after Disney missed out on securing the rights to the "Harry Potter" franchise; which ultimately went to Universal Studios theme park and became a massive hit


Back in 2010, Stuart Heritage of the UK Guardian short-listed "Avatar" as a film franchise he would love to see be turned into a real attraction. 


"It could be amazing, too – full of marauding exotic creatures and plants that light up when you brush against them," he wrote. "The real fun, though, will come when you get to verbally abuse the minimum-wage student trapped in a suffocatingly hot 12-foot Eytucan outfit for mixing up his perfective and imperfective Na'vi verbs. And also the part where you have to plug your hair into the rollercoasters to make them work."


One attraction I hope they'll incorporate is a massive "Tree of Souls"; likely something leaps and bounds better than the impressive one erected last year in London's Hyde Park. Such an installation would truly be awesome to behold after dark. 


It will also be interesting to see whether Cameron's participation means this project will reflect his environmental passions. Could this be yet another opportunity for Disney to further its green building and energy conservation mission?


[UPDATE: Construction is expected to start in 2013. Press conference with additional information being held this afternoon.]

Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.

'Avatar' theme park coming to Disney World
James Cameron to serve as a creative consultant on the new project.