In the Summer of 2017, I visited Walt Disney World and experienced Pandora: The World of Avatar at Disney's Animal Kingdom. The Windtraders shop at the exit of the star attraction, Flight of Passage, contains a wide variety of merchandise. Curiously, an obvious item wasn't made: Disney Racers cars of a Banshee (the dragon-like star of Flight of Passage) and a Leonopteryx (the "villain"). I love Disney Racers, so I thought I'd make my own.
Make no mistake, the Banshees are the stars of Pandora.
My Banshee Disney Racer car is made out of thin foam sheets. The wheels are cut out of plastic sheets. And he's painted using Sharpie Paint Markers.
Maybe it is OK that there were no Pandora Disney Racers for me to buy. These were fun to make!
The Banshees are brave, but they are no match for their orange nemesis.
This guy is called Toruk, the Last Shadow. As in the last shadow you see. Before you die. Aaaa!
On a side note, Windtraders in Pandora sells a latex version of Toruk that reminds me of a rubber chicken. It is hilarious.
If you go to Pandora at Walt Disney World, and you can't remember the names of the Banshees or Toruk, you can call them dragons. Most everyone I heard does.
I came up with a second set of ACE Pandora Disney Racers, inspired by the Navi River Journey attraction.
With these Pandora Ace Disney Racers, I felt like I was channeling the carved wooden folk art you can find at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge.
The Hexapede is a gazelle-like creature that appears in Flight of Passage and the Navi River Journey.
This creature displays moth-like appendages when threatened.
The Hexapede has been embraced by Disney for its cuteness.
The Hexapede has to be fast to outrun predators.
The panther-like Thanator is the apex land predator of Pandora.
Curiously, the Thanator does not have a role in Flight of Passage or the Navi River Journey.
I wanted the Thanator car to have a greaser/rockabilly flair.
In the Avatar movie, the Thanator put aside its predatory behavior to help the Navi.
The Navi Racer was the last one I designed, and the most fun.
The Navi Racer design was fun because it was really, really simple.
The animatronic Navi seen on the Navi River Journey attraction is eerily realistic. As far as blue alien kitties go.
The Navi Racer was heavily inspired by the Cheetah Hunt roller coaster car at Busch Gardens Tampa.
Wave 3 of the ACE Disney Racers are some big Pandora creatures.
The Hammerhead Titanothere is a dangerous, rhino-like beast. The Direhorse is a friend to the Navi.
The Direhorse reminds me of a cross between a Trojan Horse and a Zebra.
Pandora at Walt Disney World really needs a Direhorse Carousel.
In Pandora, the Direhorse is featured in both Flight of Passage and the Navi River Journey.
The Hammerhead was the last Racer I worked on.
In the movie, this creature acts like a bulldozer.
The Hammerhead Racer is kind of like a Punk Garbage Truck.
Making the Pandora ACE Disney Racers, I learned that working with Sharpie Paint Markers is fun, but messy.