The House of Mouse’s newest theme park Pandora – The World of Avatar, opens in the Animal Kingdom at Disney World this Saturday, but Google is already getting a lay of the land. A handful of guests have been granted early access to preview the park’s Navi-themed attractions and at least one of them appears to be scoping out the area for Google Maps.
Google Trekkers are easy to spot. They walk around with a backpack equipped with a 360-degree camera that looks like the spherical head of an android. The rig gathers images of the surrounding environments from all angles; once uploaded they will be formatted for the company’s “street view.”
Spotting a Google Trekker at The World of Avatar is significant, because, in the past, Disney has not always been open to Google’s minions entering its parks. Many of Disney’s theme parks, including Disneyland in Anaheim, can’t be accessed on Google Maps’ street view, seemingly because Mickey and friends aren’t too keen on giving the world virtual access to their park without paying admission. But recently, Disney has been a bit more welcoming, as a Trekker was seen exploring the Magic Kingdom at Disney World last year, even taking a river raft ride to Tom Sawyer’s island.
Now it seems Disney is allowing Google to get advanced access to their latest park, indicating the two may have reached some sort of understanding. It isn’t clear whether this means Google will begin sending in Trekkers to the rest of the parks, or even when the captured footage of the World of Avatar will be available on Google. But much like Giovanni Ribisi and his tireless hunt for Unobtanium, Google seems poised to achieve their goal.