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Getting aHEAD of myself
Advisory Panel
Feb 12, 2011
In the fall of 2014, one of my favorite attractions at Epcot, Maelstrom, was closed for good. Rumor had it that the classic dark boat ride would be replaced with an attraction themed to the 2013 animated Disney film "Frozen."

Ladies and gentlemen, I am sad to share that those rumors were true.

Opening in 2016, "Frozen Ever After" will be a new boat ride in Epcot's Norway pavillion.

Disney has released the following information about the attraction:
“Frozen Ever After,” is an adventure fit for the entire family that will take guests through the kingdom of Arendelle. The fantastic Disney storytelling combined with new technology and favorite moments and music from the film will make guests feel like they stepped into the magical world of “Frozen.”
Guests will be transported to the Winter in Summer Celebration where Queen Elsa embraces her magical powers and creates a winter-in-summer day for the entire kingdom. They will also visit Elsa’s Ice Palace and the ice-blue world of the North Mountain along with other locations before returning to the Bay of Arendelle. Of course, favorite “Frozen” characters, including the Snowgies from the animated short “Frozen Fever,” will be part of this new attraction, along with the spectacular sights inspired by the film.
The Norway Pavilion’s exterior will be expanded with many unique Norwegian architectural features and the interior design of the “Royal Sommerhus” will reflect the cultural arts and crafts of Norway, providing a charming setting for guests to meet Elsa and Anna.


Below is the first released concept art of the new attraction:

It looks like the attraction will indeed remain a flume ride, even using the exact same boats as Maelstrom. The same layout will essentially be re-utilized with a new "Frozen" overlay.

Here's another article I found about the ride, which actually includes a summary of the ride experience:

Maelstrom, on which visitors ride a floating log on a tour through Norwegian mythology, has been “gutted,” Ms. Mangum said, and is currently getting “a whole new overlay with ‘Frozen.’” While the logs and the path will remain the same, everything you see along the way is being replaced.

The setting for “Frozen Ever After” is the winter festival that takes place in summer, when residents of Arendelle apparently celebrate their favorite season of the year in the midst of its polar opposite.

While waiting on line, which is sure to take longer than the four-minute ride, visitors will walk by Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post. The trader with the thick accent will occassionaly clear steam on the windows to utter a hearty “yoo-hoo!” to people walking by. “We consider this scene one,” Ms. Mangum said.

Once they board their logs, “Frozen Ever After” riders will first see goofy snowman Olaf and equally goofy reindeer Sven setting up the Winter Festival premise.

Next is a stop at Troll Valley, where Grandpappy Troll tells a gathering of children the story of how Anna and Kristof met, before the log goes up a ramp to find Olaf again, singing a song while ice skating, right next to Anna and Kristof, who are singing with their friend Sven.

Behind a set of doors is the moment any visitor is sure to be waiting for: Elsa, on a balcony, singing “Let It Go” in her ice castle. It’s the centerpiece of the ride, “the big, big scene,” Ms. Mangum said, and it features elaborate effects to create simulated snow crystals soaring around the room.

Visitors will next ride by Marshmallow, the giant, formerly evil snowman from “Frozen” and his miniature Snowgie pals, who show up in the short “Frozen Fever,” which ran in front of March’s “Cinderella.”

Marshmallow himself yells “Let It Go” in time with Elsa’s song before the log travels through a mist cloud and reaches the final scene, which includes fireworks and a wave from Elsa, Anna, Olaf, Sven and Kristof.

The audio-animatronic characters will be cutting edge, Ms. Mangum said, using a new technology that includes projectors behind the faces to enable more lifelike animation. It was first used on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train ride that opened in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom last year.

Disney executives and designers started discussing a “Frozen” ride before the film even came out, said chief operating officer Tom Staggs, who ran the theme park unit until February. But “our urgency grew as the film really took off,” he said, and “we purposefully set a really audacious goal to get this thing done.” That’s one of the reasons why it’s a makeover of Maelstrom, rather than an entirely new attraction that would take longer to build.

The company is counting on “Frozen Ever After” to boost the popularity of Epcot, where attendance was essentially flat between 2009 and 2013, the most recent year for which data are available, according to the Themed Entertainment Association. “Cars Land” did the same for Disney’s California Adventure theme park, which struggled before an area based on the Pixar movie opened in 2012.

Of course, some may question whether the the fictional world of Arendelle belongs in Epcot’s World Pavilion, which has always been about touring countries that actually exist, like Japan, Mexico, and Norway.

But Mr. Staggs argued that “Frozen Ever After” is sure to draw more visitors to the Norway Pavilion, and Epcot as a whole, and that the movie is in fact based significantly on Scandinavian culture, art and mythology.

“If the goal is to give people a taste of something like Scandinavia with the Norway pavilion, then ‘Frozen’ would only increase the extent to which people would be drawn to it,” he said. “To me it doesn’t seem out-of-character at all.”


I am not sure how others will take this announcement, but for me, it is incredibly upsetting.

Maelstrom was one of my favorite attractions at Epcot. It was one of my first "big rides", so I have an emotional attachment to it. Maelstrom had a loveable old-world charm to it, something that seems to be a dying breed in theme parks these days. I also loved the ride's sense of adventure.

Maelstrom was an authentic showcase of Norwegian culture and folklore, just like Walt Disney intended for the World Showcase to do. It educated the public on the country's culture, while still doing so in a thrilling and adventurous way. "Frozen Ever After" does not belong in the World Showcase. It goes against everything the World Showcase stood for. It goes against everything Walt stood for.

Sure, Maelstrom was a little outdated and rough around the edges, but all it needed was a refurbishment. Not this.

Will it be popular? Of course. Any ride themed to Frozen is bound to be. Is it a smart business decision? Probably, because people in Frozen's demographic will likely flock to the new attraction. But does "Frozen Ever After" belong in the World Showcase? Does it belong in Epcot? I don't believe so.

The entire thing screams "short-sighted." What happens when the Frozen craze is over? The entire thing screams "cheap." The entire thing screams "wrong", at least for Epcot.
While I know I will love this attraction as Disney has been hitting it out of the park and Malestrom was, strange. But, it was my favorite boat ride out of the three flume attractions at Epcot. Something about the trolls, something about the backwards section, something about that polar bear. It may have been the best attraction in the World Showcase but honestly this it was becoming outdated. At least we still have the Gran Fiesta Tour! With this addition I hope other attractions can make it into the World Showcase, for example, the ratatouille dark ride at Walt Diseny Studios Paris would be perfect fit for France.
It wasn't really a rumor. It was basically confirmed when they closed Maelstrom that Frozen was going in.

Honestly, I don't mind the idea of a Frozen ride. I really don't. I honestly fully expect to like this ride.

HOWEVER, the fact that they removed basically the only ride in World Show Case, to replace it with something irrelevant to the country, is absolutely ridiculous. Not that's it's new. Please look at the Grand Fiesta Tour. Though to be fair, the original ride was nap worthy boring for a child.

But, considering they have entire back half of a park not that far away that is basically a wasteland. (Streets of America at DHS) They could put something, anything there, and it would be fine.

Instead they chose to rip out Maelstrom, which was fairly popular. I don't think anybody cared that Maelstrom was outdated. It was just an 80s Disney documentary on Norway. (It you really want something that's vastly outdated that needs an upgrade, please look at the way of The Universe of Energy. Because it's severely dated, not only in actors but in science.)

EPCOT was never the place for Disney films. But that sort of broke when they put Nemo in The Seas, and the Three Caballeros in Mexico.

I have a lot of feelings and thoughts on how to fix up most of Disney's problems. I won't get into them here. I do believe I will enjoy the ride, whenever I get the next chance to go there and it's open. But, I won't be happy about the cost it took to get it.
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