This post isn’t going to be one that plays into popular opinion in regard to a Frozen-themed attraction replacing Maelstrom. Most people’s reaction has been to slam Disney for making this decision. Let’s all step away from the jump to conclusion mat and take a breath.
What has Disney announced besides that a Frozen-themed attraction is coming Norway? Nothing other than scenes and songs from the movie and that the attraction will close October 5, 2014 and reopen in 2016. They haven’t announced what the ride will look like, what type of attraction it will be (omni-mover, roller coaster, etc.). We don’t know what the attraction will look like. It could be a complete overhaul to keeping the same Maelstrom track with some Frozen theming. Keep in mind, Test Track had a long refurb and all that was done was adding some lights to the track and a redesign of the waiting area. This could be the same. We don’t know.
We also don’t know if it will be Frozen taking over Norway or Frozen being incorporated into Norway. People want to assume that it will be a Frozen takeover but until plans and more details are announced. We just don’t know.
Frozen is a very popular movie with both kids and adults. Like most popular Disney movies, Disney is converting that popularity into attractions, shows, and meet and greets. This is no different from any other popular movie. What is different, however, is the time scale. Disney isn’t waiting to see if Frozen will still be popular 5 years, 10 years, 20 years down the road. It’s tapping into that popularity now. It’s not waiting. Why is that? People, unlike in the past, want those attractions now. It doesn’t want to wait. It’s the way society is going. Everything needs to be immediate. Instant gratification.
This puts Disney between a rock and hard place. If they do decide to wait, they lose people because there isn’t attractions reflecting what’s popular now. If they don’t wait (like in this case), they lose people because Disney isn’t respecting the past. It’s a no-win or little-win situation since, in the end, some group of people is going to be upset. Frozen was the first Disney movie to have a lasting “viral” effect in the general public. Disney is grappling with how to handle this “viral” phenomenon.
In my opinion, looking 10 years into the future, Frozen along with Anna and Elsa will look like every popular Disney movie within the parks. It will have an attraction and a meet and greet in Norway along with a show in Hollywood Studios. This is no different from Belle from Beauty and the Beast. Belle/Beauty and the Beast has an attraction in Magic Kingdom (Enchanted Tales with Belle), a show in Hollywood Studios (Beauty and the Beast, Live on Stage), and Belle meets guests in the France Pavilion of EPCOT.
Is the location of the Frozen attraction ideal? Probably not but that other debate for another time.
Everyone needs to sit back, take a breath, and let Disney Imagineering do its work.