Last year, there was a lot of discussion involving Disney and Norway about the Norway pavilion. In the end, the Maelstrom attraction was closed by Disney and it was announced that a Frozen-style attraction would be taking its place. At the time, no details about the attraction were released. This week, Disney released a tentative opening date (May 1, 2016) and some of the details of the attraction. As usual, I spent a couple of days reading articles about the new attraction before forming my opinion on what will be coming to the Norway pavilion. More to follow after the jump.
The basis of the attraction is to take you back to Arendelle and to the characters from the movie. However, the attraction will not be a retelling of the movie. The attraction will be during the Arendelle winter festival, which takes places during the summer (Thanks, Elsa!). Guests start the attraction in a queue featuring the Wandering Oaken Trading Post before being transported back to the land of Arendelle. Once on the attraction, guests will have the opportunity to sing along with Elsa and Marshmellow, watch Olaf, Anna, and Kristoff ice skate, and hear the trolls tell the story of how Anna and Kristoff first met.
As much as Arendelle is modeled after Arendal, this was not the attraction which I was hoping for. I knew that an attraction like Maelstrom, which told the history of Norway, would not be returning. Given that a re-opening date was not announced at the time of closure, a Frozen overlay of the attraction was off the board as well. I was hoping for an attraction similar to the Gran Fiesta Tour in Mexico.
That attraction has Disney characters in it. However, there is still semblance of Mexican culture in the attraction. This new Frozen attraction has no history or culture of Norway in the attraction except for the Norwegian scenery that Disney had already captured in the movie. I would have liked to seen some new Norwegian history and culture added to the attraction. The only positive is the attraction is not a complete retelling of the movie. I am not say that, “the sky is falling….EPCOT as we know it is dead,” and those type of phrases. However, EPCOT’s World Showcase is supposed to showcase the countries within the World Showcase. Yes, Arendelle is loosely based on a Norwegian town but there are 10 other countries which have attractions based on actual parts of their country.
The main problem that Disney ran into was Frozen came out and was a blockbuster success AFTER the plans for New Fantasyland were released and the area was under development. A new Frozen attraction would have been a perfect for the New Fantasyland part of Magic Kingdom. To take it a step further, it would look great where Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid is located. But that attraction was up and running complete with Ariel’s Grotto and Imagineering probably did not want to incur the cost of refurbishing an attraction that had just been built.
Does Walt Disney World need a Frozen attraction after the success of the movie? Yes, it does. Does EPCOT need Frozen Ever After attraction in its announced form? No, it does not. It does not fit in with the rest of the World Showcase.
What are your thoughts?
Thanks for reading!
June 12th Behind the Magic Podcast: