Disney has finally started to release concept art and story-line information to let everyone know what the new “Frozen Ever After” attraction in the Norway Pavilion at Epcot will be. I have to admit I was skeptical and disappointed when all of this started with the closing of Maelstrom, but it is starting to look like it just might be a great new attraction!
The story of “Frozen” has swept the hearts of people around the world, and Disney has been busy bringing it to life throughout the parks — from royal greetings with Anna and Elsa to sing-alongs to special screenings of the animated short “Frozen Fever.”
“Frozen Ever After,” will be 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.
More in-depth details were released exclusively to the Wall Street Journal and reported today as follows:
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 occasionally 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.
Disney will continue to share updates in the future, so keep checking back for details.