It's Norway vs. Frozen in a battle for the future of Epcot's World Showcase pavilion

Posted | Contributed by Jeff

A news report out of Norway details the country's reluctance to continue funding the Epcot pavilion, and says that Maelstrom may close as soon as October to make way for a new Frozen themed ride. The report claims that Disney has offered Norway the opportunity to pay roughly $9 million to update and maintain the pavilion as a promotional platform for the country -- instead of the hit movie.

Read more from Daily Finance.

[You don't have to be Norwegian to see them skewering tourists in the news report.]

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Jeff's avatar

"Do y'all have polar bears?"

Sometimes it's really embarrassing to be an American.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Phrazy

LJEdge's avatar

Team Disney Orlando fails to understand what EPCOT truly represents. Don't do to EPCOT what you've done to Tomorrowland (i.e. Disneyfication of perfectly fine original attractions).

But, they care more about merchandise sales; it'll probably go through.

Jeff's avatar

I'm not sure what you mean. What happened to Tomorrowland? Space Mountain, Carousel of Progress, People Mover, Astro Orbiter, the Speedway, haven't changed much in decades. The Stitch thing is stupid, but Mission To Mars was so dated. Space Ranger Spin is lame too, but Laugh Floor is fantastic. Wasn't there a Circle Vision theater there before? Those are a bit dated as well.

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kpjb's avatar

Do all the countries represented in the world showcase contribute to the funding of operating those areas? That seems absurd.


Jeff's avatar

I think they do. From what I understand, China and Morocco have some of the biggest commitments.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Phrazy

OhioStater's avatar

I'm not sure how absurd that seems. I would assume having commitments from the countries also helps insure a high level of detail and truism about the culture that's represented. For some people, going to Epcot is as close as they will ever come to actually "visiting" these countries. It's a showcase.

I could be way off here, but ever since this movie hit and became the phenomenon that it did (and I have 2 daughters who are still caught up in the magic), I've had the feeling that Disney was caught just a bit off-guard as to the how popular it has become. What I mean is, it seems they were expecting Pocahontas and they got Beauty and the Beast.

And now they have this phenom on their hands, and how do they represent it at the park? Kids, and maybe some parents, probably expect Disney to at least be working on the Frozen castle replica and a new 5-star attraction by now, as unrealistic as that may be. I've heard some absurd stories of how long the lines have been to meet Elsa and Anna (and how long people have actually waited!)...and I wonder if this "solution" was the best thing they could come up with as far as a "how can we do this well but quickly".

All that said, I don't think Frozen has any place in Epcot's tour of countries, and I agree with Jeff's opening comment on this.

Last edited by OhioStater,
slithernoggin's avatar

The only a nation could be present in World Showcase is by way of substantial investment; none of them were paid for solely by Disney.

Life is something that happens when you can't get to sleep.
--Fran Lebowitz

Jeff's avatar

The cruise line is now doing stops in Norway, in large part because of Frozen. That seems like a win for Norway because Disney has opened up some tourism awareness that people may not have had before. Heck, we've considered the itineraries ourselves... they seem even more interesting than the standard Mediterranean routes.

Speaking of culture, if anyone has a right to be annoyed with the attractions in their pavilion, it's Mexico. If I were going strictly by that, I would assume that Mexicans spend all day partying, eating and drinking margaritas. And kicking Donald Duck from one scene to the next.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Phrazy

LJEdge's avatar

Jeff said:

I'm not sure what you mean. What happened to Tomorrowland? Space Mountain, Carousel of Progress, People Mover, Astro Orbiter, the Speedway, haven't changed much in decades.

I definitely agree with you here. They've kept the legacy attractions relatively the same. Even Carousel of Progress, despite its hokiness, still remains an enjoyable escape from the heat. Speedway could use an update of sorts. Mainly I was referring to Alien Encounter/Stitch but you covered that.

Space Ranger Spin is lame too, but Laugh Floor is fantastic.

Space Ranger Spin totally works if you can hold the guns. Disneyland shows the ride can work that way. I do love Laugh Floor, too. It makes for great entertainment after park close when the voice actors have fun with CMs who just got off their shifts.

Wasn't there a Circle Vision theater there before? Those are a bit dated as well.

Circle Vision's days have come and gone. There's no debate in that.

What irks me the most about Team Disney Orlando (TDO), and maybe the overall direction of creative for Stateside parks, is the giant advertisements for existing IPs. I'd like to see more original concepts from WDI.

I sort of understand tying in Disney properties in the Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. Those parks lend themselves well towards that. Last thing EPCOT needs is another giant advertisement on Spaceship Earth, a deceased popstar film, and another frozen advertisement.

TDO doesn't seem to know what to do with EPCOT. I'd like to see a turn to the original concept when the park opened in the 80s. Take out the Nemo overlay, let Captain EO fall back into the vault, get rid of Ellen, develop a new program for Mission: Space, and refocus the mini attractions for each pavilion. Return the park to the original wonder of the park.

I bet Disney is kicking themselves for not theming the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train coaster in Fantasyland to a Frozen Runaway Sled Ride instead.

Personally, I'm surprised they spent all of that money putting in more Little Mermaid and Beauty &the Beast attractions when both of those franchises were well represented at Disney Studios already.

Frozen belongs in Fantasyland, not Epcot.

Last edited by CPcyclone,

Vater's avatar

CPcyclone said:

Frozen belongs in Fantasyland, not Epcot.

Perhaps...but I seriously doubt they are kicking themselves for theming the new mine train to Seven Dwarfs and not Frozen.

rollergator's avatar

No way are you going to convince me that these two...

Can beat this guy...

Last edited by rollergator,
Jeff's avatar

CPcyclone said:

I bet Disney is kicking themselves for not theming the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train coaster in Fantasyland to a Frozen Runaway Sled Ride instead.

Considering the lines and my inability to get a Fastpass any time soon, I doubt it.

When they broke ground at Magic Kingdom, the IP phenomenon around Disney movies didn't exist. The fact is that no one has the kind of stuff to tell stories about stories they own like Disney does. It would be insane not to use that. You can view it as a money grab or whatever, but I think that's not giving them enough credit. Laugh Floor is an excellent example of this. They took a successful movie and built an attraction that 100% makes sense and expands on that universe. And for all of the crybaby nonsense that pin-trading Disney uber-nerds do about their nostalgia, this stuff is the foundation of nostalgia for younger generations that will keep the cycle going.

Yes, there is a certain purity in Epcot's World Showcase, and I get that. Heck, I like Illuminations because it isn't some remix of Disney IP (I'm looking at you, Phantas-meh-ic). But I don't think integrating Frozen into Norway is any worse than putting The Three Caballeros into Mexico or meeting Mulan, Mary Poppins, Belle, Alice or Snow White around the Lagoon.

Now Duffy The Bear... I don't know what that's about.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Phrazy

janfrederick's avatar

I'm baffled by the success. I did not like the film. I even tried watching a second time. I think Home on the Range was better. Call me a curmudgeon if you will; can I borrow that title from you for a bit Gonch? :)

"I go out at 3 o' clock for a quart of milk and come home to my son treating his body like an amusement park!" - Estelle Costanza
Lord Gonchar's avatar

I'll one-up you. I've never seen it, I don't want to see the film, no one in my family gives a crap and honestly, if it weren't for the enthusiast aspect of my life, I would have had no idea that this wasn't just another film that Disney put out and people forgot.

Funny how even a phenomenon can escape your radar when you're not actively seeking it.

Last edited by Lord Gonchar,
Jeff's avatar

I wasn't looking for it, and didn't see it until it was on home video, but honestly it's one of, if not the best musicals Disney has done. I really can't find anything wrong with it, and I'm ridiculous like that. It's really fantastic. I liked it even more when I saw it onboard the Disney Dream last spring.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Phrazy

OhioStater's avatar

Frozen is a great film. I come from a family of musical-enthusiasts, so I can relate to the over-critiquing of these types of films, and this one really is spectacular in my opinion. I'm happy my girls are so excited about it. It's cute.

I'd have to say that given a choice, Fantasyland is the place.

But it too late to turn Avatar Land into Frozen Land?

If I was a representative of Norway I would be thrilled that Disney wanted to incorporate "Frozen" into the pavilion. Maelstrom is a tired ride that is only good when compared to the awful movie at the end of it. I'm embarrassed for the cast members who have to watch the crowd walk right through that little theatre and back onto the midway.

The Mexico ride is worse, no question about it.

If people have a problem with the success of the movie then they should just let it go.

rollergator's avatar

I liked the previous dark yet informative El Rio Del Tiempo. Tres Caballeros was a remake I liked about as much as Garfield at Kennywood.

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