By now I am pretty sure that EVERYONE that is a Disney fan, as well as many people that are not, has heard that a ride based on the tremendous hit Frozen is replacing Maelstrom in Epcot's Norway Pavilion.
If you have avoided this news somehow, it was officially posted on the Disney Parks Blog last Friday:
Rumors of this and other changes to the Norway Pavilion have been swirling for months, and I honestly assumed they would come to fruition, so when the announcement was officially made, I really didn't have a visceral reaction.
Then I read a couple of terrific articles posted earlier this week by my friend Lisa on her wonderful Living a Disney Life: Empty Nesting with Pixie Dust blog concerning this very topic, and the changes and ramifications it could have for Epcot's World Showcase, and it got me thinking.
My favorite thing about Epcot is World Showcase. I enjoy just eating and drinking as I walk around taking in the ambience of the countries, strolling in and out of the shops.
And, as I've written about in the past, one of my favorite things to do on a Disney Vacation is to take a break in La Cava del Tequila in the Mexico Pavilion and then ride Gran Fiesta Tour afterwards.
Bringing a ride like Frozen into the World Showcase sort of goes against what I believe was the original intent of what this section of the park is/was supposed to be about, showcasing international cultures and customs.
Saying this, I'm not really offended by what Disney is claiming they have planned for the Norway Pavilion.
I believe that Disney could appease purists as well as fans of the film by simply having the popular characters from the film take guests on a tour of Norway, which is what I believe the aforementioned Gran Fiesta Tour in Mexico does wonderfully with the characters from the Three Caballaros.
Disney has already done an excellent job incorporating Norwegian culture and it's inspiration on Frozen with it's Norsk Kultur Display housed in the Stave Church, which we had the opportunity to see in January.
Strictly featuring the customs and cultures of Norway is clearly not what Disney has in mind however, according to the Disney Parks Blog article, which states the new attraction will take guests to Arendalle and immerse them in favorite moments from the film. There will also be a new greeting area where guests can meet Anna and Elsa.
As for the loss of Maelstrom, I am a bit sad, mostly from a nostalgia standpoint (I don't know how many times I've said "You are not the first to pass this way" and my wife's favorite hidden Mickey is in the queue) but regardless of which direction Disney goes with the ride, as with the impending Avatarland in Disney Animal Kingdom, I am optimistic that Imagineering will do a great job, and this will be a huge hit when all is said and done.