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Maelstrom Marks 25 Years of Sending Guests ‘Back! Over the Falls!’ at Epcot

Jennifer Fickley-Baker

by , Editorial Content Manager, Walt Disney World Resort

Today is a special milestone for one Epcot attraction: Maelstrom in the Norway Pavilion turns 25.

The attraction is a journey into Norwegian culture, history and legend that whisks guests through enchanted swamps, eerie fjords and swirling seas. When it first opened in 1988, the attraction became the first (and still is the only) attraction at Epcot to feature a flume drop – of 28 feet, to be precise.

Maelstrom Marks 25 Years of Sending Guests 'Back! Over the Falls!'

In honor of today’s milestone, here are five fun facts about the attraction.

  • The ride vehicle is a 10th-century warrior’s longship with a dragon head bow.
  • During the journey, guests pass through a scene that features ancient wall carvings called “petroglyphs.”
  • One scene features a yellow-eyed “Nokken” or river troll. (He’s the figure in the bottom left in the photo above.)
  • The attraction’s polar bear rears up to measure more than 10 feet tall.
  • The attraction’s film, “Norway – The Film,” was shot with the same camera that filmed “Lawrence of Arabia.”


  • David made me think of something else I love about Norway’s attaction — the smell of the cologne in the shop at the exit. That’s the smell of Epcot for me and my husband. Ahhh…

  • Norway Pavilion is the most underrated part of World Showcase – and by far my favorite. Erin and I are in agreement; the hairstyles in the 80’s movie are the best, and I love to take my time exiting the ride so I can experience the little village and read all the windows. BUT, I can’t believe no one mentioned the BEST part about Maelstrom: Walking out the door, across the courtyard and getting a school bread from Kringla!

  • I love this attraction! I love everything about it, from the crazy retro movie, to the awesome backwards waterfall, to the little lights on the oil rigs, but what I love most is the little coastal Norwegian town! I can’t get off that ride without stopping to take some pictures and to listen to the couple in the building on the right speak in Norwegian to each other. The details are amazing! I wish I were there right now!

  • Jennifer, I thought that the film at the end of the attraction was entitled “The Spirit of Norway”? That’s the name it’s listed as on the Walt Disney World Website.

  • Nice! This is one of my favorite EPCOT rides and it reminds me of the park’s heyday. I really wish there were more attractions like this in World Showcase.

  • This is one of my top 5 favorite attractions in Walt Disney World and it’s perfect. Please don’t change a thing!

  • I grew up with Disney and always liked it, but it is this attraction that made me a true Disney-phile. It was our 2010 trip to WDW with DW’s family, where we went to Epcot and rode Maelstrom to start the first full day. I was so impressed with the details, storytelling and immersiveness, and thought to myself, if Disney does a smaller ride like this so well, they really know what they’re doing! 😀 Congrats on 25 years Maelstrom!

  • Was it my active 11 year old imagination or when this ride opened, wasn’t it also a big deal as the first East coast Disney park attraction that got guests wet (before Splash Mountain)? And originally you got soaked on this ride to the point either ponchos were sold or offered?

  • Love the Maelstrom. Looking forward to the inevitable facelift when a certain God of Thunder gets added. Admittedly, that may be a while, but I’m patient. 🙂

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