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First Look: ‘Frozen Ever After’ at Epcot

Thomas Smith

by , Editorial Content Director, Disney Parks

The story of “Frozen” has swept the hearts of people around the world, and we have been busy bringing it to life in our parks — from royal greetings with Anna and Elsa to sing-alongs to special screenings of the animated short “Frozen Fever.”

We first told you about our plans for a “Frozen” attraction in Epcot last fall and today, we’re thrilled to share a first look at what’s coming when it opens in 2016.

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“Frozen Ever After,” is 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.

We’ll have more updates to share in the future, so keep checking for details right here on the Disney Parks Blog.

Comments

  • Ill echo Thomas F’s comment – I plan on being at the opening of Port Arendelle at Tokyo DisneySEA. EPCOTs version will be “cute”, but at what cost?

  • I guarantee, even if this attraction were going in Magic Kingdom, some people would still be hateful of it.

  • The ride sounds awesome, but as it is set in a fictional country, it belongs somewhere else.

    It could have been fit into Hollywood Studios, which desperately needs more family friendly attractions. It could have been put into Fantasyland, which still has tons of unused space. It could have really been put anywhere else and fit in thematically, it does not fit into World Showcase.

  • This is so disappointing. While I think the ride concept is lovely why in the world are you doing this to the world showcase. I understand that it might not be the favorite of every preschooler but to turn it into this is just wrong.

  • All the negative remarks serve no purpose. Those of us who have been going to Disney since 1971 look forward to something new. We go to Disneyworld 3 times a week from October to May and look forward to some changes. Frozen is based on a town in Norway and is pretty close to places that exist. Nothing stays the same forever.

  • Christopher, it DOES belong in World Showcase. Regardless, Arendelle is still Norway, no matter how you slice it or dice it.

    I also already explained why Magic Kingdom is not getting the Frozen ride–MK is over-crowded and also landlocked.

  • My favourite part of Maelstrom was the trolls, so I’m really excited to see this post and all the comments!

  • I can’t believe how much hate this ride is getting. It’s Frozen! Everyone loves Frozen!
    So what if it’s not based on a real country. Why is that a first? Like Morocco is a real country. It was just made up so that Mo’Rockin had a place to play!
    So what if there will seemingly not be much of Norway left in the pavilion? Princesses are real, I saw that one was just born in London, and that’s Europe, and all of Europe is the same thing anyway!
    So what if the story of this attraction seems to not be a real story, and instead just a ride past our favorite characters? Who rides rides for stories anyway? If I want a story, I’ll turn on Reading Rainbow!
    So what if an expansion pad is being turned into a giant meet and greet? Meet and Greets are just the interactive cosplay attraction of the future, allowing fans to interact with franchise characters and build their bond with the brands they love!
    Let it Go all you h8ters, thaw your Frozen Heart! For the First Time In Forever, Disney is tearing down an existing attraction to build a new one. Maelstrom was always a bit of a Fixer Upper anyway. This place is going to be a madhouse, and who doesn’t Wanna Build a Snowman In Summer? Look deep inside think about the new ride and realize that Reindeers are better than People. I for one cannot wait for this attraction to finish and I can prove that Love is an Open Door to the new Frozen Ever After ride!

  • I love Frozen-Ever-After ride it’s going to be awesome! and I can’t wait to ride it next Year! I love Frozen!

  • this is a win/win for my family. If This ride turns out to be spectacular (and not a letdown like the little mermaid) we will have reason to keep coming back, if not it will at least gather crowds and make wait times less for other attractions for us. My children are at a point where they have been frozened out and groan when let it go comes on in various forms at disney parks.

  • “I applaud Disney Parks blog for leaving the negative comments up–a step in the right direction.”

    Christine–
    Contrary to popular belief, Disney Parks blog has ALWAYS allowed negative comments, provided of course that they are not inappropriate. As some examples; There are plenty of negative comments on the announcement post for Avatar Land. As well as the post about California Adventure’s Disney Dance Crew show in 2010 (the show was ultimately short-lived.

    Incidentally, there are in fact some Disney fans sites that delete comments if they are not praising their rumor posts.

    I just wish that Disneyland Resort in California would get a Frozen ride.

  • Sigh… I’ve gotten over the whole Frozen in WS thing, but I’m never going to be able to ride this work of art because of the capacity issue. 900 per hour? Really? Pirates has 3200 per hour and has 30-45 minute waits, and this is Frozen. FP+ won’t work either, because I don’t plan to stay up till midnight to get it, supposing I do pay the outrageous prices for a Disney hotel room. Oh well…

  • Are people really complaining that Frozen is a fictional tale, but the trolls were not? The whole movie was based on a fairy tale that originated from and was inspired by that region. The Frozen trolls will take part in the ride. Everyone needs to not complain that the ride is in the wrong park, it fits in the Norway pavilion just fine.

  • I agree with Christine. My thought/fear was that this would be like The Little Mermaid in new Fantasyland or the Nemo attraction in Epcot. This has to be spectacular or it is going to be hated because of the nature of the World Showcase.

    Speaking of…any chance El Rio Del Tiempo will be redone soon?

  • From what I am reading about the ride I hope one day that Disneyland will get this send I will never get over to WDW.

  • We may need to accept the fact that the many parts of Disney Parks we adore are financed by the occasional slide towards commercialism over authenticity. It’s a very tough market right now, and this attraction is demographically smart. Let’s not forget the attraction sponsorship heritage that lives at the heart of Disney Parks. While the commerce may have changed a bit, the commercial “DNA” remains.

  • I was really hoping and praying that I would be able to ride this attraction when it opened. I love the movie Frozen and think it’s perfect for Epcot in Norway! A new attraction there is greatly needed for kids of all ages and abilities to enjoy. But now that the track is not being changed at all I’m very sad! So sad! The kids who could really enjoy this and need to see it won’t ever get that chance! I don’t think Disney will have a wheelchair accessible boat with that drop/hill still in there! Do you know how many kids/adults can not transfer out of their wheelchair? What happened to making the experience of Disney fair, accessible and inclusive for all your guests? :'(

  • I’m really excited for this. Please bring something like this to Disneyland also! The point of World Showcase is to introduce different cultures to children. There is no way that the pavilion can teach children a full understanding of a country, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try to spark a child’s interest. Having Frozen associated with Norway will increase children’s interest and help them remember it. The country’s sponsorship of World Showcase was supposed to be a trade off for tourism advertising, and having Frozen in the pavilion will increase tourism to Norway. Look at all the travel to Norway advertising that is present on this blog just in the last few posts. Disney is encouraging families to travel to Norway to really be immersed in the actual place. I’m sure the tourism board of Scotland would be very excited if the UK pavilion opened a Brave ride with an exhibit about Scottish culture. All of these negative posters are upset about the amount of the culture represented in the pavilion, but really it was always a small amount. The replacement of some with the introduction of fictional characters will lead to a very large increase in the children’s interest. I think we all know that Norway will be the most popular pavilion once this opens. Even if not every child who visits pays attention to the cultural exhibit, there will be so many more children visiting than before that overall more children will learn about the country. The government of Norway previously sponsored the pavilion partially, but stopped sponsoring the pavilion a while ago, so obviously they didn’t see the old pavilion as being valuable enough to pay to update. Many countries didn’t support the World Showcase financially and did not help design the attractions with what they wanted to showcase about their culture. Morocco is the exception, they actually sent artisans from Morocco to build the pavilion and sponsored it. Norway was the only other country to sponsor their pavilion but more money was contributed by Norwegian companies. All the other pavilions were sponsored only by companies from the respective countries.
    I think this move overall will lead to more children learning about the culture of Norway, so there is no need for people to be so upset about this. I think the real reason some people are upset however, is because they don’t like to see anything at WDW change.

  • Anybody, that has read this blog for any length of time, knows where this Disney purist and perfectionist stands!

  • I was going to make a comment, but #58 by Scott from IL was better than anything I could come ever come up with.

    Well done, sir.

  • I really don’t mind this even though I enjoyed Maelstrom. I do hope that the Disney company does not loose site of what World showcase is though and whatever additions continue to educate people on how magnificent other countries around the world are.

    Now if only this much attention was given to the empty plots of land that surround EPCOT and new pavilions with actual attractions get built. The other pavilions that have circle vision movies are so dated that it is sad to watch them.

    If more Disney branded additions are considered maybe they could be added to the existing pavilions for example the ratatouille ride at the back of the France pavilion at least that movie showcases the country and it would add another attraction for families to ride

  • to reply to the above comments about the change to the Norwegian Pavilion. the Maelstrom was a favorite ride of my entire family, most of our family blood is mostly Norwegian and we take great pride in that (our house decor, jokes we make,the way we talk, ect.) and every time we go to Disney world we always go on the maelstrom and it is my personal favorite ride at Epcot. But lets face the facts, I personally have never been on the Maelstrom and had to wait any more than 5 minuets, (yes it got more popularity when it was announced to close but only went up to about a 1/2 hour line) and the Norwegian pavilion is extremely lacking on any kind of Norwegian merchandise (we know because that is always one of the things we make sure to get but we very rarely find) but with frozen and its popularity this is a great opportunity to not only bring more people to the Norwegian pavilion, but also learn more about Norway in a different light. I am not saying that I speak for all Norwegians by ANY means but I feel that this will be a great opportunity for people to learn more about the country their favorite movie is from. I am also not saying that I want the entire Norwegian section should be frozen, and I’ll forever miss the Maelstrom and it will forever live in my heart, but, this is not only a great idea for Disney but I think it will bring more younger fans to learn more about Norway. And so far with what I’ve seen with the planing I think their doing a great job (I do admit I have some complaints) but over all i think their doing a great job. Thank you for listening to my opinion.

  • A Frozen ride absolutely makes sense in WDW. I just strongly dislike it’s placement in World Showcase. World Showcase deserves more, and the Frozen franchise deserves more.

    What’s even more puzzling is that the capacity increases at Soarin’ and Toy Story Mania solve a problem that is going to be recreated in spades at this new attraction. Maelstrom was a low capacity boat ride and Kathy Mangum indicated in the corresponding Wall Street Journal article that there would be few track changes. It doesn’t sound like there will be a capacity increase over Maelstrom which means waits at the Frozen Ever After are going to be ridiculous.

    I really wish they had incorporated this into Fantasyland, or even Hollywood Studios. Give it a high capacity attraction that will drive attendance as opposed to a low capacity attraction that will drive complaints of long standby lines at guest relations.

  • Here’s why Frozen Ever After is a good idea:

    1. Epcot does not have enough attractions for families with young children right now, and families with young children should be able enjoy a full day at each of the four parks.

    2. Maelstrom was dated, not particularly popular, and not a draw to the park.

    3. People love Frozen, so they will be thrilled to finally visit Arendelle for themselves.

    4. The Norway pavillion celebrates the culture of Scandinavia, and Frozen is based on a Scandinavian legend. It’s Disney + Scandinavia, in the Scandinavian pavilion at Disney.

    The only major concern is the ride capacity. Hopefully there is a plan to make it higher than Maelstrom somehow. (Also, I second the earlier comment about *really* hoping for disability access. My father would love to ride this, but he has trouble stepping down into boats.)

  • Like so many others, I grew up alongside the initial development of Walt Disney World, with my first visits in the 1970s, when the Magic Kingdom was the only attraction. I fondly recall trains running through Fort Wilderness, the birds of Discovery Island, quiet strolls through Walt Disney World Village, and the anticipation and excitement of EPCOT Center in its first year and the subsequent addition of new pavilions in Future World and World Showcase.

    The theme and spirit of EPCOT was always kind of different — part educational, part cultural, but all Disney. And Maelstrom was always a weird but fun attraction, a travelogue hijacked by fantasy, a backwards trip past bears, trolls, and oil rigs, and its “pre-show” at the end of the ride. While eccentric, it was a great fit for the unique vibe that Epcot offered.

    I understand that tastes change with time and that no Disney park is meant to be preserved at any moment in history. I liked the cool, informative, and immersive feel that Epcot once possessed but also know that it isn’t for everyone. (In those early years, Epcot had the reputation of being boring.) I understand the rationale for and appeal of adding Nemo to the Living Seas, Remy to France, and the Three Caballeros to El Rio del Tiempo. And a Frozen attraction seems to make sense in this regard. (I’ll be right there in line with everyone else when it opens.)

    But I will still relish the remaining opportunities to enjoy the parts of Epcot that harken back to the 1980s. Spaceship Earth, Living with the Land, Spaceship Earth, The American Adventure, the China 360 film, and the World Showcase nations with no films or rides — these simpler, slower attractions are nostalgic, perhaps, but also still inspire.

  • James’ wife here – We truly missed Maelstrom this May when we came on our yearly trip.
    Admittedly Disney does things right and I am sure it will be amazing, I just wish you could’ve found a way to keep Maelstrom and develop Frozen into Norway.
    So add more to World Showcase like in Paris the Ratatouille ride?

    <3 WDW!

  • A few facts to keep in mind as this discussion progresses:

    Hans Christian Andersen is from Denmark (not Norway).

    If you’ve ever read “The Snow Queen,” pretty much the only similarity between that and Frozen are that they have snow queens in them. In Andersen’s version, the snow queen is the villain.

    Trolls are an authentic folkloric tradition in Norway, and were presented in the Maelstrom in that way: as representations of “stories of old,” native to that region and dating back hundreds of years.

    The potential confusion on these points speaks to the very concern about putting Frozen in Norway: that it will create cultural confusion rather than enhancing cultural knowledge and exchange, which is supposed to be the point of World Showcase.

    Don’t get me wrong. I am a FAN of Frozen. I think it is a brilliantly adapted contemporary story with significant themes that speak to today’s youth…and adults! Plus, it’s fun! I look forward to a Frozen ride, and I’m glad we’re getting one. I just wish it were located elsewhere.

  • Norway forever, Frozen never!

    Sorry, I couldnt help it. Always liked the Maelstrom but looking forward to seeing what Disney does with this. It may alleviate the lines at Soarin’ and Test Track. Disney needs to add a few more like this to Epcot (and the Studios). The new Little Mermaid and Snow White rides at Magic Kingdom are a lot of fun (although Snow White is way too short).

  • If you don’t want Frozen at Norway, should they get rid of Sleeping Beauty and the princess at Akershus? I am not sure any of them are Scandinavian. (Bring on the Hakarl.) I think the Norwegians are happy with the increase in tourism since the release of Frozen. And yes, I would really like to see Ratatouille in France.

  • WOOO HOOO. Couldn’t be more excited for this!!! Is there an estimated month of opening?

  • I personally feel as though the ride does not belong in world showcase at all.
    Reason#1. Frozen is a very loose adaptation of the story of the Snow Queen, much like any other Disney princess movie. Any ride based on the princess movies should stay in fantasy land. After all, you don’t see Snow Whites scary adventures being moved to Germany; and the Be Our Guest restaurant isn’t located in France. There is a difference between Disney lore and Cultural lore and World Showcase is supposed to represent the Cultural side of things.
    Reason#2. If the only thing this ride does is showcase stuff from Frozen then I can save myself a couple hundred dollars and watch the movie at home. Attractions that are unique to Disney Parks, meaning they didn’t come from movies, are the real reasons to go to the parks in the first place. Sure most of the rides are the same since the last time I rode them but unlike movies I can watch as many times as I want at home, I can only truly (youtube doesn’t count) experience the rides at the parks. Now I’m not saying that there shouldn’t be rides made from movies, but of all the films made recently by Disney Frozen is the last one that I think deserves anything right now. Big Hero 6 on the other hand totally deserves something awesome like a ride.
    Reason#3. Anything that replaces Maelstrom will never be as good as Maelstrom. Unless it’s an updated Maelstrom.

  • I sure wish they would leave the fantasy out of World Showcase and EPCOT all together… That stuff is supposed to be in Magic Kingdom…

  • What an interesting debate. As a frequent visitor to Disneyland Paris a big ‘yes’ to Ratatouille coming to the France pavilion – it is a fantastic ride using a system that has not yet been used at WDW. So much of the visual inspiration for ‘Frozen’ the movie is from Norway (as opposed to the Han Christian Anderson tale which is a completely separate issue) that I think it will fit right in at Norway in World Showcase. There is a bigger issue at Epcot and that is that so much of what is there is feeling rather dated. Energy and Imagination are both badly in need of major renovations. What Epcot needs is a new E Ticket.

  • Trinna- Exactly: If Disney were to put the Little Mermaid in Norway, thinking “Denmark, Norway, close enough”, Denmark would RAGE. You don’t mess with Andersen or the Mermaid in Copenhagen.
    Just because Frozen “wasn’t really” Andersen’s Snow Queen doesn’t give license to just throw a bit of geocultural sloppiness onto what the company management thought was the gravy train of the day.
    (Although it could also be said that Aladdin and Jasmine didn’t come from Morocco, but the country hasn’t complained.)

    Not to mention, the attraction only seems to exist just because the overenthusiastic fans, who can never think up any attractions except movie-based dark-rides, wanted some permanent monument to the movie at the park as some kind of validation of their movie’s “immortality”, and thought “Hey, how about Epcot, it’s sorta like Norway!”
    That’s nice, but it’s not always reliable–remember when we all “demanded” a Stitch ride in Tomorrowland?–and it still doesn’t shout down the argument that Frozen would fit better somewhere more respectful, so that the fans can have their moment of glory.

  • (And yes, Matthew, since you asked, I am not the only one who would dearly LOVE to see them kick Belle and Aurora out of Akershus. Back when it was an actual World Showcase restaurant, it was my favorite at Epcot, and I’ve been unable to go back there for ten years.
    The only reason we have princesses there now is an unfortunate confusion at the time that sent the popularity on the Magic Kingdom Castle breakfasts skyrocketing, which may not be the same now that we have a free meet area for the princesses.)

  • The frozen battle has been exhausted above so my only comment is this….I really wish we would start getting some new experiences by adding to the ride count instead of sacrificing nostalgia/originals. Plussing/reimagining is a Disneyism and very welcome/expected. Gutting/Replacing to capitalize on a popular franchise is not. As it moves closer to having to take out a second mortgage to visit the World, let’s at least give the public more to do ; )

  • Disappear, disappear!

  • They need to bring back the REAL school bread … not the smaller, mass-produced one they replaced it with a few years ago. The original was awesome.

  • 1. The Magic Kingdom Park — A park full of adventure, American nostalgia, a utopian future, and a fantastical land where princesses reign.

    2. Epcot — A park hosting the latest in technological innovations to spark the imagination for what’s to come to the world that is showcased in array of pavilions that transport you to actual places.

    3. Disney’s Hollywood Studios — A park that once promised to show you how movies were made and entertain you in the process.

    4. Animal Kingdom Park — A park with a heavy emphasis on the negative effects that mankind has on the environment but a hopeful outlook on conservation efforts.

    I love Frozen. I saw it in the theater six times with my daughter, including the sing-along version. We have the DVD, dolls, Frozen jewelry and slippers. We waited with anticipation for the short film before the new Cinderella movie. We’ve met Anna and Elsa in the Magic Kingdom, waved to them in the Festival of Fantasy Parade, and sung along with them at the show in Hollywood Studios. I’ll no doubt be up at midnight 60 days in advance making a grab for a FastPass to this new attraction.

    BUT, given the above choices, which park’s theming and storytelling makes the most sense for plopping the Frozen attraction? There’s no question where it really belongs, but Disney had to make a financial decision and break from the original programming of the World Showcase. If only Frozen had come out five years ago before the New Fantasyland broke ground, and we’d probably be spared the disappointment that is The Little Mermaid attraction or the Storybook Circus area.

    I hope that whatever country expansions come to The World Showcase, that first, it’s a country from the Southern Hemisphere, and second, it doesn’t have to fit with the synergies of an animated movie that could overshadow the actual country like Frozen will do to the Norway pavilion.

  • No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no.

  • Will the same movie still be there at the end?

  • I envision it being Maelstorm with a Frozen overlay. So it should be good. I don’t mind Disney using their movie IP to enhance attractions like The seas. I’m hoping Inside Out brings back the Wonders of Life pavilion. I’d love to see Body Wars back and the movie can replace the Cranium Command movie.

  • “Man, where were all these doom & gloom voices back when Lion King was popular? How many people would have complained about WDW became Lion-ified when that movie got 2 parades, 3 attractions, and eventually an entire theme park based around that one (popular) film.
    Read what is being said. Major elements of Norway’s culture will remain (even be beefed up a bit). All that’s going away was a much-dated attraction that was most notable for its heckling value and how disjointed its story was.”

    Jeffery from FL– Excellent points.

  • Frozen was a great film and I loved it. But I have to agree with most, I think this belonged in another park. I think it fit perfectly with DHS–that already has been having all kinds of Frozen activities–and needs some updates badly!

    I thought Maelstrom was really fun and will not rush over to this ride, but I know lots of little girls that will. My 11 year old daughter though is way over Frozen; it seems to be overdone in a lot of ways.

  • To quote the trolls from the Maelstrom Frozen needs to “disappear, disappear”.

  • I really wish that people would be more respectful of the movie AND it’s fans.

  • I think some people are being blinded by nostalgia. I have seen videos of the Maelstorm ride, and I’m sorry to say, I was not impressed. The ride was very disjointed, and the storyline was very weak. The biggest highlight of the ride was the big drop in the flume.

    Epcot is the most “adult” of all the WDW parks, I think that is the reason why the have tried to add more Disney characters to it over the years.

  • Eric (from MA)–It was not the fans who choose where the ride is going, it was Walt Disney Imagineering. Please do not blame the fans.

  • Susan– Frozen is not just for “little girls”. It is a film for everyone, regardless of gender or age.

  • Correction to my previous comment, I meant “chose” not choose.

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