Girls and boys around the world – and their parents, too – are anxiously awaiting the opening of Frozen Ever After in Disney World’s ECPOT theme park. Slated for a spring 2016 opening, it will be a part of the Norwegian pavilion in the popular World Showcase area of the park. While final details haven’t been released yet, we do know that it will contain scenes inspired by the film Frozen and the animated short Frozen Fever.
The plans for a Frozen attraction were in the works before the film was even released, but with the incredible, unprecedented success of the film, those plans were accelerated. Some World Showcase fans have expressed concern that it’s inappropriate to create an attraction that’s based on a fictional place within the World Showcase, but Disney says they feel it will do nothing but boost interest in the Norway pavilion and Scandinavian culture – which is what Frozen was based on in the first place.
Those familiar with EPCOT will recognize the location of Frozen Ever After as the previous home of the attraction Maelstrom. In fact, it utilizes some of the same tracks and waterways as its predecessor. Maelstrom was closed for good on October 5, 2014 and construction on the new attraction began almost immediately.
The ride will prominently feature Audio-Animatronics utilizing the latest technology in facial animation, which uses rear-projection technology that makes the characters look much more lifelike. Savvy guests may recognize it as the same technology that was used on the very popular Seven Dwarfs Mine Train next door in the Magic Kingdom, and in Ariel’s Undersea Adventure in Disneyland. There are no songs being written specifically for the attraction, but there will be a few songs from the movie with lyrics that have been revised by the original composers specifically for the ride.
When riders first enter the queue for Frozen Ever After they’ll arrive in the summer season in Arendelle. They’ll celebrate the Winter Festival, pass through Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post, and go on to board their boats where they’ll find Sven and Olaf preparing for the festival.
On the ride itself, Grand Pabbie narrates the story of the meeting of Kristoff and Anna, the boats come around a turn to show Anna, Sven, Kristoff, and Olaf enjoying a winter scene, then on to Queen Elsa in her ice palace, through Marshmallow and his friends that were introduced in Frozen Fever, and finally to a return to Arendelle through a dramatic cloud of mist. In the final scene riders will experience an incredible fireworks finale and a send-off from Anna, Elsa, and the whole gang.
The Norway pavilion will also be home to a Royal Sommerhus. This historic Norwegian log cabin will house Anna and Elsa while they greet guests, snap photos, and sign autographs.
How far did the team at Disney go to ensure their attraction would be authentic? They traveled all the way to Norway to study both the country and its culture. No matter how guests feel about the movie, about closing Maelstrom, or what they see as a significant change to the World Showcase, there’s no question that this will be a unique experience.