Today I found out that Disney and Norway just a few days ago signed a contract to promote Norway tourism with the coming Disney Frozen movie which premieres November 27 this year.
Its no doubt that the filmation of Frozen, based on Danish H.C. Andersen´s story «Snow Queen», is inspired and set to act out in Norway. The Disney film team (which also is behind the movies Pocahontas, Tarzan, Princess and the Frog, Tangled and Wreck It Ralph) had about a week tour in Norway last year to get inspiration to the movie, and after that trip they changed alot of the scenes and some story to fit into a Norwegian setting. You will see buildings from some cities in Norway, Norwegian talking trolls, Norwegian fjords, viking ships, stave churches, lutefisk and Samish joik.
It also seems like the main character in Frozen, Anna, will become a member of the Disney Princess lineup and host a Meet and Greet in the Norway pavilion store Puffin´s Roost.
The agreement signed just a few days ago between Innovention Norway (former Tourist Board which was Norways offical presence in the Norway pavilion until 2002 when Norway cut the funding.) and Disney is hoped to increase the tourist flow and marketing of Norway as a destination in the long run.
The director of tourism at Innovention Norway, Per-Arne Tuftin, says:
«- In the time coming there will be many exiting activities both in Norway and abroad, linked to the promotion of Frozen. Our goal is to use the film as a good starting point to create activities that can give a long term payback for Norway as a tourist-destination.»
Does this give any hope for the Norwegian involvence in the pavilion?
Earlier, Innovention Norway has been pretty negative towards using any resources on the Norway pavilion. Earlier this year they also turned down my application for updated tourist infomation in the pavilion, which would not cost much at all. The answer I got was that: «We will not support any scale improvements for the Norway pavilion.»
In 2011 Tuftin wrote a blog post about what should be done to the Norway pavilion, he stated that:
«Our people in the USA has come to the conclusion that its not profitable to use money to market Norway as a tourist destination towards the guests at Epcot.» «We are always evaluating the relation between the use of money and the results.»
As I have written about earlier, Disney and Norway have been fighting about the movie-issue for years. Disney says Norway should pay, Norway says Disney should pay since they own and operate the pavilion. Norway has offered Disney to use Innovention Norway´s official Norway promotion video for free, but Disney have refused and insist on making the movie themselves. In 2006 the Norwegian government promised to do something about the movie, but now their response is that its on Innovention Norway´s hand and the government wont do anything.
Maybe this new movie which hopefully is going to be a hit is able to change Innovention Norway´s thoughts on the Norway pavilion? We can only hope. On monday its also parliament election in Norway, and two of the opposition parties (Social Liberal Party and Progress Party) is for using money on a new movie, and the current government seems to be loosing this election… So maybe a new government will be able to fix this issue if Innovention Norway still dont change their minds about updating the pavilion….