Its now all clear that Disney will close the Norwegian attraction, Maelstrom, at Epcot on October 6th. It will be turned into a Frozen-ride.
As I served Disney as a Cultural Representative for the Norway pavilion for two years I came to love the Norway pavilion and how accurate it is, and since day one I loved working and living in the amazing Disney program. It has really been a life changing event for me, so I have tried to do everything in my power to make the Norwegian government step up and support the pavilion so it can become even better than it is today… Ive been in the news, I talked to several parliament members, Innovation Norway etc. to try get something going. But unfortunately there hasnt been big progress that I know of, but Norway now has a new government with a Minister that have worked in Epcot, so its brighter than it was before.
I love the Maelstrom attraction, I worked there for part of my second program, and really love how much of Norway it showcases in just under 5 minutes. To hear that its now going to turn into a Frozen ride upsets me, and I hope that Disney will take use of its amazing storytelling abilities to make the ride into a showcasing of Norwegian culture and history as well as Frozen. The work Disney did with the Stave Church gallery was quite good, it tells really about the connection between Norway and Frozen in an excellent way. If this is the kind of work that gets done to Maelstrom as well, I will be super-happy about it.
I heard that the plan is to make the old load room into more scenes, and turn unload into load and the theater should be the que area. If the theater is made into the que area (which isnt such a bad idea), I hope that it will become sort of like «The Great Movie Ride» que area, with a preshowcasing of Norwegian nature, culture and history. I certainly hope that Disney wont remove the old movie (that everyone agrees needs an update) and not replace it with something else. I know Disney does a great job with the ques and make it feel like your not waiting in line… But again, my hopes are that Disney wont remove the showcasing of the country the ride is in. I hope Disney can take use of the movie Norway offered Disney for free (Norway, powered by Nature) or make another great quality movie as a que entertainment.
Im sure that Innovation Norway will help with whatever Disney needs from them to make the ride as good as possible. I really also hope the narration of the ride will be done by a Norwegian voice and not Olaf.
For the meet and greet plans, I have told Disney about my thoughts for the location during round table meetings before. I believe Disney should use the place between Norway and Mexico where the viking ship used to be for the meet and greet, if Anna and Elsa should leave the location sometime then you will have room to do whatever else you want there. An ice-bar perhaps?
Disney did a great job on Frozen, its my favourite Disney movie. I hope that you will do the same great job when Maelstrom goes under to be replaced by Frozen. Im sorry that I have my doubts about the great work Disney does at the moment, but after seeing what the Mexico boat ride turned into I dont want Maelstrom to end up being all about «Find Olaf» and I couldnt sleep well at night if I know I didnt do enough to make sure the ride is in good hands. I hope to still find Northern lights, trolls, bunads, fjords, Norwegian houses and our rich history on my next visit to Maelstrom!
Have a magical day,