RIP Maelstrom – A High Seas Norwegian Adventure 1988-2014

«You are not the first to pass this way, nor shall you be the last.»

25 years and over 125 million Guests later, the Guests and Casts riding the attraction today will certainly be the last to pass this way… I started writing this at 8.10PM Orlando time, and I know that every second I use on this posting leads to the infinite end of Maelstrom. It gets me sad, I thought that this post could be a sort of tribute and goodbye to Maelstrom from me.

Maelstrom opened up on the 5th of July 1988, completing the opening of the Norway pavilion. It was suppose to open up along with the rest of the pavilion (soft opening May 6th, official opening by the King June 3th) but major construction errors delayed the plans. Maelstrom is a unique attraction, cause it was the first attraction Disney ever did that went forward, backwards and forwards again, but the biggest error that delayed the opening was that in the 28ft. drop; you either got soaked or fell into the North Sea. The reporter from the state television channel was among those falling into the water during the official opening.

That Norway was going to include a boatride, was clear from the early plans. The Disney Imagineers thought out different concepts, like a full on troll ride (which the Sherman brothers were going to make songs for) or a viking quest to the rainbow leading to Valhalla. The Norwegian sponsors wanted to showcase more of Norway than just trolls and vikings and give Disney what they wanted to see in the ride. A research team from Disney was invited to Norway to see our country and all its diversities, and the result is Maelstrom; a story of the past history and mythology leading into the future. The whole pavilion was designed with one main purpose; showcasing the «Spirit of Norway».

Willard Scott: Official opening and first ride of Maelstrom
The story of developing Maelstrom, by Paul Torrigino
A very detailed video of Maelstrom, from different POV and the movie
You are not the first to pass this way, but you will be the last…
1990 Maelstrom ride and movie
Last moments of Maelstrom, last ride and last movie

Maelstrom, gone but not forgotten!
All photos taken by Alexander Sjursaether (unless otherwise stated) and can be used freely for non-commercial reasons if credited the photographer.

When you enter the que area of Maelstrom, you are in a great hall celebrating the spirit of exploration and history. I believe I seen original schematics naming it «Spirit of Norway Hall». There used to be a picture of Leiv Eiriksson when you reach the big room, this was removed of uncertain reasons around 2000. But there is also a great mural of the world and Norwegian explorations, from the vikings to modern days. The mural behind the loading area shows Norway history from the early stone-age days to a modern society with oil and cultural identity.

Some persons working on the Maelstrom project:
Designer: Bob Kurzweil             Designer: Randy Carter           Tops at Imagineering: Marty Sklar and Randy Bright             Head Ride Engineer: Dave Van Wyk
Concept illustrations: Joe Rohde            Modelling/Production Designer: Paul Torrigino
Show Set: Maureen Sullivan         Sculpting: Peter Kermode
Figure Finishing: Helena Hutchinson      Special Effects Department: Jim Mulder

Heres one of the original scripts from Maelstrom:
«The guests board miniature Viking Longships to travel through a cave full of ancient Norwegian Petroglyphs, where they are introduced to the Spirit of Norway. The spirit beckons them to follow and discover the true Norway.
YOU ARE NOT THE FIRST TO PASS THIS WAY..
Now as they stare into Odin’s Eye as the lights and haze start spinning around the guests quickly find themselves transported back into the time of the Vikings.
NOR SHALL YOU BE THE LAST…THOSE WHO SEEK THE SPIRIT OF NORWAY FACE PERIL AND ADVENTURE…BUT MORE OFTEN FIND BEAUTY AND CHARM..

WE HAVE ALWAYS LIVED WITH THE SEA…SO LOOK FIRST TO THE SPIRIT OF THE SEAFARER..

As they enter the Viking Forest

LONG AGO, NORWAY WAS A LAND OF VIKINGS…THAT WAS THE BEGINNING OF OUR LOVE FOR THE SEA.

Then they enter a Viking Village and they watch as a Viking Longship of ages past prepare for an adventurous voyage.

VIKING VILLAGE (TRANSLATED)

VIKING WOMAN:

Are you sure Eric is ready for this voyage?

VIKING FATHER:

Don’t worry, Frida, I’ll tend to the boy. I know how special a first sailing is.

VIKING BOY:

Father, is it true there are sea monsters who can swallow ships whole?

VIKING FATHER:

I’ve yet to meet the likes of one

VIKING WORKMAN ON GROUND:

I remember my first sea voyage…

VIKING WORKMAN IN BOAT:

And your first sea monster, no doubt

VIKING WOMAN:

Erik, don’t forget your rucksack

VIKING WORKMAN IN BOAT:

Frida, you fuss too much. It’s here by me. I’ll see it stowed before we put to sea.

As the mighty Viking Coastguardsman blows his horn, the spirit then warns of the Trolls, called the “Hulderfolk”, the hidden people of Norway.

THERE ARE THOSE WHO SEE NORWAY’S SPIRIT VEILED IN A LAND OF FORESTS AND MYSTERY; WHERE TROLLS STILL PROWL THE WATERS EDGE

The boats continue into a dark, foggy area where sinister shapes lurk in shadows around a still pool. Suddenly, the huge head of a River Troll rises from the water. A Three-Headed Troll appears from the shadows on the shoreline and casts troll magic over the boat.

TROLL COUNTRY 

TROLL HEAD #1

WHAT’S THIS? HOW DARE YOU COME HERE?

TROLL HEAD #2

INVADERS! 

TROLL HEAD #1

STOP! THIS IS TROLL COUNTRY!

TROLL HEAD #3

LOOK AWAY! BEGONE!

TROLL HEAD #1

I’LL CAST THE SPELL! 

TROLL HEAD #3

YES! YES! 

TROLL HEAD #1

YOU’LL DISAPPEAR!

TROLL HEAD #2

DISAPPEAR! DISAPPEAR!

TROLL HEAD #1

BACK! BACK! OVER THE FALLS! (LAUGHING)

This causes the small craft to swing in a different direction. The little boats move backward out of the swamp and down the first drop, free from the dangers of the hungry trolls.

BEFORE RECORDED TIME, NORWAY’S SPIRIT ROAMED THE SEAS OF THE FAR NORTH, AND BEYOND

It becomes cold and wintry, and artic wildlife, such as polar bears and puffins can be seen. The little ships escape a confrontation with a huge polar bear, then pick up speed as they enter raging rapids.

TODAY, NORWAY’S SPIRIT STILL THUNDERS IN HER GREAT FJORDS

The boats finally slow and move past the birch groves of a mighty fjord, then nearly topple backward over a roaring waterfall. At the last instant, however, they are diverted an ancient stone troll.

ROCK TROLL:

HMM…WHAT’S THIS? HOW DARE YOU COME THIS VAY! DOWN TO THE NORTH SEA WITH YOU! (LAUGHING)

The current swings the boats about and the grand vista of Geiranger Fjord, with its famous overhanging rock, is revealed for the first time.

The boats drift forward, passing beneath the rock, then plunge head down a second, even steeper drop than the first. Unexpectedly, they are cast into the fury of a raging gale ripping through the Norwegian North Sea. The boats are tossed and tipped by the force of the storm. Lightning flashes and thunder cracks the heavens open. A towering oil production platform stands strong and silent against the wind and sea. The little Longships move around it and the Spirit of Norway adds.

NORWAY’S SPIRIT HAS ALWAYS BEEN, WILL ALWAYS BE ADVENTURE

The boats then sail into a calm harbor located on the south coast of Norway. A small sailboat is moored at dockside.

The small boats land at the harbor’s dock and the guests walk from the boat to the center of the village.

A village storyteller begins entertaining the guests with tales of his native land. Silhouettes of the village people can be seen in the windows of their homes. Traces of local conversations can be overheard and the personality of Norway begins to emerge. When a dozen boats have arrived and guests disembarked, the finale of the show begins. Four doors located at the rear of the village open up to allow guests to pass through into a theater.»

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Om Alexander Sjursæther

This is a blog about my life as a Cultural Representative at the Norwegian Pavillion in Epcot 2011.
Dette innlegget ble publisert i Uncategorized. Bokmerk permalenken.

4 svar til RIP Maelstrom – A High Seas Norwegian Adventure 1988-2014

  1. Tilbaketråkk: Happy Reads + Recap: 10/12/2014 - This Happy Place Blog

  2. Tilbaketråkk: A Pep Talk & Lots of Norway | Happy Reads & Recap - This Happy Place Blog

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  4. Tilbaketråkk: Frozen Ever After and EPCOT’s New World - Tomorrow Society

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