Maelstrom 25 years!

Today, July 5th, marks the 25th anniversary of the high seas Norwegian adventure Maelstrom.

The opening of Norway and preview of Maelstrom 1988

Maelstrom is one of my favorite Disney attractions and I love working in the place that gives the Guests so much of Norway in just under 5 minutes. I won´t be working today, so  no birthdaybutton Maelstrom for me…. 😦

So heres some Maelstrom history:
Bob Kurzwell was the designer of the Maelstrom-project, while Randy Carter was the producer. These along with Marty Sklar and Randy Bright did most of the negotiations with the Norwegian sponsors, which in the end led to the great Maelstrom ride.

The plan from the beginning was to have a boat ride that would be unique as it would go both forwards and backwards, which had never been done before. Bob had designed the ride to be about the fantasy of trolls and they even had a meeting with the Sherman brothers (who is behind a lot of Disney music) to make a song for the ride. The Norwegian sponsors did not want Norway to be represented just with trolls, they specifically wanted: Vikings, a fishing village, polar bears, a fjord, an oil rig, and yes, maybe a troll or two.

They ended up with the time travel idea, to take the Guests from the early Norway till the present Norway. I know some Guests get confused about it, but when explained it makes sense…

I really love the Maelstrom ride, and the ride and pavilion has gotten some work done on it to make it better, a post about the stuff been done to the ride and pavilion will come within the next few days!!! 🙂

– Maelstrom was originally called SeaVenture, but right before the opening changed name to Maelstrom.
– The Imagineers looked at a tesla coil to provide real lightening, but as water and electricity is not a good match the plans were dropped.
– Maelstrom did not open with the rest of the pavilion as there was a fault in the design leading the Guests to either get SOAKED or fall out of the boat, which happened to the Norwegian television reporter covering the opening of the pavilion.

SeaVenture Mural painting Troll finishing

Look, its white!

Look, its white!

Unload model Early load model First boat Upramp wall Village construction

Infront of Maelstrom during construction.

Infront of Maelstrom during construction.

Check out these pages for more information about the construction and plans for Maelstrom from Paul Torrigino:
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.


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One week of Magic

Yeah, I know Im late posting things on this blog. But the last week has been crazy, and I did not have time or energy to sit down with the computer, so Ill do it today, on my day off. So today its actually been one week since I arrived my Disney program, and so far I love it more than I thought I would already. Here´s a little summary of the week:

Day 1:
Arrived at Vista Way Welcome Center to be checked into housing and my program, ended up at Vista Way as I hoped with two Mexicans, two Frenchs and one British guy from my last program. They are all great people and we get along good.

Day 2:
This day we signed a lot of papers and had introduction to housing rules, some basic ground rules for our program.

Day 3:
More paperwork-day.
In the evening we had throw in at Santa Fe, which is walking distance from Vista.
Throw in is a party for the new people arriving on their program, it was fun.

Day 4:

Day 5:
Traditions! Disney´s introduction class for all new Cast Members (since its more than a year since my last program I had to do it again…). We learn about the history behind Walt Disney and the company we will be a part of. Its a long program, but surely performed in a good and entertaining way so it´s not boring, but there is a LOT of information. You learn a bit about the basics, why are we here?!

Day 6:
Off. Just hang with a friend from Norway who lives here now.

Day 7:
Discovery Day, an introduction to Epcot and our workplace.
We got a little tour of Epcot and learned about the importance of understanding different cultures and traditions. After this we had some e-learning (online courses), since I was approved from my last program I only had to do something that took 10 minutes, while the others sat there for some hours. After Discovery Day I hang with the other Norwegians in my arrival group at the pool and we also played some volleyball.

So my week has been pretty filled up with stuff to do, and I love it.
The heat and humidity though is killing me…

Today Im off and going to the parks with some friends visiting from Norway.

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Heading for Minnesota!

So today is the day, Im leaving Norway in just 3 hours heading for Minnesota. 

Im exited, I just finished my last packings and cleaning out the rest of my room. 
Originally I thought I should only bring one bag with me, but some days ago I figured I needed two, so now I have two overweight bags. Haha…. Its filled up pretty quickly. But I bring with me loads of Norwegian food and stuff… 

Countdown to my Disney-adventure: 4 days left

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Norway pavilion 25 years!

Today its 25 years ago since the Norwegian pavilion was opened in Epcot´s World Showcase as the last pavilion. (so far…)

Here´s a little history about how Norway was so lucky to be represented at the World Showcase:

That Norway would have its own pavilion in Epcot, was a dream and seemed very unrealistic when the idea came up in the beginning of the 1980´s. But hard work from businesses and private persons made it all possible, and the Norway pavilion was opened as the eleventh pavilion the 3th of June 1988  (soft opening May 6th 1988) by Crown Prince Harald, the session was also broadcasted live on NRK.

It was the Norwegian company Selmer-Sande and Kloster that first started the work with a Scandinavian pavilion in Epcot, they established ScanShow and started working on the plans for a Scandinavian showcase. The pavilion was ment to be located in-between England and France, and have architecture from all the three countries; Norway, Sweden and Denmark. Egeskov slott and some houses from Odense and Copenhagen would symbolize Denmark, while Sweden would be represented with Stockholm Stadshus and buildings from Gamla Stan. Already at this point it was clear that the buildings from Norway were going to be from the Bryggen i Bergen and Akershus Festning. The negotiations with the other countries and businesses did not go as expected, so ScanShow changed name to NorShow (Norwegian Showcase) and decided to go for a 100% Norwegian pavilion instead. The shareholders in NorShow was: Aker, Norsk Data, Norway Foods, Den norske Creditbank, Det Norske Veritas, Frionor, Kosmos, Vesta Group, Selmer-Sande, SAS and VARD.

After a lot of work from NorShow the Norwegian government decided to give 2 million USD as support and 8 million USD as a loan to the project. December 1985 the final economical contracts were signes, and NorShow was going to cover 30 million USD of the project (that 28th of August 1985 was estimated to be 35.2 million USD) while Disney was going to cover the rest. 29th of May 1986 the foundation was layed by Minister Kurt Mosbakk. Architecht Birger Lambertz-Nilsen had the responsibility for the exterior, while Ulla S. Hjort had responisibility for the interior design.

The first Norwegian working in Epcot was Truls Christensen, the son of NorShow chairman Lars A. Christensen. He started in 1985 with selling pretzels in the German pavilion, then Odyssey, then Germany again, and he finished the year driving bus around World Showcase Lagoon.

The first year of operations (1989) was a good year for the pavilion. 5.7 million took the Maelstrom, 89 conferences was held in Norway Club. The shop and food locations sold for 10.7 million USD. 1990 was almost the same as 1989, and NorShow started negotiations with Disney to reconstruct the contracts originally made, it ended with the pavilion being sold to Disney in 1992 for 26 million USD. Pavilion costs total: 46 million USD, paid by Norway: 34 million USD, sold for: 26 million USD, loss: 8 million USD (share capital).

The government in Norway supported the pavilion with 200.000 USD for a 5 year term from 1992-1997, but in 2002 the government stopped the contribution and the pavilion is now 100% operated by Disney. The Norwegian government is not interested in funding or supporting the pavilion in any way, and the pavilion state is sadly descending and still shows a movie thats been there for 25 years now…

The Kings Royal Guard played on the opening.

The Kings Royal Guard played on the opening.

Crownprince (now King) Harald officially opens the pavilion.

Crownprince (now King) Harald officially opens the pavilion.

Crownprince and Crownqueen (now King and Queen) Harald and Sonja enjoys the opening show. Behind Sonja we find Lars Christiansen.

Crownprince and Crownqueen (now King and Queen) Harald and Sonja enjoys the opening show. Behind Sonja we find Lars Christiansen.

World Showcase dancers, when you wish upon a star, ballons and fireworks

World Showcase dancers, when you wish upon a star, ballons and fireworks

Ballons Skjermbilde 2013-06-03 kl. 11.49.48

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Ready for takeoff!

Yesterday I was extremely happy, and kinda still am.
I recieved my passport with my visa in it, and I completed my packing…. So, Im basically ready to leave today. Wish I could, but still got 21 days left before I start my American adventure.

First Im going to the state Minnesota and visit Minneapolis and Spring Grove, which was the first Norwegian settlement in Minnesota. Really looking forward to seeing how they preserve the heritage.


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25 years

Today its 25 years since Guests could first experience the Norway pavilion at Epcot.

The 6th of May was the soft opening of the pavilion, with only the stores and restaurant Akershus (some days) open.

The 3th of June was the official opening day and the pavilion was opened by then Crown Prince (now King) Harald.

The 5th of July completes the opening of the pavilion as Maelstrom opened this day.

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Plane booked

So last week I booked my flight tickets for my year in Disney World! 

So Im going to depart from Stavanger (my city) to Keflavik (Iceland) and then to Minneapolis with Icelandair on the 14th of June. Then going to stay in Minneapolis until the 17th and arrive Orlando the day before my program starts. 🙂 

165 days left! 
Keep the magic alive, happy new year!

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