This is a page dedicated to the history and facts about Norway Showcase Pavilion in Epcot.
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. Since Norway was the only country now participating, it was decided to locate Norway where Denmark was suppose to be put (Denmark had negotiations with Disney before this), because they had already built a Danish style restroom around 1982.
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.
March 1987 NorShow decided to build a conference center in the 2th flood. NorShow wanted to show Norwegian quality within design and art. The conference center was built solely by Norwegian stakeholders, the budget was 800.000 USD, the goal was to cover this with renting the center out to conferences and private dinners.
Norway Club consists of two different rooms: The Northern Light Room and The Fjord Room. The first one is the smallest. The Fjord Room has a capacity of around 200 people and is often used for presentations and dinners. At first the Norway Club was operated by the Norwegian cast members, but problems with scheduling for big events within the pavilion led to Disney taking charge of events in Norway Club.
There was also a light show called «Norge Norge» that through 20 minutes, over 1000 pictures and special composed music showed Norway to all guests having events in the Norway Club, but when the pavilion was sold to Disney in 1992, the light show was taken down.
The Norway pavilion is the only pavilion in World Showcase that represents real building replicas from all over the country. The pavilion has architecture styles from these areas: Setesdal, Bergen, Oslo and Ålesund.
– The Stavechurch is a replica of the Gol Stavechurch, originally built in Hallingdal, but moved to Oslo in 1884 and remodeled.
– The Kringla Bakeri & Kafe and Puffins Roost exit is wooden buildings based on Setesdal-style. The grass on the roof was also common for this area, the grass was good for isolation, keeping it cold in the summer and kept the warmth in the winter. The grass type used on this roof is zoysia, because it stays green throughout the year.
– The Akershus is built after its namesake in Oslo, the most recongnizable part of the real Akershus can be found in the Romerikstårn.
– The buildings hosting the Puffins Roost by the waterfall, is from Bryggen i Bergen, with roots from as early back as year 1000.
– The Maelstrom building is styled after Ålesund theme.
All depending on where you are, you can listen to music inspired by a viking-theme, princess theme or traditional Norwegian folkdances and typical Norwegian tunes…
Pavilion courtyard/bakery/Maelstrom: Huldremøyarnes sang, Grotesk Dans, Fanitullen, Fiskartrallen, Purpose, Valse Caprice, Geitaslåtten, Rørosingen – pols, Smørligråen, Norske Fjelltoner, Telemarkssommar, Fakkeldans, Prinsesse Maigull, Vals Fra Ottadalen Etter Lars Haugtredet, Borddans.
Puffin´s Roost: Elegie, The Rap, Pastorale, Awakening, Serenade to Spring, Ahma amongst other…
There is different music all over the merchandise shops, depending on room. Secret Garden is used the most.
Akershus: Morgenstemning, The Sleeping Beauty, Destruction of the Grotto, Snow White Overture, Marche Hongroise amongst other…
Stavechurch: The King of the Golden Hall, Twilight and Shadow, Evenstar, The Grey Heavens, Guckupolska, Digerpolskan, The Full Rigged Ship, Pollenesse, Thrashers Waltz, Parce mihi Domine, Polonas från Sexdrega.