Saturday, September 13, 2014

My Heart Is Frozen About Maelstrom

I don't normally say much on this blog.  I post pictures of things and people look at them and hopefully appreciate them but that's it.  This week's official announcement that the  Maelstrom ride in Norway at EPCOT is going to be changed to a Frozen ride has changed this. 

Norway, Gateway to Scandinavia opened in 1988.  I first learned of the coming pavilion in the Fall 1987 issue of Disney News.  Norway was going to be only the second country added to World Showcase since EPCOT opened in 1982 and with every new thing I read about the pavilion I was more and more excited about its opening.  I was particularly interested in Maelstrom and all the excitement that it promised. 

When the pavilion opened the lines for Maelstrom were ridiculous.  When I finally rode it, not long after it opened, the only thing that disappointed was the short duration of the ride (especially considering how long I had to wait in line to ride it).  As the years went on the lines got shorter making the taking the Viking voyage more enjoyable.  I don't think that anyone would say the Maelstrom wasn't in need of some updating and TLC.  I mean, the ride was twenty-six years old, updating it just makes sense at this point.  While the ride could use and update, it needs to remain true to the ideals of EPCOT and World Showcase and focus on international cultures (in this case, Norway) and not be an attraction based on a fictional country that was based on Norway.  I read a lot of stuff yesterday that addresses this more eloquently than I can.  The best is probably The Oncoming Storm.

I would not mind a Frozen attraction at Walt Disney World.  We don't need to wait twenty-four years for one like the time between the release of The Little Mermaid and its attraction opening at Magic Kingdom last year.  A Frozen attraction simply doesn't belong at EPCOT.  It belongs at Magic Kingdom or the sadly lacking in rides Hollywood Studios.  Furthermore, the current habit of Disney to replace attractions instead of adding new ones is wearing thin.  New Fantasyland is great but it did not net any new rides for the Magic Kingdom.  Journey of the Little Mermaid essentially replaced 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train replaced Snow White's Scary Adventures.  The last time an attraction was added that didn't replace something else was Splash Mountain which opened in 1992.  The last ride added to Hollywood Studios was Rock'n' Rollercoaster in 1999 and even that was only the third ride added to that park since it opened in 1989.  There are much better places to add a Frozen ride.

Below are some of the images from the Fall 1987 and Spring 1988 issues of Disney News that got me excited about the upcoming Norway pavilion and Maelstrom.

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