The new Frozen ride opened in the Norway pavilion at EPCOT recently, and today I was seeing Facebook posts featuring pictures of wait times up to 300 minutes.
Three. Hundred. Minutes. That’s FIVE HOURS. These people are in a park that is essentially open from 9 AM to 9 PM (if you ignore the Magic Hours days), and they are waiting nearly half that time to go on this ride.
My friends and I used to joke around, calling Maelstrom – the original Norway pavilion ride – “Waitstrom”. But this was back when thirty minutes was the average wait, and an hour or more was one of those “This isn’t worth it, let’s go to China” decision makers.
But waiting thirty minutes or less for Maelstrom? Hey, it wasn’t an amazing ride, but it was fun. It wasn’t the best representation of the Norwegian people and their culture, but it was so EPCOT. They could have updated Maelstrom as it was, could have made it more palatable, but instead they replaced it with “Frozen Ever After”, which would be a great attraction for Magic Kingdom, but in EPCOT – particularly in the World Showcase – just reeks of bad taste.
Half-assed as it was, Maelstrom was still a story of Norway and the Norwegian people. Now that pavilion has succumbed to Disney’s Frozen cash cow, and Frozen is a fairy tale set in a non-existent place. On top of that, the fairy tale upon which Frozen is based – The Snow Queen – is a Danish fairy tale…and while Denmark is part of Scandinavia, it is not Norway, and on top of that, isn’t even much like Norway.
Will Disney be changing the pavilion to truly represent Scandinavia in general? I guess we’ll have to wait and see, but I for one would be surprised if they did. It certainly wouldn’t make sense for the World Showcase’s general theme – even the U.K. pavilion is decidedly British.
I suppose the problem is that as a former cast member, I understand changes but don’t care for ones that lessen the value of the things I love best about Walt Disney World (for instance, don’t even get me started about the dining plan and how it has lessened the food quality all over property). I get the desire for a Frozen-themed ride – I even get the need for one – but I don’t care for the execution.
And on top of that, I personally wouldn’t wait 300 minutes to ride Maelstrom with Frozen characters…and that’s exactly what this is.