You knew this was coming, right? Since the world (or at least folks of a certain age) are completely infatuated with Frozen, Disney has announced it will be opening a new attraction based on the crazy-popular animated hit movie. It will replace Maelstrom at the Norway pavilion in Epcot and is set to debut in 2016, likely in the spring.
The new attraction, which will be called Frozen Ever After, will use the existing boat ride system and take passengers on a journey to Arendelle for the Winter in Summer Celebration.
Other stops will include Queen Elsa's Ice Palace and the North Mountain. Royal sibling Queen Anna will be along for the ride as well as will the Snowgies and other characters from the animated juggernaut. Expect a rousing chorus or two of "Let It Go" and other hits from the soundtrack.
Although Disney has not released a lot of details, it is likely that the ride will feature Maelstrom's backwards-facing drop. If that sounds more like a Six Flags thrill ride than a Disney World family attraction, fear not. Although it was mildly thrilling, the Maelstrom drop was not long or steep, didn't generate much of a splash, and was appropriate for all but the wimpiest of visitors. (By the way, if you or someone in your theme park posse is a bit of a scaredy-cat, read my helpful guide, Walt Disney World for Wimps.) Clearly, Disney would want the Frozen ride to appeal to a broad base of visitors -- especially young children.
Meet Anna and Elsa
After the ride, guests will be invited to meet Anna and Elsa at their "Royal Sommerhus." When Disney World first began offering meet and greets with the Frozen gang, wait times quickly swelled up to five hours. Since then, the parks introduced MyMagic+ and allowed guests to reserve character greetings using FastPass+.
It's interesting to note that when Epcot first opened, Mickey and his toon pals were banished from the park. Disney wanted the world's fair/edutainment park -- its first to deviate from the Disneyland model -- to have a unique identity. Epcot-only characters Figment and Dreamfinder added some levity at the Imagination pavilion, but the rest of the park adopted a more serious tone. With Disney incorporating the hit toon, Frozen, into the mix, it's clear how far Epcot has veered away from its original vision.
All Anna, all the Time
If you just can't get enough of Anna, Elsa, and the gang, you don't have to wait until Frozen Ever After opens. Frozen Summer Fun will continue through September 7, 2015 at Disney's Hollywood Studios. The celebration includes a sing-along show (so kids can indulge their Let It Go mania in a socially acceptable setting), a daily parade, a nightly fireworks show themed to the film, and -- of course -- a retail shop. It's likely some form of the event will continue beyond the summer
At the Magic Kingdom, guests can meet Anna and Elsa at Princess Fairytale Hall.
The princesses appear in the daily Festival of Fantasy Parade as well.
Clearly, the movie is a gift that keeps on giving at Disney World. Like the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando, fans are crazy about Frozen. Perhaps Disney should develop a special drink to capitalize on the phenomenon. How about a "frozen" butterscotch-flavored beverage with a frothy top that has hints of Norwegian smoked salmon? It could be served with a bagel and cream cheese and called "buttershmear."