The happier days, before ‘Frozen’ broke my heart.
‘Frozen’ and I are in a fight.
When I first saw the movie, in a crowded theater opening weekend, I was touched by the story of sisterly love. As the oldest of four, it spoke to me and I, like most of America, spent the next two to four months singing every song and trying to convince anyone who didn’t agree that it was the best Disney movie since ‘Beauty and the Beast’.
If you know anything about anything at this point, you know I wasn’t alone in this
mild obsession. At this point, in box office revenue alone, Frozen has racked in over a billion dollars. This doesn’t count merchandize, which has been sold out for months at Disney stores across the country, nor does it count the reason ‘Frozen’ and I are in a fight: what it’s done to Walt Disney World.
Last year when I went and visited the parks during Christmas time, Anna and Elsa had just started their meet and greets in the Norway Pavilion at EPCOT. The line was over four hours long, when I wanted to get in line at 1 PM I was told the lengthy line was actually for a meet and greet starting at 5:30. Since then the Princess have been relocated to The Magic Kingdom, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios has been taken over by ‘Frozen’ Summer Fun, activities spread through out the park including: ice skating, a Frozen Sing Along, and Elsa themed fireworks.
And I was okay with these things. When my roommate got back from Disney she only had amazing things to say about the ‘Frozen’ fireworks, and when I heard they were shutting down the American Idol Live attraction, I was cool with the idea that ‘Frozen’ might take some sort of permanent residence in the that theater. But then, the worst happened: Disney announced they were closing Maelstrom (and basically the whole Norway pavilion by extension), and replacing it with a ‘Frozen’ themed ride.
Soon this will be covered in fake snow and probably an Olaf and have a three hour wait instead of 15 minutes
If you’ve never got drunk around the world and then ridden this hidden gem of Walt Disney World, let me paint you a picture of your experience. Maelstrom features viking style boats, which carry you through the attraction based on both Norwegian history and mythology. You learn about the early settlers of Norway, vikings and the like, until Norwegian trolls send you backwards over a waterfall into a land of oil rigs and fishing boats. If it sounds super cheesy, that’s because it is, but there’s also something so deeply silly yet at the same time reverent about this ride.
With out Maelstrom, I never would’ve known that those trolls in ‘Frozen’ are actually a significant nod to Norse life. With out Maelstrom, I would puke all over Test Track when drunk because it’s one of the three good rides in EPCOT (in case you were curious, number three is Figment). With out Maelstrom, I would never have been able to creep my boss out by knowing she was wearing perfume from their gift shop. It breaks my heart that my children will never know what it means to ‘smell like Norway’, or that polar bears could have actually been Arendelle’s biggest fear.
Most of all, however, I am disappointed in my greatest love, Disney. The World Showcase, however cheesily it does it, has always been a place of education. Sure, a place to eat and drink, but also a place to speak with people from countries all over the world, to learn about Mexico with the help of Donald Duck, and to have norse trolls chant spells at you until you sail off into the oil rig filled sunset. By turning Norway into ‘Frozen’ city, we’ll be loosing some of that weirdly semi-educational magic, and I for one think that EPCOT will suffer for it.
This terrible panorama (because margaritas), is of the mural in the queue area of Maelstrom. THIS IS THE RICH HISTORICAL STORY TELLING WE ARE LOOSING HERE PEOPLE.
So, here’s to you Maelstrom, the ride of kings. You’ll be missed by many, and I hope someday when my kids inevitably loose their shit over being in Arendelle, I’ll still be able to convince them that they missed out on something grand.