After "Frozen's" surprise success, Disney scrambled to create the ride that's now open.
The new Frozen Ever After Ride, along with a meet-and-greet site for Anna and Elsa, opened this week in the Norway Pavilion at Epcot. Fast Passes for the new ride are available for booking.
The new boat ride, built on the foundation of the former Maelstrom ride and based on the animated movie “Frozen,” takes visitors from the kingdom of Arendelle to a “winter-in-summer day” celebrating the icy powers of Queen Elsa at her Ice Palace. The ride also takes guests past Troll Valley and up North Mountain.
Next door, the royal sisters greet guests at the newly built Royal Sommerhus, representing the cabin where the girls spent their summers when their parents were alive.
Frozen Ever After is one of several new attractions opening at Disney World this summer, including a new Soarin’ story, a beefed-up Star Wars fireworks show and nighttime attractions at Animal Kingdom.
Disney crews toured Norway to get the look for both the ride and the Sommerhus. Although “Frozen” didn’t take place in Norway, it provided some of the scenery and culture. “We looked at what was some of the inspiration for the movie, and Norway provided a lot of the inspiration,” says Wyatt Winter, the ride’s project manager and producer.
(Placing the ride in the Norway Pavilion caused controversy among some park fans who didn’t like the idea of replacing a fact-based tour of Norwegian culture with a fictional story that takes place in a fictional land.)
The movie characters will all make an appearance during the ride, Winter says, as will snowgies — tiny snowmen created each time Elsa sneezes — that debuted in Frozen Fever, an animated short sequel to the movie. The ride is accompanied by music from the movie, but some of the songs have new lyrics, Winter says.
When “Frozen” opened at the end of 2013, its huge popularity took Disney by surprise, and the parks scrambled to add Frozen elements — including a Frozen singalong and a Frozen float in a Magic Kingdom parade — while planning and building the ride. Because the ride was built on an existing foundation, construction took only about 18 months, a much shorter time than building a ride from scratch.
Maelstrom, a ride through the perils of the North Sea in a 10th-century-style warrior’s longship, closed in October 2014.