After a series of tests with temporary entertainment, Walt Disney World at last has its sights set on permanent inclusions for the Frozen powerhouse at the Florida resort.
Epcot will welcome a full-blown, here-to-stay Frozen attraction in its Norway pavilion. It will replace the longtime park favorite Maelstrom, a moderate thrill whose highlights include vikings, trolls, and waterfalls. It is expected that the Frozen integration will retain the same layout and track. Everything else, however, will be completely new. No title or opening date is known at this time. Maelstrom’s final operating day will be October 5.
The news comes with its share of controversy. While there is no question that Frozen‘s popularity demands more supply in the theme parks, the placement of the attraction in Epcot brings the argument of franchise-centered efforts overtaking destinations that have, until now, been focused on culture rather than characters. Disney seems to be aware of this, though, by having Disney Parks Chairman Tom Staggs be the person to announce the enhancements. His words are phrased delicately and politely, keeping his audience in mind. His full statement is over at the Disney Parks Blog.
The Norway attraction will be the most significant Frozen addition to WDW, but it won’t be the only thing. Accompanying the attraction at Epcot will be a permanent character greeting for Anna and Elsa, currently the resort’s most popular photo-op. Keeping crowd control a priority, the sisters are expected to continue their current greeting inside Princess Fairytale Hall at the Magic Kingdom as well, which should help lines simmer down tremendously.
Additionally, Frozen Summer Fun LIVE! at Disney’s Hollywood Studios concludes September 28, though two remnants of the celebration will remain: the “For the First Time In Forever” sing-along show and Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post, the latter of which will move locations and expand. Oaken’s will stay around through the holidays; no closing date is announced for the sing-along, meaning it might be an indefinite addition to the park. Hollywood Studios’ Frozen fireworks and daily procession will be removed as initially planned.
Lastly, this holiday season back over at the Magic Kingdom, Elsa will be a central part of the beautiful “dreamlights” icicle display on Cinderella Castle. Each night, Arendelle’s queen will take to the Castle Forecourt Stage to freeze the castle turrets in a moment that truly must be seen to believed. This small presentation will replace Cinderella’s Holiday Wish, the former version of the lighting ceremony. Elsa’s icification will take place nightly and will not require any separate admission to any Christmas event. Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, and (are you ready?!) Olaf (!!!) will join the parade during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, taking place select nights beginning November 7 (which does require a separate ticket).