I don’t feel the outrage I thought I would. Initially, when the rumors were just a whisper, I was heard to say, “And so begins the utter ruination of the World Showcase.” but then I took some time to consider. Does this really mean World Showcase is doomed? It could certainly be the beginning of the end for the initial purpose of the World Showcase. Conversely, it could be the start of a new era for Epcot. Time will tell.
Before I go much further, let me add that I am what I would classify as extremely neutral about Maelstrom at this particular moment in time – I am in no way going to attempt to sway your opinion about this issue one way or another. It’s the duty of every Disney devotee to feel passionately about their most valued Walt Disney World parks, rides and attractions. Maelstrom is, soon to be was, a ride I rode and enjoyed on nearly every visit to Walt Disney World. I sincerely and deeply love the Norway pavilion (I professed my affection here and here). At the same time, I also have wished for many years now that Disney (or Norway) would pour some much needed resources into updating this special little corner of the World (Showcase). Alas (oh, yes, I did), beggars can’t be choosers. Be careful what you wish for?
So, now we’re getting a major change. While I liked the movie and found it entertaining, I’m not a huge Frozen fan (gasp!). Here’s what I believe will be the best case scenario and what I’m strongly hoping for at this point – Norway will continue to be all about Norway. Frozen‘s characters will be integrated in a way that is strictly in keeping with the traditions, vision, and values of the original World Showcase concept. It would be ideal if Hans-Kristoff-Anna-Sven (the movie’s nod to Hans Christian Anderson) and the other characters would guide guests through the history, folklore, culture, and customs of Norway. Hey, a girls gotta have hopes, right?
I know what you’re thinking. This thing could go the other way completely – and you’d have a very valid point! Disney could go all “Little Mermaid” on it and replace Maelstrom with nothing but a series of movie scenes, some big, in-your-face animatronics, music, and some colorful props. The World Showcase will be packed with children and their parents willing to wait five hours for a trip through Arendelle. Norway, the country, will be completely lost in the melee. I know!
Naysayers will say nay. Little Mary Sunshine types (like me, in this case) will hold on to our belief that the Disney Company will do the right thing for everyone in and amaze us with a new and improved Norway Pavilion. Only time will tell. Come 2016, we shall see. I will be there, with an open mind. I’ll be visiting the actual country of Norway on Disney Cruise Line in June (2015) and I’m pretty sure the experience will only make me wish for a happy ending all the more.
I’ll leave you with this: “I would rather entertain and hope that people learned something than educate people and hope they were entertained” – Walt Disney