Was Frozen Ever After Worth the Demise of Maelstrom in EPCOT?

When EPCOT first opened in October 1982, World Showcase quickly became a fan-favorite spot for Disney-goers. After all, who doesn’t want to travel around the world in just one day, right?

World Showcase — Japan

Almost 40 years later, World Showcase remains one of the most popular places to be in the park, but over time there have been quite a few changes to the World Showcase we once knew.

New attractions have rolled in, replacing the old, and one of the most controversial changes takes us over to the Norway Pavilion.

We’re asking: Was Frozen Ever After Really Worth the Demise of Maelstrom in EPCOT?

Magical Trolls and Ruthless Vikings

The Norway Pavilion was the eleventh and final country (so far) added to EPCOT’s World Showcase. It had a “soft opening” on May 6th, 1988, with just the stores and the Akershus restaurant open for business on most days. It wasn’t for another two months (on July 5th, 1988) that the highly-anticipated attraction — Maelstrom (though it was originally named SeaVenture before opening) — opened. The delayed opening didn’t make it any less popular!


Located at the back of the pavilion, the attraction itself was a water ride that highlighted many parts of the Scandinavian country. Disney wanted to immerse guests in the “past, present, and mythological world of Norway,” so guests loaded into a 10th-century warrior’s longship with a dragon head bow to journey through scenes of ancient wall carvings (known as “petroglyphs”), yellow-eyed “Nokken” or river troll, a polar bear measuring 10 feet tall, and more.

Plus, it was the only EPCOT attraction to include a flume drop.


The ride remained a fan-favorite for its authentic portrayal of Norway, but that didn’t save it from Disney’s vision for the future of EPCOT.


In 2014, it was announced that Maelstrom would be closing to make way for a brand new attraction themed after the popular animated movie, Frozen. The news was immediately met with an outcry from fans who criticized Disney for closing a “classic World Showcase attraction” and replacing it with an “out of place” IP-based attraction — but the ride still closed in 2014 for its overhaul.

Into The Unknown

Frozen Ever After became the new Norway boat ride attraction, opening in 2016. And, overall, Disney-goers (including many who weren’t in favor of the switch) were happy with the change, though some protest continues.

Frozen Ever After

Disney didn’t really create a new ride for the Norway Pavilion. Instead, they simply changed all the theming to be based on Frozen with the track and boats remaining nearly the same. They also closed the ride in completely so you no longer get a peek outside at the pavilion as you used to on Maelstrom.

Frozen Ever After

Now instead of a journey through Norway mythology, guests go on a boat ride through scenes featuring Olaf, Sven, Anna, Kristoff, and Elsa as they celebrate the anniversary of the day that Anna saved Elsa with her unselfish act of true love (aka, the end of the movie).

Frozen Ever After

While this certainly is a fun and entertaining ride for kids (and many adults), some critics still feel that the Disney story takes away some of the authenticity that used to be featured in the pavilion, as the fairytale is simply based in a fictional Scandinavian country (Arendelle) rather than being specifically about Norway.

Let It Go scene

For what it’s worth, we do enjoy the attraction; however, the fantasy tale does still seem a little out of place in the pavilion.

Check Out the Hidden Maelstrom Details You Can Still Find on Frozen Ever After!

Disney’s choice to re-theme the Norway attraction continues to be controversial among fans (along with changes to other original park attractions). But there are still a few original rides that remain throughout the parks — you can check them all out in our video below!

And, stay tuned to AllEars for more Disney tips, tricks, and updates!

Learn More About How (And Why) Disney World “Reimagines” Rides HERE!

What are your thoughts? Do you think Frozen Ever After is a worthy replacement? Let us know in the comments!

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11 Replies to “Was Frozen Ever After Worth the Demise of Maelstrom in EPCOT?”

  1. Yes Frozen is ten times the ride Maelstrom was! The story of maelstrom made no sense and the ending of plunging into oil rigs was so weird!

  2. Frozen is Waaaay better than Maelstrom. Epcot needed another ride to take the lines from Soarin and Test Track and Frozen was the answer. It’s perfect for kids and the Let It Go sequence is truly spectacular

  3. Frozen ride is just ok. It’s wildly popular because kids love the movie, and the scarcity of attractions for children in Epcot countries. My problem with the attraction is that it could be so much more. Two huge scenes of Olaf? Why not have Anna and Hans singing Love is an Open Door ? How about some variety? How about a scene with Anna and Elsa in a banquet scene, with the sweet smell of chocolate in the air? So much of the film and it’s wonderful songs are not represented. Disney spent millions making Anna and Elsa figures look so realistic in the last scene. Who cares?!!! Frozen fans and all Disney guests deserve better. The former ride was ok. Ending with a splash at an oil rig was strange. As always, why don’t they leave the original attraction and add a new one nearby. Put a dragon ride in China. Movies in the round, standing on tired legs, are boring. Canada could do better too. Disney world has the guests, and the guests crave more things to do. Eating and drinking have become the major activity there. The new ratatouille ride is too short, at times dizzying and is really just a silly chase. At least Mickeys runaway Railway mixes it up. I love that attraction. We need more to do at Disney World

  4. Should have stayed the same. Epcot’s World showcase is about the history of the countries. Missing the old ride and the wonderful movie!

  5. Frozen is awful and nothing more than Epcot’s version of It’s a Small World but without the catchy tune. Disney ruined the Norway pavilion. Maelstrom was way better!

    1. I don’t even want to see it. It is not Norway. Frozen should be in the Magic Kingdom if at all, and they have ruined that park as well with taking away favorite rides. But that’s another rant!

  6. It’s a horrible ride. I also turn off the “Frozen” song that they try to play as a Christmas Carol whenever it comes on the radio. LOL!

  7. We’re asking: Was Frozen Ever After Really Worth the Demise of Maelstrom in EPCOT?
    YES it was, Maelstrom was boring and needed replaced. Frozen ever after is a good ride, its a family ride for all.