The decision making process behind closing an attraction is probably way more involved than most people on the internet realize. I for one hope it is a complicated long process so I can feel certain the parks make the right Decision. Maelstrom last week received the ax, shut its doors, turned off its control panels, and said goodbye to the awkward tree troll thing. The reason behind this, Maelstrom will be transformed into a Frozen attraction filled with all the songs from the movies as well as everyone’s favorite snowman Olaf.
Disney fans are pretty divided on this one. There are quite a few saying “Let It Go” and saying the ride was not very good. While the other side the feels Maelstrom was very much more EPCOT and Arendelle the kingdom the Frozen characters are from isn’t Norway. It is a creation of fiction and does not belong in the Norway Pavilion. I for one feel while I am sad to see Maelstrom go, it isn’t because of the awesome ride that it is, it is because of the fun and nostalgic times I’ve had on the ride. From being a little kid and riding with my parents to drinking around the world and hardly being able to walk I’ve had some great memories on that ride.
And here is my final memory of Maelstrom…
Sunday October 5th 2014 as we walk around the corner into Norway, the sun was setting, the plaza was busy with bursting lights from camera flashes, and the excited Disney nerds all dressed up in their pin trading lanyards and mouse ears were huddled together in groups hanging out waiting for that last call shout from the Norwegian cast member. The line spewed out of the double wooden doors and extended threw temporary switch backs out towards the EPCOT lagoon. The wait time was posted at 90 minuets, a wait time this attraction hadn’t seen in a long time. We hop in line a few moments before 9:00, it wasn’t worth it to any of us to fight to be on the last ever boat. We advanced a little bit in the line when all the exterior lights of the attraction went out. It was 9:00 time for Illuminations the nighttime spectacular for EPCOT. The rockets were booming as fireworks exploded over the lagoon. We were ushered into the fastpass line in order to get everyone inside the building, and that was it, everyone was inside. The doors closed for the final time on this Norwegian adventure. We were stopped about 15 people away from the merge point. They were filling the boats with the standby people first. One by one all the families on vacation, the confused foreigners and the Disney nerds got their final experience and then they cleared the standby line and it was our turn to journey back back over the falls. We hopped into the boat and we were off, We were not the first to pass that way, no were we the last, but their were only a handful of boats left behind us.
The ride itself was exactly what it was. It is the ride with “the drop” in World Showcase. It isn’t the world’s greatest ride, but it’s far from the worst. We get off and everyone seems so sad to say goodbye. I’m bummed but I am optimistic that the Frozen ride will have some cool animatronics to add to the experience. I assume the ride track will be very similar, just have a much longer line, and will have frozen songs and characters added. Coming 2016 we will find out what the real differences are, but as for now there is one less ride in a park that doesn’t have very many rides.
-Drew The Intern.