Farewell Maelstrom!

Epcot has always had its rides that had avid fans as well as detractors who don’t “get” the magic of the ride.  Living with the Land, Journey into Imagination with Figment, Captain EO and Maelstrom all fall into that category of sometimes underappreciated rides.  Yesterday marked the retirement of one of my favorites of these, Maelstrom.


Maelstrom opened in 1988 in the Norway pavilion.  It is a celebration of Norwegian heritage, legends and history.  It’s a ride that sometimes you can just walk onto and sometimes had waits of around thirty minutes or more.  Disney added the FP+ option to the ride, so it certainly wasn’t neglected by park visitors.


In the loading area, where you get onto your viking ship for your journey, there are murals to represent Norway’s past:


And Norway’s present (ok, present as of the late 1980’s but still…):


You go into a dark tunnel, and up an incline while the one-eyed god Odin warns you about seeking the spirit of Norway and finding danger and adventure.   Dark doors open and you pass through into Norway’s history.  First you go past a viking village:


And then some trolls cast a spell to send your boat backwards:


You quickly pass by polar bears as your boat goes backwards towards a water fall.


And then you stop with the back of the boat peeking out of a cave by the waterfall in the Norway pavilion:


And another troll pops up and causes your boat to rotate and to start moving forward again and go down down down over the falls (not the ones outside!):


After a moderate drop (28 feet per Wikipedia), you sail through the North Sea, past an oil rig.


And end up in a small Norwegian seaside village where you get off the viking boat.


Originally, this is where you’d have to wait for the doors to open for the Norway movie.  About 80% of people (according to my memory) would hustle through the movie theater before the exit doors closed, while the remainder would find a seat and enjoy learning about Norway in the 1980’s.  Several years ago, they changed this part so that the doors leading into and out of the theater stayed open all the time, giving you the choice of whether to watch the movie or just to pass through.


The movie is actually pretty funny, with 80s style hair and outfits.


After the movie, you can enjoy the gift shop with very nice but very expensive Norwegian clothes, shoes, perfume and lotions.


Where else can you get wool sweaters and hats in Central Florida?


And there are lots of fun trolls to take pictures with:


And trolls to take home with you:


There is also Norwegian jelly, sardines (about six different varieties…for real), kippers and chocolate for sale.

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It’s a great ride (short and campy but still a ton of fun) and the gift shop has a wide variety of items that can’t easily be found in the U.S.  The ride is officially closed as of today, destined to be revamped into a Frozen ride, expected to open in 2016.  I’m not sure if the gift shop will continue to exist in its current state or if it will be come completely dedicated to Frozen merchandise.


I’m sad to see Maelstrom go.  I’m sure the Frozen ride will be great, but I can’t help but think that there is plenty of land on Disney property and that Frozen belongs in the Magic Kingdom, not in Epcot.  Sadly, Disney doesn’t consult with me before these decisions are made.

So, this is my “Farvel” to Maelstrom.  I’ll miss finding the adventure and peril while adventuring in mythic Norway.


Did you get a chance to say farewell to Maelstrom?  Are you glad to see it replaced by Frozen or are you going to miss it?  What was your favorite part?

Want more Disney in your Monday?  Check out Mickey Mondays with John from run. geek. run(disney).


Farewell Maelstrom! — 25 Comments

  1. Thank you for putting this together of Maelstrom. I am one of the people who will miss it. I’m all for the parks to “keep moving forward” but I think there is a bit of tradition to be kept as well. I think that a Frozen ride just isn’t a real fit to the World Showcase of EPCOT. Could it use an update, sure? Add a dedicated meet and greet for Anna and Elsa in Norway somewhere? Sure. The other princesses appear in the World Showcase, while not with dedicated areas, I’m still ok with it. But I feel like pulling the ride and replacing it with a Frozen themed one just because it’s hot hurts the theming of the World Showcase and they whole feel and purpose.

    Now, with that said, nothing says they can’t do something education to Norway just with Frozen characters in it. It’s possible. I have to hope they will to make it truly fit. I mean, Mexico has the Grand Fiesta Tour starring the Three Caballeros, so it’s not unheard of the shoehorn characters into an attraction. The ride still takes you on a tour of Mexico and I hope the new ride in Norway will do the same, and not just be a capitalization of Frozen popularity. Right now Frozen is to Disney what Pumpkin Spice is to Fall.
    John @ run. geek. run(disney) recently posted…Favorite Course Moment | Mickey MondayMy Profile

    • Thanks! I’d love for Frozen to be added to Fantasyland (I am a fan of the movie although I’m more of an Anna than an Elsa!) I just don’t think it makes as much sense to take over Norway. I’m sure it will be well done though and a lot of fun!

    • I’m sure the Frozen ride will be absolutely amazing, but I’ll always miss Maelstrom!

    • It was sheer luck that we had a trip scheduled the last weekend, but I’m glad I got one last ride!

  2. I’m a fan of Maelstrom and also think Frozen belongs in the Magic Kingdom. All the other princess rides are in MK so it only makes sense to have Frozen there as well. I love Frozen but I think Disney is forcing the issue. EPCOT’s always been my escape from the Magic Kingdom.
    Lesley recently posted…Random Sunday Musings 10/5My Profile

    • Exactly! I prefer my princesses to be housed in the Magic Kingdom.

  3. I’m happy to see Norway get a much needed update (as many of the pavilions desperately need.) However, I wish that it was in addition to instead of replacing Malestrom. I don’t mind the dedicated Meet and Greet area in Norway, as I think the sisters need a place to greet guests in a manageable environment (meaning no more 5 hour waits.) Here’s to hoping this news, though, is just the beginning of many more updates to the World Showcase in the near future.

    • I agree completely! Although the ride had moved from aged in a sad way to aged in a funny, nostalgic way I do think lots of the World Showcase is in need of updates.

    • Aw, I’m sorry you didn’t get to ride it. It was a very strange ride, but I loved it for its quirkiness!

  4. I didn’t get a chance to ride it again before they closed it. I didn’t ride it every time I went to Epcot, but I am sad to see it go. I understand Frozen is popular right now, but I don’t think it belongs in World Showcase. That is where we learn about the actual countries, not the ones based on the actual countries. I feel like they are trying to squeeze every dollar they can out of Frozen, and I am tired of it. Keep it at Magic Kingdom or Hollywood Studios.
    Angie recently posted…32 secondsMy Profile

    • I actually love Frozen, but it just seems to “fit” better in Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom instead.

    • I’m sure the Frozen ride is going to be great, I just wish they could have added it instead of replacing Maelstrom. But, all things must grow and change!

  5. I didn’t go on that ride when I was at Epcot, but I have to admit, I’m really envious of Florida having that park. Out of all the Disney parks, I enjoyed Epcot the most. The food, plus the fact that the shopping is decent and not cheap souvenirs with the park logo really appealed to me. I do remember going into that store. There was some interesting stuff. It would be a shame to see it go all Frozen.
    As far as closing rides, I was at DL recently and walking past Great Moments with Mr Lincoln. They were announcing that the show was about to start, so I went in. I haven’t seen that since I was a kid and it bored me close to tears! There were only about six people inside. I can’t believe that thing is still taking up real estate. I’m sure there are plenty of people who’d disagree with me and cite St. Walt, but if attendance is always like it was that day, I can’t imagine the paper pushers not arguing about getting rid of it.
    Jen recently posted…Keeping TrackMy Profile

    • Epcot is great and I really love Animal Kingdom too. I do wish we had Cars Land though, that is the one thing at Disneyland that I just fell in love with. It’s so immersive!

    • It is a bittersweet thing isn’t it? So sad to see an old favorite go, but always fun to see what new things Disney comes up with!

    • Oh, I’m sorry you missed it! I saw posts with a two hour wait on Sunday. When we went on Saturday, the standby line was about an hour, but I’d gotten us fast passes as soon as I heard it was closing!