On September 12, 2014, Walt Disney World officials announced that the Maelstrom attraction would be replaced by an attraction based on Frozen. Maelstrom's final day of operation was October 5, 2014.
In June 2015, then-Disney Chief Operating Officer Tom Staggs revealed that plans for a Frozen attraction were discussed prior to the film's release, but were accelerated after the film's worldwide success. On responding to whether converting a portion of the Norway pavilion into an attraction based on a fictional place was appropriate for World Showcase, Staggs stated: "If the goal is to give people a taste of something like Scandinavia with the Norway pavilion, then Frozen would only increase the extent to which people would be drawn to it. To me it doesn’t seem out-of-character at all."
Disney also released the first details on the new attraction and revealed its final name, "Frozen Ever After". The attraction uses the same ride vehicles and course that was used for Maelstrom. The Audio-Animatronics figures for the attraction feature improvements in facial animation that were first used on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, which opened in 2014 at the Magic Kingdom. The Audio-Animatronics are also the first ever all-electric Audio-Animatronics, with previous Audio-Animatronics using either pneumatics or hydraulics. While there are no new songs in the attraction, some of the original songs from Frozen have revised lyrics written by the original composers.
On May 20, 2016, Disney Parks revealed that the attraction would open on June 21, 2016.
On November 2, 2020, following Walt Disney World's reopening after being temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak's impact on Florida, EPCOT announced that the original version of the ride would be closed for refurbishment until November 6, 2020.
On June 14, 2018, Tokyo Disney Resort announced an expansion for Tokyo DisneySea in 2022, bringing in an eighth port highlighting the films Frozen, Tangled and Peter Pan. A new deluxe hotel with a one-of-a-kind luxury wing will be connected to the port. Inspired by myths and legends of the sea, the new port is themed around magical springs that lead to a World of Disney Fantasy, and it will include four new attractions.
As part of the June 2015 reveal of the attraction, Disney officials described some of the key sequences of "Frozen Ever After". Riders arrive in Arendelle during its summer season, when the residents celebrate the Winter Festival. After passing Wandering Oaken's Trading Post, riders board their boats and encounter Olaf and Sven as they prepare for the festival. Grand Pabbie tells the story of how Anna and Kristoff met; then the boats ascend to find Anna, Kristoff, Sven and Olaf together and enjoying the winter weather. Riders next see Elsa in her ice palace performing "Let It Go", then Marshmallow and his mini-snowman friends, the Snowgies, that were first seen in Frozen Fever. Riders return to Arendelle through a cloud of mist and experience a fireworks finale and a send-off from Elsa, Anna and their friends.
Olaf and Sven animatronics
Anna, Elsa, and Olaf audio animatronics during the final scene
A concept piece of a sequence featured in the attraction