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Maelstrom was a boat cruise and traditional film attraction in the Norway pavilion in the World Showcase at Epcot. Visitors rode boats that were patterned after Viking ships and passed through scenes with audio-animatronic figures. It featured a 28 foot drop near its climax.

Maelstrom closed permanently on October 5, 2014 and was replaced by Frozen Ever After in 2016.

History

When a Norway Pavilion was put into development for Epcot, a boat ride based around Norse mythology was proposed, given the name Sea Venture. Taking the form of a journey through mystical lands and trolls to find a rainbow bridge to Valhalla, with a theme song written by the Sherman Brothers. However, the Norwegian sponsors desired something with a broader scope, turning into a history of Norway from folklore to the present. With limited ride time however, much of these elements would be compressed into a journey strung together by the narration of Odin. A post-show film would cover additional travelogue material.

The North Sea storm ending was originally set to feature more ambitious effects with pouring rain, wind, crashing waves, and lightning provided by a functional Tesla coil, though the latter was deemed too much of a safety hazard and was replaced by simple strobe effects. The Sea Venture name remained very late in development, far enough that a marquee with the name was produced and briefly installed, before the final name change to Maelstrom.

Summary

The ride first took guests back to a mythological version of Norway's Viking days, travelling up a waterfall. The boats passed through scenes of seafarers and Vikings.

The boats then entered an enchanted swamp where they were forced backwards down a waterfall by angry trolls. The boats then floated rapidly past scenes of polar bears and living trees before coming to a stop on the edge of another waterfall, exposed to the Norway pavilion's main thoroughfare.

After rotating back to a forward-facing position, the boats plunged forward into the stormy North Sea. The boats passed dangerously close to an oil rig and the ride came to an abrupt end in a calm harbor.

After the ride, the guests disembarked and had the option of watching a 5-minute film highlighting the history and folklore of Norway.

Hidden Mickeys

See Hidden Mickey

  • In the ride's loading area, a large painted mural included many people and elements from Norway's history. Hidden in this painting was a Viking whose helmet had Mickey Mouse ears, and another figure wearing a Mickey Mouse watch.
     
  • Inside the church, King Olaf II had a Mickey embroidered on his tunic, near his right thigh.

Trivia

  • Though the ride has since been retooled into Frozen Ever After, references to Maelstrom can now be found in the queue for the Meet-and-Greet with Anna and Elsa next door; most notably a tapestry depicting the three headed troll and the rock ogre. Additionally, puffin figures were reused in the attraction itself, standing on the rocks after the last drop. Also, the swirling light effects on the ceiling when the boat is sent back during the "Let It Go" sequence was the same one used for the "Troll Valley" scene where the guests are pushed back over the falls by the troll's spell.

Gallery

References


v - e - d
New epcot logo
World Celebration (Coming Soon)
Spaceship EarthImagination! (Journey into Imagination with FigmentImageWorks: The What-If Labs) • The EPCOT Experience Center
World Nature (Coming Soon)
The Land (Awesome Planet Soarin' Around the WorldLiving with the Land) • The Seas with Nemo & Friends (Turtle Talk with Crush) • Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana (Opening in 2021)
World Discovery (Coming Soon)
Mission: SPACETest TrackGuardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind (Opening in 2021) • PLAY! (Animation Academy (Opening in Summer 2021))
World Showcase
Mexico Pavilion (Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros) • Norway Pavilion (Frozen Ever After) • China Pavilion (Reflections of ChinaWondrous China (Opening in 2020)) • Germany PavilionItaly PavilionThe American AdventureJapan PavilionMorocco PavilionFrance Pavilion (Impressions de FranceBeauty and the Beast Sing-AlongRemy's Ratatouille Adventure (Opening in Fall 2020)) • International GatewayUnited Kingdom Pavilion (Mary Poppins (Coming Soon)) • Canada Pavilion (Canada: Far and Wide in Circle-Vision 360) • DuckTales World Showcase Adventure (Opening in Fall 2020)
Resorts
Disney's Yacht Club ResortDisney's Beach Club ResortDisney's BoardWalk InnDisney's BoardWalk VillasDisney's Caribbean Beach ResortDisney's Riviera Resort
Current Entertainment
HarmonioUS (Opening in Fall 2020)
Former Attractions and Entertainment
Future World
Universe of EnergyImagination! (Journey Into ImaginationUpstairs Image WorksMagic JourneysHoney, I Shrunk the AudienceCaptain EOJourney Into Your Imagination) • Ellen's Energy AdventureHorizonsWorld of MotionWonders of Life (Body WarsCranium CommandGoofy About HealthThe Making of Me) • CommuniCoreThe Land (SymbiosisKitchen KabaretFood RocksCircle of Life: An Environmental Fable) • Splashtacular • The Living Seas • Innoventions

World Showcase
China Pavilion (Wonders of China) • Norway Pavilion (Maelstrom) • Mexico Pavilion (El Rio del Tiempo) • Canada Pavilion (O Canada!) • IllumiNationsIllumiNations 25IllumiNations: Reflections of EarthAgent P's World Showcase AdventureKim Possible World Showcase Adventure
Seasonal: Millennium VillageTapestry of NationsEpcot Forever

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