Vote of the Week: Should Disney change Epcot's Norway pavilion to Frozen?
Published: July 18, 2014 at 11:26 AM
Photo courtesy Disney
Clearly, guest demand justifies a permanent new home for the entire Frozen franchise, not just a character meet-and-greet and a sing-along show. So the question isn't whether to build a Frozen attraction, the question is... where? We've offered some suggestions on where Disney might have the best opportunity to add Frozen to its theme parks. But speculation continues to focus on Epcot's Norway pavilion, the original theme park home for Anna and Elsa.
The placement makes sense, at first glance. Frozen's fictional kingdom of Arendelle sure looks like Norway. And the pavilion's current attraction, the Maelstrom boat ride, hasn't drawn people to the park in decades, and only started regularly drawing a significant queue due to crowd-shifting under Disney's new MyMagic+ system.
But bringing Frozen to Epcot's World Showcase would mark a significant departure from Epcot's original purpose as a non-fiction theme park. And yet, Disney seems eager to move away from non-fiction themed entertainment, as it builds a new Avatar-themed land at Disney's Animal Kingdom, moves the Lion King show into that park's Africa section, contemplates Frozen in World Showcase, and spitballs more plans for adding Pixar and Disney animation characters throughout Epcot.
Let's not forget, however, that Disney isn't the only party with an interest in what happens at Epcot. Those national pavilions are there because nations and corporations paid a lot of money to build and sponsor them. People in Norway have heard the rumors about a Frozen makeover for their nation's pavilion, and some of them are questioning whether Norway, one of the world's richest countries per capita (richer than even the United States), should put up some some extra money to keep the pavilion Frozen-free. Watch this recent report from Norwegian television:
The report implicitly raises an interesting question, however: Is it better for Norway to have an Epcot pavilion filled with outdated information and cultural stereotypes, or to allow Disney to reimagine it as unapologetic fiction? It is easier to justify abandoning a non-fiction theme when the non-fiction isn't that accurate anymore, after all.
But why must those be the only two choices? What about Norway, or, more likely, a Norwegian company, putting up the cash to renovate the Norway pavilion into something more exciting, more entertaining, and more accurately reflective of Norway today? Yeah, that's not as conceptually easy as just making the whole thing into Arendelle, Florida, but theme park design pros usually rise to a challenge when given the opportunity and means to do it. And Norway is rolling in money, thanks to North Sea oil.
So let's make this our Vote of the Week.
Let's play theme park designer and share your ideas for Epcot's World Showcase, in the comments. And if you'd like to stretch your theme park design muscles a bit more, remember that we are now taking sign-ups for our Theme Park Apprentice game over on the Discussion Forum.