Theme Park Insider

First Look at Epcot's New Frozen Ride

June 9, 2015, 8:23 AM · Walt Disney Imagineering is releasing a few details and a concept image for its new Frozen-themed ride at Epcot, which WDI has revealed will be named Frozen Ever After.

Frozen Ever After

Disney Imagineers released the information to the Wall Street Journal, which detailed it in a blog post. In it, creative director Kathy Mangum confirmed that the Frozen ride will be a creative overlay of the former Maelstrom ride, retaining its flume path and ride system but replacing all the scenery and characters in the ride.

The ride will feature Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post in the queue, then an on-ride narrative themed to a "Winter Festival." Olaf and Sven introduce the ride, leading into a visit with the trolls.

Grandpappy Troll tells a gathering of children the story of how Anna and Kristof met, before the log goes up a ramp to find Olaf again, singing a song while ice skating, right next to Anna and Kristof, who are singing with their friend Sven.

Behind a set of doors is the moment any visitor is sure to be waiting for: Elsa, on a balcony, singing “Let It Go” in her ice castle. It’s the centerpiece of the ride, “the big, big scene,” Ms. Mangum said, and it features elaborate effects to create simulated snow crystals soaring around the room.

Frozen Ever After is expected to open in spring 2016.

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Replies (43)

June 9, 2015 at 8:35 AM · I have a feeling this will be a HUGE hit, especially with the younger ones. Actually, I am looking forward to it as well.
June 9, 2015 at 8:39 AM · -_- seriously? I was hoping that this was gonna be a ride where the characters informed the kids about Norway. This sounds like a great ride, but it belongs in Fantasyland, not World Showcase. At least the Donald Duck ride surrounds itself with real Mexican culture, so that you don't forget you're supposed to be in Mexico. What exactly does this ride teach us about Norway?
June 9, 2015 at 8:45 AM · "Take that universal!!! You may be building Kong, a waterpark, and quite possibly a new park and a new Harry Potter area, but we can reskin a 2 minute boat ride in the world showcase!"
June 9, 2015 at 9:10 AM · At minimum, they need to slow the pace of the ride. It went by too fast, barely two minutes long in the interior before the flume drop and the approach to the exit. Perhaps they fixed it by swapping the exit for the entrance. Kids don't want it to end. The "walk by Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post" sounds like a good idea.

I wonder how long it will be for Disneyland west to get a version. How about using the abandoned Motor Boat cruise tracks. Or swap out the Monsters ride for a Sven sleigh ride.

June 9, 2015 at 9:17 AM · Anon Mouse, I just read on another site that the ride will be 4 minutes long.
June 9, 2015 at 9:39 AM · A step in the right direction for Epcot. If Disney won't build a 3rd Magic Kingdom park in America, then Epcot should be transformed into a de facto 3rd Magic Kingdom.

Bring Mystic Manor. Bring Ratatouille. Bring Journey to the Center of the Earth. Bring the Paris castle with animatronic dragon. Make Epcot a park worth visiting again.

June 9, 2015 at 9:45 AM · Not gonna lie, not impressed. I get they will make loads off of this "Flip" but that's exactly what it is... Just like on DIY, they are flipping an old house and making it new. Great business move but was hoping for a lot more. Hopefully the audio-animatronics will be so great that it changes my mind. Time will tell.
June 9, 2015 at 10:03 AM · Still sad about Maelstrom, but it looks very promising. I passed by the construction yesterday and it looked like it was coming along. I look forward to it! May be increased child presence in a mainly adult themed park though.
June 9, 2015 at 10:07 AM · Seriously, I think everybody is missing the obvious question-

WILL THERE BE A POLAR BEAR?!?!?!?!

It's amazing that a ride could be closed for over a year and a half and the end result will be the addition of a few animatronics and one song blaring over and over and over again until the poor Norwegian college students operating the ride go insane (which I'm wagering will be within the first five hours of operation). The folks down the street east on I4 can put together a whole new show building and ride system in that amount of time.

Like Anon said, it definitely sounds like they will be reversing the queue line and have it come in what was the exit. Considering this ride will probably have a 60+ minute wait time from now on, they'll need the old theater area to create a indoor queue space to accommodate it.

June 9, 2015 at 10:09 AM · I actually don't have a problem with them "flipping an old house and making it new". There are probably a lot of older rides that they should do this to. This isn't a ride meant for adults, anyway...so the young kids will be just as happy with this as they are with one of the "classic" rides like Peter Pan.
June 9, 2015 at 10:27 AM · Epcot lost its identity when the name was changed from EPCOT Center to just Epcot. I'm ok with the changes overall so long as it leads to Epcot becoming a better park. My guess is Disney will consider transforming World Showcase more into the WestCOT plan where the cultural influence will be broad as opposed to specific. I wouldn't be surprised if Future World was rebranded at some point as well.
June 9, 2015 at 10:50 AM · Yes, people will love it. Yes, this attraction will be a huge success for Disney financially. And yes, I will probably enjoy it a lot.

But I think that Disney missed a huge opportunity here. Frozen is such a strong franchise; it deserves an uber dark ride, similar to what Universal did for Harry Potter or what Disney itself created in Hong Kong. Just imagine track less vehicles ‘dancing’ in Elsa’s ice castle while she performs “Let It go.”

This attraction could have been so much more. And therefore, this announcement should be a disappointment for every Disney theme park fan.

June 9, 2015 at 10:51 AM · So much for the hope that this would feature trackless vehicles. *sigh*

As it was, Maelstrom had too long of lines and the ride itself went by way too fast. Hopefully, they can fix this problem and make this at least 6 minutes long. Otherwise, it's just going to be a disappointing ride that won't be able to satisfy the inevitable overwhelming demand.

June 9, 2015 at 11:07 AM · @64: Yes, the ride is 4 minutes long in total, but only 2 minutes on the inside. That's what I wrote. 2 minutes on the inside, then the flume drop. Practically over until you disembark. You can view the Maelstrom ride on Youtube and time the whole thing out.
June 9, 2015 at 11:48 AM · I hate to say it but this is exactly what I expected. It's just going to be a cheap overlay to the existing ride system. They're not even going to expand or lengthen it. Even Maelstrom...which I liked and hated to see removed...was too short. And my biggest fear is that this is going to be the next STITCH. Those like me that loved Maelstrom are already disappointed...and those that are wishing for a creative and innovative e-ticket based on FROZEN are going to be left scratching their heads. But for me EPCOT is finished anyway. I didn't visit EPCOT on my last trip to WDW...it's too depressing nowadays. And this underwhelming attempt certainly will not bring me back. I will probably never visit EPCOT again unless they change the name of the park. If Disney is determined to turn this into some kind of a fantasy park...that's fine but change the name out of respect for Walt Disney. Because this park has absolutely nothing to do with Walt's vision of an experimental city of tomorrow and it no longer represents the world's fair type park that existed on opening day. So remove the name please...and bring on some world-class fantasy rides!!!
June 9, 2015 at 11:33 AM · I guess 2 minutes is the new standard for WDW rides.
June 9, 2015 at 11:50 AM · Very dissapointed they are not making it longer and a complete new ride. As with other peoples sentiments that Universal seems to be creating superb rides and experiences with the characters. Whereas, disney is using their characters to sell a mediocre ride.

I visited Diagon Alley last year and was completely blown away just like when i visited hogsmeade for the first time. Transformers blew me away, it got me nostalgic and excited. I did not get that feeling when i went to new fantasyland except for be our guest and gastons tavern areas. New fanatasyland is just a bunch of IPs not tied together, its not like adventure land and frontierland where a constant theme is surrounding you. Avatarland should not of been the big project to get people to disney green lighted after they saw hogsmeade. A different IP should've been selected.

This announcement just highlights the difference between the two parks and the directions they are going into.

June 9, 2015 at 1:13 PM · Honestly, on a scale of 1 to 10, this attraction sounds like about a 6 to me. It isn't terrible, but it could have (and should have) been way better. While I never rode Maelstrom, from videos it looks like there's only enough room for four major scenes and a couple smaller ones. That said, I fully expect the ride to have waits of 90+ minutes next summer and I expect a fair number of riders (especially those who are moderate or less Frozen fans) to come off disappointed.
June 9, 2015 at 1:27 PM · I bet one of the big components to the decision was how to divert tons of visitors from Magic Kingdom to Epcot. This will do it. I, personally, don't like it, since the World Showcase is one of my all time favorite theme park areas. I like to go there to slow down, eat well, and have a nice authentic beverage. That being said, I hope that is all there is to it. I have said time and time again that WDW must, must, must have a fifth gate. They could actually get by with a sixth gate. One being an explorer park where Mystic Manor, Center of the Earth, etc. can be. A sixth gate of nothing but Star Wars. They won't do it. The crowds will continue to be a problem, and I will only visit at off times. If they decide to crowd those other attractions in the Epcot space, they will damage the charm of Epcot irrevocably. Also, why do we hear every other week about Kong, the new Universal water park, and new things there with absolutely nothing coming out about Avatar? Come on Disney, we know how much your stock will increase after Episode 7.
June 9, 2015 at 1:42 PM · And whilst you all gnash your teeth and wail that you wanted more from this new ride, or that it's ruining the Norwegian-ness of the Norway land, the Disney executives are sitting back happy in the certain knowledge that they will have created a ride that is a sure-fire hit, guaranteed to be a major fastpass+ draw and will send every little girl, (and a quite few big ones - and boys - too) into wild excesses of excitement.

They know what they are doing and it's going to be huge and 99% of all visitors won't care about the sort of things you are complaining about above. They'll just get on and ride it and love it. We can all complain as much as we like but to my eyes this looks like a sure-fire hit for Disney.

June 9, 2015 at 2:38 PM · For anyone who thinks Disney is going to build a 5th gate anytime soon you are dreaming. They won't even spend enough money to make decent new ride, why would they spend a 2 billion on a new park that will just more evenly disperse the people in the parks now? They will be content doing cheap overlays and touting them as new rides. What was the last truley E-ticket quality ride Disney built at WWDW?
June 9, 2015 at 3:28 PM · Best case scenario: This will send lots of visitors over to Epcot, and encourage Disney to expand the World Showcase in a way it should have been fifteen years ago, with new countries tied to Disney intellectual properties - which will be great as long as they come with new restuarants, performances and unique shops.
An Austrailian land, with a Rescuers Down Under ride? Sure, as long as I can get a Fosters, have some bbq shrimp, and buy a stuffed koala.
A Brother's Grimm ride in Germany, with Snow White, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty - just keep my Biergarten.
India exhibit, with The Jungle Book River Ride - with restaurants filled with fantastic tandori, samosas and curries.
Greece, with Hercules and Uzo (if it doesn't get enough visitors, the other pavillions could help bail it out).
Possibilities are endless!
June 9, 2015 at 3:34 PM · Shouldn't be where it is. It's a disrespect to Epcot, world showcase and ultimately WDW fans.

This franchise deserves a better dedicated attraction in Hollywood studios.

End of story.

June 9, 2015 at 4:13 PM · I wonder what they'll do with the drop. If this is a kid's ride, then why would there be a drop? Also what will they do with the theater?
June 9, 2015 at 4:48 PM · Why are we all complaining about the ride-time? Little dark rides like this are what Disney does! Peter Pan, Snow White, Winnie the Pooh...they're all pretty short, yet they're considered classics.

Y'know, it's come to my attention that, no matter what Disney does we're gonna criticize them. For a while we've complained that Disney doesn't build new rides. Well, they finally are, and now more complaints. The only one I agree with is that it doesn't fit in World Showcase. As for the others?

-"It's not an E-ticket ride!" Umm...why does it have to be? It's a ride meant for little ones. Little ones can't go on E-ticket rides.

-"It uses the same ride system as Maelstrom!" Transformers uses the same ride system as Spider-Man, and I believe it recently appeared on this website's top 10 Universal attractions (which it didn't deserve, quite frankly).

-"It's short!" See above.

Look, people, I think we are asking too much from Disney. I've said this a bajillion times, but I'll say it again.

Disney doesn't need to be making announcements about a thrilling new ride every other Thursday because they already have such a rich, wonderful treasure trove of great rides. The reason why Universal does this is because they're trying to build a reputation (and attendance numbers) as big as Disney. I was going to write a full paragraph ranting about how the only great new attraction at Universal was Gringotts and the rest range from 5-7 on a scale of 1 to 10, but I think I need to shut up now.

June 9, 2015 at 5:03 PM · If you step back a bit and think about it the fact the Disney did not pull out all the stops and build a larger attraction may well be because they have a larger master plan in place. With Avatar and Star Wars attractions already in development perhaps the reason that this attraction had to be an overlay was because Disney did not realize how big the firm was going to be.From my perspectivethe things like an an affirmation that Disney has auch larger strategy then people give them credit for.

This attraction could very well be an afterthought. which would make it something of a windfall. Those who criticize Disney for developing attractions at what they perceive to be a slow pace should consider the possibility that the company is being methodical and its incremental approach to attraction development is meant to be strategic.

June 9, 2015 at 5:06 PM · Yes, it's going to be very popular, especially after Disney does their national & world wide marketing. But the lines will probably be multiple hours for standby, if they even have standby. With such a low capacity it may end up being the first fastpass only ride.. The Maelstrom ride capacity was around 900 an hour according to most estimates. So even if they open this at the same time as Future World, it will probably only be able to handle about the same as Maelstrom since it's mainly the same system & route. So that's apx. 10,800 people a day. I'd hate to be working customer relations at Epcot in spring 2016. Better get your fastpass at midnight 60 days before your vacation. 1:00 AM may be too late.
June 9, 2015 at 5:45 PM · "Take that universal!!! You may be building Kong, a waterpark, and quite possibly a new park and a new Harry Potter area, but we can reskin a 2 minute boat ride in the world showcase!" - I was thinking the same thing...
June 9, 2015 at 5:46 PM · Will there then be any equivalent replacement for the documentary film segment of the original attraction? If not, the whole experience seems more of a condensation.
June 9, 2015 at 6:10 PM · Hey guys, I'm not saying the ride looks like it's going to suck or be a failure to the fans. But at some point, a ride developer should be asking less "What's going to be good enough for the fans?" and more "What more can we do to make something we can be proud of?" Somehow, I'm just not getting the feeling that Imagineers will be entirely proud of their work knowing that they could have built it elsewhere and given it the space to allow them run wild with the possibilities they could have worked with for a Frozen ride (like coming up with an entire Arendelle area like the one they're building at Tokyo Disneyland). Again, I'll give Disney the benefit of the doubt that the ride could end up being a surprise hit and be a massive boon for families with little kids. I'm just worried that using the cheaper route will end up biting them in the butt in the long term.
June 9, 2015 at 7:04 PM · Oh no... Not Let it go... Again... Well, they surely have done a new story, if I want to see Elsa singing "Let it go", I can just see the movie or watch the video on YouTube. Why they keep doing the same thing over and over again? There is already the Disney on Ice show where you can see Elsa singing this, during the night show they use Let It go again, and I suppose that the Frozen show in parks also have Let it go. I hope they don't go this cheap route with Marvel or Star Wars.
June 9, 2015 at 7:41 PM · I know you can never really know if what the executives say is spin or based on fact, but in support of TH Creative's comment here is a passage from the WSJ article:
"Disney executives and designers started discussing a “Frozen” ride before the film even came out, said chief operating officer Tom Staggs, who ran the theme park unit until February. But “our urgency grew as the film really took off,” he said, and “we purposefully set a really audacious goal to get this thing done.” That’s one of the reasons why it’s a makeover of Maelstrom, rather than an entirely new attraction that would take longer to build."

It's possible this is ride number one based only on the first movie, and maybe they have some other plan for Hollywood studios/Disneyland based on the first and/or second Frozen movie. I think sometimes they do think about theme park rides even before movies come out because Pete Doctor said they talked to the parks and resort people about Inside Out quite a while ago (he mentioned EPCOT specifically in case anyone is interested) and he probably was telling the truth about that.
I think one of the other reasons Staggs doesn't mention is that they are probably also working on building pretty involved Star Wars areas along with Pandora, and maybe also Marvel attractions in California. I'm wondering if Mark Eades was correct when he wrote that post for Inside the Magic wondering if Disneyland's Tomorrowland was going to turn into a Marvel area. We now know that Tomorrowland the movie is struggling to not be a write down for Disney. I'm guessing Disney will not invest in remaking Tomorrowland and Future World at EPCOT after this.

June 9, 2015 at 8:24 PM · Almost anything is better than Maelstrom... I'll take it.
June 10, 2015 at 5:06 AM · Now I understand why they closed Maelstrom.

To a other Comment about animatronic dragon: I remember their was one, just not sure it was in Anaheim or Orlando. I never been in Paris, so it was not that one I remember. (but I go Paris June 29)

June 10, 2015 at 5:06 AM · I can't help but think all these negative comments are coming from people without daughters, nieces, or grandchildren. This attraction will serve it's purpose for the target audience. The country of Norway is still funding the pavilion, so it was given the go by people other than Disney suits. Walt built his parks with the intent on "never complete". Cardboard cut-out attractions are things of the past and a ride that never had a wait until closing week had to go.
Akershus has a princess breakfast, by the way. Princesses from countries other than Norway. Disney princesses that "belong in Fantasyland"... Hasn't taken anything away from the theming yet. Don't want to ride the attraction then don't. It will be enjoyable for kids and kids at heart.
June 10, 2015 at 5:44 AM · So Frozen is a rush job as intended.
June 10, 2015 at 6:20 AM · This is awesome! I love Frozen Ever After ride in Epcot and I can't wait to ride next year!
June 10, 2015 at 8:45 AM · This is going to be a hit... of course. Those complaining about too much Frozen should be happy that it is only a rehab and not a lot of money for a big E-Ticket ;) More seriously, I've been to Orlando end of April and beginning of May and was expecting, based on some articles, that Universal could be a winner. Although I was entertained by Transformers, really loved the Hogwarth Express (far more interesting than the overstated, for me, Gringott Coaster) and the details of Diagon Alley, WDW was still ahead. Why? Not really because of the rides but because Disney is always a step further with its "architecture of reassurance" thing that they know how to handle.
But, to end this too long reply, I think that what happened to Universal recently is very good for us customers: Disney that was resting on its laurels is now moving. Surely, Disney is moving slowly. Let's not forget the tortoise and the hare...
June 10, 2015 at 12:25 PM · Just to clarify the above anonymous comment. The government of Norway does not sponsor the Norway pavilion at Epcot. None of the pavilions are sponsored by countries except for Morocco. The rest of the pavilions are supported by Disney and typically another corporate sponsor that either has ties to or is directly based from the pavilions country. China and Japan are owned nearly entirely by outside vendors, while Disney provides maintenance, grounds keeping, merchandise bags, and in China's case some employees.

Disney does not hold merchandise rights over Japan, China or Morroco. Disney also has limited merchandise rights in some pavilions dealing with specific merchandise such as liquor, perfume, and other select products.

Norway's perfume vendor for instance is an outside vendor, but Disney owns the rest of the pavilion, providing employees, merchandise, and all improvements and maintenance of the pavilion. The corporate sponsor when I was working there I believe was Scandinavian Airlines Systems if I remember correctly. They however were just a sponsor and had no real say on how the pavilion was operated.

June 10, 2015 at 4:07 PM · At least that will give us something else new, after King Kong, if we make it to Orlando next year...
June 11, 2015 at 12:13 PM · Random Idea:

Why not refurbish Splash Mountain with a Frozen overlay? Make it into an Ice Mountain, and have the queue be Arrendale. I know Splash Mountain is a classic and all, but who even knows what movie that ride is from anymore?

June 11, 2015 at 7:43 PM · The reason why they can't refurbish splash is because it is still popular. The reason why malestorm was replaced in the first place is because it wasn't popular anymore and was showing signs of it's datedness. Unless splash suddenly becomes unpopular,it will never happen. Sorry. 199.
June 12, 2015 at 11:02 AM · One word--Ugh.

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