Friday, September 12, 2014

Frozen Attraction Headed to Epcot



Have you heard the news?  Well I'm sure that of course you have...Frozen is coming to Epcot! 

The attraction which was just announced today, will be replacing the Maelstrom attraction in the Norway Pavilion and will feature "favorite moments and music from the film." (What this tells me is it will likely be a re-hash of the movie's best scenes.)  The Norway Pavilion will also gain a meet and greet with Anna and Elsa again.  Rumors are indicating that Maelstrom will close on October 5 and will re-open with the Frozen theme in early 2016. 

Disney claims that the "Frozen elements are great complements to the Norway Pavilion, which showcases the country and region that inspired the film."  However for many, this is just the final nail in the coffin for what Epcot once was. 

You see, Epcot was once a place of edu-tainment.  It heavily featured opportunities to have fun and learn too.  However, in recent years, that edu-tainment factor has been rapidly decreasing.  Some say Test Track being built was the start of Epcot removing learning opportunities.  Still others claim things started going downhill when characters were introduced, since originally there were no characters to be found in the park, on purpose. 

As for me, I really have no problems with characters in Epcot, whether they be in World Showcase or Future World.  I've always thought that if the character can help tell the story and teach and inform, then it's ok.  (I'll readily admit that I was one of those kids who was bored with the original versions of Epcot.  I'm sorry, but I was.  The one thing that I had an affinity for from "old" EPCOT was Figment...a character...)  However, lately, even I've noticed teaching guests in a fun way really seems to be being taken away, piece by piece. 

My first issue was with the Nemo refurb.  While I think Nemo being added to The Seas, which was a more or less dead pavilion at the time, could have been a great educational opportunity where they could have taken the characters from the film and taught people about the fun of the ocean with the attraction, they instead replaced the former ride with a re-hash (and not a very good one mind you) of the movie. There was so much potential there!  And yes, I know you can still learn about fish throughout the rest of the pavilion, but I felt that they missed their chance on the attraction. 

Then we have Gran Fiesta Tour...for some reason this one doesn't bother me as much.  I don't know why.  I actually kind of like this attraction.  I like that they used The Three Caballeros and incorporated them to the attraction, but again, I wish it would have been a touch more edu-tainment involved.  There was the chance to do that and they dropped the ball. 

Other recent attractions people have issues with are things like Soarin, but I still find that educational, seeing the different landscapes of California. (And if you believe rumors, eventually we'll see different landscapes of the world...so that one's alright.) 

The refurb that really bothers me is actually Test Track.  I found the old one (which many did not) to still be educational; teaching guests about how cars are tested.  However, with this new version, I literally get nothing from it.  Matter of fact, I just watched a tv special on Walt Disney World that was on my DVR where they explained about the attraction and that's when I finally realized what the heck was going on.  I never realized that I was supposed to be "in the computer".  If the purpose of the attraction has to be explained, to me, you're doing it wrong. 

So, now we are here...with Frozen taking over Maelstrom.  While Maelstrom isn't perfect...trust me...it's a mish-mash of Norwegian lore...it still has touches of the original concepts of Epcot.  It was still somewhat educational, and extremely fun.  It held the ideals and taught some of the history of Norway. 

With the new Frozen attraction, they could have chosen to make it educational about the country of Norway.  (While I get that Arendelle is fake, it is based enough off of Norway that I'm ok with Anna and Elsa being included in some manner of the Norway Pavilion.) It just would have been nice to see some edu-tainment included with this updated attraction. 

Instead, it seems it will be, yet again, another re-hash of a movie that we've all seen and know by heart.  (Or at least that's what I'm assuming given the description of the attraction currently released by Disney.) While that's fine, Epcot isn't the park to include an attraction like that in.  You could have done a re-hashed version of the movie at the Magic Kingdom or Disney's Hollywood Studios even. 

I think that Disney did a good job of incorporating Frozen into the Stave Church exhibit in the Norway Pavilion.  Many artifacts on display are legitimate Norwegian and show how they were included in the movie.  So that tells me that they can still make things educational while connecting the education with characters that people care about.  They just don't want to. That's probably the saddest part about this news. 

I get that Frozen was this huge phenomenon and you want to reap the benefits of that Disney, but could you at least give us something original that you could utilize these well-loved characters in?

The problem is that this re-hashed version of the movie will do gang-busters and will likely be extremely popular when it officially opens...and to the corporate world, that's all that matters.  But I can guarantee that if they used the characters for educational purposes, they would still get the people to flock towards the attraction, AND they would make those of us who loved the edu-tainment of Epcot just a little bit happier about the decision to remove an attraction that, while quite campy, still taught us about the country of Norway. Isn't that what these World Showcase countries were for in the first place? 

What are your thoughts?  Are you excited to see Frozen included in Epcot?  Wish they would put it somewhere else? Let me know in the comments section or on the Facebook page! 

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2 comments:

Philip said...

Like so many others in the blogosphere, it's painfully obvious that you're being way too negative, mean-spirited and hateful.

Your complains about missed opportunities are uncalled for and your hatred of the Nemo ride, the upcoming Frozen ride, etc. are VERY off-putting.

Michael Enloe said...

Rikki - I couldn't agree with you more! EPCOT is losing its educational element. "Frozen" is a much better fit in MK or Hollywood Studios.

My family really enjoys the Maelstrom ride because it is different, and Norway looks to be a beautiful country and a "hidden gem" on the planet Earth. I would hate to see the World Showcase be "gimmick-ed" out with movie characters, and take away celebrating the heritage of each country to World Showcase exhibits.

EPOCT is an unique theme park, & I pray that Disney keeps the educational elements as the main theme to the park to keep it unique.

The removal of the Maelstrom makes me very sad, and I feel like there are much more areas in the parks that needs to be re-imagined before the Maelstrom. Ex: Captain EO, Stitch's Great Escape, Tom Sawyer Island, and the Tomorrowland Speedway.