When Disney announced that they would be replacing Maelstrom with a Frozen-themed reskin of the ride, many Disney World fans were worried. To some, a simple retheming of the ride seemed like a quick way to cash-in on the popularity of Frozen while betraying the spirit of the Norway Pavilion. Another concern was that the 18-month turnaround from announcement to opening would mean a lazy overlay, rather than an immersive ride true to the source material. Some shackled their Magic Bands to the Maelstrom entrance in protest, while others decided to wait and see.
Frozen Ever After finally opened at Epcot’s Norway Pavilion this week, and the reviews are finally in. Did Disney just phone it in and deliver a fixer upper? Simply put, no. Quite the contrary, as many guests are praising Frozen Ever After as one of the best additions to Walt Disney World in years.
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Fortunately for Disney World fans, it seems like we got the best case scenario: an immersive and delightful boat/dark ride and very worth successor to Maelstrom. While I haven’t been able to experience the ride for myself, everything I’ve read on Twitter, Instagram, and other Disney World blogs have been overwhelmingly positive. Below are a collection of photos, reviews, tweets, and videos to give you an overview on how Frozen Ever After is being received. This won’t get too much into the nitty gritty details, but if you’re sensitive to spoilers, I’d say stop reading right here and just go on the ride as soon as you can.
“Everyone on my boat laughed and cheered several times. I felt the ride was great and will definitely ride it again… Frozen Ever After is the next generation dark ride. It’s very well done, with great Audio Animatronics, and a lot of fun!” – Deb Wills – AllEars.Net
“It doesn’t overstay its welcome, delivers the fanfare that one would expect from a Disney ride, and serves to complement the property both accurately and lovingly. Who could ask for much more?” – Adam McCabe – InsideTheMagic
“I will say that I thoroughly enjoyed it and I think it’s worth your Tier 1 FastPass+.” – Josh at EasyWDW.
Two new rides today! Frozen Ever After and Soarin Around the World def lived up to the hype!
— Michelle Bradshaw (@musicmaniac42) June 24, 2016
Rode Frozen Ever After for my 2nd time, 1st not behind a camera. This ride is so overwhelming great! Lighting, AA's, sound–everything!
— Adam Roth (@arothwdwc) June 24, 2016
SPOILER ALERT- saw the Frozen Ever After Ride. It was amazing https://t.co/1THJ18lCSI
— Amanda Storm (@amandastravels) June 24, 2016
One huge standout amongst guests are the audio-animatronics. Walt Disney Imagineering has raised the bar they set with Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, especially with the walking Olaf AA. Check out this video from InsideTheMagic.
(Images used via Creative Commons. Photo by Theme Park Tourist on Flickr)
An extra surprise: Frozen Ever After has added an on-ride photo during the drop. Since PhotoPass is included in my Annual Pass, this is definitely a welcome addition. Another bonus of Frozen Ever After opening is that Disney is opening parts of the World Showcase at 9 AM now (including Frozen), rather than the typical 11 AM.
Overall, I’d say the response to Frozen Ever After has been glowing. However, that isn’t to say that the premiere has been without its bumps along the way. By debuting during one of the busiest times of the year, Frozen Ever After has had immense lines, easily stretching to over 3 hours long at certain points.
— Disney At Work (@DisneyatWork) June 21, 2016
The ride has also seen its share of breakdowns and technical difficulties, which isn’t particularly uncommon or worrying for a brand new ride with complex audio animatronics. This has lead to the standby line being closed off at certain points so Disney can catch up with FastPass+ appointments.
Hopefully, these technical issues will subside; however, I don’t see the demand for this ride going down anytime soon. Epcot doesn’t really have another character-driven dark ride like it, and a new attraction can remain popular for years at Disney World. If you plan on visiting Epcot and want to ride Frozen Ever After, be sure to grab a FastPass+ reservation or head straight for the standby line at rope drop.
Have you ridden Frozen Ever After? Let me know what you thought in the comments below!