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Image © Disney

Big changes are rumored to be coming to Epcot in the near future.

Though Hollywood Studios is often viewed as the Walt Disney World park most in need of refurbishment, Epcot's attendance has been growing at smaller and smaller levels over the years, and some of the attractions at the park (specifically in the Future World area) have been showing their age.

However, there it looks like there are some big plans in the future for Epcot , that include both Future World and World Showcase. Of course, none of these developments have been confirmed by Disney, but two have some pretty strong sources behind them, and could be announced officially by the end of the year.

1. Frozen is coming to Norway 

Image © Disney

It’s no secret that Walt Disney World has big plans for its latest animated blockbuster, and it looks like the Norway pavilion could be ground zero for a permanent Frozen experience in the parks.

The biggest target will be the aging Maelstrom ride, which is rumored to be getting a complete gut. Instead of featuring the history of Norway, the ride will instead feature elements from the film.

In addition to the updated ride, there are whispers that the Norway-themed areas will be cut down to a single shop. According to a video posted online by a Norwegian news station, Disney has told interested parties that unless the Norwegian government invests $9 million in refurbishing the Norway pavilion, then the plans to re-theme the area as the Kingdom of Arendelle (with just a hint of Norway sprinkled in) will move forward.

According to the same video report, plans have already been drawn up for the big Frozen refurbishment, and the current Maelstrom could see its final boat launch this October (which would line up with reports claiming that FastPass+ availability for this attraction has been cut off past August). Looks like several commenters have confirmed that they have FastPass+ reservations for Maelstrom in September, so this part of the rumor was thankfully unfounded. 

You can check out the video for yourself below (make sure to watch it with English subtitles on), but keep in mind that none of this is official or confirmed by Disney. 

It’s hard to imagine an area of the World’s Showcase being dedicated to a single Disney movie, but this story seems pretty plausible, especially as rumors have been swirling about a Frozen attraction coming to the parks ever since January.

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Comments

New Soarin' is a fine idea, though for nostalgia (is this ride really old enough for nostalgia? From the comments, I guess so...) it would be nice if one of the three theaters keeps the California theme.

As for Norway, Maelstrom is my wife's favourite ride (she was nearly in tears when this rumour originally came out) and I'm quite fond of it, myself. So, I'd much prefer it kept; maybe just re-theming the end to Frozen or something.
But, my big question is about the money! I know when EPCOT first opened, there was considerable involvement by the various countries represented, and the pavilions are all still staffed by people from those countries.
Can anyone tell me how much continuing involvement each country has, and how much they continue to invest? Is this $9 million standard for all the countries involved, or, to be blunt, is this a matter of "Cough it up or you lose your pavilion"?

I think characters in the pavilions is kind of par for the course now - Mexico, Three Cabelleros - Norway already has the Frozen sisters - China has Mulan - France has Aurora - UK has Mary Poppins and Alice. I've always liked these connections, for both entertainment and educational value. But, that's what EPCOT has always been about, entertainment AND education! I'd love to see more of both! More characters teaching kids about their respective countries, in all the pavilions, would be great, but I'd greatly prefer not to lose the flavour of those countries in the process.
[Except for the alcohol-flavoured experiences brought in by those who think it's their own, private, international pub crawl. It's a theme park, you jerk. If you don't like the kids, go where there aren't any!]

But I'd also agree with all those looking for an overall renewal - Why did I not see 3D printer demos at Innoventions last year, for example? In the 80's, I saw some of the most innovative ideas of the future exhibited and explored. Those ideas are 3 decades old now. There could and should be a huge connection with the Maker movement.
AND!!! Journey into Imagination could easily have the most mind-blowing experiences anywhere! Why can't they just let the Imagineers use it to let loose their wildest ideas? It could be incredible! But, most importantly - DREAMFINDER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm obviously going to be saying something that is unpopular on this site, but I think changing the Norway area to reflect a Frozen theme is a good idea. Why? Because the 'average visitor' (as opposed to the hyper-enthusiastic Disney fanatic) are looking for the classic Disney experience in all the parks. The World Showcase, while fun (I certainly enjoy visiting it), isn't exactly made for the whole family. There are lots of shops, lovely visual details, and eateries, but very little in the way of rides - and those that exist aren't really up to par with the rest of the DisneyWorld themed rides. So that area isn't interesting for the children (although I'm sure there are exceptions). Adding something like the Frozen themeing would really excite the children! Malestorm, as it is, isn't something that children would clamor to see, but a Frozen themed ride, I think they would. In fact, I think the vast majority of Epcot visitor would love the change and that's who Disney wants to please. There have been lots of comments already about how Epcot is the least favorite park, so these are the kind of changes that might make it more likable for more people, and I can only see that as a good thing.

Just my two cents.

We just returned from a 14 day trip to Walt Disney World, and I have to say I was very disappointed. Over the years Disney has declined in service and quality. This was my families 15th. visit since 1995 and it amazes me at how much of a decline there has been. The prices have increased, and this increase is in exchange for poor food quality and poor service. The happiest place on earth cast members are becoming less than happy, in fact the employees at Six Flags offer a better experience now. Throughout the day, very few cast members and managers seen in the parks acknowledged us, not even a smile when making a purchase. If was saddening to us. In fact it was so bad, we are weighing our options for next years trip, and changing it. Also, we did make a Vacation Club purchase at the start of the trip, only to become so disappointed at our experience we cancelled it a week later.

How about finally getting rid of the terrible horrible Captain EO and putting Frozen there??? Talk about an area that needs updating!

I work in the world showcase and have for several years. We have heard they are redoing the ride to make it frozen themed and taking out the movie at the end that everyone skips anyway. Wsc needs to appeal more to children. Without the kidcot coloring stations, kids have complete boredom meltdowns. Frozen was modeled off of the Norway pavillion (there's even an official sign in the pavillion that says so). As for one shop? There's already just one big shop. Just because there are different products from room to room doesn't mean it's not one shop. In all the computer systems, that is all one shop. As for soarin' , well I've never heard that until now...

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