Though we told you back in July that Maelstrom was on its way out, Disney made its demise official late Friday. Though Disney typically announces big projects and new attractions on weekdays and with plenty of fanfare, the Frozen ride that will replace it was announced with a simple blog post that invoked Walt Disney’s famous phrase about Disneyland never being complete and went on to give vague details about plans for the ride.
Needless to say, fan reaction has varied from ecstatic to negative, with many wondering what this move might mean for the future of World Showcase, as well as Epcot at large. Here are three ways that the addition of this new attraction could change Epcot forever.
1. Epcot will fill up faster and crowds will be more intense
Epcot has enjoyed a relatively even distribution of guests in recent years, never reaching the insane guest density that is common in the Magic Kingdom. Though rope dropping the park has been a challenge recently thanks to changes in FastPass+ policies for Soarin’, by and large Epcot feels like a less populated park (partly due to its massive walkways), which has made annual events like the Food and Wine Festival and Flower and Garden Festival a breeze to stroll through.
However, it seems like anytime you add Frozen to anything, people show up in droves. Though there has been some serious backlash regarding the new ride online, come early 2016, guests of all ages will show up, likely in record numbers for Epcot. Could ballooning attendance numbers change the current “feel” of Epcot? And more importantly, with the park getting more packed, could we see a restructuring of these long-running events to help manage crowds running towards this new attraction?
2. World Showcase could open sooner
If the Frozen ride becomes as much of a draw to Epcot as Disney is hoping, could we see the end of the delayed 11am World Showcase opening? Back when the Anna and Elsa meet and greet first debuted at the Norway pavilion, folks would line up at the bridge between Future World and World Showcase, waiting for the delayed opening of World Showcase so they could sprint to the front of the meet and greet line.
This situation was far from ideal, and even though crowds swelled for the Frozen meet and greet, its safe to assume they’ll reach gargantuan levels for the Frozen ride, which could make rope-dropping Epcot a two tiered affair as guests sprint through Future World at park open and then wait to be let into World Showcase.
However, this nightmare scenario could be prevented if Epcot opts to do away with the later opening time for the World Showcase and instead open it alongside Future World, so that eager Frozen fans can get to Norway as soon as the Epcot opens and no impromptu queues smack dab in the middle of the park.