My misgivings about Frozen fatigue were laid to rest on June 21st when Frozen Ever After celebrated its grand opening at Epcot in Walt Disney World. Unlike most attractions, Frozen Ever After was never given a chance to "soft open," the testing period where real guests can experience an attraction in advance of its official debut. In fact, Walt Disney World Cast Members didn't even get to preview the attraction before opening, which I'm sure only added to the chaos of the first day of operation.

It felt as if every single guest waiting for the park to open at 9:00 am were all heading to the exact same place, Norway. Disney Cast Members were happy and helpful as they managed to force the entire width of World Showcase's walking path into a single-file queue at the attraction's entrance. However, the queue quickly left the country of Norway altogether, invading its neighbor China.

That three hour line quickly became 5 hours (300 minutes!!!) and as the attraction began to experience technical difficulties, Disney stopped allowing guests to queue up. As a result of the pause in boat service to Arendelle, the Fast Pass + queue also reached a reported two hour wait for guests expecting to wait no more than 15 minutes to board. But Disney's first class service was in top shape as Cast Members set up complimentary water stands throughout the queue and when the attraction broke down, Mickey Premium Bars were distributed.

Frozen Ever After replaces Maelstrom, a classic Epcot attraction and fan favorite that became a pre-Illuminations tradition for many families. But returning guests will be delighted to discover that they will be boarding the same viking ships the previously allowed them to not be the first, nor the last, to pass that vay. Arendelle's town square creates the indoor queue, which exists in the former home of the Maelstrom post-ride theater.


Wandering Oaken's Trading Post is a stop along the queue to the loading area, which includes a fun interaction with his sauna door. Oaken also leads the safety spiel in both English and Spanish. Once on board, the first show scene happens in the home of Maelstrom's original boarding area. As your boat finds Olaf, the happy snowman walks alongside you and explains that you're on your way to Elsa's ice palace. Sven dopily sits behind him, nodding and smiling.


Just before heading up the lift hill, your boat passes some trolls sitting around recounting how Anna and Elsa became best friends through their adventures from Frozen. Where the swirling viking eye used to be is now Elsa's ice palace off in the distance. Once at the top of the hill, Olaf has managed to beat you there and is impressively ice skating around as he sings about it.IMG_0521

Just around the corner are Kristoff and Anna, who greet you as you pass by and help build up your excitement for meeting Elsa. With modified lyrics, this whole scene is set to "For the First Time in Forever." Sven returns just beyond the young couple, who has somehow managed to get his tongue frozen to the railing.

Moving into the next room, you are now at the balcony of Elsa's ice palace as she sings "Let it Go," turning your boat around to send you backwards through her palace. This is the same spot where the three headed trolls used to appear.


Elsa sends you "back, back, over the falls" through her palace, which grows and expands on the side of the ship via projections on the walls where the polar bears used to roar. When you reach the back of the flume, guests who turn around shouldn't be too surprised to see that they can no longer look outside at the Norway courtyard as it has been walled in (you can see form the outside that rockwork has been added to patch up the hole before you enter). Instead of a tree troll, Elsa's marshmallow monster and a bunch of snowgies send you down the waterfall.


At the bottom, you find yourself back in the port of Arendelle rather than at the base of an oil rig. Fireworks light up the sky above the castle as some puffins overlook from the opposite shore. In addition to the boats you ride in, these puffins are a remnant of Maelstrom.


Before returning to the loading dock, one final scene finds Anna and Elsa in their Frozen Fever dresses singing "In Summer" with Olaf.

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After exiting, guests are forced into the chain of gift shops in the same way as Maelstrom, although Helly Hansen has been bumped deeper into the store with Frozen merchandise occupying the entire first room. Thankfully, the rest of the store brings in the much needed Norwegian culture with trolls, vikings, Leila perfume and Geir cologne. On your way out, be sure to stop by Kringla og Bakeri and have some school bread as you wear your Frozen Ever After pin to celebrate that you made it through the five hour wait and have returned to Norway via Arendelle.


Don't want to wait in line? Laughing Place has you covered with the first ride through video to hit the internet.

Suffering from Frozen fatigue? Missing the Epcot of yesteryear? You can also relive the magic of Maelstrom with a video taken towards the end of its final day of operation (sniff).