7 Fun Facts About the Norway Pavilion at Epcot
Nestled in between the Mexican and Chinese Pavilions of Epcot’s World Showcase lies one of Disney’s best kept secrets: The Norway Pavilion. Thanks to the success of Disney’s animated movie Frozen, the Norway Pavilion has seen a recent spike in popularity, leading to renovations and a new ride. Regardless of whether or not you are a fan of the fantastical world of Arendelle, the Norway Pavilion is a must-see location if you are planning on visiting Epcot. With its maze work of cozy shops and choice of delicious Nordic restaurants, the Norway Pavilion has a lot to offer.
1. The Norway Pavilion is the newest nation to be added to the World Showcase
The 58,000-square-foot pavilion opened in 1988 – four years after the opening of the Morocco Pavilion. At the opening ceremony, the then Crown Prince Harald V of Norway dedicated the pavilion and broadcasted the event to Norway. Until 2002, Norway was one of the main sponsors of the pavilion and helped fund many of the exhibits and projects.
2. The wooden castle at the heart of the pavilion is a replica of a Stave Church
The Norway Pavilion’s authenticity is amazingly on point. The towering wooden church that overlooks the Norway Pavilion is beautiful in its own right, but it is especially impressive when considering how close the replica looks compared to the original. The Stave church was a popular design for churches during the Middle Ages in Norway. These Christian churches were tall, wooden structures with numerous sloping roofs and decorative trim. Epcot builders studied the architecture of classic Stave churches from across Norway before deciding to use the Gol Stave church as their main inspiration. The resemblance between the two is spot-on!
3. The village incorporates four different architectural styles
The various building styles seen at the pavilion are reminiscent of four different architectural eras in Norwegian history: Setesdal-style, Bergen-style, Oslo-style, and Alesund style. Epcot designers wanted guests to be experience the different eras of Norwegian architecture and to learn about Norway just by walking through the village. One of the most distinctive architectural features is the addition of grass on some of the rooftops of shops and restaurants.
4. The pavilion offers two authentic dining options: Akershus and Kringla Bakeri og Kafe
The World Showcase has tons of amazing foreign restaurants that sell delicious foreign delicacies, but Norway’s Pavilion is slightly more special since it offers menus that are not normally sold in the United States. The Akershus restaurant (named and designed after a famous castle in Oslo) is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and is known for its unique ‘Princess Storybook Dining’ experience. Disney princesses, including Snow White and Belle, come and dine with guests in the beautiful restaurant, enjoying the Norwegian cuisine while taking pictures and talking about their royal adventures. Some of Akershus’ most famous dishes include Tradisjonell Kjøttkake (Norwegian meatballs drizzled with lingonberry sauce) and Laks (salmon served with a cauliflower cream sauce). If Akershus is on your list, make sure to make a reservation in advance since it is one of the most popular restaurants in the park.
The Norway Pavilion is also home to the Kringla Bakeri og Kafe, which offers a more casual dining experience. The shady outdoor cafe is open from 11 AM to 9 PM and serves a variety of snack and lunch options with Norwegian flare. The cafe is known for its tasty sandwiches and pastries, including the Norwegian sweet pretzel and cinnamon loaf.
5. Guests can meet Anna and Elsa from Frozen in their Royal Sommerhus
With the arrival of the film Frozen, the Norway Pavilion has become the official home of the beloved princesses of Arendelle. The cozy attraction was modeled after similar cabins that were built in Norway for royal vacations during the summer months. Every detail, from the warm wooden exterior with delicate red and white trim, to the eclectic and homey interiors (filled with Norwegian artifacts and pieces of Anna and Elsa’s childhood) is thoroughly thought out and made to be as authentic as possible. Going to the Royal Sommerhus is as close to walking into the world of Frozen as one can get. The wait for the Royal Sommerhus can be long, but being able to meet Anna and Elsa (who are rarely seen in other parks) is well worth it.
6. The shops, The Wandering Reindeer and The Puffin’s Roost, sell everything from books on trolls to Viking gear
Like the other pavilions, the Norway Pavilion is home to numerous shops that sell authentic Norwegian goods that are normally only seen in Norway, such as Konge Tinn Royal pewter and Tommeliten Knives. The two stores, The Wandering Reindeer and The Puffin’s Roost, also sell Norwegian chocolates and Swedish preserves. Of course, the Norway Pavilion is the best place to buy any Frozen accessories, boasting the largest assortment of Frozen merchandise in the park.
7. The Norway Pavilion is home to the first ever Frozen themed ride
In recent years, Disney transformed the log ride “Maelstrom” into a Frozen adventure, filled with music, lights, and, of course, everyone’s favorite Frozen characters. Guests ride through the log flume attraction while watching an exclusive Frozen story come to life around them. The ride includes musical favorites such as “Let it Go” and even allows guests to experience an Arendelle winter in Florida with artificial snow. This ride is an important stop for any Frozen fans who want an immersive journey into Anna and Elsa’s world.
Special thanks to Peyton Hinkle for writing this article! My name is Peyton Hinckle and I am Junior at UNC-Chapel Hill where I am currently studying English and Studio Art. I’ve been an avid Disney fan since I was little, with a special appreciation for everything creative, colorful, and geeky. Some of my favorite Disney characters include Princess Aurora, Moana, and Marvel’s Avengers.