Frozen Ever After is Even Better Than You Realize
Many Disney fans (including me) love to talk about the brilliance of ride theming.
We mention our favorite elements from attractions like The Laughing Place, The Stretching Room, and Snow White’s cottage.
However, theming starts long before you ever board a ride. Today, let’s look at how Imagineers set the mood while you’re standing in line.
Here’s how Disney themes the Frozen Ever After waiting queue to get you excited for the ride.
Setting the Tone
Frozen Ever After’s line queue consists of an exterior and interior portion.
Due to the landscape of the Norway pavilion, park officials cannot do much outside. Akershus resides 25 feet from the entrance to the ride.
So, something else has already claimed that space. Once you enter Frozen Ever After’s ride building, Imagineers immediately sweep you away, though.
You should feel as if you’ve just entered the realm of Arendelle.
Specifically, you’re arriving during a holiday festival commemorating the events from Frozen.
Here’s a sign that explains everything:
How Disney Explains Why You’re There
One of the most significant moments from the movie occurs when Anna searches for her missing sister, Elsa.
Anna enters a nondescript but charming store called Wandering Oaken’s Outpost.
The Princess has gotten lost in the mountains and needs supplies to help her survive her ill-considered but heroic journey.
Here is some of the scenery you’ll pass once you enter the ride building:
Yes, these are climbing supplies that savvy mountaineers understand will lessen their burden while roaming the land.
Anna could really use some of these items. And some snowshoes wouldn’t hurt:
Poor Anna struggles during the movie because she’s wearing, you know, a princess dress. That’s not the apparel of choice for Winter Olympians.
As a reminder, you’re re-living the day rather than experiencing it just as Anna did.
Therefore, two of the heroes of the tale appear on the wall:
You’ll notice that a replica of Kristoff’s medal is on display, too. Frozen fans know that this makes him the Official Arendelle Ice Master and Deliverer.
Approaching the Outpost
Now, the supplies have gotten a bit more specific. You’re no longer being taunted with items Anna could have used during her search.
Instead, you’re about to enter Wandering Oaken’s Outpost…
Oh, and Disney mimicked Oaken’s first line of dialogue from Frozen.
That sign says Summer Snow Day Blowout. When Anna meets Oaken for the first time, the happy cherub of a man says, “Big summer blowout!”
Well, technically, his first line is “Yoo-hoo!” But that wouldn’t look as good on a wooden sign.
Inside the Outpost
In case you’ve forgotten, Frozen occurs during the month of July. It shouldn’t be so cold, but there’s a “real howler” coming from the North Mountain.
Her name is Elsa. She’s why Anna had to go out into the cold, but the struggle comes with a serendipitous benefit.
Anna meets Kristoff in this store, as he needs carrots for Sven and some other supplies, ones that look like this:
Yes, Imagineers have populated the entire store just for the sake of evoking a mood for guests waiting in line.
As you stand around, you cannot help but notice all the climbing and survival gear on sale in this fake but insanely detailed store.
In fact, you’ll pass a Welcome sign as you enter Oaken’s sales desk area:
The Special Touches
Disney has just sold you on the premise that you’ve entered Oaken’s Tavern and are interested in his wares.
Here are just a few of the goods he has available for sale:
And here is Oaken’s sales counter:
Also, you shouldn’t forget that Oaken is extremely proud of his sauna.
During Frozen, he offers a free sitting to Kristoff in Frozen before their conversation turns ugly.
Here’s where the Imagineers persuade you into believing that the sauna’s just around the corner.
Now, let’s take a look at the picture of Oaken’s workstation area again:
Yes, that’s the sauna sitting right behind the desk.
In Frozen, the sauna’s technically to Oaken’s left, but attractions sometimes require modifications to fit the available space.
Still, the theming here remains airtight. When you enter Wandering Oaken’s Outpost, the sauna can warm you up on an unexpectedly frigid summer day.
By the way, this sauna’s window harbors a secret. It’s a digital display filled with Imagineering tricks. If you stand here long enough, you can watch Oaken draw Olaf or sing Let It Go!
Oh, and please pay particular attention to the clock. Compare it to this screenshot I took from Frozen:
Yes, Imagineers took a fictional background item from the movie and recreated it in perfect detail as a real-life clock.
Folks, that’s pretty impressive.
The Final Touches
The main waiting area for Frozen Ever After is somewhat small. Disney has constructed the facing for other buildings, bridges, and mountains.
These places are background touches to accentuate the premise. However, once you exit Oaken’s, you’ve nearly reached the front of the line.
You’re only about five minutes away from boarding your Viking ship and traveling to Arendelle.
When you approach the boarding area, pay attention to the sign just before the cast member station:
You’re ready to depart for your tour!
Disney has smoothly transitioned you from thinking about the outside world. Your thoughts now consist entirely of the world of Frozen!
PS: There’s one ride element that deserves a special mention.
When Elsa memorably sings Let It Go during Frozen, she slams the door shut at the end, isolating herself in her ice castle.
The visual looks like this:
As you near the showpiece room from Frozen Ever After, Elsa’s palace doors open in front of you. Before they do, here’s the visual:
Also, Imagineers possess a cheeky sense of humor.
If you pay attention in this room, you’ll notice that Frozen fractals ARE all around, just like the song suggests.
Disney’s just that good at theming. Everything you notice before and during attractions serves a storytelling purpose.