Seven Fun Facts about Frozen Ever After
Do you love Frozen? Of course, you do!
The Frozen franchise claims one of the most famous Disney songs ever and is the most popular animated film of all time.
In 2016, Imagineers turned Arendelle into a real place thanks to a spectacular ride.
Here are seven fun facts about Frozen Ever After, one of Walt Disney World’s most beloved attractions.
Replaced One of the Oldest Rides at EPCOT
In 1988, the Norwegian government worked with popular businesses to pay for a new pavilion at EPCOT’s World Showcase.
Initially, three different countries in the region planned a joint pavilion, but Norway ultimately split off on its own.
As part of the pavilion, Imagineers constructed a boat based on Norse mythology.
That attraction, Maelstrom, ran a bit late but opened a month after the rest of the Norway pavilion.
For a time, Maelstrom towered above the competition at the World Showcase. It was unquestionably the most popular attraction in the area.
Alas, its traffic waned during the 21st century. In 2013, Frozen debuted in theaters and quickly turned into an international sensation.
Park officials decided to close Maelstrom in 2014, eventually replacing it with Frozen Ever After two years later.
Frozen Ever After Borrows from Maelstrom
Disney doesn’t re-theme existing rides often, but it’s really good at the process.
Over the past few years, we’ve seen California Screamin’ turn into the Incredicoaster and Twilight Zone Tower of Terror switch to Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!
The first ride to make this switch was Frozen Ever After, which borrowed heavily from existing parts of Maelstrom.
This boat ride took place indoors and carried guests through a series of dark ride sets that established a Viking mood.
With Frozen, Vikings aren’t a thing, but the ride feels familiar nonetheless.
Imagineers moved the loading and unloading docks and changed one integral element.
On Maelstrom, guests briefly saw the light of day during the boat ride. Frozen Ever After removes that element in favor of storytelling.
Still, you’ll know that you’re on the same ride tracks when you reach Snowball Mountain and splash down into the water below.
Disney cleverly took the available space of Maelstrom and turned it into a more desirable ride without changing much of the physical track layout!
Speaking of that wet drop down the mountain, Disney did add something new to Frozen Ever After.
Maelstrom never featured a photo op, as that would have been a bit silly. The ride simply wasn’t popular enough to justify that feature.
During the early 2000s, guests primarily paid for individual ride photos. Few people would have done that for an attraction like Maelstrom.
However, Frozen Ever After is a different story. Everyone loves this ride due to its theming, which explains why the lines can be so long.
Frozen Ever After has frequently had waits of 60+ minutes, but guests don’t mind since they receive a keepsake from the ride.
Imagineers added an on-ride photo at that terrifying moment when your boat points straight down, and you’re about to get soaked.
Many of these pictures are absolutely hysterical. Plus, they’re free with PhotoPass!
The Only Fictional Ride at the World Showcase
At the risk of breaking your heart, I’m about to tell you a secret. Arendelle isn’t a real place. It only feels that way.
This inescapable truth caused a problem for Disney, though. The World Showcase at EPCOT consists entirely of real places like China and France.
Even the mythological elements of the Norway pavilion come from historical stories. Vikings believed these things and built their culture around them.
To build Frozen Ever After, park officials broke with tradition. In fact, they followed the same model as Pandora – The World of Avatar.
That themed land wouldn’t open until two years later, but Disney announced it first.
In the process, Disney’s Animal Kingdom committed to a fictional themed land residing near real locales, Asia and Africa.
Disney did the same with Arendelle, making it the first fictional place to have a home at the World Showcase.
When you visit Frozen Ever After, you enter the realm from the movies, leaving the Norwegian setting behind.
Five years later, Arendelle remains the only place at the World Showcase not based on a real destination.
Disney Spent Big Money on the Voice Cast
Every kid knows the voices of Idina Menzel and Kristen Bell, even if they’re too young to know the celebrities’ names.
Anna and Elsa have defined Disney animation for a generation of children.
Supporting characters like Josh Gad and Jonathan Groff are nearly as beloved.
Disney couldn’t build a ride based on Frozen without also hiring the voice cast from the film. And that’s what they did!
All your favorites from the movie play themselves on the ride, which proves vital.
Some of the musical pieces required additions, updates, and modifications. Nobody but Idina Menzel could have done that for Let It Go.
Disney Spent Big Money on Tech
Sure, the voices are great, but what you really remember about Frozen Ever After is audio-animatronics (AAs).
That’s true because the Arendelle AAs represent the height of the technology.
Before this ride, Disney had never used all-electric AAs on an entire attraction.
What’s an all-electric audio-animatronic? You know the shaking you see on older AAs like Hall of Presidents?
This happens because electric pulses transmit signals to “body parts” on the robotics.
Elsa and Anna don’t need those pulses since they possess their own power.
For this reason, they’re the most fluid and natural-looking animatronics ever! The jittery, hydraulic-caused motions are gone!
Imagineers always employ digital projection mapping to show the faces of the characters. That’s why they’re so life-like.
The downside is that the mapping can screw up. If you ever see a picture on social media of Anna or Elsa with a messed-up face, that’s what happened.
The image incorrectly mapped onto the robotic, leading to a hilarious abomination where a Disney Princess’s face should be.
The Ride Takes Place in Summer!
I previously discussed how Frozen Ever After is even better than you realize.
Something I mentioned then will blow your mind. Despite all the snow everywhere, the ride’s setting occurs during the summer.
You’re visiting during the Official Summer Snow Day Celebration, an event Queen Elsa created in appreciation for her sister Anna’s heroics.
You’ll notice signs of summer throughout the line queue and on the attraction.
However, you’ll miss them unless you pay attention because Disney hides these tricks in plain sight.
Because Elsa is the Snow Queen, she leaves ice and snow everywhere she goes. As such, the place looks like it’s suffering a wintry blizzard.
So, at the end of the ride, you may miss a brilliant joke from the Imagineers.
Anna, Elsa, and Olaf are singing In Summer because…it’s summer!