Norway Pavilion’s Stave Church Closing for Refurbishment Amid Anticipation of Frozen Attraction Opening

The Stave Church located in Epcot’s Norway Pavilion will be closing for refurbishment next month.

The the Stave Church will be closed begins April 18th through May 27th.  It will be reopening to guests on May 28th.

The Church currently houses an exhibit about the inspiration behind the animated movie Frozen, which opened in November of 2013.

The reopening date of the Stave Church may hint to a possible opening date of May 28th for the entire Norway Pavilion makeover, including the Frozen Ever After ride and Royal Sommerhus meet and greet.

Frozen Ever After and Royal Sommerhus to Open this Summer According Mickey Monitor

Frozen-Ever-After

According to the Passholder Mickey Monitor which has just recently been mailed out to Annual Passholders offers probably one of the only official timelines for the opening of the two new Frozen themed attractions coming to Epcot later this year.

Both the Frozen Ever After ride and Royal Sommerhus are listed in the Mickey Monitor as opening in Summer 2016. Previously it was expected to open in the Spring of 2016. This ties in with recent reports of minor delays to the completion of the projects.

Of course, an opening window can be quite wide, and Disney may be playing it safe, or could simply be listing an official opening timeframe, with soft opens happening sooner, closer to the original late Spring 2016 date.

‘Frozen Ever After’ Will Be the Name of Epcot’s New Maelstrom Attraction

Frozen-Ever-After

Anna, Elsa, Kristof, Olaf and even those adorable little Snowgies are taking residence in Epcot Center next year in a new ride Disney is calling “Frozen Ever After.”

Imagineers at the company’s headquarters in California gave the Wall Street Journal a sneak peak at the attraction, which will replace the 27 year-old Maelstrom ride at the Norway pavilion in Epcot next year. The tour came courtesy of Imagineering creative executive Kathy Mangum, who oversees the Walt Disney World Resort. She showed off storyboards for the attraction and a virtual tour in a room called the “DISH” that utilizes 3-D images projected on the walls, ceiling and floor to simulate a ride before it is built.

“What we try to do is take you back to the movie without retelling that story,” Ms. Mangum said of “Frozen Ever After.” “This is a celebration of the characters, a way for guests who love the film to experience it in a completely different way.”

While it doesn’t feature any new songs, there are several new lyrics to existing melodies written for “Frozen Ever After” by movie composers Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson Lopez.

Maelstrom, on which visitors ride a floating log on a tour through Norwegian mythology, has been “gutted,” Ms. Mangum said, and is currently getting “a whole new overlay with ‘Frozen.’” While the logs and the path will remain the same, everything you see along the way is being replaced.

The setting for “Frozen Ever After” is the winter festival that takes place in summer, when residents of Arendelle apparently celebrate their favorite season of the year in the midst of its polar opposite.

While waiting in line, which is sure to take longer than the four-minute ride, guests will walk by Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post. Oaken will occasionally clear steam on the windows to utter a hearty “yoo-hoo!” to people walking by. “We consider this scene one,” according to Mangum.

Once they board their logs, guests will first see Olaf and Sven setting up the Winter Festival premise.

The next scene is Troll Valley, where Grandpappy Troll tells a gathering of children the story of how Anna and Kristof met.  Before guests go up a ramp to find Olaf again, singing a song while ice skating, right next to Anna and Kristof, who are singing with their friend Sven.

Behind a set of doors is the moment many guests are sure to be waiting for: Elsa, on a balcony, singing “Let It Go” in her ice castle. It’s the centerpiece of the ride, “the big, big scene,” Mangum said, and it features elaborate effects to create simulated snow crystals soaring around the room.

Guests will next ride by Marshmallow, the giant, formerly evil snowman and his miniature Snowgie pals.

Marshmallow himself yells “Let It Go” in time with Elsa’s song before the guests travel through a mist cloud and reaches the final scene, which includes fireworks and a wave from Elsa, Anna, Olaf, Sven and Kristof.

The audio-animatronic characters will be cutting edge, according to Mangum, using a new technology that includes projectors behind the faces to enable more lifelike animation.

Disney executives and designers started discussing a “Frozen” ride before the film even came out, said chief operating officer Tom Staggs.  “Our urgency grew as the film really took off,” he said, and “we purposefully set a really audacious goal to get this thing done.” That’s one of the reasons why it’s a makeover of Maelstrom, rather than an entirely new attraction that would take longer to build.

The company is counting on “Frozen Ever After” to boost the popularity of Epcot, where attendance was essentially flat between 2009 and 2013, according to the Themed Entertainment Association. “Cars Land” did the same for Disney’s California Adventure theme park, which struggled before an area based on the Pixar movie opened in 2012.

Some may question whether the the fictional world of Arendelle belongs in Epcot’s World Pavilion, which has always been about touring countries that actually exist, like Japan, Mexico, and Norway.

But  Staggs argued that “Frozen Ever After” is sure to draw more visitors to the Norway Pavilion, and Epcot as a whole, and that the movie is in fact based significantly on Scandinavian culture, art and mythology.

“If the goal is to give people a taste of something like Scandinavia with the Norway pavilion, then ‘Frozen’ would only increase the extent to which people would be drawn to it,” he said. “To me it doesn’t seem out-of-character at all.”

From The Wall Street Journal 

New DCL Ports in Scotland, England, Ireland and France Join Other Popular Destinations for the 2016 Summer Season

DCL - Scotland

In 2016, Disney Cruise Line is sailing its first British Isles itinerary, visiting Scotland, England, Ireland and France. Throughout the summer of 2016, Disney Cruise Line also will return to Norway, Iceland and ports of call in more than 15 European countries.

In addition to the tour of Europe with limited engagements in the Baltic, Norwegian Fjords, Iceland, British Isles, Greek Isles and the Mediterranean, Disney Cruise Line will revisit favorite destinations elsewhere around the globe including Alaska, the Caribbean and the Bahamas.

Bookings for the new itineraries open to the public on March 26, 2015. More details can be found on the Itineraries and Ports for 2016 page of disneycruise.com.

New British Isles

On June 5, 2016, Disney Cruise Line will sail from Dover, England on its very first British Isles itinerary. The 12-night cruise on the Disney Magic will sail to Invergordon, Kirkwall and Greenock (Glasgow), Scotland; Newcastle and Liverpool, England; Dublin, Ireland; Le Havre (Paris), France; and Guernsey; one of the Channel Islands. All of these, except Kirkwall, are first-time ports of call for Disney Cruise Line.

On this itinerary, guests can explore the majestic beauty of Scotland, experience Highland culture, sample traditional cuisine and spirits, and discover the country’s iconic castles. Elsewhere on the itinerary, guests will experience the merry, cosmopolitan city of Dublin, the culturally rich and romantic Paris, the birthplace of the Beatles and the British Invasion in Liverpool, and the charming countryside of Guernsey.

New Iceland and Norway

Disney Cruise Line guests can explore the natural wonders of Iceland with two new 12-night Disney Magic sailings. Each itinerary includes two days in Reykjavik and a stop in Akureyri, Iceland; Bergen, Norway; and Kirkwall, Scotland. Departing from Dover, England and concluding in Copenhagen, Denmark, the June 17 cruise also visits Stavanger, Norway and Newcastle, England. The July 13 cruise departing from Copenhagen, Denmark and concluding in Dover, England also visits Oslo and Kristiansand, Norway and Invergordon, Scotland.

On this itinerary, three days in Iceland provides time to explore the country’s rich natural wonders such as volcanoes, lava fields, glaciers and thermal springs. In Norway, guests are immersed in the splendor and charm of the country with exciting ports steeped in Viking history.

New Norwegian Fjords from Dover

For the first time, Disney Cruise Line will sail from Dover, England on a seven-night cruise to the majestic Norwegian fjords. Departing on May 29, the Disney Magic will visit Stavanger, Alesund, Geiranger and Bergen, Norway.

In Norway, Disney Cruise Line guests will discover breathtaking natural wonders such as magnificent mountain ranges, massive glaciers and majestic fjords. The enchanting Scandinavian culture of the region comes to life through local attractions, stunning architecture, storybook villages and historic city centers.

More Summer 2016 Itineraries

During the summer of 2016, the Disney Magic will return to favorite destinations in northern Europe, the Greek Isles and the Mediterranean with a variety of seven-night and longer sailings.

From May through August 2016, the Disney Wonder will return to Alaska, sailing from Vancouver, Canada to Tracy Arm, Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan.

In 2016, the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy will sail from Port Canaveral to the Bahamas and Caribbean on a variety of itineraries. All of these cruises include a stop at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay.

To learn more about Disney Cruise Line or to book a vacation, visit disneycruise.com, call Disney Cruise Line at 888-325-2500 or contact a travel agent.

Maelstrom Confirmed to Close on October 5th

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Maelstrom’s last day of operation will be on October 5th.  The Norway Pavilion will remain open during the construction work on the attraction, according to Disney.  The reopening of the Frozen attraction at Norway will be early 2016.

Disney Replacing Epcot’s Maelstrom with Frozen Attraction

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From Tom Staggs, Chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts –

When Walt Disney promised that Disneyland would never be completed, so long as there is imagination left in the world, he made a promise to our guests that we take seriously at all our locations around the world. This year, one particular product of imagination — Disney Animation’s blockbuster hit “Frozen” — captured the hearts and minds of people around the world and gave us a new opportunity to make good on Walt’s pledge.

We’ve made “Frozen” a part of the guest experience in a number of ways already and our guests have both loved them and asked for more. So I’m pleased to say that we’re starting construction at Walt Disney World Resort on a brand new “Frozen” attraction at the Norway Pavilion in Epcot. The new attraction, which replaces Maelstrom, will take our guests to Arendelle and immerse them in many of their favorite moments and music from the film. The pavilion will also include a royal greeting location where Anna and Elsa can meet our guests. We think these “Frozen” elements are great compliments to the Norway Pavilion, which showcases the country and region that inspired the film.

“Frozen’s” popular characters will also have a bigger presence at Magic Kingdom Park this holiday season. In addition to the ongoing character appearances, Queen Elsa will use her powers to transform Cinderella Castle into an ice palace every night starting in early November. And Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party-goers can see Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, and Olaf in “Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade.”

We’re extending some favorite elements of Frozen Summer Fun LIVE!, too, so that guests at Disney’s Hollywood Studios can continue singing along to “Frozen” songs with Queen Elsa and Princess Anna. Wandering Oaken’s will set up shop closer to the show through the holiday season and will feature a larger play area with real snow (in Florida!).

From the moment we screened the film several months before its release, we were inspired by the possibility of bringing this great story to life for our guests. Frozen Summer Fun LIVE! has been extremely popular, and now we’re looking forward to doing even more to allow our guests to experience the “Frozen” phenomenon.

Disney Cruise Line Charts a New Course for Norway in 2015

DCL - Norway 2015

In summer 2015, Disney Cruise Line is charting a magical new course for northern Europe – exploring for the first time the Norwegian fjords, Iceland and the Faroe Islands. Plus, Disney Cruise Line is returning to the Baltic for all-new itineraries, including sailings from Copenhagen, Denmark to St. Petersburg, Russia. Cruises to the Mediterranean, Alaska, Caribbean and Bahamas also are included in the summer lineup.

Bookings open to the public on March 27, 2014. More details on 2015 itineraries can be found on the Itineraries and Ports for 2015 section of disneycruise.com.

Norwegian Fjords

On seven and nine-night sailings departing from Copenhagen, Disney Cruise Line guests are immersed in the splendor and charm of Norway with exciting new ports, steeped in Viking history. An 11-night sailing on the Disney Magic takes guests to Iceland and the Faroe Islands for the very first time.

The Norwegian fjords served as the inspiration and backdrop for Disney’s blockbuster animated film, “Frozen.” Here, guests will discover breathtaking natural wonders such as magnificent mountain ranges, massive glaciers, steaming geysers and majestic fjords. The enchanting Scandinavian culture of the region comes to life through local attractions, stunning architecture, storybook villages and historic city centers.

NEW Seven-night Norwegian Fjords

Ports: Copenhagen, Denmark; Stavanger, Alesund, Geiranger and Bergen, Norway

Departure date: June 6

NEW Nine-night Norwegian Fjords

Ports: Copenhagen, Denmark; Stavanger, Alesund, Geiranger, Molde, Olden and Bergen, Norway

Departure date: June 20

NEW 11-night Norwegian Fjords and Iceland

Ports: Copenhagen, Denmark; Oslo, Kristiansand and Stavanger Norway; Akureyri and Reykjavik (overnight), Iceland; Torshavn, Faroe Islands; Dover, England

Departure date: June 29

Rates start at $1,561 per person for seven-night cruises, $2,133 per person for nine-night cruises and $2,453 per person for 11-night Norwegian fjords cruises for a standard inside stateroom, based on double occupancy.

Northern Europe

On northern European cruises, the Disney Magic will sail the Baltic waters where guests will explore richly diverse cultures and national capitals including Helsinki, Finland; Stockholm, Sweden; Copenhagen, Denmark and St. Petersburg – Russia’s second largest city known as the country’s cultural capital. These itineraries depart from Copenhagen, Denmark and Dover, England – just a quick jaunt from London.

NEW Seven-night Northern European

Ports: Copenhagen, Denmark; Tallinn, Estonia; St. Petersburg, Russia; Helsinki, Finland; Stockholm, Sweden

Departure dates: May 30, June 13

12-night Northern European

Ports: Dover, England; Copenhagen, Denmark; Warnemunde, Germany (July 10 cruise only); Stockholm, Sweden; Helsinki, Finland; St. Petersburg, Russia; Tallinn, Estonia

Departure dates: July 10 and 22

Rates start at $1,463 per person for seven-night cruises and $2,844 per person for 12-night Northern European cruises for a standard inside stateroom, based on double occupancy.

Mediterranean

The Disney Magic returns to the Mediterranean, treating guests to popular European destinations. Departing from Barcelona, Spain, these sailings take guests on an exciting journey of cultures and locales, with romantic boulevards, iconic locations, mild climates and the brilliant blue Mediterranean Sea.

Five-night Mediterranean

Ports: Barcelona, Spain; Nice (Villefranche), France; Florence (La Spezia) and Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy

Departure date: Aug. 10

Seven-night Mediterranean

Ports: Barcelona, Spain; Naples, Rome (Civitavecchia) and Florence (La Spezia), Italy; Nice (Villefranche), France

Departure dates: Aug. 15, 22 and 29

Rates start at $1,255 per person for five-night cruises and $1,302 per person for seven-night Mediterranean cruises for a standard inside stateroom, based on double occupancy.

Alaska

In 2015, the Disney Wonder will sail seven-night cruises from Vancouver to Tracy Arm, Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan, Alaska.

These cruises combine the grandeur, natural wonder and adventurous spirit of Alaska with the unparalleled, family-friendly experience found on a Disney ship. Disney Cruise Line works closely with Alaskan tour operators to create exclusive-to-Disney family-friendly Port Adventures that allow guests to experience Alaska’s natural beauty and rich history.

Seven-night Alaska:

Ports: Vancouver, Tracy Arm (scenic cruising through fjord), Skagway, Juneau, Ketchikan

Departure dates: June 1, 8, 15, 22, 29; July 6, 13, 20, 27; Aug. 3, 10, 17, 24, 31

Rates start at $1,155 per person for seven-night Alaska cruises for a standard inside stateroom, based on double occupancy.

Caribbean and Bahamas

In 2015, Disney Cruise Line will sail from Port Canaveral and Miami to the Caribbean and Bahamas on a variety of itineraries. These cruises include a stop at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay.

From Port Canaveral, rates start at $495 per person for three-night cruises, $662 per person for four-night cruises, $1,465 per person for five-night cruises and $1,145 per person for seven-night cruises for a standard inside stateroom, based on double occupancy.

From Miami, rates start at $400 per person for four-night cruises and $500 per person for five-night cruises for a standard inside stateroom, based on double occupancy.

All pricing reflects a category 11C standard inside stateroom. Government taxes and fees, gratuities and Port Adventures are not included.

To learn more about Disney Cruise Line or to book a vacation, guests can visit http://www.disneycruise.com, call Disney Cruise Line at 888-325-2500 or contact their travel agent.