Entrance of the ride
|Attraction type||Boat voyage|
|Designer||Walt Disney Imagineering|
|Theme||History of mythological Norway|
|Drop||28 ft (8.5 m)|
|Length||964 ft (294 m)|
|Capacity||1000 riders per hour|
|Riders per vehicle||16|
|Riders per row||4|
|Movie Length||5:52 minutes|
Maelstrom was a dark ride attraction located in the Epcot theme park at Walt Disney World Resort in Bay Lake, Florida. Designed by Walt Disney Imagineering, the ride opened on July 5, 1988, in the Norway pavilion of the World Showcase section of the park. It was a mix between a log chute and a traditional film attraction. Visitors rode boats patterned after Viking ships that passed through various scenes that featured audio-animatronic figures.
On September 12, 2014, it was announced that the ride would be replaced by an attraction based on Disney's animated film Frozen, scheduled to open in early 2016. Maelstrom's final day of operation was October 5, 2014.
Riders departed from a dock traveling by boat, which turned a corner into a dark tunnel and up the flume's lift hill. A voice told riders that those who seek the spirit of Norway find adventure and peril. Arriving at the top of the hill, a lit face of the Germanic god Odin hovered above. Riders passed through scenes of seafarers and maritime villages depicting a mythological version of Norway's Viking days. Entering a marsh, the boat would come face to face with audio-animatronic depictions of Dökkálfar and Ljósálfar from Norse mythology. The trolls, angered by the trespassing boat, cast a spell onto riders as the vehicle began to move backward rapidly, accelerated by hidden conveyor belts underneath the water's surface. The boats floated briskly past scenes of polar bears and living trees, before coming to a stop on the edge of another waterfall, exposing the Norway pavilion's main thoroughfare. The backwards edge of the boat peeked out through the facade as the track pivoted to let the vehicle travel forward again. Correctly oriented, the boats plunged forward down a 28-foot (8.5 m) flume into a stormy depiction of the North Sea. After passing very close to an oil rig, the ride came to an abrupt end in a calm harbor of a small village, where the narrator announced, "Norway's spirit will always be adventure." As guests exited the ride, they had the option of watching a 6-minute tourism film, "The Spirit of Norway", which highlighted various attractions in Norway including skiing, hiking, and Kjerag mountain.
Hidden Mickeys on the ride included:
- In the ride's loading area, a large painted mural included many people and elements from Norway's history. Hidden in this painting was a Viking whose helmet had Mickey Mouse ears, and another figure wearing a Mickey Mouse watch.
- Inside the stave church, King Olaf II had a small Mickey embroidered on his tunic, near his right thigh.
- "Maelstrom". disneyword.com. Disney Parks. Archived from the original on 5 October 2014. Retrieved 5 October 2014.
- Staggs, Tom (September 12, 2014). "‘Frozen’ Attraction Coming to Epcot". Disney Parks Blog. Retrieved September 12, 2014.
- McNary, Dave (September 12, 2014). "Disney Adding ‘Frozen’ Attraction at Epcot". Variety. Retrieved September 12, 2014.
- Pallotta, Frank (15 September 2014). "Yet another 'Frozen' spinoff: An Epcot theme park attraction". CNN Money. Retrieved 29 September 2014.
- "Maelstrom - Epcot Attractions - Walt Disney World Resort". disney.go.com. Retrieved 14 September 2014.
- "D-Tales #2: Historical details hidden in Maelstrom, as Frozen soon makes its move into more of Walt Disney World". Inside the Magic. 26 September 2014. Retrieved 29 September 2014.