Entrance of the ride
|Attraction type||Boat voyage|
|Designer||Walt Disney Imagineering|
|Theme||History of mythological Norway|
|Length||964 ft (294 m)|
|Capacity||1000 riders per hour|
|Riders per vehicle||16|
|Riders per row||4|
|Movie Length||5:52 minutes|
Single rider line Unavailible
Maelstrom is a mix between a log chute and a traditional film attraction located in the Norway pavilion of the World Showcase at the Epcot theme park at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Visitors ride boats that are patterned after Viking ships and pass through various scenes with audio-animatronic figures.
As the boat departs from the dock, it turns a corner into a dark tunnel and up the flume's lift hill. A voice tells the riders that those who seek the spirit of Norway find adventure and peril. As the boats arrive at the top of the hill, they pass under a mysteriously lit face of the God Odin. Visitors find themselves transported back to a mythological version of Norway's Viking days, passing through scenes of seafarers and maritime villages in order to demonstrate the importance of the sea in Norwegian culture. The boats then enter a marsh where they are found face to face with audio-animatronic depictions of Dökkálfar and Ljósálfar. The trolls, angered by the trespassing boat, cast a spell onto the riders which causes the vehicle to start the rapid backwards portion of the ride, accelerated by hidden conveyor belts underneath the water's surface. The boats float briskly past scenes of polar bears and living trees, before coming to a stop on the edge of another waterfall, exposed to the Norway pavilion's main thoroughfare. The backwards edge of the boat peeks out through the facade as the track pivots to let the vehicle travel forward again. Correctly oriented, the boats plunge forward down a 28 foot (8.5 meter) flume into the stormy North Sea. The boats pass dangerously close to an oil rig and the ride comes to an abrupt end in a calm harbor, where the narrator again announces the attraction's thesis, "Norway's spirit will always be adventure." After the ride, guests disembark and then have the option to watch a 6 minute tourism film that highlights Norway's adventurous attractions, including skiing and hiking, as well as intrinsic icons, like Kjerag mountain and oil rigs.
Concept and design
The Maelstrom attraction was always conceived to be a boat ride, with a section that went backwards. The ride's plot line was originally going to be entirely centered around trolls, but the Norwegian sponsors wanted a ride that included other aspects of Norway.
- In the ride's loading area, a large painted mural includes many people and elements from Norway's history. Hidden in this painting is a Viking whose helmet has Mickey Mouse ears, and another figure wearing a Mickey Mouse watch.
- Inside the stave church, King Olaf II has a small Mickey embroidered on his tunic, near his right thigh.