“Frozen” Epcot expansion more than new ride, Walt Disney World plans reveal new meet-and-greet building next to Norway

in Disney, Entertainment, Epcot, Theme Parks, Walt Disney World

A new filing made public on the South Florida Water Management District web site reveals Walt Disney World’s plans for bringing “Frozen” to Epcot are much bigger than previously expected and announced.

More than just taking over the former Maelstrom attraction for a new “Frozen” ride, it is now revealed a large themed building will be constructed between the Norway and Mexico pavilions to house additional “Frozen” entertainment. It will be the first major permanent expansion to the World Showcase in many years.

First noticed by Stitch Kingdom, the filing dated January 13, 2015 The filing calls the expansion a “Epcot Frozen Meet And Greet,” to be housed in a new 13,000 square foot building, consuming 1.08 acres of land previously devoted to backstage areas.

Drawings included with the filing show the full layout of the area of this new “Frozen” themed area, noting rock work will be added to its guest-facing facade. Click the images below for high-resolution versions.

After speaking with Disney, WFTV reports the new building will house more than just a meet-and-greet. As popular as Anna and Elsa character meets continue to be, 13,000 square feet is rather large to solely house as meet-and-greet attraction, even if Olaf is added in as well.

That building is written to include “a Disney guest attraction and a women’s restroom.” In addition, there will be “a 2,000 sf modular type building to replace a similar building demolished for the project,” “two small parking lots that have a total of 18 parking spaces” (for employee use), new “sidewalks and planters,” and changes to “the existing restroom in the Norway attraction building.”

Additional drawings included with the permit offer a few more details from the proposed new construction.

It seems likely that this new construction will be themed to Arendelle, effectively adding a new “country” to the World Showcase, though the exact details have not officially been announced by Disney.

The “Frozen” ride is scheduled to open in 2016. No completion date is attached to this new construction yet.

39 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Dave

    Well I guess since no real countries want to join the world showcase… They’ll just make this fantasyland part 2. Every park has to have a fantasyland section, right?

    I am being sarcastic of course. It is sad to see Epcot loosing its vision and becoming just another Disney Park, but then I like Disney Parks… Hmmm. Next Sanfransokyo!

    1. Avatar

      Prncssriss

      I totally agree with you!! It is killing the atmosphere that s for certain.

    2. Avatar

      Lori

      I agree. The whole Avatar land at Animal Kingdom is along the same line and I’m not crazy about that either.

      1. Avatar

        Levi

        Disney has been in a metamorphosis for many years, starting way up in Corporate, and now trickling it’s way down to the guest experiences. I am married to a cast member, and I have followed closely many major corporate decisions made over the years, and… despite pervasive negativity around the “fantasy” changes around the theme parks, I have to say that corporate is well aware, and not afraid of changing the status quo.. Regarding Animal Kingdom, many people don’t realize, it was ALWAYS intended to have a fantasy aspect to it. it was scrapped AFTER construction began, but you can see remnants of the original ideas around the park, most notably, a “Unicorn” parking section.. they’re actually getting BACK to original plans for Animal Kingdom (which as a LOT of room to grow). I think Epcot needs to some more countries, for sure… but I think the corporate mentality is that when you inject a fantasy theme (which, lets be honest, that’s what Disney is) in Epcot, it could pave the way for more interest in general, and more countries in the future. Which I think is what we all want…. my honest opinion is that, all in all, sacrifices are being made, but Corporate Disney is not being stagnant, which I appreciate, it’s true to Walt himself, and they’re moving forward into a better future than they were 20 years ago.. No question about it.

    3. Avatar

      Gina

      Arendal is an actual place in Norway. Just thought I would let in on that. I think it will be a nice add on.

      1. Avatar

        Mike

        Gina – you are correct in you remark about “Arendal.” However, Frozen takes place in “Arendelle” a fictional kingdom.

        1. Avatar

          Gigi

          Arundel Elias Disney is the great-grandfather of Walt Disney. Arundel was from Kilkenny, Ireland. A coincidence in the similarity of Walt’s family name and the city in Frozen? I think not. ;O)

    4. Avatar

      Rich S

      Everyone always forgets that EPCOT was originally supposed a community of the future. People were actually supposed to live and work there. I believe it was Experimental Prototype Community Of The future. So it never had anything to do with a World Exposition in Walt’s vision.

  2. Avatar

    Often times, builders will install cheaper and less energy efficient windows to save some money.
    But keep in mind that wood can also shrink, rot, and
    warp, which means you’ll probably have to replace your windows over and over.
    But, the aesthetic appeal to my home’s appearance seems to have
    worn off with time.

    1. Avatar

      SWC Member

      Someone please delete the spam. ^

      I’ve never been to Disney World/Epcot, but this definitely seems odd. I wish Disney and everyone else would just “let it go” at this point. I like Frozen, but I’m getting tired of it. It took a little longer than it did for everyone else, but it is happening. :/

  3. Avatar

    Valerie

    i think this will be a great addition to Epcot. Unfortunately, Epcot doesn’t appeal to children very much. Maybe with this addition, kids will be more excited about going to Epcot & find out that it has a lot to offer just like the other parks.

    1. Avatar

      Shirley

      I agree. I wish they didn’t have to replace maelstrom, but if they have to, I love Frozen so…. Anyway, I think that Walt Disney was a man who never stopped dreaming and envisioning and improving so, I think in that Disney World is staying true to his dream. Do I think it will also get more people, especially kids, to Epcot to make Disney Corporate more money yes. Does that bother me a little, yes but ask me if I am going to go see the new Frozen ride and I will also say YES!!!

  4. Avatar

    Since1976

    Norway always seemed small and cramped. Great to see it expanding. I hope the Frozen elements are blended in well with the “real” Norwegian design so as to be not so fantastical. We don’t want World Showcase to turn into New New Fantasyland.

  5. Avatar

    Jeannnette Sanchez

    awesome! I can’t wait to see it next year! I love it Frozen!

  6. Avatar

    Ed Held

    it is sad they can’t keep the Troll Attraction as well.

  7. Avatar

    TLM

    I don’t mind this change I just hope it doesn’t effect the eating options there. I ate at both Akershus and Kringla Bakery for the first time recently and they both had wonderful food. I absolutely enjoyed both places!

  8. Avatar

    Chaz

    Me? I’m just happy to see that Disney is finally putting some effort into their Frozen park entertainment. Even if they are closing an old ride to accomplish this, by adding onto the show building they are clearly giving this project some thought. We’ll have to wait and see if that effort is worth it, but this gives me hope.

  9. Avatar

    Jeff Lynch

    Well, I have some thoughts on this. I don’t think Disney will ever build a new country pavilion at EPCOT, except possibly Brazil. Australia would be a fun one but I bet that is being saved for Animal Kingdom and a new land there. I think if they ever did build a Brazil pavilion it would just be to bring in more money from those Brazil tour groups. But I think it could add some great new food and entertainment options so that would be a nice edition. Maybe they will one day have a New Zealand pavilion and then the Australian area at DAK. But I am not holding my breath for any of this.

    Those expansion pads have been sitting untouched for many years. Time to use them.

    Expand France and build the Ratatouille Ride.

    Expand China with a Mulan ride. Expand Japan with a Mt Fuji ride.

    I think it’s time to look beyond holding out hope for new countries and instead seeing more rides put into EPCOT.

    People seem upset that Norway is getting a “Fantasyland touch”. I can see that kind of upset from them. But what if the other pavilions had new attractions that were very Disney but not so Fantasyland? Wouldn’t it be okay to have one pavilion with something that kids will go nuts for?

    I know a lot of adults love EPCOT to go drinking around the world. I’d love to see dark rides in the countries highlighting fairytales and stories and folklore from the countries. I like that bit of fantasy.

    But I agree it should not be too much. What I would like is for these new additions to enhance and complement what is there now, not replace.

    1. Avatar

      orangecrush

      I absolutely adore Epcot. That said, sometimes it seems a bit heavy on the shopping and alcohol aspects. I hope this project starts a trend towards more rides, as you have proposed. I’d especially like to see a Ratatouille dark ride like they have in Paris. We live in Florida and sometimes I think Disney could be doing more to update the other parks to keep pace with the Magic Kingdom. That’s one reason I’m so excited about the addition of Star Wars theming and additional rides which might come to Hollywood Studios. Sometimes, we have to take a leap of faith. After all, it’s part of the enchantment!

      1. Avatar

        Shirley

        So True!

    2. Avatar

      Kenny Sanders

      The sad thing, Jeff, is that Norway had a folklore-type ride with Maelstrom. I am upset that such an enjoyable ride was taken away from us. At the end of Maelstrom, a video on Norway played (and I miss it as well). Even waiting in line was cool, with the old-fashioned map of a “flattened-Earth”.

      I don’t want Epcot to be more “kid-friendly” – I want it to stay the way it is. WDW already took away Pleasure Island, so what are they trying to do? Are they trying to eliminate all adult-themed areas of Disney?

      And I hate it when Disney takes rides away – I still miss the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea ride at Magic Kingdom, which was taken away from us in the 90’s (it’s Ariel’s Grotto now).

      I am a long-time annual passholder and, although I am definitely going to renew in May, I am not happy with many of the changes at WDW, both in the past and in the present. If Walt was still with us, then things would be different.

      1. Avatar

        Sally

        The theme of the original ride was a disjointed mishmash that didn’t do Norway justice. Mingling their movies with the different countries is a great way to encourage kids to learn more about the people and places that inspire their favorite movies, and also fun for adults. Fantasyland is pure fantasy. I see this as bridging fantasy with reality. Also, part of why Frozen was so successful was its appeal to a broad audience, including and especially adults, not through adult content but through themes people could relate to their own live experiences.

      2. Avatar

        Sally

        The theme of the original ride was a disjointed mishmash that didn’t do Norway justice. Mingling their movies with the different countries is a great way to encourage kids to learn more about the people and places that inspire their favorite movies, and also fun for adults. Fantasyland is pure fantasy. I see this as bridging fantasy with reality. Also, part of why Frozen was so successful was its appeal to a broad audience, including and especially adults, not through adult content but through themes people could relate to their own live experiences. Also, he’s not still with us and the world is not the same as it was. People weren’t meant to live forever nor stay frozen in time.

    3. Avatar

      Kenny Sanders

      The sad thing, Jeff, is that Norway had a folklore-type ride with Maelstrom. I am upset that such an enjoyable ride was taken away from us. At the end of Maelstrom, a video on Norway played (and I miss it as well). Even waiting in line was cool, with the old-fashioned map of a “flattened-Earth”.

      I don’t want Epcot to be more “kid-friendly” – I want it to stay the way it is. WDW already took away Pleasure Island, so what are they trying to do? Are they trying to eliminate all adult-themed areas of Disney?

      And I hate it when Disney takes rides away – I still miss the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea ride at Magic Kingdom, which was taken away from us in the 90’s (it’s Ariel’s Grotto now).

      I am a long-time annual passholder and, although I am definitely going to renew in May, I am not happy with many of the changes at WDW, both in the past and in the present. If Walt was still with us things would be different.

    4. Avatar

      Huns

      I absolutely LOVE the ideas of the Mulan ride or a Ratatouille ride! Disney….get right on that please!!!!!

  10. Avatar

    frostysnowman

    I hate this idea.

  11. Avatar

    Tammy

    They are going to do what they need to do to make Epcot more kid friendly. Maybe this is the start of other rides…only time will tell 🙂

  12. Avatar

    Lorie

    I don’t mind this expansion and I think they could build back from countries and make them into regions of the world. They could build a Scandinavian section around Norway, Mediterranean around Italy. Maybe have a Benelux section instead of Africa. This is Belguim, Netherlands, and Luxembourg. Since its next to Germany it would make sense. Morroco could be expanded to include the middle East like India, Turkey, and maybe Egypt. They already have Africa in Animal Kingdom. I would love for them to do a South American one that included both Brazil and the Patagonia region. I would also like to see Russia but that may be a long time in coming. On the other hand maybe Disney could work out a deal with them since their economy isn’t doing so well right now..

  13. Avatar

    Joe Rogers

    Yeah I keep seeing this wishful thinking for all the stuff they could be doing to World Showcase… but it’s just not going to happen. There were supposed to be all kinds of rides/attractions in the phase 2 build out of Epcot Center (Japan’s Meet the World, Italy boat ride, Germany, UK, etc), but the entire Epcot project was a huge miscalculation of its appeal compared to the amount invested when it was built. The company management responsible for it was pretty much sacked in its entirety (the reason for the Michael Eisner era), and succeeding management has struggled with how to make the park work. It’s a shame, I think the original Epcot Center was the best thing the company ever did, but for most of the general public Epcot is where you go to drink and catch a meal. Its flagship attraction, the one in its iconic ‘golf ball’, never really has much of a line and the attractions that are popular (especially Soarin’) have little to do with the original theme. I honestly would be less surprised in a total gutting/re theming of the entire park than I would be in significant investment in new World Showcase rides or attractions.

  14. Avatar

    Brent Kruger

    Disney is about making money, plain and simple…anything related to Frozen is just a license to print money. Whatever will bring maximum money in, they’re going to do it. Reality of our day

  15. Avatar

    J Lewis

    I’ve never understood why people have a problem with other people or businesses making money. Disney parks have a great product and provide a great experience. That experience is worth something. I haven’t seen any other place that puts thought into every single detail of their projects. If a person is “tired” of Frozen or anything else. . .don’t give your money to Disney.

  16. Avatar

    Uncle Bob

    Disney is definitely losing focus. It is true that EPCOT was supposed to be the futuristic living condos of tomorrow. We understand that they need other things to attract crowds but now all they’re doing is literally making it a huge kid playground not teaching them anything. At least Maelstrom brought about the actual heritage of Norway and their culture. No no no don’t update the ride, just make a movie in the same country to replace it. We lose ACTUAL cultural history AND the heritage of Norway itself. What do kids learn from Anna and Olsa or whatever their names are? It’s going to be a whole fictional land and that’s it. Disney would be ashamed from the original thought and idea of what EPCOT was supposed to be.. to always present the future and ideas of designing and creating new technologies. Not this crap.

    1. Avatar

      Sally

      Not sure what people learned about Norway from a ride with tankers and trolls. I also think they’d be remiss if they didn’t acknowledge the link between their movies and the cultures that inspire them. If Epcot was strictly meant to be about future technologies than the world expo is already a departure from his vision but one you obviously don’t take exception to.

  17. Avatar

    Curt

    Epcot NEEDS more countries! Brazil, yes, there’s no representation of South America, and Ireland would be incredibly popular (year around St. Patrick’s Day celebration), and Egypt is a natural for all it’s visually spectacular history and culture (a recreation of the Sphinx and Epcot – made for each other!).

  18. Avatar

    Nathalie

    I have to laugh that someone commented on the fact they dont like the alcohol at Epcot. Outside of Downtown Disney, this is the only place you cab relax and have some drinks with friends. Epcot is also the a way for adults to enjoy some down time and it’s an excellent set up. I also find it interesting that people seem to have an issue with this new expansion featured around Frozen…..it is the highest grossing animated movie…so not only does it make sense to add this to the park from a fans stand point, it is a good business move. I am also laughing at the fact that many of you are forgetting that Disney is for children and those young at heart. We dont care about the fact that Disney is straying from what they wanted to do 50 years ago. Times change and people change. Take it for what it is….an excellent experience.

  19. Avatar

    Brian

    I find it a great shame that Epcot is slowly going from the inspirational and cultural showcase. To dumbing down any new attractions to showcase popular animation carictures.
    Please don’t unpick what is a great park and it’s amazing core identity.

  20. Avatar

    Ken

    Next they will add some MULAN stuff to China, RATATOUILLE to France, and MARY POPPINS to England. They already have teh THREE CABALLEROS in Mexico.

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