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Walt Disney World Epcot Discussion Thread

P. 116: Space 220 Restaurant Grand Opening report posted!

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Thank you for posting this!

 

We have reservations for our upcoming trip and have really been looking forward to this place. Is the large square pizza the "metro" sized pizza? I looked at a menu, but it did not mention how many slices were in it. Would a metro sized pizza be enough for 2 adults and 3 kids?

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Would a metro sized pizza be enough for 2 adults and 3 kids?

 

It depends how hungry you are and if you're going to order anything else. Robb, KT, and I could finish that pizza if we didn't get anything else, but if you pair it with some appetizers or salad or pasta then yes.

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I'm not big at sit-down restaurants at Epcot simply because there is so many good options to sample, but I'd make an exception for this.

 

Everything looks awesome!

 

Thanks for taking the time to post the pics Robb.

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These remind me of pizza that I had in Italy a few years ago where I ate it for lunch every day for a week at different restaurants in Siena, Venice and Florence and had only one that was not very good (Siena). They ALL look fantastic at this place though!

 

Not to get off track here, but if anyone is going to visit Italy, I recommend to stay away from the restaurants right in the major piazza's like Piazza del Duomo in Florence, or Piazza del Campo in Siena as they are made to cater to tourists (meaning food is over-priced and not very good). Find a nice, quiet family-owned place somewhere on an off-street and you won't be disappointed in your pizza.

 

Thanks for posting the photos as well as listing some cool facts, Robb...and those pizza ovens are too awesome!!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Today I had the chance to visit Epcot to try out the new Soarin' Around The World as well as the Royal Sommerhus at the Norway Pavilion, a new meet and greet for Anna and Elsa.

 

The original version of Soarin' (over California) closed on Thursday with the new version debuting on Friday. Soarin' has traded out the many beautiful landmarks of California for new international destinations including Sydney Harbor, the Great Wall of China, the pyramids of Egypt and the Taj Mahal. Despite this update coming primarily from the new Soarin' over the Horizon attraction in Shanghai Disneyland, each version has a different finale with Epcot's taking place over Spaceship Earth. This is a great evolution of an already iconic Disney attraction and while the destinations are new, the classic score has been re-orchestrated to match the locales which guests fly over. The ride now offers three unique scents but unfortunately (Horizons) fans of the L'Orange scent will be disappointed to find that the fresh smell of orange groves didn't find its way into the new internationally focused ride film.

 

Royal Sommerhus is the first of two new additions to the Norway pavilion, with Frozen Ever After (the successor to Maelstrom) opening later this week. The new addition to the left side of the Norway pavilion is surprisingly subtle when it comes to Frozen. The architecture is authentic to Norway and the interior of the cottage queue features almost no references to the namesake film. It is only until you enter the actual meet and greet parlor where Anna and Elsa are present that the experience clearly ties into Frozen (not even the music from the film is heavily referenced in the background loop) and even their photo backgrounds are tastefully toned down. Many Disney fans feared that Frozen coming to Epcot would take away from the authenticity of the Norway pavilion, but based on everything I experienced yesterday, I believe those fears were unfounded. The debut of Frozen Ever After will be the true deciding factor, but based on the side of the pavilion that already debuted, I don't think anyone has anything to worry about.

 

The final addition to note from the weekend was the introduction of a new exhibition inside of the China pavilion focused on the new Shanghai Disneyland Resort. Featuring many of the artwork and displays from the most recent D23 Expo, the low key presentation gives guests insight into the creative processes behind the new park and some of its most unique elements.

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Rope dropping Epcot will look like this for a long time if you're aiming to get on Soarin' Around The World first.

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The ride's marquee was updated to reflect the new title.

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Thankfully the gorgeous queue has been left intact with only the addition of a third corridor leading to the newly constructed Concourse C theater.

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The pre-pre-show video loop no longer lists flight destinations in the clouds, rather charting out your planned travel via an animated map.

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Ready for a surprise?

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Patrick Warburton as Chief Flight Attendant Patrick is still the host of Soarin' despite the new ride film!

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He sets such a perfect tone for the start of the ride so I was thrilled to see him stay on. The pre-show film was not altered in any way, nor was any new dialogue recorded to facilitate this portion of the classic attraction staying on.

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There's nothing not to love about the new Soarin' Around The World. It is an incredible evolution of a classic Disney attraction that pays great homage to what came before (pre-show, the memorable score and the fireworks finale) while introducing exciting new visuals and destinations not previously seen.

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Traveling around the world in 4.5 minutes can certainly make you work up an appetite--and the nearby Sunshine Seasons quick service options at The Land pavilion certainly satisfy! Bread Pudding French Toast, eggs, potatoes, bacon... And a Key Lime Tart because it is never too early for dessert (if you don't already know, I REALLY like food).

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Over at Turtle Talk with Crush, characters from Finding Dory have begun making appearances in the show.

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Turtle Pile!

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Destiny the whale shark now helps Dory to teach the audience how to speak whale.

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After Turtle Talk I went back over to Soarin' for a little experiment... The posted wait time for the ride was 45 minutes upon entry of the queue. This was the back of the line when we started. Now that the third theater has been added, it has been stated that the flow of the queue has been greatly increased...

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By the time we got on the ride, we had only been in line for 25 minutes despite the 45 minute posted wait time. While I can't guarantee the this will be the norm moving forward, it was clear that at least during my visit, the addition of the third theater has allowed the standby queue to load more consistently, shortening our overall wait time by nearly 20 minutes!

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Over at the Norway pavilion the Royal Sommerhus has opened!

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"Meet Anna and Elsa" is very subtly included at the bottom of the marquee to let guests know that this is Frozen related, but aside from that (as you'll see), this isn't very in-your-face when it comes to the popular film property.

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Authentic architecture really sets the mood out here...

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Little Disney details everywhere you look.

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The queue is very quaint and charming!

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Some of the construction wall artwork actually lives on in the form of tapestries that adorn the queue walls.

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The clock works!

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The first (subtle) trace of Frozen I could find in the cottage.

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More tapestries...

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This tapestry is a tribute to Maelstrom, the attraction that has since been replaced with Frozen Ever After. The border of the artwork on the tapestry is inspired by the unique chair backs of the benches in the ride's post-show film theater.

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Unique details all around!

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More art on the walls...

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A tapestry depicting Arendelle.

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A look inside of the meet and greet parlor...

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Anna has the port of Arendelle as her backdrop.

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Elsa's backdrop features a view of her ice castle on the side of the North Mountain.

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The meet and greet exits out into a small gift shop featuring a variety of Frozen themed merchandise options.

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The architecture here looks great!

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The restroom complex at the Norway pavilion was heavily refurbished in during the pavilion's Frozen-led facelift.

 

Fun fact: The restroom complex (particularly the building on the far right) has existed since before the Norway pavilion was constructed.

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An extended queue full of switchbacks is set up just opposite the entrance of the Royal Sommerhus as wait times are expected to be high for these two popular princesses.

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Some Nordic glyphs in the rockwork near the Royal Sommerhus.

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A look at the soon-to-open Frozen Ever After entrance area...

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The ride's entrance sign peeks out over the construction walls.

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The former Maelstrom entrance was given a

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Over in the China pavilion the Terra Cotta Warriors exhibit has been replaced with an exhibit about Shanghai Disneyland...

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Lots of great detail to be seen...

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These displays were previously featured at the D23 Expo's Walt Disney Parks & Resorts Pavilion.

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I look forward to meeting The Woolley next Summer.

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I'm interested to see how these stone formations translate in real life.

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Still interested to see if what we've seen of Q'araq matches more closely with this eventually...

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I love this stylized map of Camp Discovery!

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Based on the design I would've thought this was the Soarin' theater but it is nice to know that this is a flex-venue.

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Plenty of room to grow!

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A good ol' helping of Schofferhofer Grapefruit from Germany to round out the day! Never a bad choice, especially on a hot Florida afternoon like this one!

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Where Truman always wanted to go: Fiji!

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It wouldn't be a Disney attraction without Hidden Mickeys! This one can be found during the Monument Valley scene.

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The Eiffel Tower looks great during this sequence!

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Each of the three Soarin' Around the World films (Soaring Over the Horizon at Shanghai Disneyland) features the same ride film with the exception of the finale, which is specific to the host resort of the ride. For Epcot, the finale flies over Spaceship Earth with fireworks...

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And the fireworks mark the end of the ride...

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Subtle but not too subtle!

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The Taj Mahal...

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The pyramids of Egypt...

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Orca!

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Sydney Harbor...

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Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany, the inspiration for much of the design of Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland Park and Hong Kong Disneyland.

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Ice is nice!

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The ride film starts out Soarin' above the Matterhorn (not the Fantasyland side of it)...

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Great report! The new area in the Norway pavilion looks great. I'm particularly impressed by the indoors queue for the meet'n greet, I think they absolutely nailed that part! On behalf of Norway I approve of this area!

 

I'm still trying to work out what's going on with the architecture in this place though. The yellow wooden part just looks so out of place. I don't know if it's related to the angle of the picture though, so I will withhold final judgement until the whole area is open and we can get a better look at it. But from this picture I'm a bit confused...

 

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Hold on to your butts, here's the first Frozen Ever After on-ride. Excellent quality too.

 

Looks great! Beautiful animatronics.

 

 

Edited by BDG
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Frozen Ever After looks amazing! The queue line looks great! Love the sauna scene, gives some entertainment in what I expect will be a rather long queue for quite some time. (although I'm sure some of those who became die-hard Maelstrom fans once it was announced that the ride would close would say that a plain wall with some flags on was better).

 

As for the ride itself, I'm very impressed. The animatronics looks fantastic! I love the Olaf animatronic (and of course the one of Sven with his tongue stuck on the post, very funny). I don't really have anything negative to say about the ride*. The ride is so short that in terms of storytelling, there isn't really much you can do, but for what it is I think it has a nice flow to it.

 

So yes, a massive improvement over the old Maelstrom ride! Norway approves!

 

*On the old Maelstrom ride you were allowed to use the fastpass line if you were from Norway, even though you didn't have a fastpass. I have a feeling that it won't be possible from now on...

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The big change of it, in the re-design of the flume itself, appears to be the relocation of the lift hill.

It used to be right at the beginning of Maelstrom, I remember. Now, they've moved it farther along

the ride's path and it looks (and sounds) to be better positioned, for the "Let It Go" sequence and the

backwards drop that follows.

 

Looks and sounds great, to me.

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The big change of it, in the re-design of the flume itself, appears to be the relocation of the lift hill.

It used to be right at the beginning of Maelstrom, I remember. Now, they've moved it farther along

the ride's path and it looks (and sounds) to be better positioned, for the "Let It Go" sequence and the

backwards drop that follows.

 

Looks and sounds great, to me.

 

They relocated the loading platform to the old unloading platform, and added some new scenes before the lift. The lifthill itself is in the same place.

 

Attractions Magazine posted a side-by-side comparison with the old ride.

 

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^ Oh, cool! Didn't realize that, although it obviously looked like the inside queue was completely redone,

and enlarged, to allow more queue space inside. Thanks for posting the side-by-side video. Great to compare, now!

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The big change of it, in the re-design of the flume itself, appears to be the relocation of the lift hill.

It used to be right at the beginning of Maelstrom, I remember. Now, they've moved it farther along

the ride's path and it looks (and sounds) to be better positioned, for the "Let It Go" sequence and the

backwards drop that follows.

 

Looks and sounds great, to me.

 

They relocated the loading platform to the old unloading platform, and added some new scenes before the lift. The lifthill itself is in the same place.

 

Attractions Magazine posted a side-by-side comparison with the old ride.

 

That's a really cool video. I thought from the initial video the ride seemed longer and they basically made the ride about 1:15 longer without actually changing the track length. I give Disney a lot of credit for being able to pull that off.

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The big change of it, in the re-design of the flume itself, appears to be the relocation of the lift hill.

It used to be right at the beginning of Maelstrom, I remember. Now, they've moved it farther along

the ride's path and it looks (and sounds) to be better positioned, for the "Let It Go" sequence and the

backwards drop that follows.

 

Looks and sounds great, to me.

 

They relocated the loading platform to the old unloading platform, and added some new scenes before the lift. The lifthill itself is in the same place.

 

Attractions Magazine posted a side-by-side comparison with the old ride.

 

That's a really cool video. I thought from the initial video the ride seemed longer and they basically made the ride about 1:15 longer without actually changing the track length. I give Disney a lot of credit for being able to pull that off.

 

They added a bit of track as well, I believe there is new S-Bend through the old loading area. It really helps with the added time

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Today I had the chance to check out the brand new Frozen Ever After attraction at Epcot. The successor to Maelstrom and a part of the larger expansion of the Norway pavilion to bring the massive IP into the park, Frozen Ever After presents a new story wrapped in the familiar tunes of the famous film. The ride tells the story of a day of celebration commemorating the events of the film, with the characters singing some of the most notable songs from the film but not in the ways you've previously experienced them.

 

Imagineers have significantly reworked the theming of this attraction and have added to the queue and ride to accommodate for the extreme demand behind the property as it will inevitably draw significant crowds for many, many years to come. The former entrance station has been removed to allow for additional length to be added to the ride with all entrance and exit flow taking place in Maelstrom's former exit station. The previous post-show theater has been removed entirely for the addition of a huge inside queue filled with incredibly effective lighting and architecture that immerses guests in the courtyards of the kingdom of Arendelle.

 

Once inside the ride, you will find some of the most impressive, advanced audio animatronics that Disney has ever produced. The animatronic figures are the next evolution of the interior projection technology that already powers the seven dwarfs figures in the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at Magic Kingdom. The ride layout has remained exactly as it was when the ride was Maelstrom (with the exception of the entrance station being converted into standard ride track) but the ride feels significantly longer as there are far fewer corners of the attraction in which nothing is going on. The story carries on throughout the ride and hardly pauses between rooms, as the ride has little time to spare given the space constraints of the pavilion's existing structures.

 

As you'll see in the photos below, this attraction features some incredible new animatronics, perfect staging and lighting. The music has been re-orchestrated in an way that will surprise the biggest Frozen fans. This isn't simply a rehash of the film or its animated short sequel, but a direct sequel to the previously featured events.

 

There have been many that claimed that there was no place for Frozen (or animated characters) in the World Showcase at Epcot, but as the Royal Sommerhus and now Frozen Ever After have shown, there is an extremely tasteful, not over-the-top way to integrate Disney stories into the culturally authentic representations of the world's countries. I only hope that future expansions to the World Showcase follow the incredibly successful formula that Frozen Ever After and the Royal Sommerhus have taken in plussing their host pavilion. These additions will surely succeed in drawing record crowds (as today already proved) and Frozen Ever After sets a high bar for future dark ride additions to the Walt Disney World Resort!

 

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Get used to lines looking like this for the foreseeable future...

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The entrance facade of Maelstrom was reworked for the introduction of Frozen Ever After.

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The ride's cave has been sealed off to ensure a darker ride interior--an incredibly effective decision.

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A look at the ride's marquee...

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A list of warnings for guests to review.

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A subtle nod to Kristoff with Sven holding him up.

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Kristof's office can be seen at the entrance of the interior queue.

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It's all in the detail!

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Neat!

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Impressive stonework!

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The removal of the post show theater has freed up a huge amount of space for the new interior queue.

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The former exit station now serves as the entrance and exit station for Frozen Ever After, allowing for additional track length to be spent towards the ride experience.

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The execution of the new interior queue is nothing short of astounding!

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The forced perspective of the neighboring Arendelle cottages along the queue wall is incredibly effective.

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Woohoo!

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Since I was in the FastPass+ lane I was unable to go in to this section of the queue but it looked to be filled with detail.

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I still can't get over how great this looks!

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Almost time to head in!

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The official Proclamation of the Summer Snow Day holiday that gives cause to Frozen Ever After's depicted festivities.

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Even when loading into the ride vehicles, guests can see neighboring cottages all around.

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The boats from Maelstrom have been refurbished and repurposed for Frozen Ever After. No notable changes have been made to these ride vehicles.

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Olaf is the first character we see in the ride... Watching this animatronic bob along and emote was incredible!

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The trolls looked incredible!

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This baby troll pops up right before you take the journey to the ice palace (aka the lift hill).

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In place of Odin's all seeing eye, you climb the lift hill with the ice palace visible ahead and a giant colorful snowflake glowing to signal your arrival.

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Inside of Elsa's ice palace you will find Olaf skating around gleefully.

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Kristoff is serenading Anna in a very cute moment for the ride.

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Sven happily watches as the two share a moment.

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Elsa's rendition of Let It Go is nuanced to line up with the film, while allowing guests to be right in the middle of the most recognizable sequence from the entire franchise.

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As Elsa sings the ice palace grows around her...

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The glow continues to grow!

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And with a blast of energy the boat pushes off backward....

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The ice palace is huge and thus riders are able to see it continue to grow as you continue backwards.

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Marshmallow and the snowgies ready to send guests back down to the waters of Norway.

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Fireworks over Arendelle!

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Frozen Ever After is an incredible addition to the World Showcase and Epcot in that it will appeal to guests of all ages and be a HUGE draw. The story is unique without straying too far from the source material. I highly recommend that you check out the attraction, even waiting a few hours for this experience if need be. FastPass+is definitely the preferred route to get on this ride as soon as possible, if not rope dropping the park, but if your only shot is to wait in the Standby line, then I recommend taking that step--it will be worth it, especially if you are a Frozen fan like I am. This is an incredible addition to the park, one of the strongest dark rides at Walt Disney World) and a great taster for what is to come with Avatar and Star Wars Land in the coming years!

Edited by jedimaster1227
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