/ Thursday, September 18th, 2014

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Topics in this week’s Disney news include:

– My Thoughts on Maelstrom Closing to Become a Frozen Attraction in Epcot’s World Showcase
– Entertainment changes in World Showcase in Epcot
– And more!

Lou-Mongello-Logo-2014 copy– Lou Mongello


QUESTION for YOU: What are YOUR thoughts on the closing of Maelstrom to be replaced with a Frozen-theme attraction? Leave your answer in the comments below!

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24 thoughts on “WDW Radio LIVE NewsCast – My Thoughts on Maelstrom Closing to Become a Frozen Attraction in Epcot’s World Showcase”

  1. Amanda Novotny says:

    Wow, Lou- I love your passion about Disney! I have to admit that I was angry when this was announced. I try to ride Maelstrom every visit (when it is not broken down). However, I believe that my frustration has not been the loss of Maelstrom. I am frustrated that it is not being replaced with an updated telling of the story of Norway. I feel that the World Showcase is meant to immerse us in the culture of the represented country. Unfortunately, most of the pavilions are about 20 years out of date. If Disney call pull of an attraction that immerses us in the story of Norway with a Frozen theme, then I welcome the change. I do feel, though, that such an attraction might be better suited to Disney Studios. Thank you for sharing your passion on this subject!

  2. Ken V says:

    Hi Lou,

    Thank you for sharing your comments! One of these days I will get to see this show live. I posted my feelings with Blake’s latest blog post, but basically I am saddened for the loss of Maelstrom, mainly because that was the reason I loved going to Epcot and now my son, who is three, is just outside the “memories that last forever” age, and won’t be able to even recall – “hey, yea I remember going on that with dad”.

    I understand the appeal for Disney to bring Frozen to Epcot – to get those gate numbers up, but I am also in the camp of not putting it World Showcase. My wife, who is always right, tends to agree with you in the “wait and see” approach. Which, yes that is true – but I always go back to not being able to experience something with my son that I have such fond memories of growing up. Thank goodness we are annual passholders, so we are heading down next Thursday for a Maelstrom retirement / My Birthday party and you better believe he is going to go on it! Take lots of pictures and buy what merch I can get!

    Keep up the great work!

  3. Disdoc says:

    As much as I hate to lose Maelstrom, I think we all need to take a deep breath and take a “wait and see” approach to this. My bigger problem is the timeframe Disney takes. It seems universal can build an entire Harry Potter land in less time than Disney can build a parking garage. I hate that it will be a year and a half before a ride returns to Norway…here’s hoping it is worth the wait!

  4. Sarah Jane says:

    Lou! I don’t like you yelling at me! Lol. BUT, you’re a voice of reason in a sea of emotion. Thanks for all you do.

  5. Troy says:

    Hey Lou, Love the show! I must say I was quite shocked that people care so much about the loss of Maelstrom. As a person who is half Norwegian and loves all things Norway, I’ve always been disappointed in the Norway Pavillion. The Maelstrom ride is probably my least favorite ride in all of Disney, mainly because the name suggests a wild adventure ride, and the reality is a pretty lame boat ride. It actively makes me NOT want to visit the country. I was so excited to hear about the change and it always seemed like a no brainer to me. Tying in Frozen to Norway not only gives the Pavillion a fresh update, but I believe it improves the storytelling for Akershus. When I dined there on my honeymoon, I got the strong impression that the princesses were just kind of tacked on as a way to boost attendance to an underperforming restaurant. But now it can be presented as the place where the princesses go to visit Anna and Elsa. It’s a double win for me.

    Epcot has been slowly evolving for a long time now, and I’m excited to see the slow transition of adding more fun to this park. The Agent P showcase Adventure is a blast! I believe Disney with always keep a sense of culture to the world showcase, but I must say I love the idea of using the world showcase to highlight the inspirations of so many beloved films. Rather than Norway being overrun by Frozen, I’m excited at the idea of families rushing to Norway to see Frozen, and while they are there, getting to know more about the country that inspired the movie. I love the integration of characters with their home countries. It works so well with the topiaries during the Flower and Garden Festival. Disney is at its best when they are creating immersive experiences that can inspire you. While the world’s fair theme is one of my favorite places to spend time in Disney World, I’m so excited to see what they do next.

    EPCOT has a reputation of being boring, and boring isn’t good for tourism, either for Disney or for the host countries. Rather than keeping the characters out of this park, I am in favor of using the Disney characters as a way to build excitement for these countries. Excitement and fun will foster a love for these locations that can make world travel exciting for kids. These days, there are cultural fairs in almost every major city, and ethnic restaurants are everywhere, Disney is all about creating experiences you can’t get ANYWHERE else, and I think this is a step in the right direction. New Fantasyland is amazing, Cars land turned California Adventure into a must see park, I hate the Avatar movie, but I can’t wait to see Disney build us floating mountains, bioluminescent forests and flying dragons. Disney is the best in the world at what they do, and I can’t wait for Norway to become a must-see part of EPCOT. Keep up the positivity Lou and Keep Moving Forward!

  6. Megan says:

    Lou, I just listened to this podcast and I wanted to let you know your podcast totally spoke to me. I went to Walt Disney World for the first time as an adult recently, and I hadn’t been since I was a child 20 years ago. A few main takeaways from the trip: 1) it will NOT be 20 years before I go again; 2) I LOVED Epcot and wished I had allotted more time to tour it; and 3) Epcot was so much better than I remembered it as a kid! I was totally one of those kids who was mostly bored with Epcot – the only things I recall enjoying were Spaceship Earth and Maelstrom – and I made my dad take me back to the Magic Kingdom as soon as he got his World Showcase fill. That said, when I went back on Maelstrom as an adult, my reaction was that I must have been really quite bored as a kid 20 years ago for that to have been the highlight. Don’t get me wrong – it was fun – but it wasn’t phenomenal, and I certainly couldn’t see waiting in line for it. Additionally, I think the Epcot of today – with characters integrated throughout the park – would have held my attention and curiosity a lot more as a child, and I even like it as an adult. As a young Disney fan, it would have made me more curious to see characters in the countries or Nemo in the Living Seas, because I would have stopped to think – huh, I guess that’s where they live! I want to learn more about that place! And as soon as I saw Frozen, I thought that a Frozen presence in the Norway pavilion would be a natural fit. I hope they do it well – we can only wait and see – but I’m looking forward to the change, even as I say a sentimental goodbye to the Maelstrom of my childhood.

  7. My take on the whole thing, Lou.

    EPCOT like Magic Kingdom definitely needs some tender loving care and for better or worse some attractions have done better than others. Maelstrom was NOT one of them for me. In the last 18 years I’ve lived here I’ve only ridden it twice and I found it very underwhelming. It starts off well but veered off into different territory that had absolutely nothing to do with Norway whatsoever.

    As for people saying The Frozen attraction should be at Magic Kingdom. Well, No one saw this film’s success coming and the plans for revitalize Fantasyland were already in place to begin with. So gutting a current ride for another one so soon after New Fantasyland was completed would be a waste of time and resources that could be used elsewhere.

    I’ll be watching where this go. Sometimes as fans we get too caught up in trying to preserve what Uncle Walt would’ve wanted as opposed to seeing the bigger picture he was going for. That is moving forward.

  8. Allan says:

    Like you said Lou, Disney is there to make money. They must have decided that – long term – Frozen would make more money for them than any new country pavilion ever would; it will certainly help gate attendance at EPCOT. But by putting it in World Showcase, maybe they need to add a disclaimer to the effect of: “World Showcase – Not Exactly As Shown”.

  9. Danger says:

    As someone of Norwegian heritage, I feel bad about this change. Of course, I did with Mexico too. The world showcase was to be about international cultures… not pumping Disney cartoons or turning the very few rides in the park into advertising for whatever the latest movie coming on on DvD will be. I agree that the attractions deserve to be updated, with emerging technology and new merchandise in the store. It’s not a matter of nostalgia, its a matter of not turning world showcase into a kiddieland… put cartoon stuff into Fantasyland. No offense, but suppose I can understand why someone who makes a living off Disney World would be inclined to defend a change. I hope all this works out, but it doesn’t put me on fire to return.

  10. Zac Goodwin says:

    Thank you Lou, I needed to hear that. I needed the virtual slap-n-the-face and “get a hold of yourself” treatment. My biggest concern was that in time with the meet-n-greets, ride change, and retail demands of Frozen that Norway would be pushed out of its own pavilion by the film. I now look forward to the new ride as a “weenie” that will bring guest into such a beautiful pavilion. I can now stop feeding my ulcers and get back to looking forward to another Imagineer enhancement. Thanks again

  11. Hannah says:

    I agree with every word. That is all.

  12. George says:

    Hi Lou,

    I was pretty bummed when I heard that Maelstrom was closing. I guess I’m one of the few that would always go on it when I went into the World Showcase. I’m also pretty upset that Disney didn’t announce it sooner to allow us on the west coast to get a chance to come out and ride it one more time. But that’s just the selfish side of me. 🙂
    I do agree with you that we should take a wait and see approach. I do hope they design the ride to be educational as well as entertaining. I love Epcot. It is my favorite park of the four. But I’ve noticed that more and more, Disney is veering away from the rides that use to stimulate our imagination and educate us via entertainment and is strictly just for the entertainment. Just my two cents.



  13. Johnathan says:


    You brought up some excellent points. As always, the lawyer side of you comes out to explain in great passion why certain decisions of Disney are justified. And you did so very well.

    To be honest, the idea of Malestorm leaving and being replaced by Frozen was not at all a shock. In my eyes, Malestorm was more of a “cult classic” in the same way why people like watching “Plan 9 From Outer Space;” it’s so bad… it’s good.

    I think what concerns me are two things.

    One: Disney confirmed that the attraction will “immerse them in many of their favorite moments and music from the film” which translates to a retelling of the film. Sort of like The Little Mermaid Attraction in both the Magic Kingdom and DCA. And to be honest, I found Little Mermaid very underwhelming. For such a great film and after over 20 years from the release date: that was all we got? Grant it, Ursula is impressive but I personally feel the ride did not do the film justice.
    How does this connect with Frozen? Well, I am afraid that the attraction may have the same fate as Little Mermaid. WDI is being giving limited amount of time to create this new attraction and the last thing we want is something that feels rushed and not thought out.
    Also, most likely the Frozen attraction will most likely use the existing infrastructure since it already fits into the theming of the film. So for those that have been on Malestorm will know how short of an attraction it is and Disney is going to try and cram that whole film into such a small space?

    Two: Regardless of anything that anyone can say, the dynamic of World Showcase is going to change forever. You brought up that characters are in World Showcase like Aladdin in Morocco (which yeah, even if Agrabah is not a real place, they are still fair away from home in which those stories originate). But regardless, the characters have always been the backburner of the pavilions. The main focus has always been about the culture of the countries and actually sampling those cultures and customs like sampling the foods, learning about the real locations that are represented in Epcot, learning some of the language, etc. For some families now, this will not be the focus. Norway will become the “Frozen Ride” which is sad in my opinion. Yes, Epcot needs to evolve but it can not lose it’s original purpose, especially something that has such unique intentions like learning about different cultures.

    I just hope WDI will do something creative with the existing infrastructure. Maybe integrate the movie theatre space that everyone skips into the attraction and story. WDI could make this experience really wonderful and unique.

    I will attempt to be optimistic.

  14. Nina says:

    Great points Lou. Thanks for this podcast. It is comforting in this time of change. I am also excited to see this new ride, I trust Disney and the Imagineers and know they won’t let us down. Appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts with us!

  15. Brian says:

    Frozen is clearly inspired by Norway, which Disney will likely have displays/videos about that in the queue. It fits in way better with the Norway Pavilion than the other Disney Princesses that are currently in Akershus. I think I went on Maelstrom the last time I was there, but I’m not sure. It hasn’t been a priority for years. I only went on it when the line was short. I can see many ways that Disney could improve the ride using Frozen and still tie things back to Norway.

    The theory that Frozen won’t stand the test of time, and therefore shouldn’t be put into EPCOT, baffles me. Frozen is just as popular now as Beauty and the Beast was back in its day. Beauty and the Beast was one of the movies that defined the term “instant Disney classic”. Frozen may fade for adults, but will be watched by kids for generations to come, just like The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and The Lion King before them.

  16. Andy M says:

    Hey Lou!
    Long time listener, 1st time responder! After hearing the announcement that Maelstorm was closing to make way for a Frozen attraction I was not at all surprised. I have 2 young daughters (8 & 6) and we have been living and breathing Frozen for the better part of a year in my house. Recently my 8 year old’s bedroom just underwent a refurbishment from a Tangled theme to Frozen, so you can see where I am coming from.

    Add me to the list of people who hates to see Malestorm go, simply because it was one of my favorite attractions at Epcot. I am what I consider to be a “classic attraction enthusiast”, as in while I greatly enjoy the newer attractions in WDW, I make all of the classics must do’s each time I’m down there. My favorite attractions in Epcot are Spaceship Earth, Soarin, Test Track and Malestorm in that order. With that being said I do welcome a new Frozen attraction for Norway. My only wish was that I would be able to ride it one more time when I’m down in November before it is shut down, but that unfortunately isn’t going to happen.

    I don’t buy into the argument that some have made that World Showcase is not the place for this attraction however. Disney characters have been fixtures at World Showcase for as long as I can remember, and I have never seen them as a distraction to the overall presentation of the pavilions. I’ve never thought that seeing Alice or Mary Poppins in UK,or Donald in Mexico was a distraction. Heck, Remy even used to make appearances at Les Chefs de France, and people loved it!

    I’m thinking we will see an attraction for Frozen similar to The Three Caballeros in Mexico, and if this is the case I don’t hear anyone grumbling about how it distracts from what I consider to be one of the most immersive environments in all of WDW, inside the Mexico Pavilion. And if we can get a new video promoting and showing off Norway, all the better! As long as the imagineers find a way to integrate Frozen into Norway that is consistent to the examples I stated above, I think this discussion will prove to be much ado about nothing in a few years time.

  17. Mariah says:

    I’m sorry, Lou, but you did exactly what I thought you would do in your arguments for the Frozen attraction. You seem to never want to admit that Disney makes mistakes. And while i understand you wanted to have a positive show, you often look at Disney’s corporate decisions with rose-colored glasses, as opposed to looking at the bright side.

    A Frozen attraction just doesn’t fit. This is a band-aid that will not revolutionize Epcot as a whole. It will be a sore thumb of World Showcase. I don’t have a problem with representative characters in World Showcase, but this is essentially muscling out an attraction that just needs a fresh perspective.

    I feel like a Frozen attraction doesn’t show trust in the Imagineers to find another solution.

  18. Marilyn says:

    I love you Lou but I have to agree with Mariah’s comment regarding rose colored glasses. I can’t remember one time you have said something negative about a change at WDW. Being positive and upbeat is great, but sometimes changes are not for the best. (I.e. Figment, Stitch’s Great Escape). Epcot is already very far from what Walt wanted it to be, but with Frozen taking over Norway we are now even further from what the Original Dream was. Combine that with the removal of Off Kilter, Mo Rockin’, The World Showcase Players AND Fife and Drum, I find it all very sad. And having Frozen events/attractions in every single park except AK adds to my sadness. It’s overkill IMHO.

  19. Darryl says:

    I love Disney and I love Disney even more because I can follow more on wdw radio.
    I am very nostalgic about Disney attractions.

    This is a great move to replace Maelstrom with a Frozen attraction! Disney should have started the repurpose project months earlier. I hope the new Frozen attraction is really good!

    I like Tangled better than Frozen.

  20. Maria Casey says:

    I feel it is a great idea to add frozen to the Norway pavilion.

    I just hope it is as good as the mine train ride in fantasy land. .

    I am sure it will combine information on Norway and the Elsa and Anna story. I am so glad they are doing this change.

    Wish they would do the Alice in Wonderland in the England area it needs additional things for children and adults to enjoy together.

  21. Nick says:

    Hi Lou!
    After just returning from a recent trip to WDW and walking around EPCOT with my 3 and 1 year old girls, I think bringing in Frozen is a really good idea to add to the park. I feel that while EPCOT is the more educational park designed to learn and tell stories about the culture of the country in the way that they are doing so, I feel that adding in characters to these places will give the younger generation more of a reason to stop in and spend more time walking around and talking to the cast members around EPCOT. I know with my girls the ages they are, it was a hard enough sell to get them to have fun and experience the walk around the World Showcase but if we had Frozen to go see or an attraction featuring Alice and Wonderland, I feel that would be a big time must do. Really looking forward to how they will be executing the plan to bring Frozen to Norway and you better believe on our next trip we will see it first hand!

  22. Amy says:

    I just wanted to thank you for all that you do, and especially for this encouraging segment. With all the hysteria and rumors and dooms-day-like talk going on regarding Maelstrom and Frozen, you have really been the voice of reason, and I agree with every word you have said. This is why we all love you so much – your unfailing positivity is truly inspiring.

  23. Glenn says:

    Wow. Wonderful job with this, Lou! And I couldn’t agree more! Thanks for pointing out what needs to be pointed out about ANY change that comes to a Disney park! I’m glad you incorporated “Horizons” into this, as anyone who listens to you knows you were/are a HUGE Horizons fan, which shows your objectivity! Keep up the great work!

  24. Chuck Zitta says:

    I agree with you 110%, Lou!

    Let’s keep it POSITIVE in the Disney realm.

    Cherish the past and relish the future. That’s as Walt would have wanted it.

    Thank you, once again, for all the time and effort you put into bringing us a great show week after week after week. Love your passion.

    Have a great day, Lou!!!