Frozen Ever After: Disney World's new Epcot ride revealed

By Mike Westfall, Senior Digital Media Producer
Last Updated: Tuesday, June 09, 2015, 3:21 PM EDT

The first look at Walt Disney World's new "Frozen" attraction at Epcot was published late Monday in a Wall Street Journal exclusive, revealing a snow-filled boat ride scene starring Elsa in her ice palace singing what could only be "Let It Go."

The scene comes to life in the first piece of published concept art, credited to Disney, of the ride, which will replace the old Maelstrom boat ride in Epcot's Norway Pavilion. A passenger boat that looks nearly identical to the old Maelstrom boats appears in the image.

The Wall Street Journal article's main focus is on Disney's current trend of backing its big-name franchises, including the Disney-owned Marvel and Star Wars properties, and of course, the smash hit "Frozen," which quickly rose to become the highest grossing animated film of all time.

But for theme park fans and tourism leaders in Central Florida, the bigger news is the unveiling of the Frozen ride, which the Wall Street Journal reports will be named "Frozen Ever After."

Here are some other new tidbits of information on the ride we've learned from Monday's article:

  • The ride will be about 4 minutes long.
  •  An animatronic scene featuring Olaf the snowman and Sven the reindeer will also appear on the ride.
  • The ride will also feature Grandpappy Troll "telling a magical story." This might be a framing element of the ride's story, similar to Scuttle telling the tale of "Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid" at the Magic Kingdom.
  • The Wall Street Journal said Disney executives project millions more people will likely visit Epcot's World Showcase just to ride Frozen Ever After, which they said is "tied to Scandinavian art and culture."

Click to enlarge

An exclusive look by the Wall Street Journal blog Speakeasy revealed even more new details on the ride Tuesday morning:

  • The ride will "take you back to the movie without retelling the story," Walt Disney Imagineering's Kathy Mangum reportedly told Speakeasy.
  • Frozen Ever After will be set during Arendelle's winter festival — which takes place in summer.
  • Wandering Oaken will appear in his Trading Post in the ride's queue area.
  • Other characters featured on the ride include, of course, Anna and Kristoff, along with the giant snowman Marshmallow and the miniature Snowgies from the short "Frozen Fever."

Here are official details about the new ride from Disney Parks Blog:

Guests will be transported to the Winter in Summer Celebration where Queen Elsa embraces her magical powers and creates a winter-in-summer day for the entire kingdom. They will also visit Elsa's Ice Palace and the ice-blue world of the North Mountain, along with other locations before returning to the Bay of Arendelle. Of course, favorite "Frozen" characters, including the Snowgies from the animated short "Frozen Fever," will be part of this new attraction, along with the spectacular sights inspired by the film.

The Norway Pavilion's exterior will be expanded with many unique Norwegian architectural features and the interior design of the "Royal Sommerhus" will reflect the cultural arts and crafts of Norway, providing a charming setting for guests to meet Elsa and Anna.

Frozen Ever After is set to open sometime in 2016. While an official opening date has not been announced, the unofficial site WDW News Today reported Monday a tentative opening date of May 1, 2016, citing "information being distributed to Disney travel agents." The report added that date could change.

A meet-and-greet area featuring Anna and Elsa is also being built at Epcot's Norway Pavilion.