Friday, July 5, 2013

Maelstrom Celebrates 25 Years at Epcot

Oh, Maelstrom. How I love you.

Maelstrom- the "High Seas Adventure" found in Epcot's Norway Pavilion - opened 25 years ago today.

I can't exactly put my finger on why, but this attraction has always been one of my absolute favorites in all of Walt Disney World. Let's see...

Is it the quaint entranceway? The maps overlooking the queue? The epic mural (including a favorite Hidden Mickey) in the loading area?

Could it be the excitement of climbing that first hill, bound for "adventure and peril", seeing the eye, and hearing "You are not the first to pass this way..."?

Perhaps it's the ancient Vikings...or the trolls...or the polar bears? How about that open precipice- that you approach backwards- visible through the outdoor rock face, just before Epcot's only flume drop?

Maybe it's the slightly bizarre notion of dropping down the falls and being deposited next to an oil rig. Yup- a theme park attraction that features an oil rig. Where else can you find yourself in a replica Viking ship, floating in a stormy sea, in the midst of an oil field? I'm guessing this is the only place.

We've heard rumblings about a possible refurb coming to Norway, which could spell the end for the oil rig scene. Rumor has it that the oil rigs no longer send the desired message. I really hope they stay. They add to the quirky charm for me.

After the oil rig, we disembark into a quiet Norwegian fishing village, which leads into... the movie.

(Side note: Does anyone remember when they used to hold you captive in the fishing village, until the movie cycled around to its next start? So glad they stopped that practice...)

Many people glide right through the movie room, not stopping to view this cinematic offering.

I actually like the Norway movie. There, I've said it.

Sure, the movie is a bit old and outdated. But...all of the Epcot movies eventually feel old and outdated- it's the nature of this type of attraction. It's short, and it grabs my attention right from the start. I like the child peacefully looking at Viking relics, interspersed with loud, quick cutaways to intense Viking days of yore. It catches you off guard (the first time, anyway), and I think it's exciting. Did I mention it was short?

Of course, it's not just one or two of these things that makes Maelstrom so special- it's a classic case of the sum being greater than its parts.

Disney Parks Blog featured a post today, highlighting Maelstrom's 25 Years of Sending Guests "Back, Over the Falls". It includes some fun facts about the attraction. Did you know the yellow-eyed river troll is called a "Nokken"? I didn't- but I'm going to try to remember that for my next visit.

Happy Birthday, Maelstrom.

Have you ridden Maelstrom? How do you feel about it? How about that movie? Let us know in the comments...


  1. Maelstrom is one of my favorite rides of all time! In fact, in May when I was there, I threw away half of a Mexican margarita because I really really wanted to ride, and I couldn't take it, so that's definitely love for you. I love riding with people who've never ridden it before because they panic during the backward drop fake out. I have to admit, though, the stormy part with the oil rig kind of gives me the creeps. (But not as much as those new terrifying mermaids that swim by your boat in POTC.) My friends and I have also chosen vikings from the Stave Chapel to be our boyfriends. Mine is Rognvald. We believe we have identified modern versions of them in the crazy mural where you dock, so last time I went, I texted a photo of my friend of her mural man. My husband thought I was insane. (But he was probably just jealous.)

    1. That's hilarious! It's always nice to hear from a fellow Maelstrom lover- thanks for reading and commenting!

  2. I LOVE the Norway movie. I watch it on YouTube from time to time to get my fix. THE SPIRIT OF NORWAY IS ADVENTURE

    1. Great idea- I'm going to YouTube it tonight!! :)

  3. Replies
    1. Thank you very much, Bob- and thanks for sharing it with your readers! You are always so supportive...

  4. Awesome post. Thanks for reminding me how much I love Norway, and Maelstrom. Whenever I visit, and see the movie, I always feel a deep connection with the Vikings who I KNOW must be in my family tree somewhere...