Frozen Ever After at Disneyís Epcot should bring warm smiles

June 27, 2016

Animatronics of Anna, Elsa and Olaf appear throughout in Frozen Ever After, a new attraction in Epcot at Walt Disney World.

ORLANDO, Fla.óWalt Disney World has hit the sweet spot with its new Epcot ride, Frozen Ever After. Itís a winner, naturally, with the little-princess demographic. But the ride also sports creative technical finesse that soccer moms and dads can appreciate.

The attraction ó built in the parkís Norway pavilion, where the Maelstrom ride operated until 2014 ó features animatronics of Anna and Elsa, the filmís royal sisters. Their faces are clean, crisp-looking and perfectly animated. Disney fans have seen this look on gem-mining workers at the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train ride in Magic Kingdom.

Olaf, the snowman with an unhealthy attachment to summer, is more traditionally constructed. He makes repeated appearances but not so much as to cause brain freeze in grown-ups.

Where Imagineers really shine in Frozen Ever After is the coordination of sight, sound and movement. The backward drop, a Maelstrom leftover, with Queen Elsa belting out "Let It Go" made me feel like I was a part of her beloved Arendelle.

Technical delays marred opening day recently. After about two hours of steady-ish operation, a series of stoppages made long lines even longer. At one point, the queue extended out of the Norway pavilion, ran past the China pavilion and over the bridge to the Outpost area before looping back into China. Posted wait times reached 300 minutes.

On one hand, wow, thatís too much time in the Florida heat. On the other hand, I would hate to float through Ever After and not see that Elsa effect.

Inside the queue, itís a Summer Snow Day, according to the rideís back story. The buildingís interior is quaint but stony. Itís a bit dark in there. Those in the standby line meander through a small cabin thatís a sauna. Donít worry, standby people, you get to stay in the sauna. But there is the only real piece of entertainment in the queue: a series of video gags by Oaken through a steamed-up window.

The lead-up to boarding the boats features instrumental versions of the filmís soundtrack. That elicits impromptu sing-alongs from visitors, including dads who may have experienced the DVD repeatedly. Little princesses may have rolled their eyes.

Gone from the Maelstrom days is the hole in the wall where outsiders could see the boats in motion and the end-of-ride theater, which showed a film about Norway.

The ride now exits through a gift shop, and itís next to a new meet-and-greet building where visitors can pose with our "Frozen" heroines. Frozen Ever After is the final major addition to Disney World parks this summer. Other newbies include a stage show at Magic Kingdom, an end-of-night "Star Wars" extravaganza at Hollywood Studios and a slew of after-dark activities at Animal Kingdom.

 

 





 


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