Frozen Ever After – First Look

Frozen Ever After – First Look

Know Before You Go Essential Facts

  • The ride is located in Epcot, in the Norway pavilion
  • There is no height requirement
  • Fastpass + is offered, and highly recommended
  • The fright factor is 2 out of 5
  • Guests must transfer from a wheelchair/ECV
  • Rider Switch is offered
  • The ride is just over 5 minutes long
  • The ride opened on June 21, 2016.

Welcome to the fictional kingdom of Arendelle, where you have arrived just in time for “Summer Snow Day.”  Elsa has used her magically frosty fingers to blanket the kingdom in snow, during the middle of summer.  You are invited to float through this wintery wonderland as you celebrate the day Princess Anna saved her sister Queen Elsa with an unselfish act of true love.  “All shall be welcome to a Royal Reception inside the Ice Palace.”

The journey begins by walking through Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post.  There are all kinds of fun nods to this part of the Frozen story.  Keep an eye out for “Oaken’s Tokens and Sauna.”  You may see the big guy himself enjoying a little steam on the other side of the glass.  After walking through the indoor village, you will arrive at the docks of Arendelle.  Here, you climb aboard the ancient Norwegian vessel and set sail for a Sing-Along adventure.

Photo - Disney Parks

Photo – Disney Parks

Along the way, you will encounter Olaf, Sven, Anna, Kristof, Elsa, and more!  The ride presents all the Frozen characters in a level of detail never before seen on a Disney dark ride.  If you have been for a ride aboard the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, you will be familiar with the rear-projection technology that brings Bashful, Doc, Grumpy, and the rest to life.  That same technology has made its way to Epcot, but gets refined even further in the stunning animatronic figures created for Frozen Ever After.  You will also notice these characters move more fluidly than any AA figure before.  The lifelike motion and facial expressions make the cast on the ride just as adorable and relatable as in the film itself.

Another thing unique to Frozen Ever After is the story it tells.  Up to this point, Disney dark rides traditionally provide a retelling of the story from the film.  We could use any number of examples, but Peter Pan’s Flight is popping into my head right now so let’s go with that.  That ride takes you from the Darling’s house, to flying over the streets of London, and finally onto the second star to the right.  Next, you find yourself in Neverland, where eventually the plot thickens as Peter has to fight off Hook and save Wendy, John, and Michael.  The sequence of events mirrors that of the film.

Photo - Disney Parks

Photo – Disney Parks

With Frozen Ever After, the ride’s plot takes place after the film.  You are still transported to some of the same locations, like Elsa’s ice palace, but you are not reliving the story told in the movie.  Instead, a new adventure awaits.  Of course, it wouldn’t be Frozen without some of the familiar songs.  Your ears will be delighted to hear the familiar melodies, but you will notice the lyrics have been updated to fit with the ride’s story.  Disney brought in many of the film’s team members to work on the ride in order to capture the same magic and ensure continuity.  The final result is a beautifully balanced work of art, blending Frozen’s greatest hits with new scenes and fresh storytelling.

As for the ride system, this is the same track used by Maelstrom, but with a new addition.  If you ever rode Maelstrom, you will remember the theater found just after the unloading dock.  The ride concluded with a short film about Norway before exiting into the gift shop.  Frozen Ever After has taken the space used for the theater and turned it into more ride track.  This adds a little bit of show space to the ride, allowing for a longer story.  Outside of that, the ride track has not really changed.  That means you can still expect a couple of mild drops and a backwards boat ride at one point.  I don’t want to spoil these moments in the new ride, but I mention them here so you can prepare any little riders in your group.  The two drops are more like those in Pirates of the Caribbean than they are the big drop in Splash Mountain.

Using the existing ride system allowed the Imagineers to fast track this ride as much as possible, but it did come with one already evident cost.  This ride has shown a tendency to break down.  If you followed the first few weeks of Frozen Ever After, you heard about the ride breaking down multiple times.  This is a combination of an older ride system and a lack of a soft opening for the ride.  With the ride overdue to open, and Disney anxious to get more visitors back to the park, they made the decision to open up without any real testing period.  Any new ride is going to have some operational issues, and that is why they typically run testing for weeks before the grand opening to the public.  Skipping that process means earlier access to everyone, but with the unfortunate side effect of troubleshooting with people waiting in line.  What really hurts Frozen Ever After is the high demand, lower capacity, and older ride system.  So be prepared for long waits, and in some cases a delay or two.  Hopefully, the bugs will be worked out before long and breakdowns won’t add to an already lengthy wait time when you visit.

Be sure and check out the podcast for our touring tips, including the best strategy for using Fastpass+ on Frozen Ever After!

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