The Magic, the Memories, the Maelstrom

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Maelstrom, a high-seas Norwegian adventure, left this world at aged 26.  Maelstrom resided in the Norway pavilion at Epcot’s World Showcase.  Last rides occurred on October 5th, 2014, less than three weeks after the announcement that Maelstrom would not be with us much longer.  The cause of death, it seems, was myocardial geladum (beware the Frozen heart).   “You are not the first to pass this way, but you may have been the last”

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Born on July 5th, 1988, in Epcot Center as SeaVenture, Maelstrom was a 4 minute, 27 second boat voyage through the mythological history of Norway.  In its 26 years with us, Maelstrom was beloved by millions around the world, and brought joy to both the young and the young at heart.  Maelstrom was married for over two decades to a film highlighting Norway’s adventurous attractions, including skiing and hiking, as well as intrinsic icons like Kjerag mountain and oil rigs, which also passed on October 5th.

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(picture from TouringPlans.com)

It will be outlived by Dὃkkálfar and Ljósálfar, who continue to live in the hearts of the Norwegian people, and also by a gift shop, which will most likely have new additions, but will hopefully continue to sell the Essence of Norway (Geir).  Maelstrom was predeceased by its close friend and neighbor, El Rio del Tiempo, (1982-2007), the Wonders of Life pavilion (1989-2007), and Journey into Imagination (1982-1998) among other friends.

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Services will be normal Epcot park hours, 11am-9pm unless otherwise noted.  Memorial donations can be made out to the Norse Federation.  As always, “the spirit of Norway will always be adventure.”

Please leave memories in the comments section below.

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RIP Maelstrom

If you’re a part of the Disney online community, you probably heard rumors a few months ago that Maelstrom, the boat ride in Epcot’s Norway pavilion, might be getting a Frozen overhaul.  Two days ago, the Disney Company officially announced that Maelstrom will be closing, and that a Frozen attraction will open in early 2016.

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(picture found here)

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(interior of Maelstrom from Yesterland)

While there are still a lot of unanswered questions, it appears that Maelstrom’s last day will be October 5th, 2014 (only twenty-three days after their announcement).  On October 6th, the Norway pavilion itself will remain open, but the ride portion of the area will be closed.  Guests with Fastpass+ reservations to Maelstrom after that date will be able to choose something else.

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(picture found on the Disney Parks Blog)

From Disney fans I’ve talked to online, it sounds like people are excited about a Frozen attraction, but don’t think that the Norway pavilion in Epcot’s World Showcase is the right place for it.  There are many questions floating around – will the new ride use the same path? What will happen to the Norway giftshop? (if someone wants to buy me a $600 Norwegian sweater, I’m okay with that)  How will a Frozen attraction effect the rest of the Norway pavilion?

How do you feel about the closing of Maelstrom and the opening of a Frozen attraction?  Does it take away from World Showcase’s educational and cultural history?  Are you excited that the Disney Company is trying to bring new, younger people into Epcot by mixing modern movies into the park?   Please leave comments below!

Favorite picture spots at Walt Disney World

It seems I have a problem: I am a picture taker.  I can take a hundred pictures a day when I’m on vacation (I once took 9,700 on a 3 and a half month trip!)…  I’ve been to Disney a number of times, and whenever I go there are certain places that I love to take pictures of (and certain places that I love to take pictures from, as well).  My wife pointed this out to me as we were looking through old trip photos: “Haven’t I seen that picture before?  Maybe one or two times before?”.

Even though I already have a picture of Spaceship Earth viewed through the Japanese Torii, I still take one every time I’m there.

450This one is from January 2008, my first trip with my wife!

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T
hrough the Torii at night, January 2010

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A view from further back in Japan , January 2013

 It was hard to choose just one set of pictures.  I have a LOT of Mount Everest in Animal Kingdom, the castle from Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse, Splash Mountain from Frontierland, the Tower of Terror from Sunset Boulevard, the list goes on and on.

Are there places you always photograph, or places you love to take photographs from?  Share them in the comments below!

 

A night in Epcot

I obviously love the entire set of Disney parks, and picking a favorite would be like picking a favorite child… but I wanted to share one of the things I like best about spending an evening at one specific park: Epcot.

The park is open each evening until the 9:00 pm Illuminations, the nightly show that takes place in the World Showcase Lagoon.Image

BUT, my favorite thing to do at Epcot is AFTER Illuminations has ended.  As nearly everyone else around the park heads toward the exits, I love to stay in the park and take the long way around.  You get to experience the park in a way few people have: empty.

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Morocco is one of the most undiscovered countries in Epcot.  There are pathways that lead you all the way to the back, with hidden shops, great architecture, and a wonderful restaurant.Image

China (yes, I know, this is out of order) has some great reflections at night, which is fitting after viewing Illuminations: Reflections of Earth.

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The restaurants in France will stay open late if guests are still inside enjoying meals, bottles of wine and good company.

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I love the view of Spaceship Earth when viewed from Japan, but some think taking a picture through the Japanese torii is cliche.  Taking a picture that is different from everyone else’s is hopefully not so.

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The next time you head to Epcot, stay a while.  Enjoy yourself.  And when everyone else is leaving, relax, pull up a seat, and visit the countries in a way few people have.

Why Walt Disney World?

Dear Wife,

From my first trip, I’ve been fascinated with the World.  I remember my first trip as a child, thinking that there was something magical about what was going on.  As I went more times, my fascinations increased.  I knew that there were people behind the masks, and cast members working hard to create the magic I experienced, and I wondered what it was like for them to work in the Disney environment.  As I grew older, I became more and more interested in the history of Walt Disney World, and of course Walt Disney himself.  

What better way to help satisfy my curiosities about the people, the company, and the man who started such an important part of my life than to spend one year at the parks themselves.  I have tried several times to create goals and set a list of possible accomplishments to aim for during my 365 day at Disney, but the more I think about it, the more I’d like to let the people and the parks themselves guide my year of discovery.  I don’t want to put blinders on and focus on one specific thing, rather, I’d like to be able to dive in head first, and when I see new possibilities, follow them, whichever direction they lead.

So why Walt Disney World?  Disney has a place in my heart.  Seeing the castle on my first trip to Florida, spending time with family and friends, watching your face as you and I experienced Wishes together for the first time, hugging you as we stood in the finishers area for our first ever marathon, imagining the joy on my children’s faces when they make their first excursion to the park.  

What will a year at Walt Disney World bring?  That is for us to discover, together.

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