Frozen Ever After, in the Norway Pavilion of EPCOT, is one of the marquee rides in all of Walt Disney World. Now before we jump into the review, let’s revisit the film that inspired the ride.
The story of Frozen is a modern day twist on the Hans Christen Anderson story, “The Snow Queen.” The film follows Princess Anna and her sister Queen Elsa. After Queen Elsa accidentally unleashes her powers in front of the people of Arendelle, she flees the Kingdom for the mountains causing an eternal winter in her wake.
Anna, with the help of ice delivery man Kristoff and his best reindeer friend Sven, embark on a journey to convince Elsa to stop the winter that has been unleashed on Arendelle.
Let’s not forget the warm hug-loving snowman Olaf they find along the way. This story of love, family, and magic; (I almost forgot about the rock trolls) taking the world by an icy storm.
At the time of its release, it was the highest grossing Disney animated film of all time, beating out the Lion King! Finally three years after Frozen premiered in theaters, replacing the Maelstrom inside the Norway Pavilion, the film finally made its way to the Disney Parks with Frozen Ever After. Now that we are up to speed let’s dive right into the ride.
The Frozen Ever After Ride Theming and Queue
One thing I want to include in this review is theming, and I want to start at the very beginning of the attraction, which is the queue. Now, almost all Disney Parks rides have two queues; one for FastPass+ and one for Stand By.
If you do not know what a FastPass+ is, it is a timeslot for you to ride the attraction, almost like making a reservation. Although Frozen was released back in 2013, the “Frozen Frenzy” is still alive and well. Because this is a slow moving attraction that can be enjoyed by the entire family, this ride still sells out of FastPass regularly and early. So I do recommend you make your FastPass+ reservation as early as you can. In the event you miss out on your FastPass+ reservation, there is always the Stand-By option.
Even after being open for two years the average wait time for Frozen Ever After can exceed 90 minutes. With the sequel, Frozen 2 making its way to theaters this Christmas; you can expect a resurgence of popularity to its attraction. A downfall with this is, guests sometimes miss some very cool theming due to the fact some details are only in the stand by queue and vice versa.
As you enter the queue, you walk into the small waterside kingdom of Arendelle. The ride’s story takes place after the events of Frozen. Walking through the village you see a “Summer Snow Day” declaration. A “Summer Snow Day,” is a day in the winter when the kingdom celebrates its’ favorite season, summer (spoiler alert: that’s Olaf’s favorite season too). Which also is a day of celebration of Anna’s heroic effort to save the kingdom and her sister Elsa.
Also, some great theming elements are photos of Kristoff and Sven, hanging next to them is Sven’s medal (a medal they received from Elsa, naming them ‘Arendelle’s official Ice Master and Deliverer’). A wanted photo of The Duke of Weaselton, don’t be confused it is pronounced ‘Weasel-town’ not ‘Wes-ul-ton’.
This would not be an accurate Frozen Ever After review without Oaken and his sauna! Every few minutes, from the comfort of inside his sauna, Oaken greets you before boarding your ‘Tour of Arendelle.’ Informing you of what the kingdom is celebrating, and if you stay long enough you can catch Oaken draw a snowflake while performing his own rendition of ‘Let it go.’
What Kids Can Expect on the Ride
So we’re about to board the ride, now you might be wondering what you and your kids can expect as you set sail on one of the tours of the Kingdom of Arendelle? The ride is very similar to Pirates of the Caribbean. You and your family board a long Nordic boat (a nice nod to Maelstrom) and do not require any seatbelts (there is no height requirement for this attraction).
A staple among Disney Parks attractions are the “dark rides,” an attraction that is indoors and in the dark, such as Peter Pan’s Flight, Snow White’s Scary Adventure, and Alice in Wonderland to name a few. Frozen Ever After falls into this category, as a dark slow-moving attraction.
Something to keep in mind for children afraid of the dark, like Pirates of the Caribbean, this ride is completely indoors and in the dark. However, unlike Pirates, there are no long moments of darkness during the ride.
On your journey, you’ll come face to face with favorite characters from the film (including Kristoff’s family of rock trolls) with some seriously impressive animatronics. The characters movements are so smooth and seamless, it feels as if the characters are actually there living and breathing in front of you.
While on your tour of the Kingdom of Arendelle you see some familiar sights from the film, such as the Frosted Willow, where we first meet Olaf in the film. We also see Olaf who appears to be ice skating, which you see in the film’s finale. As the ride begins to ascend, guests head up the North Mountain towards the crown jewel of the ride, Elsa’s Ice Palace.
Guests are face to face with the Queen, as she sings her show-stopping song (you know what it is, but just in case you forgot it’s “Let it go”). When she reaches the chorus, she sends the boat backward.
As guests see ice crystals appear throughout the palace, the boat slides backward at a slight decline. Traveling at a slightly faster speed than the rest of the attraction. Upon exiting Elsa’s castle there is a sudden blast of fog as you continue to travel backward, guests encounter the ice palace guard Marshmallow, and the ‘little buddies’ from ‘Frozen Fever’.
At the ride’s finale, Marshmallow blows a blast of fog towards the boat sending you on a very small drop leading you back to the kingdom. The drop is definitely suitable for children, and at this point (this is a water ride after all) you may get wet. As your vessel approaches the front of the ride, you are rejoined with Elsa, Anna, and Olaf as they send you off with a rendition of ‘In Summer.’ The theming continues in this scene as Anna and Elsa are now wearing their outfits from ‘Frozen Fever.’
Any Beefs With the Ride?
If I had to critique anything for the ride, Frozen Ever After is notorious for breaking down (at least in the past when I had experienced—this will no doubt improve over time as the ride ages). Which, to be fair, it is one of the most popular rides in EPCOT with wait times easily exceeding 90 minutes on any given day. With such advanced technology constantly running, it is bound to have some glitches from time to time.
Thankfully, the ride does not stay closed for long when it does break down. Guests who are in line or onboard the attraction during a breakdown may receive a FastPass for any attraction at the same FastPass tier as Frozen Ever After, in Epcot. With that being said, make sure to always check your ‘My Disney Experience,’ app for any possible ride closures throughout your visit, not just for Frozen Ever After but for your entire visit to Walt Disney World.
Overall, you do not need to be a fan of Frozen to appreciate Frozen Ever After. The Elsa animatronic in the Ice Palace alone is absolutely incredible. I would like to applaud the Imagineers for that scene because the one pause where the ride actually stops for a moment is when guests are right in front of Elsa.
The scene is very grand in both the attraction and the film, yet on the ride it feels as if Elsa is singing directly to you, which makes such a grand scene feel almost intimate. So make sure when visiting EPCOT with your family and little ones, pay Anna, Elsa and the gang a visit, this ride is a must see!
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