And when I say “new” I mean relatively new. At least to me! Epcot got a couple of new things this summer that opened at the end of June, and on my visit last week I got to check them out! This is a very fun time to visit the new attractions in Epcot, especially if you’re a Frozen fan.
Soarin’ Around the World
Soarin’ has always been one of my favorite rides, and I was excited to check out the new version. The old Soarin’ flew over sights in California, but this one goes around the world. I absolutely loved it and thought it was beautiful and breathtaking. Going over the Taj Mahal, Eiffel Tower, Great Wall of China, and more was really cool. For people that loved the previous version, the music was basically the same just redone a bit, and there are still smells (they’re just different ones – though I do miss the oranges!). And don’t worry – Patrick is still there as your chief flight attendant 😉 One complaint I’d heard was that some of the transitions between scenes seemed abrupt – but aside from one transition it didn’t seem that way to me. We enjoyed it so much we rode it twice in a row. And perhaps thanks to the third theater that they built the wait times don’t seem as bad as they once were, even in the middle of summer.
Frozen Ever After
This new Frozen attraction replaced Maelstrom in Epcot’s Norway pavilion, and there was a bit of a backlash from some Disney fans. I personally don’t think that Frozen really belongs in the World Showcase and I wish they had put it somewhere else, but I still enjoy Frozen and I look forward to seeing new things. I think some Disney purists tend to forget that Walt loved new things – he was all about change and jumping on board with whatever new stuff the company was producing. I think he would have been all over Frozen in the parks 😉
Another problem with Frozen Ever After taking over Maelstrom (aside from the themeing) is that the ride never had that high of an hourly capacity. That wasn’t as big a deal when it was Maelstrom, but now that every child wants to ride Frozen you see some long wait times. It seemed to be pretty routinely at 105 minutes while we were there. So in terms of the plans I think Disney could have done it better, but I understand the fact that they wanted to get something Frozen related out as soon as they could.
That being said, I really enjoyed the ride. It’s basically a dark boat ride where you go through various scenes from the movie. It reminded me a bit of the Under the Sea ride in new Fantasyland, except that the animatronics in Frozen ever After were better. That was pretty impressive – Olaf was ice skating around, and the human characters look so realistic with the new way the faces are done (think 7 Dwarfs Mine Train). And of course the soundtrack is great. I felt like there was a lot to take in so I wish I could have gone on it twice – but not with those wait times! I think Frozen fans will be really happy with it, and hopefully other Disney fans can appreciate it in time.
Anna and Elsa meet and greet
With the Frozen attraction in Norway, they built a nice meet and greet area for Anna and Elsa there. And for some reason the wait times are a lot less than they were back in Magic Kingdom. Perhaps this is due to the new building designed with higher capacity in mind, less younger kids being in Epcot in general, or Norway being not a super convenient area unless you’re going to Frozen Ever After anyway. Regardless we waited about 20 minutes in the middle of the afternoon in August, and there were times during the day when the app said the wait was even lower.
The queue is really nicely themed. It looks like a little cottage with Frozen touches, rather than being over the top Frozen themed. We also found some nods to Maelstrom in the queue!
If you did the Anna and Elsa meet and greet in Magic Kingdom it’s the same set-up, where you meet Anna first and then go on to Elsa. They were both beautiful and looked exactly like their characters. Anna was the sweetest, very talkative, and Elsa was charming as well. For our girls’ trip it’s always fun to meet the princesses!
Have you been to Epcot lately? What new attractions in Epcot are you most looking forward to?