Epcot's Maelstrom Embraces the Spirit of Norway
Tucked in the back of the Norway Pavilion, back past the Stave Church and the Kringle Bakeri Og Kafe, past the Puffins Roost and the Akershus Royal Banquet Hall is one of the rides on our most under rated attractions list. Funny how most people move right on past one of my favorite Epcot rides of all, Maelstrom.
Maelstrom offers a FastPass but I've never needed one, the air conditioned queue moves quickly and can be a welcome break from the Florida heat. The loading area is home to one of my very favorite Hidden Mickeys in all of Walt Disney World. The giant painted mural visualizes many people and elements from Norway's history. Amongst the crew of the Viking ship you will find one unique warrior with Mouse Eats as his helm. However he's not the only Mickey hidden in the mural, have you found the second Mickey?
Beneath the mural guests, in groups of 16, board ride vehicles designed to look like viking longboats and set sail for a family friendly voyage through Norway. Not your typical calm Disney boat ride Maelstrom tosses you about the waters, through enchanted forests and swamps where you encounter mystical beings and wild animals then finish and plunging into the wind swept North Sea.
The adventure ride lets you off in a second queue are that represents a sleepy seaside village where you will wait a short time before being let in to watch the stunningly beautiful 5 minute movie that captures the spirit of Norway today.
Many travelers complain that Maelstrom suffers from multiple personality disorder. The attraction tries to tell both the story of Norway's mythical past celebrating it's cultural heritage and then trying to show off the modern, upscale Norway of today as more than just a bunch of Vikings. However for me, I was drawn into the attracting by that Viking Lore and left thinking that modern Norway may be a beautiful place to visit. Maelstrom is always on my "must ride" list any time I'm at Epcot.
What's your opinion of Maelstrom? Take it or leave it? Let me know in the comments below!