Celebrating 25 Years of Peril and Adventure on Epcot’s Maelstrom

Tucked in the back of the Norway Pavilion is one of the best - and perhaps most underrated - attractions at Epcot. Of course, we're talking about Maelstrom, the high seas flume ride that takes guests through the history of the Land of the Midnight Sun.

Maelstrom Offers FastPassMaelstrom Offers FastPass

The ride - which just celebrated its 25th anniversary on July 5 - was the first ride at Epcot to feature a flume drop. At 28 feet, it's not the most terrifying drop but it's the only one you'll find at the park.

Guests board a 10th century style Viking warrior ship and are quickly dispatched up the flume's lift hill where they will find adventure and peril. "You are not the first to pass this way. Nor shall you be the last." The first visual on the ride is the face of the god Odin (who incidentally is the father of Thor, the god of thunder).

Upon reaching the top of the hill, guests find themselves surrounded by Vikings and other seafarers, showing the importance of the sea in Norway's history. The boats continue the journey into an enchanted swamp where two rather ornery trolls cast a spell on the boats as punishment for trespassing on their land.

Disappear! Disappear!Disappear! Disappear!

Reportedly, the original Maelstrom storyline was going to focus completely on trolls but the pavilion's Norwegian sponsors wanted a storyline that included other aspects of Norway. That's probably a good thing, since there's only so much one can say about trolls.

The spell cast by the trolls causes the boats to spin around and suddenly guests find themselves floating backward past penguins and a 10-foot-tall polar bear. And then, the boat stops at the edge of a waterfall - and if you're standing outside the ride you can see the backside of the boats - before plunging down the 28-foot flume into the stormy North Sea.

Back Back Over the FallsBack Back Over the Falls

After passing "dangerously" close to an oil rig, guests find themselves in the calm safety of the harbor and then disembark the ride in a quaint Norwegian village.

Guests can choose to stay in the adjacent theater and watch a quick 5-minute film, The Spirit of Norway, or they can walk through the theater and end up in The Puffin's Roost gift shop, where they'll find the Kidcot Fun Stop and a giant troll which is a perfect place to take a picture! Just be sure to try on a Viking hat for the picture.

The Giant Troll is a Great Photo SpotThe Giant Troll is a Great Photo Spot

Even though this is a FastPass attraction, wait times vary and there are times when a FastPass isn't necessary. The line tends to move quickly, as the ride is only about 10 minutes in length.

Thanks so much to Traci C. for this fantastic look back at Maelstrom with all of it's fun and adventure. Do you enjoy this under-rated attraction at Epcot? Leave a comment and let us know what your favorite part is!

M wrote on Wed, 07/17/2013 - 04:38:

I have always enjoyed this ride. My guess is two things have hurt its popularity somewhat. The first, which is common for many rides, is that it simply isn't new any more. The second is that there are now three other thrill rides at Epcot that draw most of the attention. It's too bad because this is a fun little ride. Granted, it's not a mega-headliner, but there's something to be said for the unheralded gems.

My favorite part? That's a tough one. If I have to choose a moment it's the backwards boating; who doesn't love penguins and polar bears? The truth of the matter, though, is my favorite part is the schoolbread I will consume a few moments after sailing.

Kristen K. wrote on Wed, 07/17/2013 - 12:56:

Kristen K.'s picture

This is one of my favorite attractions at Epcot and the home of my favorite Hidden Mickey!

JeffC wrote on Thu, 07/18/2013 - 23:12:

We forgot how much fun this ride was until we went on in last year. It saws a blast! Now it's back on the must-ride list.

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