Today, we want to take you on a tour of the Norway Pavilion at Epcot. The 58,000-square-foot Norwegian-themed pavilion offers so much more than a Frozen ride.
Designed to look like a Norwegian village, the Norway Pavilion in Epcot features four styles of Norwegian architecture: Setestal-style (Puffin’s Roost), Bergen-style (Fjording Shop), Oslo-style (Akershus Royal Banquet Hall), and Ålesund-style (Frozen Ever After ride). The pavilion opened in World Showcase in May 1988, and the most recognizable building is the replica of Norway’s 12 century Gol Stave Church.
Frozen Ever After is a boat ride through Arendelle, the fictional kingdom from the movie Frozen. The ride’s queue features the Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post. Waiting in line, you’ll hear Oaken call, “Yoo-hoo!” while steam pours from his sauna’s windows.
Next, you board the boats formerly used in the Maelstrom ride and, following the same path, you are off to Arendelle to celebrate the Winter in Summer Festival, where Elsa uses her magical powers to make it snow during the hottest part of the year. The ride features Anna, Elsa, Olaf, Kristoff, Sven, and Marshmallow (the snowman Elsa created with the adorable Snowgies from the Frozen Fever short) singing songs from the movie. If you’ve visited Epcot before, expect the ride experience to be almost identical to the old boat ride Maelstrom that Frozen Ever After replaced.
Akershus Royal Banquet Hall is a replica of the 14th-century Akershus Castle in Oslo. The princess-hosted character meal is very popular with families with young children, as kids get to meet and interact with several princesses. Ariel, Belle, Snow White, Princess Aurora, and Cinderella visit on a rotating schedule, but you will have several royals stop at your table for photos and autographs.
The inside of Akershus looks like every child’s vision of a fairy-tale castle: high ceilings, stone archways, sumptuous purple carpets, regal banners flying. What’s mildly surprising, given the attention to authenticity elsewhere in Epcot, is that it doesn’t look more like the real Akershus Castle in Oslo, which has plain wooden floors; flat, simple ceilings; and painted brick arches. Disney’s version is almost as ungodly expensive as the real thing, though, and you’re apt to hear norsk spoken by your servers. Close enough for us.
At breakfast, enjoy a smorgasbord of smoked salmon, herring, mackerel, goat cheese, and potato casserole. Lunch and dinner features koldtbord (“cold board” of meats, cheeses, seafood, and salads), roasted chicken with potatoes, pan-seared salmon, house-made goat cheese ravioli, and kjottkake (beef-and-pork dumplings served with mashed potatoes, vegetables, and lingonberry sauce).
Make sure to take time to visit the Gol Stave Church. Inside, guests can explore a range of artifacts and items, many of which served as motivation for Disney’s animated hit Frozen. The exhibit also includes clothing, instruments, and genuine folk art.
The Puffin’s Roost is the main shop at the pavilion, with a series of interconnected rooms that offer Norway-themed apparel, home goods, and jewelry. Guests, adorned with Viking hats, love to take their pictures in front of the giant troll. In summer 2016, The Wandering Reindeer shop opened next to Royal Sommerhus where you can find a huge selection of merchandise from Disney’s Frozen movie.
Puffin’s Roost is also home to one of the Kidcot Fun Stops, where kids can participate in an arts and crafts project. Cast Members will share insights about their country and even write your child’s name in Norwegian.
The Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe is one of our favorite stops. Make sure to try some typical Norwegian pastries, such as Lefses (thin potato flat-bread rolled with cinnamon butter), or School Bread (Sweet Cardamom Bun filled with Vanilla Crème Custard and topped with Glazed and Toasted Coconut).
Kids will love the Viking Chocolate Mousse or any of the Frozen-theme cupcakes.
According to Disney imagineers, the inspiration for the Royal Sommerhus comes from a historical log cabin in Norway. The house is a character meet-and-greet set inside Anna and Elsa’s summer house. Nicely decorated with tokens of the Frozen gals’ childhood, it attempts to give the look and feel of Norwegian architecture and crafts, complete with a stone hearth, painted furniture, and tapestries.
One of the tapestries pays tribute to the three-headed troll from the now-extinct Maelstrom attraction.
Once guests have walked through several rooms of the house, it is time to meet Anna posing in front of a window with a view of Arendelle’s harbor.
Next, you are greeted by Elsa, who is standing in front of a window with a view of her ice castle.
If you liked our tour of the Norway Pavilion, find out more on all there is to do around World Showcase in The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids. If you enjoyed this post, sign up for our newsletter here.