World Showcase Norway
IF TRAVELING CLOCKWISE AROUND LAGOON
A showcase of
Norway and its cultures featuring rides in the form of Maelstrom.
At A Glance
Excellent well themed pavilion, and home to the excellent Maelstrom
Continuing in a clockwise direction around the World Showcase Lagoon,
Norway is the second country, in between Mexico and China, and features
the best of the World Showcase rides in the form of Maelstrom.
Norwegian articles can be bought at the Puffin's Roost, including toys,
glasswork, clothing, and small (yet friendly) trolls.
Two of the great early 20th century expeditions to the North Pole, that
of Captain Robert F Scott, and Roald Amundsen are featured in To The
Ends of the Earth.
The Norway pavilion also offers various Norwegian foods in Restaurant
Akershus with both lunch and dinner buffets serving hot and cold seafood,
cheeses and meats, whilst the Kringla Bakeri serves open sandwiches,
pastries and various drinks.
Architecturally, Norway is well themed, with an authentic reproduction
of a Stave Church (there are only something like 30 real examples of
Stave Churches remaining in Norway). The scale of the church, along
with the other building in Norway is emphasized through a very heavily
forced perspective, though the effect works well, even if you are aware
of the way it has been achieved.
Norway also features a statue of, and dedicated to, Greta Waitz - the
Norwegian Olympic Marathon champion, along with a dedicated childrens
play area, contained within a Viking Longship.
The walk toward the Norway pavilion is lined on the left with camphor
trees, used around the World Showcase to provide continuity and to soften
the transition between the different landscapes. The trees, which also
provide shaded areas for guests, are cousins of the cinnamon
tree and are the source of camphor oil.
Approaching the Norway pavilion, one of the first
things the eye sees is the sod roof. This technique was
often used in traditional houses in mountainous regions of Norway as
added insulation from the cold. At Epcot, zoysia grass is used because
it stays green year-round.
Landscaping this pavilion was challenging because
native Norwegian plants cannot survive the Florida heat. In their place,
northern-looking plants such as birch, maples and sycamores are used
to produce the same effect.
"Help yourself to the koldtbord" (cold table) is the catch
phrase in Restaurant Akershus where guests are encouraged to make multiple
trips to the table. The seafood and cold meat dishes provide an appetizing
beginning for this authentic Norwegian dining experience. Gravlaks,
a cured salmon served with mustard sauce; chilled shrimp; Norwegian-style
herring and an assortment of salads and cheese make this first course
a meal in itself.
Next come the smarvarmt, or hot dishes. A sampling of these delights
would include lamb and cabbage, smoked pork with honey mustard sauce,
venison strips in cream sauce and macaroni and cheese with ham. Mashed
rutabagas and boiled red potatoes round out the hot selection. All beverages
and desserts are served a la carte.
Scandinavian sweets and sandwiches are available across the pavilion
courtyard at the Kringla Bakery and Cafe. Popular palate pleasers include
strawberry cake; a cloudberry-filled cream horn; Skol Bread, a cream
and coconut treat; and the trademark offering, the kringla, a sweet
pretzel. Norwegian beer also is available at the cafe.
Okay, so my title is written in Swedish instead of in Norwegian. That's
because I don't know any Norwegian phrases. And, yes, you got me, the
title doesn't have anything at all to do with Norway and translates
into English as "You resemble a goat." I could have chosen
"You stink of armpits" but that would have been really offensive.
Again, that doesn't have anything whatsoever to do with Norway. Don't
worry because that's the extent of my knowledge of the Swedish language.
However, Sweden is geographically located right next to Norway except
when you are visiting Epcot.
The Norwegian Pavilion
I've always wanted to go to Norway and take one of the freighter cruises
from Bergen to see the fjords. I haven't made it there yet but I'm going
to. Until then, this attraction at Epcot has kept me from throwing fits
and threatening to leave town on the very next plane to Oslo for the
past five years.
The architecture in Norway is beautiful. You are situated in a cobblestoned
town square with aspects of design found in Oslo, Bergen and Alesund.
There are four main attractions in this pavilion plus two restaurants
and a gift shop.
When most people think about the Norway pavilion at Epcot, the Maelstrom
is the first thing to come to mind. It's a five minute flume type ride
where the boats are shaped like Viking ships, complete with dragon head
on the front. It doesn't matter where you sit in the boat but my favorite
seat is any but the first because it can be hard to see around the raised
and curved bow.
As you approach the ride from the outside, you will see a waterfall
to your left and may see some boats going down a slope. That's going
to be you very soon!
The line for this ride can be quite long but if you time your visit
correctly, you will probably be able to waltz right aboard a boat. If
you do get caught in line, there are some interesting murals to examine
as you snake your way forward.
Once you get loaded onto your boat, you'll travel up a moderate lift
where the atmosphere is dark and cool. A voice tells you that "You
are not the first to pass this way" and you'll be treated to views
of polar bears and ancient Viking civilization. After that, you find
yourself in a lush forest, surrounded by evil trolls. You'll find yourself
facing the trolls as your boat is turned around and you are sent hurtling
backwards down a short incline. It's not a long drop and it's rare when
anyone even gets wet. Your boat then moves forward again and you're
in the middle of a North Sea storm, surrounded by offshore oil rigs.
To me, this is the most realistic part of the ride, despite never having
any experience with storms, oil rigs or the North Sea. Finally, the
water calms and you enter a fishing village where you exit your boat
and wait to experience "The Spirit of Norway".
The Spirit of Norway
Most people would classify this as part of the Maelstrom ride because
you have to exit through the theater for this film after riding the
Maelstrom. Since viewing the film is optional, I'm going to classify
it as its own attraction.
After exiting your Maelstrom boat, you'll probably have the opportunity
to spend some time waiting in the fishing village area. It's filled
with false fronts so there isn't really anything to do other than wait.
Eventually, a door opens and you are ushered into a large movie theater,
filled with amazingly intricate carved wooden seats. They are very comfortable!
If you don't wish to see the film, just continue walking through the
theater. Otherwise, settle down for an enjoyable film showing off the
beauty that is Norway. If you don't want to visit Norway after seeing
this movie, I think there is something wrong with you.
This is located right in front of the Norway pavilion and is modeled
after a 13th century Gol church. This is a terrific place to spend some
time on a hot day, especially since you'll probably be the only people
inside. Take the time to examine the intricate wood carvings and the
historical exhibit. Unfortunately, in the real Norway, only 28 of these
wonderful churches still exist today.
On the left side of the pavilion, behind the Bakeri, there is a Viking
Ship to explore. Each time I've visited here, the ship has been teeming
with small children. I haven't explored it fully other than to pass
by and see that it's there. The kids seem to be enjoying themselves.
I was a little apprehensive about trying Akershus because while I adore
all types of fish (particularly cold, pickled, marinated or smoked),
my husband isn't quite as keen on it. We both really enjoyed this lunch!
The menu here is a Norwegian buffet. Additional hot foods are available
on the dinner buffet. Desserts and drinks are not included.
I liked the tomato salad, the incredible beet salad, hard boiled eggs
stuffed with crab, various salmon and herrings, and cucumber salad while
my husband loved the meatballs and pasta as well as the great breads.
Service was very pleasant. Our server (Linda) went out of her way to
describe the various menu items to us. One in particular was a brown
cheese that had a tangy taste to it. She instructed us that the proper
way to eat this cheese is to take a piece of lefse, butter it and place
a tiny bit of cheese on top. The cheese is not meant to be eaten by
The restaurant is a bit dark but we were seated next to a window so
we didn't notice. It felt like the kind of place you'd want to be if
you were caught in a snowstorm - a good, solid and strong building that
would keep out the cold. The windows are made of an older glass which
distorted the light a bit.
The price for two adults for lunch before tip was approximately $32.
Kringla Bakeri og Kafe
This is a wonderful place to stop for a light snack or a pastry. The
best thing on the menu is the Norwegian Rice Cream which is a type of
rice pudding with strawberry sauce.
The Puffin's Roost
This is the place to go for some interesting but expensive Norwegian
items. If you ride the Maelstrom, you'll exit the theater through this
shop. There are plenty of really ugly trolls to purchase as well as
some very expensive hand knit wool sweaters. They carry a nice Norwegian
perfume (Leila) and some amazing chocolate caramel candy (which I believe
is named "Smokk ok Gor" or something like that - they are
individually wrapped but sold in a yellow cellophane pouch). Don't miss
the children's books, particularly "Vile Vikings" which is
a scratch and sniff story about life as a Viking. You'll get to smell
smoke, rotten fish and other assorted nasty things as you read this
book. Aside from the smells, it's actually not a bad book.
Norway is the newest country pavilion in World Showcase (opened in the
mid-late 1980s). The big draw here is the Maelstrom boat ride.
The Geek's Suggestions
If you want to ride the Maelstrom go early or late in the day. The line
can get really long for this ride since it is one of the few rides in
World Showcase.This article appeared in the August 28, 2001 issue of
The kingdom of Norway encompasses the western and northern section of
the Scandinavian peninsula, as well as the Arctic island archipelago
Svalbard, plus Archipelago Jan Mayen. Norway is shares a border with
neighboring Sweden, Finland and Russia, but it has three frosty coasts
-- the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean to the west, the Barents Sea
to the north, the North Sea to the south.
While we may never get to experience the cool climate of the real Norway,
we can visit the country and get a glimpse of its culture Disney-style
in the Norway Pavilion, located in Epcot's World Showcase between Mexico
Added to World Showcase in 1988, the pavilion houses the Maelstrom boat
ride, Restaurant Akershus, a Stave Church, the Kringla Bakery (and deli)
and plenty of wonderful shopping. The picturesque town square of the
Norway pavilion re-creates the Norwegian towns and cities of Bergen,
Oslo, Alesund and Setesdahl.
The Maelstrom (a Fastpass attraction), encourages you to leave present-day
Norway and journey back in time aboard dragon-headed, 16-passenger boats.
As you enter the shadows of a mythical Norwegian forest populated by
trolls, one of the creatures casts a spell and suddenly you are traveling
backwards into the rapids of the Jutenheimen mountain country. From
here you encounter an ocean storm, then a calm fishing village where
your boat docks. A door opens into a theater, where there is a short
film that takes you on a tour of Norway and introduces you to its people.
The Stave Church found in Epcot's Norway is a replica of the Gol Stave
Church found in the Norwegian Folk Museum in Oslo. The Norwegians built
the first Stave Churches around the year 1050. When St. Olaf brought
Christianity to Norway, the Norwegians turned to the craft they knew
best, woodworking, to build their new churches. They blended Christian
symbols with Viking images to create these impressive buildings. Of
the 1,000 Norwegian Stave Churches built in the Middle Ages, only 28
survive today. Many folks see the Stave Church as they pass by the pavilion,
but not everyone realizes you can actually walk inside! The church houses
an exhibit on Norwegian culture and the history of the Stave Churches.
It's a really peaceful and beautiful attraction, totally separated from
the bustle just outside its door. It's also very cool inside, making
it a pleasant retreat from the often relentless Florida sun.
A Viking ship converted into a small play area sits to the left of the
Norway Pavilion, near the restrooms. It's a great place for kids to
explore and climb around to burn off some energy.
The minimum age to ride Maelstrom is 3 years. Ken DiPietro sent in this
great tip: "Small children can become scared on the Maelstrom,
especially when the boat is sent backwards toward the falls by the trolls.
At this point, we always turn our son around so he is facing us, not
the trolls, and is not riding backwards. Just being able to see where
we are going helps him enjoy the ride and not be scared."
Check out the statue of World Class Runner Greta Waitz on the grounds
of the Norway Pavilion.
During Epcot's International Flower and Garden Festival, Norway is home
to the woodlands with wildflowers and a larger than life troll topiary!
During Holidays Around the World, the elf known as Julenissen (Santa
Claus) makes appearances throughout the afternoon.
Be sure to check out the entertainment in Norway:
The Norway Trunk Show (by the World Showcase Players) is a 25-minute
comedy show with audience guest stars. Times are not usually found in
the Guide Map, check at the pavilion for times that day. Usually performed
Monday, Tuesday and Sundays be entertained by Spelmanns Gledje, an instrumental
group led by fiddler Jonita Aadland. The 20-minute sets by the group,
whose name translates as Fiddler's Joy, are enjoyed by all ages. Aadland,
who is of Norwegian descent and has performed at the Norway Pavilion
since its opening in 1988, is joined by accordion, stand-up bass and
guitar. She has performed and studied in Norway and is currently working
on a Norwegian fiddle CD.
(Thanks to Steve Soares, Webmaster of the UNOFFICIAL Walt Disney World
Entertainment site, for this info: http://pages.prodigy.net/stevesoares)
Photos of the Norway pavilion can be found at: http://wdwig.com/e_nor.htm
AllEarsNet - Deb's Unofficial Walt Disney World Information Guide -