The Maelstrom at Epcot: Extinct Disney Parks Tribute

Extinct Disney Tribute

Nokken Maelstrom Main Drop Ride Epcot Disney World

The Maelstrom was a classic Epcot boat ride that used to be found in the Norway Pavilion in the World Showcase. It told a tale full of Norwegian mythology from the ancient times of Vikings and trolls, to a modern village.

Opening in 1988, it would be the last entirely new ride built in Epcot's World Showcase for over three decades.

The ride, initially intended to be a more intense experience taking you on a journey through classic Norwegian folklore, was transformed into a more tame journey through Norwegian history and mythology by sponsors wishing to showoff the present successes of the country.

Maelstrom Epcot Mural Vikings Disney World

You entered a relatively unthemed queue room, with the only notable feature being a massive mural just above the boat station.

Maelstrom Epcot Queue Line Mural Disney World

The mural was a giant showcase of various elements that would be seen in the ride you were about to experience.

Modern Norway Maelstrom Ride Mural Epcot Disney World

It starts on the left with the historical Norway, and continues along until eventually you see the modern oil rigs and industrial accomplishments of modern Norway of the 1980s.

Maelstrom Ride Vehicle Boat Enters The Station Epcot Disney World

After getting to enjoy the many hidden details of the mural as you wait, you board one of the Viking boats inspired ride vehicles and turn left into the attraction.

At this point, you climb the attractions lift hill, a dark room with a green light shining on you from a figure of Odin as a voice tells you that you are not the first to pass this way, nor shall you be the last before speaking of Norway's beauty and adventurous reputation.

Vikings Maelstrom Ride Epcot Walt Disney World

At the top of the lift hill, you enter the first intensely themed areas so far in the ride.

Viking Animatronic Maelstrom Epcot Disney World

You pass through an idealized version of a Viking civilization, with several animatronic figures.

Viking Scene Maelstrom Epcot Disney World

This wasn't entirely historically accurate but paid tribute to the legends of Norwegian Vikings through the ages.

Maelstrom Three Headed Troll Animatronic Epcot Disney World

After this, you enter a dark, densely wooded area, where you are greeted by a three-headed troll, and the mythical figure Nokken. They are angry at you for intruding and send you backwards over the falls

Maelstrom Trolls Scene Fiber Optics Epcot Disney World

As this happens, the forest would light up with blue fiber optics.

Polar Bear Scene Maelstrom Epcot Disney World

After you left the forest, you pass backwards through an ice-filled landscape, populated by multiple polar bears.

Polar Bear In Maelstrom Ride Norway Epcot Disney World

These found a way to showcase the natural beauty of Norway in a way natural to the storyline of the ride.

Maelstrom Scene Before Drop Norway Epcot

Once you leave the ice-filled landscape, you enter a lush forest at daytime, lit up not only by the ride but by daylight.

Maelstrom Entrance Waterfall Epcot Disney World

Here the ride comes right alongside a purposely built hole in the building, exposing the ride and the back of the boats to the outside, which can be seen above a waterfall located near the attraction's entrance.

When you come to a stop by the hole, you again encounter Nokken, who once again sends you down a waterfall, this time much larger a waterfall you go down forwards.

Oil Rig Scene Maelstrom Attraction Norway Epcot Disney World

After splashing down at the bottom, you quickly pass an oil rig in a storm, and likely get wet along the way.

Modern Norway Scene Maelstrom Epcot Disney World

At this point you enter the final scene of the ride, a modern Norwegian village, filled with a sailboat, and buildings that are distinctly built in a style befitting the country.

Modern Norwegian Village Maelstrom Ride Epcot Disney World

Here you exit your boat into the modern Norwegian village, where your exploration of Norwegian culture and history continues.

Spirit of Norway Theater Epcot Norway Pavilion Disney World

As you leave, you are greeted by a theatre showing a film about Norway, the Spirit of Norway, showcasing reasons to visit Norway.

The attraction was a popular ride, and one of the longest-lasting classic Epcot Center attractions, but it would eventually close in 2014 to make way for Frozen Ever After. Even today though, many elements of the Maelstrom remain in the park.

The waterfall outside the ride still remains, although it no longer gives a view inside the ride.

Puffins from the Maelstrom can also still be found inside Frozen Ever After.

But by far the biggest remnant of the original attraction is the Maelstrom Viking boats, which remain a part of the attraction to this day as the ride vehicles of Frozen Ever After, continuing to take guests at Walt Disney World to discover the spirit of Norway, just in a different way.