Norway is the youngest pavilion at Epcot’s World Showcase, having opened in 1988 and dedicated by then Crown Prince Harald V. Made to look like a traditional Old World Norwegian village, this pavilion includes great dining options, a recreation of an ancient church, and more. However, the highlight of the Norwegian pavilion is the Maelstrom, a not-to-be-missed classic Epcot attraction.
The Maelstrom is an indoor boat ride with short drops. The lines are rarely long unless it’s peak season. Inside before embarking on your vessel there’s an amazing mural showing people and landscapes from all over Norway, along with an Old World style map pointing to where Norwegian explorers have ventured. Once inside your Viking boat you enter a Norway of both history and legend. Animatronic Vikings are seen in the wilderness participating in village life and preparing to spirit away on their handcrafted vessels. Next, the visitors enter the forbidden forests filled with fearsome trolls! You then encounter ferocious polar bears before ending your trip in a modern day Norwegian seaside village. Vikings and trolls and polar bears, OH MY!
One of the great things about the Norwegian pavilion is that it’s the only one to include both a ride and a show. Many of the pavilions at Epcot’s World Showcase include either a ride, such as Mexico’s Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros, or a film, such as France’s “Impressions de France.” At the end of the Maelstrom ride, there’s an additional short film highlighting the landscapes and peoples of Norway. It’s gorgeously filmed, showcasing expert cinematography. The film begins with a short montage that goes back and forth between a young boy starring wide eyed at a museum’s Viking ship, struggling Vikings sailing in a storm, and a helicopter landing onto an oil rig. Other great scenes of modern day Norway is shown, such as a quiet fishing town, a parade, a daring skier, ballet dancers, and ordinary Norwegian children happily going about their day.
You then enter a gift shop that has many great items, including Norwegian cookies and perfumes. Inside you can also get your picture taken with a statue of a troll, whom according to legend would turn to stone when encountering sunlight (it was bound to happen when they booked that Florida trip). And don’t forget to pick up your plastic Viking hats!