I wasn’t living in Scandinavia when I visited Epcot, so it’s as though life has a funny way of working things out, because the Norway Pavilion was actually my favorite part of the World Showcase part of the park. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy other pavilions, or that they weren’t interesting, but it was Norway that really held my attention both culturally, and recreationally.
I’m a history buff, and coming from the North East of England where Vikings did roam the land centuries ago, Viking history is one of my favorite topics. The Norwegian exhibit at Epcot is host to a number of Viking artifacts. There’s a replica of a Norwegian town square, as well as a castle and traditional style church. Since I was there, they’ve added something extra to keep the kids entertained whilst you sample the local cuisine – a Viking ship playground.
Despite my love of history, by far my favorite part of the Norway Pavilion came as a surprise (I’ve wrote before about my lack of enthusiasm for roller coaster rides)! The Maelstrom is a 16-person “long boat” that takes you through typical Norwegian type landscapes. It only lasts 10 minutes but they pack a lot of Norwegian facts and culture into that time. Using special effects such as audio-animatronics they show as well as tell of Norway’s highlights.
One of the things that make this experience more of a ride, than a moving culture lesson, is the mischievous trolls who lurk in the depths of the exhibit – they can curse your boat and send it backwards! This is the Disney ride that made me first realize that anything that you’re sitting in that moves up, it bound to come down again at a greater speed and usually when you least expect it!
Don’t be put off by the array of history on display, Norway’s a beautiful country and the Pavilion does a great job in showing not only its past, but also in its promotion of modern day Norway to potential tourists.