Ready to journey to the Norway Pavilion at Epcot?
Well ThemeParkHipster, we already know that “traveling” and “2021” don’t really mix…right? But in our opinion, that’s just all the more reason to visit Epcot, Disney’s “theme park for adults” ASAP.
Now, don’t get us wrong, Epcot’s got plenty going on for kids too, but the whole idea of exploring 11 different cultures for less than the price of a plane ticket is pretty tempting for adults too, wouldn’t you say?
And today specifically, we’re going to zoom in on the last country to ever open in the World Showcase, nestled right in between Mexico and China…you guessed it! Today is all about: the Norway Pavilion at Epcot!
From how it began to where it is today, we’ve got some awesome information you won’t want to miss out on. So let’s get started!
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History of the Norway Pavilion at Epcot
Like we said before, believe it or not, the Norway Pavilion at Epcot was the last country added to Epcot’s World Showcase.
While the park itself opened in October of 1982, the Norway Pavilion at Epcot did not make its debut until 1988; which is pretty unique, considering that 9 of the current 11 standing pavilions have been with the park since opening day.
Another interesting fact about the Norway Pavilion’s history is how it was funded.
While Disney always wanted the pavilions to be funded by the countries they represented, very few followed through.
But, believe it or not, Norway was one of these few, believing that this pavilion could spark tourism in their small country.
And so, $30 million later, the Norway Pavilion was opened and the ceremony was broadcasted live to Norway as per the reigning prince’s request.
So, as you might imagine, with the enthusiastic support and input of their own prince, Epcot pavilion really is one of the more accurately represented countries the park has to offer.
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The Norway Pavilion at Epcot Today
While the original intentions of the Norway Pavilion at Epcot were honest and culturally accurate, with Norway donating $200,000 each and every year to maintain their pavilion, by 2002 this was no longer the case.
Norway decided to stop funding Epcot, meaning Disney no longer had any obligation to check in with the Norwegian government about new ideas and attractions.
As you probably already know, the Norway Pavilion has recently become the unofficial “Frozen Pavilion” with themed merchandise, attractions, and character meet and greets around every corner.
But who knows, maybe if the Norwegian government was still helping to fund the Norway Pavilion at Epcot, that might not be the case?
Either way, we’ll never know since the Norwegian government decided to just “Let it go!”
Attractions in the Norway Pavilion at Epcot
Before 2016, the Norway Pavilion was home to one main, thrilling attraction: Maelstrom, a Viking River adventure!
This exciting log flume took place in the dark, bringing guests through a glowing mythological tale full of trolls, bears, and waterfalls.
But now, since the release of Frozen, things have changed just a bit…
Frozen Ever After Ride
In 2014, Maelstrom took its last plunge as the ride began to be converted into one of the most popular on Disney Property: Frozen Ever After.
The same basic principle of a dark log flume applies, but now guests are greeted along the way by Anna, Elsa, Olaf, and the beloved trolls.
And if you’re wondering if this ride is still worth the wait – we’d have to say YES as it’s probably the most thrilling ride in the World Showcase!
With an exciting drop and top-of-the-line animatronics, this ride definitely shouldn’t be missed!
Try and snag a FastPass ahead of time (once they return), or go straight to the back of the Norway Pavilion at Epcot as soon as the World Showcase opens to check this “must ride” off your list!
Meet Anna and Elsa at The Royal Sommerhus
Another exciting attraction that’s hard for those character obsessed ThemeParkHipsters to pass up is meeting with Anna and Elsa at The Royal Sommerhus.
This is one of the only locations on property where you get to meet with two characters at once – and trust us when we say – that a full interaction with Arendelle’s Princess and Queen really is worth the wait!
Just like Frozen Ever After, you can find this near the back of the Norway Pavilion, on the left hand side.
Now, to be honest, as of November 2020, this attraction is looking a bit different than usual.
As opposed to waiting in a line that will lead you to a room for your personal interaction with both Anna and Elsa simultaneously, the girls have been taking turns standing outside the Royal Sommerhus for social distanced meet and greets and selfies.
While it might not have the same personal touch as before, we’d say it’s still worth a visit, especially just to see their new gowns as of the Frozen 2 release!
Gods of the Vikings Exhibit
If you enjoy a good self-guided exhibit, then you’ll love the Gods of the Vikings Exhibit in the pavilion.
Located in what’s designed to replicate a traditional Norwegian church, this exhibit takes ten minutes or less to walk and read through, with various living tableaus and artifacts dedicated to Norwegian mythology and Viking Gods and Goddesses throughout!
Dining Options in the Norway Pavilion at Epcot
What is a day at Epcot without some good eats, right? And we’re happy to report that in the Norway Pavilion the eating options do not disappoint!
The Kringla Bakeri og Kafé
If you’re more of a quick eats type of Theme Park Hipster, then Kringla Bakeri og Kafé is a must!
Located just at the opening of the pavilion, this bakery looks like a small Norwegian house… but don’t let its unassuming exterior fool you – inside it’s packed with display cases of amazing sweet treats, quick eats, and assorted beverages, alcoholic and otherwise!
Portable Norwegian Charcuterie boards, the Fisherman’s tasting box, and the salmon sandwich are just a few of the quick lunch options we recommend you try, especially if you’re hoping to find a satisfying lunch for $10 or less!
Or, if you’ve got more of a sweet tooth, you’ll want to check out the berry cream puff, Viking Mousse Cake, or the classic crowd favorite: Norwegian school bread; all of which are $6 or less!
Akershus Royal Banquet Hall
If you were hoping for more of a sit down dining experience in the Norway Pavilion at Epcot, don’t worry, they’ve still got you covered!
The Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, named after the actual castle in Norway’s capital, is full of elegance and excitement. Guests are greeted by a Disney princess and can pose for a photo prior to being seated.
This buffet character dining experience is unique in more ways than one, with probably the most interesting being the menu.
Inspired by typical Norwegian cuisine, you’ll find a cold section of the buffet, offering cold cuts, cheeses, and caviar, as well as hot options like eggs, bacon, salmon fillets, and dumplings – depending on what meal of the day you attend.
Additionally, if you are more excited for the character experience than the menu, we’ve got great news!
Typically in this location Snow White, Cinderella, Belle, Princess Aurora, and Ariel will all circulate and greet you right at your table – although the Princess offerings are subject to change daily.
However, before we move on to the Norway Pavilion’s shopping options, we do regret to inform you that as of February 2021, this character dining experience is not currently available… although we certainly look forward to the day when Akershus can finally open up the gates again!
P.S. If you are interested in a culturally immersive and exciting buffet dining option in Epcot that’s still running even with health and safety precautions, check out the Biergarten in the Germany Pavilion!
Shopping in the Norway Pavilion at Epcot
While the shopping options in the Norway Pavilion might not be as extensive as other pavilions, that certainly doesn’t mean they should be missed out on!
In fact, this Epcot pavilion is home to some of the most unique souvenirs on Disney property, like Mickey Viking Hats and top of the line Helly Hansen winter gear!
The Fjording / The Puffin’s Roost
Now don’t let these fancy gift shop names confuse you – these two shops are connected and basically are one in the same.
More specifically, The Fjording is the shop you’ll find directly after exiting Frozen Ever After, and The Puffin’s Roost follows after that.
Both however can also be accessed without riding Frozen Ever After at all; simply enter the Norway Pavilion at Epcot and hang a left, you’ll see them in no time!
The Fjording is home to the infamous “Big Troll,” which is a great photo opportunity for any Theme Park Hipster!
Additionally, in The Fjording you’ll find more “Disney-fied” merchandise like Frozen themed souvenirs, toy swords, and graphic tees.
In the Puffin’s Roost however, the merchandise is more culturally accurate and luxurious – including Norwegian chocolates, high end European clothing, and fine jewelry and perfumes.
The Wandering Reindeer
These two gift shops should not be confused with The Wandering Reindeer, which is across the way, where guests would normally exit the Royal Sommerhus meet and greet with Anna and Elsa.
Unfortunately, due to its confined space and the temporary closing of the official indoor Sommerhus character experience, The Wandering Reindeer is not open for shopping at this time.
Although during normal operation it would carry unique Frozen merchandise that’s usually not offered anywhere else on Disney property.
Hidden Mickeys in the Norway Pavilion at Epcot
For you ThemeParkHipsters out there that love a good scavenger hunt, we are happy to let you know that there are three places you can look to find Hidden Mickeys in the Norway Pavilion.
1. Outside Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post
Luckily as you wait for the Frozen Ever After, the Imagineers have planted plenty of hidden gems to keep you entertained, including Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post. AKA: An interactive screen that has beloved store owner Oaken “interacting” with guests… but that’s not all!
In this area of the queue, keep your eyes open for a wooden post with a knotted rope draped around it too!
Because in typical Disney fashion, it’s not just any knot in any rope, this rope takes the form of a mickey head, with two small loops on top, and a large one on bottom!
2. The Loading Dock of Frozen Ever After
We know that excitement might be overtaking you as you go to board your Frozen Ever After log flume, but if you’re a hidden mickey fan, you’re going to have to stay alert before getting in your boat!
In the loading dock area, on the wall above the log flumes, you’ll see a big mural full of hidden mickeys!
Probably the most memorable being the boat full of Vikings, where one is wearing a mickey hat instead of horns!
3. Inside Royal Sommerhus
Once they do open up the gates of Royal Sommerhus again for Anna and Elsa meet and greets, be sure to look down…at the carpet to be exact. The royal red and blue design of the carpet curves into various hidden mickey shapes!
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To be quite honest, the Norway Pavilion at Epcot has so much more to offer beyond Frozen themed merchandise and attractions, and we really believe it should make it to the top of your Epcot to-do list.
With one of the newest rides, beautiful architecture, and delicious and affordable pastries, there’s plenty of reasons to appreciate the last pavilion to join Epcot’s World Showcase.
So make sure you book your Frozen Ever After Fast Passes far ahead of time, and let us know in the comments below what you’re most excited about for the Norway Pavilion at Epcot!
Is it the Frozen ride? Your chance to meet the coolest Princess and Queen on Disney Property? Or, are you just psyched to try out that delicious school bread?!
Whatever it is, let us know in the comments below.
And as always, until next time…Happy Park Hopping Hipsters!
About the Author
Gina is a former Walt Disney World and Disney Cruise Line Cast Member who enjoys reliving the magic by writing helpful tips and tricks for future guests!
Check out more about her Disney adventures and writing endeavors at www.ginaarfi.net.