Like it or not, Frozen is coming to Epcot. After Maelstrom's closure at the beginning of this month, all got quiet in regards to this project, and no real update has been shared in the past few weeks. Today, we would like to provide to you some news to break the silence on this "mystery project", hoping that the new pieces of information that we gathered will answer at least most of the questions you may have. All that you will read in this article has been confirmed.
CONSTRUCTION WALLS ARE UP
While no visible work can be seen from Guests areas (the former entrance of Maelstrom is just blocked by regular doors), our sources confirmed that, new work walls were installed backstage just a few days ago, covering an area that is bigger than the building itself. Here is an image showing the size of the area now designated as a construction zone (no photos taken backstage were shared with us, as it is prohibited to take photos and videos from areas not open to Guests):
As you can see, the empty plot of land located on the left of the building is being used as part of this project. What we were NOT able to confirm is the nature of the work being done in that particular area. Will it be part of the new Anna & Elsa meet-and-greet area? Will it be the queue line for the new ride or an extension of the ride building itself? Your guesses are as good as ours.
THE RIDE SYSTEM WILL NOT CHANGE
In the past, some have speculated that there could be a remote possibility of having the ride system quickly swapped in favor of a new one. If you were among those hoping that this would be the case, you will be disappointed. In fact, it has been officially confirmed that the new Frozen-themed attraction will still be a boat ride, even though the ride vehicles will be new.
THE LAYOUT OF THE ATTRACTION WILL BE EXPANDED
While the ride system will remain the same, the layout of the attraction will be expanded to create additional show scenes and to offer a longer experience to Guests, many of which were quite disappointed by the shortness of Maelstrom. While it has not been confirmed whether the backwards sections will be removed or not, you can be sure that the loading and unloading areas will change from the original. Also, the majority of the empty areas of the showbuilding will be used, as Imagineers try to maximize the space available to elongate the flume. Remember all that wasted space in the queue and ride? Well, that will change with the new ride. Spaces that were previously not used for the attraction will be included in the project. Basically, this new ride will follow the steps of the original Fantasyland dark-rides at Disneyland, which packed fairly elaborate attractions in a confined space.
THE RIDE WILL OPEN... SOONER THAN WE THOUGHT
The Walt Disney World Resort officially announced that the ride will debut in 2016. That is correct, the ride will indeed be open by 2016, but it could soft-open earlier than that. In fact, very reliable sources have confirmed to us that the current goal is to open the ride by the end of December 2015, just a few days before the start of the busy holiday season (*HINT - a one and a five were being thrown around... together*). That's right, this project should last just a little over a year (about 15 months), but that is if everything goes well. Keep in mind that opening dates for other new attractions have shifted multiple times in the past (see the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, for example), but we are pretty confident that they will be able to complete the project in time due to the fact that the ride system and the building itself should not receive major alterations.
This is all we have for the moment. As stated at the beginning of this article, these are confirmed news (unless otherwise noted), which we hope you will find of interest. Feel free to post your own comments and opinions on this subject.