Sources tell industry rumor hotbed Screamscape that Maelstrom will soon close to make way for a ride related to "Frozen." A news report out of Norway details the country's reluctance to continue funding the pavilion, and says that Maelstrom may close as soon as October to make way for the new ride.
The report claims that Disney has offered Norway the opportunity to pay roughly $9 million to update and maintain the pavilion as a promotional platform for the country -- instead of the hit movie.
First, a Loss of Retail Space
The Norway zone has been busier than usual since "Frozen" was released in late November. Earlier this year, the pavilion's flagship store lost prime retail space to make room for "Frozen" merchandise and a meet-and-greet area with the film's two princesses.
"Frozen" is Disney's first animated release since "Toy Story 3" to crack $400 million in domestic ticket sales during its initial theatrical run. The only other Disney movie to do that -- "The Lion King" -- broke through $400 million in cumulative ticket sales on subsequent re-releases several years later.
Disney was taken off guard by the movie's success, leaving it scrambling to cash in at its theme parks.
However, before all of these "Frozen" tributes popped up elsewhere, the decision was made to feature Anna and Elsa in the Norway pavilion. It was a quick and easy fix, and long lines of families with daughters decked out in Anna and Elsa princess dresses made Norway the most popular World Showcase pavilion in a park that drew 11.2 million guests last year, according to Themed Entertainment Association.
However, the movie is set in the fictional land of Arendelle. Animators went to Norway to flesh out Arendelle with a bit of Scandinavian sensibility, but one can sympathize with the aggravation in Norway as it's compelled to help bankroll a pavilion that's doing more to promote an imaginary country than its own rich culture.
Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz owns shares of Walt Disney. The Motley Fool recommends Walt Disney. The Motley Fool owns shares of Walt Disney. Try any of our newsletter services free for 30 days.