C - Major Attraction
Supervise children at all times.
Maelstrom was a thrilling adventure featuring a look at the real and imagined history of Norway. On the journey guests encountered Vikings, trolls, and polar bears as well as multiple small drops.
Board a Viking ship for a fast-paced voyage into Norway's rich seafaring heritage. The journey includes a backward and forward plunge down short waterfalls and concludes with a brief film tour of modern Norway.
You may get wet!
Located in the back of the Norway Pavilion between the Puffin's Roost shop on the left and Akershus on the right.
Times Guide – Opening/Closing
This attraction typically opened at 11 AM with the rest of World Showcase.
Maelstrom was one of the mid range demand Fastpass+ reservations in the park. Availability existed well into the day, but guests could save time using Fastpass+ at this location.
Despite being one of the mid range demand Fastpass+ options, it was among the highest of the "Tier 2" Fastpass+ options, trailing only Mission: SPACE and Spaceship Earth for demand.
Before you Ride
There were two small drops on the attraction, one of which was backwards. Additionally, there were trolls and polar bears that were frightening to children.
The main queue for the attraction was indoors in a modern building featuring multiple switchbacks. Norwegian flags line the wall leading up to an old world map.
The back wall of the loading area features a large mural that celebrates the seafaring lifestyle of Norwegians. It features oil rigs, Viking ships and many other components.
The vehicles were made to resemble classic Viking ships. They were 10th-century warrior’s longships and featured a dragon head bow.
Each boat has four rows that can seat 3-4 guests each.
The ride portion of the attraction ended at a small fishing village. Originally, this would function as a holding area for guests before they were let into the post-show now known as "The Spirit of Norway" (Previously known as "Norway-The Film"). In the last few years of the attraction's existence, the film was on a loop and guests could chose to watch if the wished.
A March 2006 Press Release on the film revealed the following:
“Norway-The Film” was written, produced and directed by Paul Gerber, a filmmaker with two Epcot films — “Symbiosis” (formerly at The Land) and “The Seas” (formerly at The Seas with Nemo & Friends) — to his credit. The clarity and grandeur of the large-scale images in “Norway-The Film” are due to the fact that the film was shot in 70mm, with the same Panavision camera used for “Lawrence of Arabia.”
The movie began with a four year old boy circling a Norwegian Long Ship. The boy connected with the ship as well as his Norwegian heritage in the short five minute film. Highlights as described by the same March 2006 press release included:
Among the featured images in “Norway-The Film” are Sognefjord, the largest of Norway’s many such natural wonders; Oseberg bat, the 1000-year-old Viking ship unearthed in Oseberg, Norway, now on display in Oslo’s Viking Museum; a Norwegian rowing club, whose members enacted the moments of Vikings setting off to sea from Norway’s west coast; a fiery nighttime view of Statoil’s majestic Statfjord B oil rig, silhouetted against 45-foot-tall waves in Norway’s tumultuous North Sea offshore oil field; Skudeneshavn, a small fishing village on the southwest coast of Norway; and the Holmenkollen ski resort, where a 19-year-old skier’s soaring jump from one of the highest jumps in Northern Europe will leave guests breathless at the daunting spirit of these strong and adventurous people.
Also recorded is Norway’s national holiday celebration of May 17, when Norwegians flood the streets of their towns and cities to pay tribute to their constitution. “Norway-The Film” captures this moment, where, as it has been done for centuries, a colorful parade marches up Karl Johansgate, Oslo’s main thoroughfare.
The film culminates in a montage of scenes capturing the spirit of the people of Norway at work and at play. Scenes include a young couple sailing off Norway’s beautiful west coast near the town of Alesund, a lineman hanging precariously on a high-tension wire over Sognefjord and, pictured within a soaring 18th century studio, young Oslo ballerinas in training.
A look at the former seating area:
Maelstrom told the real and imagined history of Norway in a classic boat ride style.
As the Viking ships left the load area they turned into a dark tunnel onto a slow lift hill. The attraction's narrator (The Norse God, Odin) began:
You are not the first to pass this way,
Nor shall you be the last.
Those who seek the Spirit of Norway face peril and adventure,
But more often find beauty and charm.
As the boats ascended the lift hill, a lighting effect was emitted from a statue of the face of Norse God Odin at the top of the lift hill. The boat traveled underneath Odin into the first show scene and guests were transported to the age of the Vikings. The narration continued:
We have always lived with the sea
So look first to the spirit of the seafarer
The boat entered a Viking Village and the narration continued:
Long ago, Norway was a land of Vikings
That was the beginning of our love for the sea
Vikings appeared in their ships with fires burning along the banks and ships appeared in the water on the backdrop. The narrator continued as the ride shifted to the imagined history of Norway:
There are those who see Norway's spirit veiled in a land of forests and mystery, where trolls still prowl the water's edge
The boats continued into a marsh like area where they were greeted by a three-headed troll. It emerged from behind a bush and the three heads shouted at the boat:
Troll 1: What's this?
How dare you come here!
Troll 2: Invaders!
Troll 1: Stop! This is troll country!
Troll 3: Look away! Be gone!
Troll 1: I'll cast a spell.
Troll 3: Yes! Yes!
Troll 2: You'll disappear!
Troll 1: Disappear! Disappear!
The trolls continued as the boat entered a switch track and began traveling backwards. An additional troll emerged from the marsh as a single head. This troll is known as a “Nokken” or river troll, and was also seen later in the attraction. Fiber optics over head represented the spell that the troll was casting. The three-headed troll continued:
Troll 1: Back! Back! Over the falls! (laughter)
The boat traveled backwards down a small drop and the narrator continued:
Before recorded time, Norway's spirit roamed the seas of the far North and beyond.
The boat continued backwards past polar bears and puffins before entering an area with detailed rockwork and natural lighting. The narrator continued:
Today, Norway's spirit still thunders in her great fjords!
The sound of waterfalls was quite audible as the back of the boat peaked out to the open waterfall that was visible at the entrance to the attraction. The waterfall was a stopping point while the boat entered a track switch to travel forward again. A troll emerged as the boat moves forward and descended another drop.
This drop led into a scene on the high seas with lightening strikes and water crashing against an oil rig. The boat then pulled into a seaside town at the unload area. As guests approached the unload area the narrator delivered his final line:
Norway's spirit has always been, will always be adventure!
After exiting guests had the option of seeing the Post-show video "Norway-The Film"
It was similar to many of the other boat rides on property with similar frightening components to Pirates of the Caribbean.
The below video is used with permission from the YouTube channel SoCal Attractions 360. These videos are in 4K or 1080p resolution for peak quality.
- Randy Carter - Producer
- Bob Kurzweil - Ride Designer
- Dave Van Wyk - Head Engineer
- Joe Rohde - Concept Art
- Paul Torrigino - Production Designer
- Jim Mulder - Special Effects