Friday, May 6, 2011

37. O.T.D. - 5/6/88 - Norway Pavilion Opens


Today we say happy birthday to the Norway Pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase.  It opened on May 6, 1988 and was the last country to be added to the park.  Norway is the second pavilion you come upon as you go clockwise around World Showcase Lagoon and it sits between Mexico and China.  Although it is one of the smaller looking countries from the outside, it is the only one that offers dining, shopping, a ride and a movie.

Norway's primary attraction is called the Maelstrom.  It is an indoor boat ride that includes a small, flume style drop.  It is about the size of the Pirates of the Caribbean drop over in the Magic Kingdom and provides the only "mini" thrill in the World Showcase.  At the end of the 5 minute journey, guests disembark the Viking boats and enter a movie theater.  You have the ability to continue right through the exit doors, but I suggest that you stay for the short movie.  It is an interesting look at the "spirit" of the people of Norway.  It is also a nice air conditioned spot to rest your legs before continuing your trek around the World Showcase.  Like most Walt Disney World attractions, the Maelstrom empties into a gift shop.  The Norway gift shop is called the Puffin's Roost and features trolls, sweaters, toys, and other Norwegian gifts.

The restaurant in the Norway Pavilion is called the Akershus Royal Banquet Hall.  It is a medieval, castle-like fortress that serves authentic royal Norwegian cuisine.  It is also one of the few restaurants in Epcot that features characters.  In the case of Akershus, guests get to dine with Belle, Jasmine, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, and Mary Poppins at a Princess Storybook meal.  My family had the pleasure of attending one such meal a few years back and we had a great time.  I have to admit that my three young nieces were a little more excited about the princesses than my little boy, but everyone enjoyed the experience as well as the food.

One last area that I want to mention in the Norway Pavilion is the Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe.  It is a little spot that serves snacks, sandwiches, and sweet pastries.  One of these pastries that I tried on my last trip to Disney World is called a "lefse."  It is a rolled wrap of potato bread with butter and cinnamon sugar.  It is delicious and was certainly worth the $1.99 price.  On your next trip to Epcot, make sure you stop by Norway and enjoy some Scandinavian cuisine and history.  It has been a fun place to visit for 23 years and will certainly be enjoyed by Walt Disney World guests for years to come.

Have a Disneyriffic day and remember to keep moving forward.  See ya real soon!

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