It’s taken a few years for word of the retro and outdated status of the cinematic climax of the Norway Pavilion at EPCOT Center to percolate back to the rocky and troll infested shores of Norway itself. But finally, reality is sinking in and people are realizing that the show and movie, as it exists today, is not a good advertisement for Norway at all.
The Norway pavilion opened in 1988 with investment from the country and some investors. Four years later the investors sold their stake back to Disney and abandoned the pavilion. The Norwegian Government continued smaller payments through 2002 before finally deciding not to renew their contract with Disney.
Since 2002 very little has been improved in the pavilion. The Stave Church has had its exhibit updated a few times, a playground was removed, and the Restaurant Akershus has been changed to a princess buffet (whether that is an improvement depends on your point of view, I guess). One of my favorite entertainment groups that used to perform, Spelmanns Gledje, were discontinued a few years ago as well.
But the real criminal activity is the failure to update the film that supposedly highlights Norway’s achievements as a nation while also serving as a marketing piece to attract tourism to the country. It’s failing a both those goals spectacularly.
The media in Norway has now taken up the cause (read in English courtesy Google Translate) and their finally appears to be some movement. As usual there are politics involved, but perhaps there is some hope. Disney, however, has reportedly insisted once again that since the film is essentially an advertisement for Norway, the country should foot the bill for an updated film.
What do you think? Is Disney obligated to keep up a quality show in every pavilion? Or would footing the bill here, cause other countries to similarly abandoned their pavilions leaving Disney with much larger upkeep costs.
Update: The EPCOT Explorer’s Encyclopedia has found an film that WDI was reportedly considering as a replacement for the Norway film.
It would require a bit of editing, but it seems like a good improvement on the existing film.
There’s also a Facebook page you can like if you want to lend your support to the cause. Of course, it helps it you can read Norwegian.