Pavilion Setting: The Norway Pavilion is themed like a Viking-era village. It features a replica of the 14th century Akershus Fortress, which the Norwegians originally built to protect Oslo from attack. There is also a richly detailed Stave church, which houses authentic Viking weapons and artifacts. It is estimated that at one time there were more than 1,000 of these medieval wooden churches scattered throughout Norway. The rest of the buildings are themed in a variety of styles, including Setesdal, Bergen, Oslo, and Ålesund.
Attraction Info: Norway houses the only “real ride” in the World Showcase – Maelstrom.
Opened: July 5th, 1988
Extra Magic Hours: Evening
FASTPASS: Yes, but not usually necessary. FASTPASS return times are almost always just 40 minutes in the future, making it easy to collect FASTPASSes for because there’s so much to see and do in Norway and surrounding Mexico and China.
Type: Dark ride
Similar To: Pirates of the Caribbean
Scary Factor: Low. There’s nothing here that should frighten anyone over the age of ten. The ride is dark, trolls are bountiful, and there is a small backwards drop, but the ride is over before anyone should have a chance to be scared. Still, it may startle unadventurous kids. If your child had trouble with Pirates of the Caribbean or any other Disney ride then you may want to think twice about this one. Maelstrom is also a good indicator of how well your child will deal with other, more thrilling rides.
When To Go: Earlier is better, but it’s not worth making a special trip out to Norway in order to ride it at 11am, so any time should be fine. If the wait is longer than 20 minutes then grab a Fastpass and enjoy the Pavilions until your time comes up. Or, you could visit during Extra Magic Hours and probably ride over and over without any wait.
Expect to Wait: Actual wait times are usually ten minutes or less from 11am – 12:30pm. Posted waits of 10 to 20 minutes are common after that.
Length: 5 minutes
What to Expect: Maelstrom is a slightly faster Norwegian version of Pirates of the Caribbean. It’s also more than 20 years old and hasn’t been updated or refurbished since 1988. Nonetheless, it’s a nostalgic ride that most guests enjoy. After the ride ends and you exit your vehicle (if you make it past the trolls), you’ll be led to a small area where a five minute film is shown. You can choose to stay and watch it or leave before it starts. I would recommend staying for it if you haven’t seen it because it’s about 25 years old and hilarious. There are no (intentional) jokes or comedy or anything, but I think most people will get a kick out of it.
Dining Options: Akershus Banquet Hall is one of the better princess character meals in Disney World, featuring a traditional plated main course along with a cold food buffet. Kringla Bakeri og Kafe offers some of the best tasting treats in World Showcase, including the incredibly popular School Bread. Kringla also serves a variety of heartier sandwiches along with salads and other items.
Drink Around the World: Kringla Bakeri og Kafe serves Carlsberg beer ($7.50) and alcohol infused coffee drinks. Outside on the promenade, you can order a Linnie Aquavit shot ($8.25) or a Carlsberg Beer from a kiosk.
Character Sightings: Although five princesses are present inside Akershus for the buffet, no characters ordinarily appear outside in the Pavilion.
Shopping Opportunities: Norways’s “The Puffin’s Roost” is one of the larger shops in the World Showcase. It offers a great variety of items, including hand-knit clothing, porcelain, troll dolls, Christmas ornaments, toys, perfume, food items, Viking helmets, and more. Make sure to get a picture with the giant troll that watches over the store.