We continue our “in-depth” look at the Norway Pavilion in Epcot with this blob that I spent some amount of time trying to make look like a viking horn. It was surprising that I had little luck given the success of past artistic ventures.
So far we’ve taken a good look at the new-ish “Gods of the Vikings” exhibit inside the Stave Church, in addition to examining the merchandise available around the Pavilion in 75+ pictures in this post. And we enjoyed lunch at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in this review, though we’ll take a moment to reexamine the current menu a little later.
Kringla Bakeri og Kafe, the home of the cult favorite School Bread, among an assortment of other treats, has been closed for a few months now.
It’s expected that the seating area will expand along with the ordering area, perhaps making it easier for guests to see what’s available.
Until then, a temporary kiosk is open serving many of the same items:
The “Viking Dog” is an abomination, but a move that’s not so surprising considering this is the same Walt Disney Company that took Hundred Acre Wood away from the children by adding Bud Light.
epcot added beer from aass brewery, which is actually norwegian. but because everyone asked for “the ass beer” it’s now written phonetically pic.twitter.com/Sk8WSkKuXH
— josh (@easywdw) June 25, 2017
Norway added “The Ass Beer” about a year ago, originally listing it as “Aass Pilsner” before changing it to “Ouse Pilsner” and now “Aass Pilsner (pronounced Ouse).”
You’ll find the same beer at the Cart out in front of the Pavilion, in addition to two Einstok selections and the “Redstone Mead,” which is a recent addition.
The Aass (pronounced Ouse) enjoys a bright golden color with or without the addition of ducks gliding along in the background. My pour was skunkier and bitterer than I like with flavors of grass and hay dominating a light hoppy character. On the plus side, Aass is actually Norwegian, which is something you don’t typically find.
I like the two Einstok beers a lot more. The White Ale is similar to a Blue Moon, but far more complex and flavorful. Very refreshing.
The Toasted Porter is a delicious entry into the world of roasty-toasty malts with a rich cocoa flavor. Porters are not typically what I’m looking for when I’m outdoors in Florida in July, but this one is on the lighter side and is one of the better beers available in World Showcase overall. Particularly since Altenmunster Oktoberfest has been removed from Germany in favor of Beck’s and La Fin du Monde is no longer offered on draft in Canada, though they at least added the Blanche de Chambly.
“Redstone Mead” is a pretty generic title, but the Boulder, Colorado honey-winery brings their flagship Black Raspberry Nectar on tap to Epcot. $13.25 is a high price to pay considering a 750ml bottle will run you $14 at the Total Wine. It’s very sweet and a little too carbonated for my tastes.
Elsewhere in menu land, above is what Akershus is currently serving for lunch and dinner. It “feels” like a step in the wrong direction compared to the previous menu, which included a viking-esque Pork Shank instead of the Seared Pork and a nice seafood selection in the Stew with Scallops, Shrimp, Mussels, and Clams. Still, I’d expect the kitchen to continue putting out food that’s better than you’d expect.
The Flower and Garden Festival continues for a couple of more weeks.
Anna and Elsa have moved into the courtyard area in front of the Royal Sommerhus, which offers people better opportunities to take pictures with the topiary.
You can still find me presiding, quite regally if I do say so myself, out front.
A 20 minute wait for Frozen at 1015am. Come in May pic.twitter.com/rQ96rcl3WL
— josh (@easywdw) May 11, 2018
Speaking of Arendelle, wait times continue to come down at Frozen Ever After.
I documented that fact in some detail at the end of our last rope drop touring strategy post from the International Gateway, in addition to pointing out that the ride “only” sees downtime on about one out of five days so far this year, compared to four out of five days last year. That’s a big improvement from 18 months ago, when the ride was down every other day, on average.
Here’s Frozen Ever After wait times over the last month:
The 51-minute overall average, as seen in the lower right hand corner of the chart, is even lower than the 61 minutes we saw over the first three weeks in March. That makes some sense as we’re past spring break and before the Memorial Day holiday/summer rush. I’m also seeing a total of only about eight hours of downtime spread out over seven days, which seems positive too. Even better, the average wait at 10am is just 23 minutes. And at 10am, the posted wait is only more than 30 minutes on one date, April the 28th.
So we’re seeing lower wait times that build relatively slowly in the morning, in addition to less downtime. The ride is down at Park open on two of the last thirty days – once for just about 15 minutes and a second time for about an hour. At Park close, it’s only down on one of the last thirty nights. Only one span of downtime is longer than an hour. All good news.
Here’s Test Track waits on the same dates:
Test Track’s 66-minute average is 15 minutes longer than Frozen Ever After’s, which is a 29.4% increase. It also sees far more downtime – it shuts down for at least 15 minutes on 23 out of 30 dates or 76.7% of the time. Downtime towards the beginning of the day is also more common. It’s down before 10am on eight of thirty days, which is way too many.
When considering FastPass+ priority, you could make the case that Test Track is back on the top of that list, with exactly one caveat: Frozen Ever After FastPass+ are still scarcer. It’s more likely that Test Track will be available on the day of and will become available as a 4th selection as people cancel/change their plans due to the fact that more Test Track FastPass+ are distributed on a daily basis. But keep in mind that Test Track will save you more time and be more likely to protect you from downtime. If an attraction is down during your FP+ return window, you can return to that attraction at any point later in the day after it (hopefully) comes back up. Test Track downtime will be even more common during the summer months as lightning closes it.
While it’s not particularly Frozen-related, here’s wait times at Soarin’ while we’re here over the same dates:
I’m not sure if the 37-minute overall average is “shockingly short,” but it doesn’t sound like a long time compared to what Magic Kingdom attractions look like these days.
Here’s something that might actually be shocking, though: Over the last 30 days, Spaceship Earth’s average overall wait is higher than Soarin’s. 36.79 minutes versus 36.62 minutes. FastPass+ totally didn’t increase wait times at attractions that didn’t historically offer it though, right?
We bring things back to Norway with one last chart, this time the Anna and Elsa Royal Sommerhus meet:
The trend here is the same one that we’ve seen virtually since the attraction opened. You want to meet Anna and Elsa later in the day – ideally after 12pm and avoiding 3pm to 4pm if possible.
Earlier in the day, capacity is lower and more people are hanging around Norway after they realize that nothing else on that side of World Showcase opens until 11am. Waits are actually substantially higher here than they are at the ride before 11am.
That should catch us up on what’s happening around Norway.
We’ll return to Kringla once it reopens this summer.
Next up is China, which includes 35 separate reviews of Nine Dragons, a look at merchandise, and an update on what’s happening around the Pavilion. This time with no math!