A Disney World Vacation is filled with adventures to many different lands, some real, while others only live through the power of imagination. One very real land that you can explore is the Norway Pavilion as part of the Epcot World Showcase. Here you can experience a taste of Norwegian architecture, cuisine, culture, and history without leaving the comforts of Disney World in Florida.
Norway Disney World Style
Many Disney World guests have never visited Norway first hand, so they depend upon the Disney Imagineers to create a land that tells the story of Norway through the buildings and landscaping that permeates the Norway Pavilion.
Norway's History - Stave Church
One of the the most recognizable landmarks when you visit Epcot Norway is their re-creation of a Stave Church. The Stave Churches ( Stavkirke ) once numbered over 1,000 in Norway with their roots going back to 1100 AD when almost every town and village had one. Now only about 28 are still in existence. The Epcot version is a re-creation of the Stave church in Borgund, Norway built in 1180.
Norway's People - Greta Waitz
One of Norway's most loved athletes has been memorialized at the Epcot Norway Pavilion. Greta Waitz, the champion Marathon runner who won 9 New York City Marathons is remembered with a statue. The statue has been a part of the Norway Pavilion for many years, but Greta passed away earlier this year due to cancer.
The area where you will find the statue is also popular due to the grass roof found above the outdoor eating pavilion. The landscaping helps deliver the rural Norwegian feel to the area.
In a tribute to the real 14th century castle called Akershus in Norway overlooking the harbor in Oslo, Epcot has built their own version that also serves as a restaurant of the same name. Here you can feast on Norwegian cuisine and see a variety of Disney Princesses within the Royal Banquet Hall of Akershus.
Kringla - Bakeri og Cafe
If you are not up for a full Norwegian feast, you can certainly make room for some Norwegian baked treats at Kringla - Bakeri og Cafe. Here you will enjoy the aromas of some wonderful baked goods like the famous School Bread, Kringla Sweet Pretzel, Cloudhorn, Blood Orange Custard, or Rice Cream.
The Puffin's Roost
There are plenty of opportunities to purchase authentic Norwegian clothing, perfume, and other items at The Puffin's Roost. You can also get your picture taken in front of the large wooden Trolls or dress like a Viking for a memorable picture.
Along with the centuries old Stave Church and Akershus Castle you also have shops and buildings that are more reminiscent of more recent Norway. The Disney Imagineers have done a great job to make the transitions and have them seamlessly fit together in one cohesive village.
Maelstrom - The Thrill Ride
Although thrill ride is probably stretching it, Maelstrom is the closest that you will get to a Thrill Ride in Epcot's World Showcase. This water based ride takes you on a journey from Norway's Viking roots through it's Legends of Trolls to it's present day life on the sea with Oil Drilling and Fishing. The ride has one semi-thrilling drop and audio-animatronic characters to keep the ride fun. The drop is slightly more exciting than the one on Pirates Of The Caribbean, but not like Splash Mountain. The end of the ride gives guests and chance to watch a brief film to learn more about Norway.
Norway's Viking Roots
Throughout the Epcot version of Norway you will see reminders of the countries Viking Roots, whether it would be the remnants of the 10th Century Dragon-Headed Norse Ship, the Viking Statue in front of the Stave Church or the references within Maelstrom.
Norway - The People
One of the best ways to experience Norway at Epcot is to talk to the Cast Members that are all natives of Norway, working usually for 1 year a Epcot. They are interesting to converse with and that is a great way to learn more about this Scandinavian Country. It is especially a great opportunity for children to learn about a country that they may have not visited in person.
Experience Norway - Disney World Style
Even a short visit to the Norway Pavilion in Epcot can provide the opportunity to come away with a better understanding of the history, culture, architecture, and cuisine of Norway. There is so much detail that there are new things to discover during each visit to Epcot.