Thursday, April 23, 2009

Katie's Guide to Epcot: Norway

Norway. Land of Vikings, oil rigs, and tall, blond, bearded people. At least, if you go by the ride. In the Epcot land of Norway, there are many things. Some are useless, and some are wonderful. But I will let the quotes speak for themselves. When you first arrive in Norway, you will see a building with a grass roof, a tall Viking temple that doesn't open, and a Viking ship.
This is the Viking temple. It's always locked when I'm there.

The Viking ship used to be a playground, but they dismantled it, so now I suppose it's just a shipwreck, 30 yards back from the water.

Near the Viking Ship, there is a handy cobblestone area that doubles as a smoker's haven. It's a nice place to sit and down the rest of your margarita, if you're into that kind of thing.

But clearly, the most important part of Norway is the ride.

As my dad says:
"Don't forget the tragedy of the dismantled Viking Ship/Playground...which now appears as an apparent "shipwreck" in the garden area of Norway....nor, shall we forget the tragedy, of the redesign of the Maelstrom in the late 90's, to make it more "Family Friendly..i.e. wimpy... Instead of "Back over the falls" they should have changed the Trolls to say..."go in backwards over a gentle, pasture-like stream, in the middle of a Norwegian meadow....."

And as my friend Victoria says (oh so eloquently):
"First I was like, what? Then I was like, aaaah! Then I was like, aaaaah, I'm gonna die! Then it was fun."

The trick with the ride is, first, to get there early enough that there is no line. Then, you have to quickly chug whatever remains of your drinks from Mexico before you get in the line, otherwise the friendly blond people will make you throw them away. Don't worry, you can get more.

Then, you get on a Viking ship and embark on a water-filled adventure that you will remember all your life.

"You are not the first to pass this way..." says the ride, as one eye of a Viking-shaped gargoyle opens and shines a very bright light on you.

"We have always lived with the sea, so look first to the spirit of the seafarer." You continue up the hill until you reach an ancient Viking village. "Many come to Norway seeking adventure, but more often find beauty and charm."

And're in Troll Country. And you run right into a large, gray, hairy, three-headed troll, that calls for you to "Disappear! Disappear!" And then...

"Back, back, OVER THE FALLS!"

And then your boat freaking turns around and really does go backward, and as you're craning your neck to see what you're going to run into, you see that you are heading toward that 2-story waterfall which you glimpsed from the outside just a little bit too it going to stop?

Of course it's going to stop.

You stop, and you get pushed the other way down a small hill.

Waiting at the bottom of the hill is choppy seas and a noisy oil rig. How picturesque.

As the ride bids you farewell with a cryptic, "The spirit of Norway will always be...adventure," you pull into what looks like an immaculate but deserted town square.

The (sometimes attractive) ride attendant ushers you through the doors of the movie theater. You don't have to watch the movie, you can just walk right through the theater into the waiting money trap on the other side. I suggest that you do so.

But, what my dad is talking about is that the ride used to be far scarier. The boat really hung out about 6 feet over the edge of the waterfall that leads to the outside, so that if you were sitting in the back row, you were really outside. I guess it was too scary (or dangerous) for some people.

Once you make it into the shop, you will find yourself faced with a large room of North Face-like outerwear from Helly Hansen. (No, it is not pronounced "Helleh Hansen.") It's expensive, but sometimes there are deals.

Then, you get bored with that room, and you go into the next room, which contains Viking helmets with horns and fake blond braids on them.
It is a time honored tradition to try on the helmets and pose in front of the giant friendly troll. There may be a line to enjoy this privilege.

No hats for me. I won't allow it.
But that doesn't mean I won't make others wear one.

Doesn't he just look so happy?

Once you are done with the ride and the shops (try to resist the Swedish Fish), go outside and go directly to the bakery on your right.

The entrance sign is shaped like a pretzel with a crown on it. They don't sell pretzels here.

The bakery is the second best attraction in Norway.
You see, they have things called Cloudberry Horns, and homemade waffles, and Lefse, and School Bread. And they are all sweet, and they are all delicious. Especially the waffles.

This is the inside of the bakery. You can see the magnificent looking cakes right in front of you in the case.

They make them right in front of your eyes, and then they put strawberry jam on them, followed by a good dusting of powdered sugar. And then, they fold it up like a quesadilla. And you eat it.
I want one right now.

Of course, if food isn't your thing, and you're there strictly for the booze....
"Carlsberg, Budweiser(for some reason), and red and white Norwegian wines are available from their beer cart(No fixed stand, unlike Germany's 3!)....which apparently, must be on wheels, in keeping with the Viking's nomadic lifestyle??? Crazy Imagineers!!!!!"

Good point.

Next up: China.


V.Mel said...

I love everything about Norway-- it might be my favorite country. The waffles are perfect for any time of day.

...But seriously, that ride is SCARY.

Mike said...

Baaaaack over the falls.....