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Day 11 - September 12, 2012

"You are not the first to pass this way. Nor shall you be the last.."

Who doesn't love Maelstrom, the signature attraction inside the Norway pavilion? Growing up it was actually my favorite attraction in all of Epcot. There was something so amazing about exploring the land of trolls and Vikings, but more importantly, what kid wouldn't love the fear of "knowing" you'll soon plummet down a waterfall backwards?

I still love Maelstrom and the entire Norway pavilion but what has always fascinated me was how the Norway pavilion came to be. When Epcot opened in 1982 there were only nine World Showcase pavilions with Morocco and Norway being the missing two. In 1988 Norway opened making it the eleventh and still to this day, final World Showcase pavilion. Initially the pavilion was planned to be a Scandinavian pavilion focusing on the three Scandinavian Peninsula countries: Sweden, Denmark, and of course Norway.

While doing research for the pavilion the government of Norway discovered that their country wouldn't be getting all the fame and glory, but rather sharing it with the others and decided to step up their game. They created a deal with Disney where they would provide 2/3 of the funding to create the pavilion and all they wanted in exchange was to have the pavilion focus solely on Norway. Disney agreed and for the first 15 years the pavilion was around Norway continued to pay Disney roughly $250,000 to help with the operation costs.

Amazingly enough, Disney's Norway pavilion receives more visitors annually than the actual country of Norway does. Due to this Norway's presence with the creation of the pavilion was extremely crucial to the government of Norway. Wanting to make sure that it symbolized the best of Norway, officials from Norway would help oversee the planning and construction of the pavilion and even the then Prince, now King, of Norway Harald would officially dedicate the pavilion in June of 1988, one year after the pavilion opened to the public.

Until tomorrow, keep your eye on those trolls!

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