3. The Frozen Phenomenon
Innocently enough, Frozen came onto the scene bringing Walt Disney Animation Studios once again to the forefront of success. Capitalizing on the widespread acclaim (Frozen is the highest grossing animated film of ALL time!), Disney couldn’t bring the characters and story to the theme parks fast enough and understandably so. It make sense for Disney to continue giving guests reasons to personally visit the parks and the Arendelle princesses meet and greets were a colossal attraction.
Beyond the character meet and greets, this apparent demand for all things Frozen is expressed in the nighttime Celebrate the Magic scene at the Magic Kingdom, in a Frozen Singalong Celebration at Hollywood Studios, and in the Frozen takeover of the annual Christmas parade. The most egregious expression however might be in the very hotly contentious decision to replace Maelstrom of Epcot’s World Showcase with a Frozen-themed ride to debut in 2016. While many could have stomached a new attraction built in the many abandoned sections of the world (see below), replacing a cultural fixture representing the country of Norway with a fictional realm and a singing snowman seems almost shameful. Frozen clearly isn’t going away but it would appear nothing is sacred when Disney finds a profitable franchise to exploit. Maelstrom probably won’t be the last thing Disney will encourage us to “Let it go” as Pixar continues to innovate, Star Wars becomes relevant again and Avatar tries to make us care about Pandora 5+ years later.