A Rant: The NORWAY Pavillion at Disney’s EPCOT

Kirk’s cousins Kathy, Matt, and Liz were visiting recently and, since they’re all rabid Disneyphiles, we decided to spend the day at EPCOT. Since the Akershus Restaurant at the Norwegian Pavillion is my favorite– I love the smorbrød— I remembered our last experience when we showed up (no more tables) and thought to call from the house to make reservations.

Well, guess what? Prospective diners have to make reservations MONTHS AHEAD, because the Akershus Restaurant now hosts Princess meals, which is yet ANOTHER form of Disney character breakfast: women dressed as Princesses mingle with guests– hence the need for reservations, because this is so extremely popular with families and their children.

Needless to say, we weren’t able to dine at that restaurant and probably never will again because– let’s face it– who can predict a trip to EPCOT?

It was understandable a few years ago when meats were removed from the smorbrød menu because so many people– Americans, I was told– were piling up their plates with food that they would typically waste. Meats are now only to be ordered from the wait staff, and there are NO endless refills. This I understand.

What I can NOT accept is that yet another slice of life has been sacrificed to the whims of children– in this case, because the Princess craze is so popular and brings in BIG BUCKS for Disney, it was obviously decided that the Norwegian restaurant would also be used to feed this mania. WHY DOES EVERYTHING HAVE TO BE KID FRIENDLY??

STOP IT ! Can’t an adult wander happily through EPCOT, knowing that he’ll soon be dining at his favorite Disney restaurant? Apparently not. The Disney Financiers, who have replaced the Disney Imagineers, are now working their magic on EPCOT. (Note: The Living Seas exhibit is no longer very appealing to adults, having recently been saddled with a ride featuring a fish named Nemo.) 

Thank you, Disney, for taking away yet another bit of enjoyment from myself and my guests; we won’t be visiting again any time soon.

19 responses

  1. You tell’em, Jimmy! It’s interesting that the people who insist on having everything revolve around the “cult” of children (and there’s nothing wrong with GOOD children) are the same folks who routinely keep their youngsters out too late, feed them the wrong things, don’t understand when strong discipline is appropriate, and just generally should never have HAD children in the first place. They’d probably want to see “changing tables” installed in nightclub restrooms, too. Those children are well on their way to becoming monsters. Very sad.

  2. Hear hear. My wife, her parents, and I just went to Epcot (Man, I do not like the lowercase) this past weekend, and I was fairly taken aback at all the “kiddifying” and “Disneyification” that had taken place. I’m a big fan of Maelstrom, and always wanted to try Akershus since I had heard good things about it. So after we got off Maelstrom, I strolled over to Akershus to see the bill of fare and lo, it was only Princess stuff. This had to be wrong, I thought, so I peered in. Oh no, I was the one who was wrong.

    The overhaul of The Living Seas into The Seas with Nemo and Friends is just bizarre. The current iteration Journey Into (Your) Imagination is like a tease more than anything else. And of course, I’m still sad about the loss of Horizons for Mission: Space, and the closing of Wonders of Life, and the overhaul of The Land, and so forth. Test Track is cool, though. About the only new change I like is El Gran Fiesta Tour replacing El Rio Del Tiempo — and honestly, I adore The Three Caballeros, so that’s not a surprise.

  3. Sorry have to disagree with you here. I’m an avid disney fan (live in NY but go often enough to have annual passes and I’ve been there 2 of the days disney closed) and I don’t have a problem with the princesses.

    We’ve been trying to have breakfast with Cinderella in the caste since the kids were 3 and never succeeded. so last trip we got to have breakfast with the princess and my 2 daughters and niece loved it. They met 5 different princesses and had a great time.

    Complaining about Disney making things more “kid friendly” is like buying a house near the airport and complaining about the noise from the airplanes. I mean like really you find EPCOT trying to be more appealing to kids somehow shocking?

    • Sorry graywolf, but I have to disagree with you. If people want more seating for princess diners then Disney should open more venues in the Magic Kingdom, not EPCOT.

  4. It has hard to put words on that, but what’s shocking is the immature transformations to a right, natural and perfect place that was once born appealing to everyone. Princesses are for Magic Kingdom, when even as a kid, I don’t want my mind to obstruct at my focus to all the experience flow to some shocking flashy figures that ruins the beauty and morality of that deep and complex epcot kingdom as a whole. It is just kind of agressive and no respect to the nature of the whole place’s original point.

  5. I totally agree. EPCOT was always a place to go in order to have fun and learn. Learn! That’s what I loved the most about it. I went to the Magic Kingdom to lose myself in fantasy but went to EPCOT to learn and experience things about places in the world that I may not see. As a kid it was spectacular and as I got older it remained the same. To turn EPCOT into another fantasy world would to be totally go against what Walt Disney envisioned for this masterpiece. And it’s bad enough that when it opened it wasn’t what he wanted either. Instead of dumbing down EPCOT to pander to the children let’s continue try to teach them something.

  6. Graywolf: I love kids. What I resent is being “closed out” of what was once a wonderful dining experience because the powers that be decided that it, too, HAD to appeal to childrten. Thus, the Princess meals at Norway: on ecan’t just call and reserve that day and then go and eat. Impossible. It’s booked months ahead for Princess seatings. Way to go, Disney! Shut out the people who helped you get where you are today !

  7. EPCOT Center (the predecesor to the current “Epcot”) was special because it was different. The kids would be shocked and awed by the limitless possibilities presented in Future World, and the adults could partake in a sample of the great curtural offerings of the world in a single day. It didn’t need Disney characters and princesses swarming around, like a filet mignon doesn’t need a glop of super premium ice cream on top.

    But in America, more is always “better”, so we get Princess Aurora in a Norweigian Castle, and wisecracking cartoon fish in the most interactive undersea environment in the world. What a waste.

  8. We had such a great time with you, Jimmy. next time we will pull some strings (Rob, are your reading this?) and get a table so we can be Princesses too. I would put up with that to sample the great food.

  9. While I too bemoan the transformation of Akershus into a Princess Meet & Greet, I don’t think it’s fair to lay all of the blame at Disney’s feet on this one. The country of Norway decided to stop supporting their pavilion, so Disney is left paying for the upkeep of the pavilion themselves. So I don’t blame them for wanting to max the revenue for the dining facility there. Get Norway to start sending $$$ Disney’s way to pay for this excellent promotion for their country, and you’ll get your Norway dining experience back from the land of Princesses.


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  11. YES! I miss the old Akershus, too! John (who runs TheDisneyBlog.com) pointed out a major reason for this shift, but I still don’t like it when stuff I like is ripped out or changed.

    Is Disney running out of room in Florida, or something? Build a NEW restaurant for the princesses. And I’m sure you can fine enterprising Norwegians or Norwegian-Americans to run the restaurant.

  12. I don’t think the need to make reservations is because of the “Princessing” of Norway. Actually, Norway…along with Morocco, are the few restaurants that we can usually get into with a reservation in the world showcase.

    The problem is the dreaded Disney Dining Plan!

    I would also say that Disney is for kids…if it wasn’t for kids (Walt’s daughters in particular) there would be no Disney. His whole inspiration for Disney was the need for a place where parents could spend an enjoyable time with their kids.

  13. oops…I meant to say that Norway and Morocco are the only restaurants we can get into WITHOUT a ressie…sorry about the typo.

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