If you follow this blog at all you know that Disney and Norway have being going back and forth over the funding, non-funding, etc.. of the Norway pavilion in Epcot for nearly a decade.
Essentially disgusted with the current state of the pavilion, the people of Norway have taken it upon themselves to try and get some government funding spent on the pavilion.
Part of this effort involved bringing a question about the support for the pavilion directly before the parliament. The rules dictate that the question had to be answered… most failed to realize that the answer given in response didn’t actually have to answer anything.
Here’s a rough translation…
Question from Borghild Tenden (V): Will the government make sure that the money support for the Norway pavilion in Walt Disney Worlds Epcot park is resumed so that the pavilion again can be an attractive and time right market arena for Norway?
Background: The Norway pavilion in Walt Disney Worlds Epcot park have been Norways only permanent exhibit through many years. The pavilion was opened in 1988 of current Crown Prince Harald, and was financed by the government and Norwegian businesses. The pavilion was sold to Disney in 1992, but the Norwegian government contributed with 200.000 dollar each year to the exhibit until 2002. Innovation Norway and the government meant that the pavilion didn’t give any tourism to Norway and therefore were not a area of focus. The consequences of this was that the tourist information was closed down, the Norwegian managers disappeared, the Norwegian chefs disappeared, the restaurant was transformed into a princess storybook dining and therefore less Norwegian. Very little in the pavilion is being upgraded or done something with. The movie about Norway as a tourist attraction is the same that was shown in 1988. The Norway pavilion is good promoting for Norway. There is 11 million visitors each year, and the pavilion runs well economically every year. It would be a good investment for Norway to make a new movie about Norway, produce relevant information material and have a general update of the pavilion. A annual money support of around 200.000 dollar will make Disney take the pavilion more seriously and make it more attractive for the visitors in the park.
Answer from Trond Giske (A): The Norway pavilion was sold to Disney in 1992, and until 2002 we supported the pavilion with 200.000 dollar yearly. After a pre-project in 2006, Innovation Norway and the Foreign Department etc decided to not move forward with a new movie project in 2007. In close cooperation with Norwegian tourism industry and a own marketing group for USA, Innovation Norway consideres the methods we can use to promoto Norway as a tourist destination in USA. In this group its a consensus that the funds is best used through developing net-based marketing in social medias and the web page Visitnorway, through TV and radio productions and other press related work in USA and Norway, and never the less goal oriented working with tour operators that sells trips from USA to Norway. We have to use our marketing funds where its most valuable for Norwegian travel industry and Norwegian industry in general. With Innovation Norway we have been in dialog with Disney on how to work together better. Innovation Norway have made a new Norway promoting film in digital HD-format. Earlier Disney have not accepter the offer from Innovation Norway to use this movie free of charge. Now Disney is currently reviewing this offer, if they get the movie material and can make their own movie for use in the pavilion. Innovation Norway has a running dialog with Disney. Disney is also interested in a broader cooperation with Norway in relevance to the Norway pavilion and they have proposed a pre-project where they want externe funds of 100.000-150.000 USA. The pre-project is about the development possibilities for the pavilion. Innovation Norway is currently looking for businesses with interests in USA that can be willing to support this pre-project. My view is that eventual support for the pavilion should be given with if it promotes Norwegian, export oriented industry in USA and that it contributes to raise the general knowledge about Norway in USA. This support should only be given with the documentation of financial interests from Norwegian, export oriented businesses.
And.. that’s where it stands. $100-150k for a “pre-project” is what Disney wants. I think that’s charged directly to WDI to pay Joe Rhode to just think about the problem for an hour.There’s a long history of this hot mess and if you click on anything on this blog that says “Norway” you’ll find it. From Disney wanting money.. to Norway not wanting to give it to them.. to Disney practically extorting the country with threats of making the pavilion into a Denmark or Scandinavia pavilion.. to Imagineering telling the country that their HD promotional films aren’t high enough quality to be shown in the park.
It’s really getting ridiculous at this point. $150k to “plan” a solution.