It’s been a while since anyone has heard much of anything about any progress for Epcot’s Norway pavilion – November 2011, actually, if our archives don’t deceive us.
The Norway pavilion, the last new country added to the World Showcase, has had a long and hard road in attempting to get funding for updates and modernization. The ride itself has always been buggy and never worked as intended and the film at the ride’s exit has been downright outdated and awful for a good decade. It’s to the point where the Norwegians working the pavilion feel quite embarrassed to show the film.
It all got this way due to Epcot’s policy of corporate sponsorships footing the bill for nearly everything in the park with Disney only contributing small sums of cash. The best way to describe it is to say Disney got Epcot for less than the cost of the original DCA due to corporate sponsorship. A consortium of Norwegian businesses and the Norwegian government actually sponsored the pavilion when it first opened – but this was short lived, and though the Norwegian government held out longer than the businesses, they too were gone by the turn of the century. A full history of how that all played out can be found in the Epcot Explorer’s Encyclopedia.
Then in 2011 the unhappiness of Norwegians with their pavilion as it presented – not updated or taken care of for years – really began to make waves. The Norwegian press picked up the story and really began to hammer the message home – the pavilion needed to be updated. According to the press, Disney even agreed. However, there was again the matter of cost.WDI and Norway began to argue over the costs – with Imagineering even refusing to use a publicity film that Norway had already produced.
It seemed the negotiations were going nowhere, but then government representatives in Norway brought the issue of the pavilion’s funding before the parliament. After much deliberation a verdict was rendered.. but while using many words it never really said much at all. The final note was that Disney was demanding $100-150k million to even plan a “pre-project” to even consider updating the pavilion. And there it sat as of November – money was needed and no one wanted to pay for it.
Well, today there’s good news. Wheels are finally turning and things are starting to happen. Aside from the small bevy of permits Disney has recently filed to re-roof, repairs, and gussy up several of the buildings at the Norway pavilion there has been progress behind the scenes. Real live human beings are now working to make “the Norway Pavilion a better and more in-and-on-the-time place” (awkward English phrasing courtesy real-live Norwegians.)
Sorry, there’s no details to share. Yet.