After the success of Disney’s 2013 movie Frozen and its introduction of Arendelle sisters Elsa and Anna, it’s largely forgotten that an early trailer for the movie didn’t even show Elsa and Anna; it was all about Olaf the snowman and reindeer Sven.
Frozen turned out to be such a huge hit that it’s unclear whether Disneyphiles are more excited for the live-action Cinderella movie opening Friday or the Frozen short, Frozen Fever, that will be tacked onto the front of Cinderella.
The across-the-board success of Frozen — the film has raked in $400 million to date domestically, making it the No. 3 release at the box office in 2013 — perhaps caught Disney executives off guard. The movie opened Nov. 22, 2013, and there weren’t a lot of Frozen-themed tie-ins at Disney World or Disneyland at Christmas 2013.
But the appetite for Frozen from park visitors was real in late 2013 and early 2014: The wait for meet-and-greets with Elsa and Anna could often be estimated in hours, not minutes.
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Here’s what Disney World has to satisfy Elsa and Anna aficionados.
▪ Meet-and-greet opportunities with the sisters from Arendelle occur inside Princess Fairytale Hall in the Magic Kingdom’s Fantasyland.
▪ The pair also appear in the Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade and the “Celebrate the Magic” nighttime projection show at Magic Kingdom.
▪ The Maelstrom ride at the Norway pavilion at Epcot closed last year to get a makeover as a Frozen-themed ride, but that overhaul isn’t expected to be complete until early 2016.
▪ The Frozen E-ticket attraction is “For the First Time in Forever: a Frozen Sing-Along Celebration” at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Arendelle’s royal historians recount the Frozen story, aided by clips from the movie on a big screen. The singalong also features actors playing some of the film’s most popular characters on stage, including Elsa, Anna and Kristoff.
▪ Also returning June 17-Sept. 7 to Hollywood Studios are Anna, Elsa, Olaf, and Kristoff in a royal processional down Hollywood Boulevard; Frozen Nights DJ Dance Party; and Frozen-themed grand finale fireworks.
▪ Anna and Elsa stand 61/2 feet tall in a topiary at World Showcase Plaza during the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival, which runs through May 17.
Actor Josh Gad, a 2003 graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, provided the voice for Olaf in “Frozen” and marvels at the movie’s influence, especially when he visits Magic Kingdom.
“I can’t tell you how wonderfully rewarding that is growing up in South Florida and going to Disney all the time as a kid and now to see a walking character version of this persona I created is the coolest thing ever,” he said, “and to share that with my daughter is doubly rewarding.”