Tuesdays With Corey: The Norway Pavilion Part 2
This is Part 2 of the Noway Pavilion, if you missed last week’s article, you can read it HERE.
The Restaurant Akershus and Royal Banquet Hall is named after the Akershus Fortress still standing in Oslo and serves as the backdrop of the Norway pavilion. Akershus Fortress in Oslo is now used for offices by the Norwegian Ministry and contains the Norwegian Resistance Museum, but originally it was used to guard the city. If you look across the walls of the pavilion you’ll see that there are gun turrets located in the wall and on the top the structure.
The Restaurant Akershus is a princess character dining experience that showcases Cinderella, Belle, Aurora, Snow White, Ariel and Mary Poppins. It hasn’t always been a meal where you can mix and mingle with the royal ladies. It originally showcased a more Norwegian flare in food. We ate there once and it was a buffet experience. There was a cold bar that had fish and other food of the sea along with hot food, which was brought out to you by the cast member, and as you cleared your plate they would bring out some more. But when the princesses took over this dining experience ceased to exist any longer.
In the past, after you ate with the princesses or after a pastry, it was time to head over to the Maelstrom Attraction. Maelstrom may have closed its doors on October 5, 2014, but it still remains forever in the hearts of its fan. Maelstrom was a fun and exciting boat ride that took you through some of Norway’s history and folklore. As you walked through the queue line, displays showed exhibits of Norwegian flags and maps showcasing Viking exploration routes. Across from the loading area there was a huge mural that showcased Norwegian history and the modern times of the country. Once you boarded the Norwegian boat carved by Imagineer Jack Ferges, the Norse god Odin tells you that:
“You are not the first to pass this way, nor shall you be the last. Those who seek the spirit of Norway face peril and adventure. But often find beauty and charm. We have always lived with the sea, so look first to the spirit of the seafarer.”
Along the way, you’d see scenes of the Viking women waiting for the men to return and some men unloading supplies for a village. Then you arrived into the troll section. Trolls are part of Norse and Scandinavian mythology. After you encountered the three-headed troll and he sent you away, the boat drifted backwards where guests encountered polar bears and more trolls. The boat then floated towards the edge of a waterfall that overlooks the pavilion and then dropped forwards for a 28-foot plunge into Norwegian oblivion. Not really oblivion but a stormy scene with a big off shore oil rig. The ride continued for a short distance until it reached port. After departing the ride you would enter a theatre where, more times than not, people would bypass the “Spirit of Norway” film. I’m guilty of it and so are a lot of people. Although it was little dated, the film was pretty good. Being 20 plus years old, the film no longer shows the modern nation that the original sponsors wanted to showcase.
After departing the film, what’s the next thing you enter you may ask? Well, that would be a gift shop! What? You don’t say. Yes, you enter the Puffin’s Roost. There is a clothing section that usually has a good bit of jackets by Helly Hanson and other brands. Other merchandise included children’s toys, books or something from the Disney film “Frozen.” But whatever you do don’t forget to get your picture made with the big troll in the room. There is also a Kidcot section in here for those of you who have little ones (or big ones) who like to do this free activity. Also in the gift shop you can pick up a piece or two of fine jewelry or a new fragrance by Geir Ness.
After you have bought a winter jacket, a viking helmet and sword, sprayed yourself with the perfume testers so you smell good the rest of the day and taken your photo with an ugly troll (not your spouse), head over to Kringla Bakeri go Kafe. Here they serve pastries, sandwiches, and other baked goodies.
Behind the bakery you’ll spot a statue of Grete Waitz, she was a Norwegian marathoner who won nine New York Marathons, won a silver medal in the 1984 Summer Olympics and won a gold in the 1983 World Championships in Athletics in Helsinki. She passed away in April of 2011 at 57. That is about it for the Norway Pavilion, there are many other things to discover here if you take the time and explore.
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