Opening July 1988, Maelstrom was a flume ride inside the Norway pavilion that took guests through scenes depicting Norway’s history, mythology, and landscapes.
Throughout development, the feature attraction for the Norway pavilion was to be called SeaVenture, with the first entrance signs reflecting this name. As construction neared completion, just two months ahead of its opening, a last minute decision was made to rename it. The new name, Maelstrom, was the Nordic word for a powerful whirpool in the sea.
After boarding miniature longboats, guests traveled to a dark lift hill toward the face of Odin, hearing warning that the journey to find the spirit of Norway would be filled with peril, adventure, beauty and charm. While often expected to drop guests immediately upon reaching the top of the hill, guests instead were gently placed into a river on which they floated through scenes depicting Norway’s history and mythology, eventually coming face to face with a 3-headed troll. Upset by the boat’s appearance, the trolls cast a spell, sending the boat backwards and down, nearly over a waterfall overlooking the outside of the Norway pavilion and the ride entrance. Here, the boat was reoriented, using a track switch, sending guests down the final drop hill.
On September 12, 2014, Disney announced it would be closing Maelstrom to bring in a new Frozen themed attraction. Maelstrom’s last day of operation was October 5, 2014.