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Correspondence Regarding the Norway Pavilion

July 21, 2014

A couple of weeks ago I sent a letter to the Norwegian embassy in Washington about the Norway pavilion in Epcot. For a while now, rumors have circulated that Disney plans to remake the 1988 Norwegian seafaring ride Maelstrom into a Frozen attraction. Needless to say I’m not fond of this idea. Here’s my e-mail:

To whom it may concern,

I am a citizen of the United States and resident of Central Florida. One of my interests is the history and cultural relevance of theme parks and other tourist attractions.

It has become clear that the Walt Disney Company intends to strip the Norway pavilion in the Epcot theme park in Orlando of its long-held focus on Norwegian culture and tourism. It is very likely that the pavilion will become a synergistic advertisement for the Frozen animated film. I am writing to implore the Norwegian government to open a dialogue with the Walt Disney Company to put a stop to this change and allow the Norway pavilion to continue to represent your country, spur tourism and inform visitors about Norway’s beautiful and rich culture. Last year over 11 million people visited Epcot. Norway’s continued presence in the park is an incredible opportunity to showcase your nation and it’s people. It would a monumental shame to lose this opportunity.

Here is the response I received this morning from the Consul General of Norway, Jostein Mykletun, Ph. D:

Your e-mail of July 11 to the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Washington, D.C. has been forwarded to the Royal Norwegian Consulate General in Houston, the reason being that Florida is part of the Houston Consulate’s Jurisdiction, www.norway.org/houston .

We appreciate your interest in Norway and the Norway pavilion in the Epcot theme park in Orlando.  This pavilion has for several years been the subject of discussion involving relevant Norwegian authorities and other central stakeholders, including also the Walt Disney Company.  Among the issues has been the question of financing an upgraded pavilion at Epcot, better portraying modern, contemporary Norway. Part of the discussion has also pertained to formal legal rights and related business terms in the shaping and running of an upgraded pavilion.

We will share your concerns with the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Oslo, requesting that your expressed views, along with those of other engaged U.S. residents and citizens voicing opinions on the matter at hand, be communicated to those Norwegian authorities being the closest to potentially take action.  Any judgement on the value of continued or enhanced Norwegian presence at Epcot, will most probably be done as part of a broader assessment of which promotional measures and strategies, at what cost, are likely to yield the highest returns in terms positive branding of Norway in the U.S.

Again, thank you for your expressed interest and advice.

Sincerely,

JosteinMykletun, Ph.DConsul General of Norway Royal Norwegian ConsulateGeneral3410 West Dallas StreetHouston, Texas 77019

 

I sent a similar e-mail to the Walt Disney Company. I have yet to receive a reply.

 

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2 Comments
  1. Dang. Disney must be busier than the Norwegian Government, so they couldn’t get back with you. I’m with you though.. and PRAY they don’t give Norway the boot. I would love to see an updated pavilion with at the very least.. a movie from this century.

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