This weekend saw the premier of Frozen Fun (or as the resort was putting it: a Sneak Peek). Both theme parks got in the mix by having certain attractions open for guests. In Disneyland, Arendelle became part of Storybook Land Canal Boats, making it the newest addition since Aladdin and Little Mermaid entered the Fantasyland attraction. This was probably one of the more subtle invasions of the hit movie, as it only takes up a small section of an already existing attraction. It’s a very small footprint, but maybe affects a major element of the boat ride. The area that it takes over was formerly The Old Mill lineup, which was not only one of the earliest parts of the ride, but represented one of the earliest animations. The Old Mill was a Silly Symphony cartoon that had the first use of the multi-plane camera that gave depth to animated films. It’s sad to see the homage go away, but Arendelle shined.
In the new Arendelle kingdom there were two castles. One castle was the actual castle of Anna and Elsa, and the other was the icy lair that Elsa made on the mountain. Bellowing out of that particular castle was the song Let It Go. Off to the side of the miniature village is Wandering Oaken’s hut.
Over in Disney California Adventure, a bigger footprint landed. Frozen Fun was advertised even before guests entered the park, as banners adorned the entrance. Inside, Hollywoodland was almost all the way a Frozen land with lamp post banners covering the main street, and the whole side area that Mad T Party occupied being transformed into Freeze The Night. Meanwhile, Anna and Elsa took up residence in the Animation Building. And, still there was more!
Beside the Freeze The Night setup, it was clear something with the likes of Olaf will take residence in Stage 17, beside Monster’s Inc. For now, Olaf greeted guests outside the building, but a sign above indicated Olaf’s Snow Fest
Another area still getting ready for a January premier is For The First Time In Forever: A Frozen Sing Along. This will occupy Muppet Vision 3D’s theater, and had a new marquee to indicate the big change.
Across from this upcoming attraction sat a revamped souvenir stand. This stand was transformed into Wandering Oaken’s, which is a great update to a previously very generic souvenir area.
As for what was going on in the Animation area, the first indication of Frozen is the new marquee on the front. A Frozen themed turning sign almost spelled out an all Frozen part of DCA. But, some previous tenants remain intact inside. It is to note that the FastPass to greet Anna and Elsa is picked up to the left of the entrance, but the greeting area is inside the building.
Once inside the building to meet the two Arendelle royalty, it is easy to get in and out. Their location is at the Character Close-Up portion, and is now themed and decorated to look like a part of their castle. I was impressed by the makeover. It wasn’t just a background that people walked up to, but a well thought up room for people to get a great experience. I think I figured out there are actually two rooms for people to greet the two girls. The line first entered ran along the rail of Sorcerer’s Workshop. When in one of the rooms, a very lit up backdrop made it seem like it was snowing outside. The room areas were pretty spacious, able to fit quite a few guests. The FastPass time to encounter the characters is 20 minute increments, which doesn’t seem so long, but it was so quick to get through I don’t see it being a problem.
In all, the Frozen makeover of both theme parks adds a breath of fresh air to some aging places. Storybook Land had new life with the addition. It was done very tastefully, fitting the rest of the ride. Over in DCA, the whole HollywoodLand area has exciting additions that are great for the whole family. It adds some much needed family experiences, and gives the Animation building great reasons for frequent visitors to go in.
At the Sing Along, guests travel into the Crown Royal Theater where the Arendelle historians are getting things ready for Queen Elsa to make an appearance. As the time approaches, the two hosts retell the story of Frozen with appearances by Anna and Kristoff.
The show is quite fun, featuring great moments from the movie, and a chance to sing along with them. Even though the story of the show is basic, I quite enjoyed it. It was something to keep the show going and connect with the fans. The effects really added to the space. Lights and small projector effects made the building come alive. The projected video on the screen not only showed scenes from the movie, but made great backdrops that made this become a unique attraction.
Over at Olaf’s Snow Fest, Stage 17 has been transformed into an Arendelle village, complete with snow! Yes, inside the California room is a snow play area. The whole place looks like a courtyard from the fictional nation. It took me by surprise. I was honestly expecting a warehouse looking atmosphere with a few Frozen props. This is truly a transformed place. It felt new and shiny, and had some well done detail in theme.
One of the key features of Snow Fest is a sledding hill. Guests can travel down a small hill on a plastic sled. It is a fun treat for any visitor to this usually sunny theme park. Nearby, some food vendors sell some great eats. Still nearby is Olaf, who has a separate line outside to greet. I liked that the whole space was integrated together, yet kept some things separated for easy access.
One of my favorite parts of Snow Fest was a troupe that told stories to wandering guests. In sort of a form of Mad Libs, the storytellers asked guests to say words to corresponding categories. Seemingly random, they ended up forming a story. The even better part of it all was that one out of the three played a lute looking guitar, while another played tuba! It was a fun band to listen to. Even as they wandered about you could hear the great melodies they played. It’s worth going in just to check them out.