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Epcot's Norway Pavilion | by Greg Nutt
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Epcot's Norway Pavilion

The Norway pavilion is part of the World Showcase within Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. Its location is between the Mexico and China pavilions.

 

The 58,000-square-foot Norway pavilion is designed to look like a Norwegian village. The village includes a detailed Stave church, and the exterior of its main table-service restaurant, Restaurant Akershus, resembles its namesake in Oslo. The exhibit showcases 4 styles of Norwegian architecture: Setesdal-style, Bergen-style, Oslo-style and Ålesund-style.

 

Much of the pavilion is taken up by interconnected shops. These shops are decorated with large wooden trolls and sell assorted Norwegian goods, including clothing, candy, and statuettes of Norse gods and trolls. The courtyard of the pavilion contains the entrance to Maelstrom, a boat ride into Norway's past and present. Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe is a bakery, featuring assorted Norwegian pastries, such as cream horns and open-faced salmon sandwiches. The courtyard contains the entrance to Restaurant Akershus, featuring a hot and cold buffet and "Princess Storybook Dining."

 

One former exhibit was a full-scale Viking ship, inspired by the famous Oseberg ship. Formerly a children's play area, the structure was removed in December 2008.

 

The Norway pavilion is the most recent nation to be added to World Showcase. It opened on May 6, 1988, however it was not given its official opening until a month later. In June 1988, the grand opening was dedicated by Crown Prince Harald in a ceremony that was broadcast live to Norway. The original idea was to create a Nordic Pavilion that would combine elements from various countries into one exhibit. Three countries were consulted, but it finally ended up with investors from Norway raising the US$30 million required to create an exclusive national pavilion. Disney contributed the other one-third of the construction cost. In 1992, the investors sold their stake to Disney. Since nearly as many people visit Epcot as live in Norway, the government felt it still was a good promotional tool for their tourism industry. The federal government continued to contribute US$200,000 annually for five years to help fund the exhibit. Renewed in 1997 for a further 5 years, the government stopped payments in 2002, against the recommendations from their American embassy.

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Taken on September 27, 2007