Friday, January 7, 2011

Maelstrom II: Trolls, Cruise Boats, and Sailing Ships

The mural which captures the most attention the the Maelstrom queue in Epcot's Norway Pavilion is the one located above the attraction's boarding area. This mural depicts a history of Norway's relationship with the North, Norwegian, and Barents Seas.


Norway is full of port cities as the Kingdom enjoys approximately 51,750 miles of coastline. This number may not seem like much but when you compare it to the mere 1,000 miles it shares with its largest neighbor, Sweden, it's easy to see how much the sea means to Norway.


Chief among the port cities are Oslo and Bergen; Ålesund is the largest fishing harbor, Arendal is one the largest shipping centers, and Stavanger is closest to the oil fields in the North Sea. These themes: culture, shipping, oil, fishing, and more are depicted on the mural as are the cruise ships synonymous with the country thanks to Royal Caribbean International and Norwegian Cruise Lines.


The mural moves through the history of Norway's relationship with the sea from left to right: first the Norse gods and the beginnings of seafaring exploration; next the age of modern exploration, fishing, and Nordic sport; then a move to sailing and cruising for pleasure; finally the exploration of natural resources.


There are a few gems within the mural; most are familiar with the 'hidden Mickey' on the Viking ship towards the left-hand side of the mural and many mention the 'hidden Mickey' (or Donald) located at the intersection of the clipboard and uniform of the cruise director towards the center-right. Of more interest, perhaps, is how the mural mimics the ride itself, with the obvious exception of Julie from the 'Loveboat'.


These photographs were taken by the author in May and October, 2010.