Constructed for seven years and opened in time for the 10th anniversary of “Frozen,” the living land of Arendelle aims to transport guests to a world where you can be fully immersed in the magic of Walt Disney Animation Studios’ films “Frozen” and “Frozen 2,” which are among the biggest animated films of all time.
HK Disneyland is Disney’s only park with mountains, which makes it unique and “special” among other Disneyland parks, Michel den Dulk, executive creative director at Walt Disney Imagineering, explained why the entertainment and theme park giant Disney chose to open the first ever World of Frozen in Hong Kong.
Through captivating stories, beloved characters, stunning landscapes, enchanting music, and cutting-edge technology, the kingdom of Arendelle is presented as a fully-immersive travel destination to all guests for the first time in forever.
“Now that it’s open to guests, we want our guests to own this land. It’s going to be theirs,” den Dulk told select press all over the world, including Philstar.com, at the World of Frozen’s press launch in Hong Kong Disneyland last week.
“Obviously, we want to give our guests the opportunity to meet the famous characters that they love and hear the music that they love so much with multiple experiences that will last.”
The fountain is a centerpiece that welcomes guests upon entering the park. Den Dulk, who grew up in New York where there a lot of fountains and squares, told the press: “Fountains, they are gathering points for people… You will always see people that sit in the fountain, and doing something that’s exactly the same here, not only it is a part of the story, Elsa decorated it for Summer Snow Day, but it’s doing exactly what I was hoping people would do – come to the land, they see it, they want to take a picture… they take their picture there with Arendelle in the background. And that’s really awesome, to use an American term.”
Best known from the movies as Elsa’s ice fountain sculpture, the fountain rests directly in front of Northern Delights – a one-of-a-kind sweet shop inspired by the Northern Lights. The existing owner was hired to make the desserts for Queen Elsa’s coronation as well as the cake for Anna’s birthday celebration.
To celebrate Summer Snow Day, Elsa uses her magic to freeze the water of the fountain into a beautiful snowflake ornamentation.
King Agnarr Bridge
Guests can use the bridge to venture across the fjord, between Arendelle village and the lush Arendelle forest. In addition, round rocks covered in moss can be seen near the bridge.
Guests may even hear kid trolls conversing with each other as they realize these are in fact troll boulders. Fire Spirit and Bruni may also be in sight as these roam around the forest area.
Clock Tower Square
The clock tower is one of the iconic landmarks of Arendelle. Anna danced with Prince Hans atop the clock tower while singing “Love is an Open Door” in “Frozen” and Elsa also sang “Making Today a Perfect Day” atop the clock tower in “Frozen Fever.”
The wood-carved glockenspiel figures of Anna and Elsa on the clock tower were created by married toymakers, Thea and Björn (owners of Tick Tock Toys & Collectibles), to celebrate the day Anna saved her sister with an act of true love.
Next to the clock tower sits the charming village toy shop, Tick Tock Toys & Collectibles. It is famous for beautifully crafted wooden toys, keepsakes and collectibles that include playful carved depictions of favorite “Frozen” friends.
Just off Clock Tower Square, guests can dine in Golden Crocus Inn, where village citizens often meet to savor the delicious and diverse cuisine or enjoy their meals across the road at Bayside Wharf.
Frozen Ever After
The boat ride is filled with music, laughter, and family-friendly excitement. Guests journey through the North Mountain, where they will have the chance to see Elsa’s magnificent Ice Palace and join in the joyous festivities of Summer Snow Day with the royal family and the Arendelle’s community, thanks to Elsa’s magical powers.
While waiting to embark on the journey, guests are surrounded by festive lights mingling with the sparkle of icicles, as well as the lyrical sound of the town’s chamber folk group with sweet and spirited arrangements of the royal family’s favorite tunes on the way to the Royal Dock.
As guests leave the harbor, they drift through a snowy forest transformed by Elsa. Olaf and Sven greet guests with excitement! Olaf looks into the eyes of the guests and sings “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” for them.
The boat then comes to the Troll Valley. Several young trolls gather around Pabbie Troll and entreat Pabbie to tell them their favorite story one more time. After passing through the Troll Valley, guests begin to hear “Vuelie” sung by the Arendelle chorus and see the Ice Palace standing from afar. The boat starts to ascend toward the Ice Palace, as if pulled by Elsa’s magic. It then passes through a grotto beneath the Ice Palace and crests the top of the North Mountain.
An enormous sparking snowflake made by Elsa welcomes guests to the Ice Palace. Olaf then happily skates and sings “For the First Time in Forever” and greet guests into Elsa’s Ice Palace. Anna and Kristoff also sing their own version of “For the First Time in Forever,” with Kristoff playing his lute as an accompaniment. Their friend Sven is there too, with his tongue stuck to a banister.
After a bend, glittering doors of the Ice Palace open. There, Elsa stands atop a balcony, singing “Let It Go” and sharing her Ice Magic. Whimsical snow formations appear and disappear, while Elsa’s reflection glistens within the ice walls.
Elsa plays some more Ice Magic powerfully and energizes the guests’ boat to leave the palace through a dense foggy portal. The boat then emerges on top of a snowy mountain ridge, where guests will see the enormous Marshmallow, the largest denizen of the North Mountain, with many smiling Snowgies around him. Marshmallow then sends a mighty blast of cold breath their way, as he roars, “Let it goooooo!!!”
The boat then splashes down into the Bay of Arendelle, where guests can see the sky filled with gorgeous snowflake-shaped fireworks made from Elsa’s Ice Magic with a grand musical arrangement of “For the First Time in Forever” playing in the background.
After the fireworks, the boat drifts lazily back into the harbor. Olaf, standing on a pile of snow, together with Anna and Elsa who are holding hands with love, sing “In Summer” in beautiful harmony for the guests as the ending of this delightful journey.
During the journey, there will be surprises like a backward and forward plunge down short waterfalls, and you may get wet. This attraction is not suitable for expectant mothers. Guests must transfer from wheelchairs.
Those who tried the “boat ride with a surprise” at the press preview described it as a combination of “sweet” and “scary.” This surprise, said Hong Kong Disneyland Managing Director Michael Moriarty, was his most favorite experience in World of Frozen.
Elsa’s Ice Palace, North Mountain
The Ice Palace served as Elsa’s home during her self-imposed exile in “Frozen” and it is the place where she sang the iconic, powerful ballad “Let It Go.”
Elsa used her Ice Magic to create the Ice Palace as a new home after she left Arendelle to live in isolation. While creating her palace, Elsa realized she no longer needed to hide her powerful abilities and declared herself free from the stress and fears that she had faced since childhood. There, she finally let go and test her powers freely for the first time.
The Ice Palace is home to Elsa’s charming snowmen creations, including Marshmallow from “Frozen” and the Snowgies from “Frozen Fever.” These lovable characters have taken up residence in the palace after Elsa vacated it.
Bay of Arendelle
Arendelle has a rich history and deep connection to seafaring. For centuries, the Bay of Arendelle has been the center of economic activities and cultural exchange with neighboring countries. Guests can spot Anna’s little rowboat from “Frozen” and a larger boat of hers docked in the harbor. The small fishing boat that Anna fell on when she met Prince Hans in “Frozen” is also moored, giving guests the sense that all three boats sail beyond the fjord, helping to bring the bay to life.
Wandering Oaken’s Sliding Sleighs
Built specifically for the special occasion of Summer Snow Day, Oaken has constructed a coaster that speeds through the forest behind his Trading Post. With the help of the happy snowman, Olaf, and the Kristoff’s reindeer, Sven, guests ascend toward the summit and embark on this exciting journey through the forest.
As guests prepare to embark on their sleigh ride, they will journey through a charming Trading Post, where they can discover delightful summer treasures and a modest selection of winter wonders. Beyond the Post lies a serene forest clearing, where Oaken’s cozy sauna is. Inside, Oaken himself will greet you with a friendly smile, as he wipes away the mist from the window to reveal his welcoming face to all who pass by.
Most prominently seen in the forest section of Arendelle is a waterfall that appears to originate from melting snow cascades from rocks above Oaken’s cabin into the fjord below, creating natural and organic movement to the forest.
Past the sauna, guests will step into a rustic, barn-like building well-suited for housing reindeer and winter storage. A wooden column in the queue can also be found in the process of being carved. Oaken’s bench and a kit full of his carving tools lie at the bottom of the column.
Guests can make their way to the loading area and climb into their sleigh. The front sleigh is decorated with unique patterns resembling those found on Kristoff’s sleigh.
As guests ascend toward the summit, they will see Olaf riding on Sven’s back. He carries a rough-hewn fishing pole with his large carrot nose hanging from the end of the line. It dangles just in front of Sven’s open mouth, perpetually propelling the excited reindeer to run on the treadmill.
Next to the treadmill are large, interconnected gears made of wood that appear to be carrying guests up the track lift. The sleighs climb upward then drop into the forest outside – zooming across hills, through caves and over fjord waters. At the end, the sleighs return indoors, where guests are welcomed back by the voice of Oaken.
The minimum height requirement for this attraction is 95cm. This attraction is not suitable for expectant mothers. For safety reason, guest should be in good health and free from high blood pressure, heart, back or neck problems, motion sickness or other conditions that could be aggravated by this adventure. Guests must transfer from wheelchairs.
Den Dulk described the ride as “a junior rollercoaster suitable even for younger guests, unlike Grizzly Mountain and Hyperspace Mountain with height requirements for bigger kids and are more for teenagers and adults.”
Playhouse in the Woods
Created by Anna and Elsa’s parents as a place for Elsa to freely practice her Ice Magic in the middle of the forest, Playhouse in the Woods is a first-of-its-kind, unique and engaging theatrical experience where guests will play a part in the story of Anna, Elsa and Olaf. The show begins with Anna and Olaf welcoming guests, before encouraging them to sing together to call Elsa.
Elsa arrives and explores the space with the guests, discovering the beautiful elemental statues that Anna has commissioned for this special day. Elsa will also call spirits into the room. There will be four different versions of the show for guests to enjoy, as one of the four spirits is called and takes over the room through beautiful projection mapped content, special effects, and sensory elements. Elsa will then calm the spirit and oblige to Anna’s request for one last surprise. She will use her Ice Magic to freeze the whole room and transform everything into a gorgeous Ahtohallan-styled ice cavern.
“It’s a really intimate experience where you really get up-close with Anna and Elsa and guests can surround them during the show. And it’s a really fun experience that runs back-to-back, almost like an attraction. And that’s also only here at Hong Kong Disneyland,” den Dulk said.
Pay special attention as you walk along the trail next to the King Agnarr Bridge as you might come across Trolls and meet Fire Spirit, Bruni in the forest area.
“We’re really trying to bring the land alive with our entertainment offerings and at the same time, ask guests to be part of the story,” den Dulk enthused.
After Anna and Elsa’s reconciliation, Elsa adorns the castle with Ice Magic. Icy features, including decorative finials and a snowflake on the spire, can be seen on the castle.
As one of the kingdom’s landmarks, Arendelle Castle lights up at night, signifying the protection of the royal family upon the citizens of Arendelle.
During the press launch, there was a Kiss Goodnight Moment wherein Anna, Elsa and Olaf has a short stage skit, followed by a magnificent drone show.
“What still makes me emotional is when the lights turn on, listening to the background music we recorded (for the park), we go over the lake and we see the castle on the background in the water, and you hear romantic music, renditions of the ‘Frozen’ music, we start to feel really emotional because it’s such a beautiful sight and really takes you out of the feel that you’re still in a theme park. It’s such a beautiful setting, very nostalgic,” den Dulk said.
He has observed from select pre-opening guests that the ceremony “calms people down especially at night, at dusk, when they walk through the land and see the waterfall from the distance.”
“It’s so fun to see that guests are resonating well with the environment that we created that at a certain level, touches them and that would create what we call everlasting memories and they would take that home and have sort of a warm feeling of the experience they had in Disneyland and that’s something that you can’t buy…”
Credit belongs to: www.philstar.com