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Norway, gateway to Scandinavia, features an exciting ride-through adventure, shops and restaurants at Walt Disney World Epcot.

The 58,000-square-foot pavilion is located between Mexico and China overlooking World Showcase Lagoon. On display is Norway's rich, seafaring history as well as its innovative leadership in fields such as shipping and underwater technology.

Visitors take a fantasy voyage that departs a modern-day village on a Norwegian fjord and journeys up a cascading waterway into the Norway of old. The trip is aboard small ships patterned after the dragon-headed craft of Eric the Red and his fellow explorers.

Floating on a man-made river, the 16 passenger Viking craft is thrust up sloping white-water rapids into a tenth century Viking village. A full-size Viking ship is in the harbor, being readied to be put out to sea. The guests' boat then slips into the shadows of a mythical Norwegian forest populated by trolls and water spirits. One of these fairy-tale creatures casts a spell on the boat, causing it to plummet backwards downriver into the rapids of the Jutenheimen mountain country.

Suddenly, the watercraft crashes through a narrow gorge and nearly tips over the brink of a waterfall. Just as the boat is about to be swallowed up, it spins around and falls through a rocky passageway in the North Sea.

Waves crash and lightening flashes as the North Sea is caught in the fury of a fierce ocean storm. A gigantic oil production platform bobs up and down in the dark night. As the boat passes the concrete legs of the platform, there is again quiet and a small fishing village appears in the distance. Docking at the harbor, visitors make their way through the village houses.

At the end of the wooden gangplank, between a rocky ledge and a waterfall, a brightly lit opening reveals the entrance to a theater. Here, a wide-screen motion picture takes visitors on a tour of modern Norway. From the seacoast to the mountain hamlet, the film introduces the audience to the people of this beautiful land.

As they exit the theater, the returning voyagers once again find themselves in the picturesque town square which forms the heart of Norway showcase.

Architectural styles characteristics of Bergen, Alesund, Oslo and Setesdal are featured around the cobblestone plaza.

Inside, guests can snack on open-faced sandwiches or Scandinavian sweets from the Norwegian bake shop. A Norwegian castle patterned after Akershus, a 14th century fortress which stands in Oslo’s harbor, forms the exterior for Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, where guests can sample Norwegian cooking in the 200-seat smorgasbord-style restaurant. Princess Storybook Dining features the Disney princesses -- Belle, Jasmine, Snow White, Aurora, Pocahontas, Mulan, Ariel, Alice and Mary Poppins -- for a family-style dining experience.

In the town square, a waterfall adds the sounds of rushing water to the scene. At the top of the falls, travelers aboard the Viking ships emerge then disappear into the structure every few minutes.

Inside, shops stock authentic Norwegian handicraft and folk items. Some of the featured crafts are hand-knit woolens, wood carvings and glass metal artworks, as well as many troll collectibles.

The showcase was designed by Walt Disney Imagineering in Glendale, Calif., with assistance from architects and historians in Norway.



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