A source of Screamscape informed Lance that "WDI has been given the initial nod to do a little Blue Sky dreaming to determine just how they could transform the Maelstrom ride in the Norway Pavilion into a new Frozen themed attraction concept."
Right now - and of course "IF" the info is right - WDI is only in Blue Sky phase and no mention of the budget the ride could have or even if they will keep the Maelstrom flume ride system or if they will create another kind of ride, so take it only as a rumor. BUT there are some elements which push in favor of it, and here is why:
1) Frozen is a huge success and so far even the biggest one of Walt Disney Animation since The Lion King 20 years ago! And we know that in terms of "Disney synergy" they like to create a ride inspired from a popular movie success.
2) Epcot's World Showcase needs desperately a new attraction! ...as well as WDW to counter attack Universal Florida upcoming projects. Not to mention that the Maelstrom ride didn't aged terribly well, even if it's always fun.
3) A Frozen attraction will fit perfectly with the Norway pavilion theme and the Frozen characters meet and greet at Epcot had currently excellent reactions from the guests.
4) The architecture in the movie of the kingdom of Arendelle has some similarity with the one of the Norway pavilion ( and for good reasons ). Below, a picture from the animated movie and one of the Norway pavilion as well as the WDI rendering.
5) WDI Imagineers will use very probably the facility existing for the Maelstrom ride which means there won't be any cost to build a new building. That saves a pretty lot of money, believe me.
6) If Disney wants something opening quickly they could use the flume ride currently existing and change "only" all the sets. That said, even if WDI was choosing this option, it'll take time to create something new and to do it fine, so don't expect a Frozen ride before two years from now, if not more.
7) WDI has the technology to create in the ride amazing "ice" effects like the one we can see in the movie when Elsa transforms anything in "ice"
8) There are even scenes already existing that obviously could be transformed in a Frozen one. Like the one when the Drakkar boat is going backwards and when guests see the giant polar bear Audio-Animatronic...
Now, imagine that, keeping the same boat backwards movement, instead of the bear they put at its place an Audio-Animatronic of the snow monster below. I know, it's almost too obvious.
But, as Lance note in his Screamscape post that you can read HERE, if Disney gives to the Imagineers a big enough budget "the entire current ride structure could be demolished to make way for a new trackless ride system concept" and they could use the ice theme of Frozen to have a trackless ride "themed as a sleigh ride through the wilderness, scooting across the frozen landscape". Good idea indeed but this would certainly mean a bigger budget and we know that they have plenty of big projects awaiting the final green light, and even put on hold due to the higher than expected cost of My Magic +
That said, for all the reasons listed above and although it's so far only a rumor i think you can reasonably put some of your bets on this one. One thing is sure: a Frozen ride would be perfect for the Norway pavilion and World Showcase.And if this is only a rumor with nothing real behind it, well, the Imagineers should think about the idea anyway because it is a good one!
Edited: Just saw on the Moviefone website that Jim Hill also talked recently in a webcast about the Frozen ride coming to Epcot's Norway. And according to Jim an opening is expected in 18 months with also a Frozen ride envisioned for Disneyland later. one more good reasons to place your bets on a Frozen ride!
Pictures: copyright Disney