The Pyramid in Practice – It All Begins with a Story and Frozen Ever After

This post looks at another example of how the Imagineering Pyramid principles are practiced in the Disney parks: It All Begins with a Story and the new Frozen Ever After attraction at Epcot.

(©2016, courtesy of Brent Dodge)

Let me start with a refresher on It All Begins with a Story, described on pages 22-23 in The Imagineering Pyramid:

Story is the essential organizing principle behind the design of the Disney theme parks.… When we design any area of a Disney theme park, we transform a space into a story place. Every element must work together to create an identity that supports the story of that place….

This quote, taken from Imagineer John Hench’s Designing Disney, underscores the significance of story in the design of Disney theme parks…

Story is the fundamental building block of everything Walt Disney Imagineering (WDI) does when designing and building attractions. The Imagineers identify a core idea for each attraction they build, and it is that core idea, or story, that serves as the basis for every detail of the attraction. Decisions about an attraction’s theming (another tool that we will discuss later), lighting, sound effects, background music (BGM in Imagineering parlance), and other details are all based on how well they serve to support the story.


Frozen Ever After provides a great example of this principle at work.

Let’s start with the “story” of this attraction: Following the events of Frozen (the movie), the Kingdom of Arendelle has been invited to participate in a “Summer Snow Day” celebration, including a reception at Queen Elsa’s Ice Palace.

With that story in mind, now take a few minutes to watch this video that features a walk-through of the Frozen Ever After queue and ride-through (courtesy of Attractions Magazine).

Note that every detail about the ride and its queue is based on the story of the “Summer Snow Day”. As Guests make their way through the queue, they find all manner of items related to the “Summer Snow Day”, including:

  • An ad for a “Summer Snow Day Blowout” sale at Oaken’s Tokens
  • A poster announcing the “Summer Snow Day” celebration
  • A sign outside Oaken’s Tokens about the “Summer Snow Day Blowout” sale
  • The proclamation announcing the official “Summer Snow Day”

Beyond the queue, the ride portion of the attraction provide Guests with tours of the kingdom as part of the “Summer Snow Day” celebration.

There are lots of other details and thematic elements inspired by the movie in the queue as well, including hints about what has happened to several of the film’s characters since the events of the movie.

Thoughts?  Let me know what you think in the comments!



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