Frozen's Anna and Elsa to Get Their Own Disney World Attraction

Frozen's Anna and Elsa to Get Their Own Disney World Attraction
Frozen's Elsa and Anna

09/13/2014 AT 09:25 AM EDT

Snow White has hers, Alice in Wonderland has hers (in fact, two in California's Disneyland alone), while poor Mary Poppins is still waiting for hers – their own rides in the Disney theme-park empire.

And now, Anna and Elsa, the empowered animated heroines of the company's Oscar-winning box-office phenomenon, 2013's Frozen, are about to join that exclusive club.

"I'm pleased to say that we're starting construction at Walt Disney World Resort on a brand new Frozen attraction at the Norway Pavilion in Epcot," Thomas O. Staggs, chairman of Walt Disney Parks & Resorts, announced Friday on a Disney Parks blog.

"The new attraction, which replaces Maelstrom, will take our guests to Arendelle and immerse them in many of their favorite moments and music from the film," said Staggs, who later added to his post: "The Frozen attraction is targeted to open by early 2016."

Maelstrom, a popular 4½-minute mini-Pirates of the Caribbean-like adventure that substitutes the Spanish Main with geographical and mythological highlights of Norway, first opened in 1988 and reportedly will sail its final voyage on Oct. 5.

Spreading Frozen Around

Although there will also be a greeting area for Anna and Elsa to mingle with guests once their attraction opens, their royal presence will not be limited to Epcot, one of the four theme parks at the Disney World Resort.

At the Magic Kingdom, "in addition to the ongoing character appearances," said Staggs, "Queen Elsa will use her powers to transform Cinderella Castle into an ice palace every night starting [Nov. 5]. And Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party-goers can see Anna, Elsa, Kristoff and Olaf in Mickey's Once Upon a Christmastime Parade."

Disney’s Hollywood Studios will also continue a Frozen sing-a-long and include a play area with real snow.

As for losing Maelstrom, which prompted several laments to be posted on the Disney Park blog, Staggs responded on Friday night: "We know that many people have enjoyed Maelstrom over the years, and it's always a difficult decision to take one attraction out to make way for another. However, we think that creating this new Frozen attraction is the right choice for our guests."

In other words, Maelstrom fans: Let it go.

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