Families in a frenzy over Disney's 'Frozen'

Families in a frenzy over Disney's 'Frozen'

June 17th, 2014 by Associated Press in Life Entertainment

A scene from the Disney movie "Frozen"

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

Jersey Gooslin, 3, of Chattanooga meets Elsa and Anna, two characters from the Disney movie "Frozen."

Jersey Gooslin, 3, of Chattanooga meets Elsa and...

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.


I love the meaning behind the movie that rage and anger and fear, if you let them control you, will destroy everything around you, and love can mend anything and it's a perfect balance in life to show everyone love. My family loves the music in the movie, too. It's so contagious we sing it as loud as we can, even though we can't sing that great, but who cares?

- Sheena Jones-Turner, Soddy-Daisy

That's all my daughter talks about is "Frozen," so her birthday is next month and her theme is "Frozen." And, since I'm a mom, I have every single song stuck in my head.

- Brooke McConnell Gregg, Chattanooga

We went to Disneyland a few months ago and waited four hours to meet them. My daughter was amazed and so happy. And, of course, now her party was "Frozen" and so is everything in her room. It's a pretty good movie in my opinion, too.

- Stephanie Gooslin

We are headed to Disney World this coming week. I planned ahead (thank goodness) and scheduled Fast Pass for meeting Anna and Elsa. Apparently their line gets up to five hours long. Maybe if we are lucky, we will only have to wait two hours max with our FP.

- Clara Hampton, Chattanooga

My son started saving money to buy a puppy last summer. In February, he had enough to get a rescue puppy. He named Sven, after Christoff's reindeer (in "Frozen"). Our miniature dachshund reindeer. My boys loved ("Frozen"). The music, the humor, the whole effect. ... We've watched it tons of times and it's still the easiest way to have peace in the backseat of my minivan.

- Anne Davis Vickery, Chattanooga

My 3-year-old son loves it. He sings the songs and asks to watch it. He has watched it three or four times now. Great movie. Very original.

- Julie Cochran, Ringgold, Ga.

My daughter had a "Frozen" birthday party. Such a fun theme to plan. But back in March, I had to get paper products from a store in Florida because they were sold out everywhere. I don't think Disney expected such a huge response.

- Jada Crews Young, Hixson

I love that, instead of a movie where a boy saves the girl, the love of her sister saved her instead. The love of family being made important instead of an overly idealized take on romance is refreshing.

- Courtney Brooks Painter, Chattanooga

For the Calder family, the "Frozen" frenzy began when the Disney movie came out in late 2013 and they took their 7-year-old daughter Caroline to see it in the theater.

Caroline then saw it again, with a grandparent. Then with the other set of grandparents. Then came the Disney cruise to the Caribbean with the "Frozen" sing-along, the purchase of "Frozen"-themed pajamas - instead of "Frozen" dolls, which were sold out - and waiting in line at a Disney store to obtain a raffle ticket for a chance to purchase a "Frozen" dress.

"We've become the 'Frozen' family," says Caroline's mom Kristin, 41, who says the "Frozen" CD or DVD plays daily in her vehicle or home in Boynton Beach, Fla. "It is part of our everyday life."

Her daughter Caroline describes her love of the movie like this: "I really like Elsa because of her frozen power. And I really like Anna because she's really nice a lot." And the ice blue dress worn by Elsa when she sings the song "Let it Go" is her favorite part of the movie.

Recently, the family had a "Frozen"-themed birthday party for Caroline with life-sized cutouts of the animated film stars and a plush toy depicting the movie's snowman, Olaf. For $350, the Calders even hired performers to portray Anna and Elsa, the sisters from the movie, to sing and play with the kids for an hour. It was the performers' sixth "Frozen"-themed birthday party that day.

For the uninitiated, "Frozen" - which tells the story of how Anna and Elsa overcome Elsa's terrible power to turn everything into ice and snow - has become the fifth-highest grossing film of all time, raking in $1.2 billion in box office earnings worldwide.

The huge demand for anything "Frozen" has created a shortage of merchandise on Disney store shelves all over North America. It's also led to hours-long waits to see the princesses at Disney parks in Florida and California.

It's even become an international phenomenon. The tour company Adventures by Disney added Geirangerfjord, Norway, to a new itinerary this year inspired by the movie. The film's fantasy kingdom of Arendelle was based on the fjord. Calder looked into Disney's Norway cruise for 2015, but shelved the idea over cost - $15,000 for her family plus airfare.

She also figures hiring the princess performers for her daughter's party was cheaper and easier than taking the whole family to Disney World. One day last week, the wait to meet the sisters at the park's Princess Fairytale Hall was listed on a park sign as 300 minutes - five hours - by 9:30 a.m., a half-hour after the park opened, according to Deborah Bowen, a Tampa resident and long-time Disney park-goer.

"I've never seen anything like this, the fury, the popularity that these two princesses have had," Bowen says.

Bowen, a member of Disney Parks Mom Panel, which provides vacation advice, says a saner strategy for seeing the princesses is to use the MyDisney app to book a FastPass appointment, which assures access within a designated time window.

But Jessica Becak, 33, of Long Island, New York, wasn't able to reserve a visit using the FastPass system - other visitors had snagged the appointments before she booked a June trip to Disney with her 3-year-old daughter. So she's downplaying the possibility of seeing Anna and Elsa at the park because she knows it might not be realistic. Waiting in the standby line just isn't an option, she says.

"My daughter's not going to be able to stand in line for two to five hours in the heat," she says. "So right now, we're glossing over it. If we walk by and it doesn't look too traumatic, we might try it."

She's thankful that Anna and Elsa have been added to Disney's Festival of Fantasy Parade, so her daughter will likely be able to at least spot the princesses while in the park.

But Becak was persistent enough to snare a hard-to-find Elsa toddler doll earlier this year - though she had to spend an entire day literally calling every Disney store in the U.S. to get one. Finally, a store in Pittsburgh came through. No luck with any other "Frozen" merchandise, though: "We haven't been able to find anything since," she says.

"Frozen" has boosted Disney's bottom line; in May it posted second-quarter earnings that beat Wall Street forecasts.

Disney CEO Bob Iger says the company's consumer products revenue grew 16 percent to $885 million, lifted by "Frozen," whose merchandise accounted for nine of the top 10 best-selling items in Disney stores. Iger says "Frozen" had become one of Disney's best franchises. The company plans to increase the film's characters in its parks, develop a Broadway show and is working on books and interactive products.

He says he expects the effect of the hit to last for at least the next five years.

Note to parents: If your kids want "Frozen" gifts for Christmas, better start hunting now.

This Norwegian fjord is part of an itinerary based on the movie "Frozen." The film's fantasy kingdom of Arendelle was based on Norway's Geirangerfjord. The movie's popularity has spilled over into demand for "Frozen"-related merchandise, trips and visits with "Frozen" characters at Disney parks.

This Norwegian fjord is part of an itinerary...

Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.

Disney 'Frozen' frenzy includes Norway tourism

The popularity of the Disney movie "Frozen" has not only led to box-office profits, sold-out merchandise and long lines to meet "Frozen" characters in Disney parks. It's also inspiring fans to visit Norway to see the landscape that inspired the animated movie setting.

Harald Hansen, U.S. spokesman for Visit Norway, says the number of U.S. tourists to Norway increased markedly since the film's release in November, with booked hotel nights up 37 percent for the first quarter of this year compared to the same period in 2013. He says tour operators have also seen a 40 percent sales increase this year, compared to the same period last year, while Oslo Airport Gardermoen reported a 57 percent increase in arrivals from New York for the first quarter.

"We noticed a huge increase from the U.S. already in November and December last year, just after we started our marketing with Disney in October," Hansen says.

Hansen says that the increase in traffic is most noticeable in the fjord region, but that there is also more interest in Oslo and Northern Norway, where visitors can see the northern lights - a phenomenon that is also shown in the movie.

The Disney tour company Adventures by Disney is taking fans on a series of eight-day trips to Norway this year, priced at more than $5,000 a person, including a visit to Geirangerfjord, the fjord that inspired the film's fantasy kingdom of Arendelle. And Disney Cruise Line plans a Norway itinerary for 2015.

Wilderness Travel, another tour company that runs trips to Norway, has also seen an uptick in interest. Even though Wilderness Travel has no formal connection to the movie, "the film seems to be a big part of the popularity," says spokeswoman Barbara Banks. "People just hadn't seen these remarkable landscapes before. ... The movie represents the folk culture in such an engaging way, and the landscapes and architecture are so stunning, and they are all based on real places."

Sheridan Becker, an American mother of two who's currently living with her family in Barcelona, says she and her kids are planning a trip to Norway "all because of 'Frozen' - our favorite Disney move at the moment."

Pilar Clark, a mom of two who lives outside Chicago and who contributes to Babble.com's Disney section, took a Disney tour of Scotland after seeing the movie "Brave" and is now considering signing up for Disney's Norway trip.

"When there is a connection that kids can understand, it becomes a win-win," she says. "The kids are saying, 'Let's go to Norway! Can we go to Arendelle?'"