ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — 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," said Caroline's mom Kristin, 41, who says the "Frozen" CD or DVD plays daily in her vehicle or home in Boynton Beach, Florida. "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."
Caroline added that 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, a plush toy depicting the movie's snowman, Olaf, and "Frozen"- themed invitations downloaded from the craft site Etsy. 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 figured hiring the princess performers for her daughter's party was cheaper and easier than taking the whole family to Walt Disney World Resort. One day last week, the wait to meet the sisters at the Magic Kingdom'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.