Elsa's ice palace is a structure built on the North Mountain. It was created by Elsa during her self-imposed exile, intended to serve as her abode where she could embrace her powers without bringing harm to others.
After her powers were revealed at her coronation party, Elsa fled to the North Mountain, where she embraced her powers after keeping them concealed for thirteen years. As she experimented with her powers, Elsa tested the limits of her abilities by creating an ice palace for herself. After constructing the palace, Elsa cast away her crown, affirming her desire to leave the past in the past and live out her days in solitude.
Though Elsa wished to be left alone, Anna managed to find her way to the palace with the aid of Kristoff, Sven, and Olaf. Upon reaching the palace, both Anna and Kristoff expressed their admiration of the structure; the ice harvester was especially impressed, remarking that he "might cry" and that the staircase leading to the palace was "flawless". However, Kristoff was disappointed upon hearing that he would have to wait outside before he could enter.
Venturing inside alone, Anna continued to admire the palace while attempting to maintain her balance on the icy floor. After encountering her sister, Anna attempted to convince her to return to Arendelle, though Elsa refused in the hopes of keeping everyone safe. After Anna revealed that she had froze the kingdom, Elsa grew distraught and lashed out with her powers, accidentally freezing her sister's heart. Despite the injury, Anna appeared unscathed, and as icy shadows crept down the walls of the palace, she persisted in her attempts to convince Elsa to return home. Seeing no other option, Elsa created Marshmallow to expel the intruders from her palace. Alone once more, Elsa paced around the top floor of the palace, trying to keep her emotions in check by reciting the mantra her father had taught her. But ultimately, these attempts were unsuccessful, and Elsa's escalating fear resulted in ice spikes distorting the palace's features.
However, Elsa's solitude remained short-lived; the next morning, Hans had made his way to the palace, accompanied by the Arendelle castle guards and the Duke of Weselton's men. While Marshmallow engaged them, the Duke's men slipped past and entered the palace to confront Elsa. After a brief struggle, Elsa managed to best the two men and was moments away from killing them. By then, Hans had defeated Marshmallow and quickly raced into the palace with the rest of the guards. Hans was able to calm Elsa down, but one of the Duke's men tried for a final attempt on the queen's life. Though Hans foiled the assassination attempt by disrupting the man's aim, the arrow shot through the ice chandelier suspended above Elsa, causing the mass of ice to crash down. Elsa managed to run clear of the impact, but she lost her balance and was rendered unconscious.
After the siege, Elsa was brought back to Arendelle, and the palace was uninhabited. However, Marshmallow survived his encounter with Hans and managed to return to the palace, where he stumbled across Elsa's crown and tentatively placed it upon his head in contentment. After Anna's nineteenth birthday, the ice palace also became the permanent residence of the Snowgies.
When Elsa temporaily perished in Ahtohallan, her magic faded, causing the collapse of the castle.
Prior to constructing her palace, Elsa created an ice staircase to cross a gorge; this staircase later became the single access point to gain entry to the palace. In designing her palace, Elsa made extensive use of a snowflake motif, creating the very foundation of the structure from an enormous snowflake design. The snowflake served as a platform from which Elsa constructed the rest of her ice palace; by using ice beams to raise the platform, Elsa built walls and archways as she ascended. The snowflake motif is also present on the palace doors. Prior to its destruction, the ice chandelier hanging from the ceiling of the topmost floor possessed a similar snowflake design. This floor has a set of doors that lead out to a balcony that overlooks the mountain range. The balcony doors and enclosure were damaged during Elsa's battle with the Duke of Weselton's guards.
Just past the palace's entrance is a great foyer; this space is mostly empty save for a frozen fountain and a staircase. As with other parts of the palace, the foyer's ceiling features a snowflake with six supports intersecting at its center. Suspended from the center of the ceiling is a jewel-shaped piece of ice. Ascending the foyer's staircase provides access to an extensive network of stairs that extend throughout the palace.
On the outside are six poles with crests on top of them very similar to the crest of Arendelle.
The ice from which the palace is constructed is capable of taking on different colors, such as purple, blue, red and yellow. It is also extremely strong, as the palace floor sustained no visible damage from the impact of the falling chandelier.
- According to production designer David Womersley, the palace "reflects Elsa's mood and shifting personality". He states that when Elsa fled to the North Mountain and realized she was free to be herself, her initial reaction was "aggressive", but once she felt content, her ice and snow structures became "more structural".
- There were many proposals for the appearance of Elsa's palace, but they ultimately were discarded due to John Lasseter's desire to have Elsa's snowflake serve as the focal point in the palace's overall design.
- The sequence in which Elsa builds her palace took about 9 months to complete, with each frame taking around thirty hours to render.