This plan from the Chessy town hall, another great scoop from Mouetto and the Disney Central Plaza team, could be a real vision of the future. Slotted in at the back of Toon Studio, beyond Toy Story Playland and the ImagiNations costuming building, a show building… for a dark ride and restaurant.

Ratatouille dark ride at Walt Disney Studios Park

Shown in red is the new showbuilding, whilst green shows area development / placemaking in front of the attraction.

There’s no explicit mention of Ratatouille, of course, but everything aligns. For over two years, a dark ride — possibly a trackless dark ride, a la Tokyo’s Winnie the Pooh — dedicated to Rémy and friends has been firmly placed on the horizon. From early mentions by MiceAge and slips from Disney themselves on CNBC to near constant rumours from Cast Members, the plans for Toy Story Playland — with that large extra path outside the land, next to the costuming building — seemed to seal the fact that Toon Studio still had another trick to come.

It’s important to note, though: Nothing is being announced. Nothing is confirmed. This new plan, published by DCP on 25th December, is apparently around a year old — as proved by the abandoned concept of two RC Racer halfpipes — but it’s our first look at what could be.

The huddle of a façade, with sticky-out bits and sticky-in bits, to use the technical terms, matches perfectly the Parisian street setting we’ve been expecting. Perhaps the building jutting out to the left could be the corner of Gusteau’s Restaurant (below), whilst the indented middle could resemble the back alley and restaurant kitchens, where Linguini parks his scooter.

Ratatouille dark ride at Walt Disney Studios Park

Most interesting about this concept submitted to the Chessy planning office, however, is that the proposed building joins right up with the existing costuming building. For years fans have suggested that the building could become part of the park, rather than a barrier to future development, and this appears to suggest exactly that. The new building joins right up with the actual costuming workshop, which used to be visible from Studio Tram Tour: Behind the Magic.

Given that the Cast Members here have already had to put up with seven years of being gorped at by guests, it’s unlikely they’d be subjected to working with no windows — so would the new development “overflow” into this space? Another reason that thought springs to mind is size. For a dark ride — let alone a restaurant — this building is rather on the small side, with large spaces left on all sides.

In any case — don’t get too attached. There was word earlier this year that the very smart restaurant aspect of this development was unlikely to go ahead, in line with Euro Disney SCA’s plan to have everyone eating out of vans and kiosks, so the situation with the Rat’s floorplan and layout may have already changed quite a bit.

Even the fact that this attraction could be the resort’s big 20th Anniversary addition, seen as almost a certainty just a few months ago, has recently slipped. Back in July, Alain Littaye bravely announced:

“Forget about Splash Mountain, Indiana Jones Adventure or the Little Mermaid, the next Disneyland Paris big E-Ticket will be the Ratatouille attraction! This awaited E-Ticket which will be build at the Walt Disney Studios has been approved by the park’s management and it’s now confirmed – not officially, of course – that Ratatouille will be DLRP 20th anniversary E-Ticket.”

Before going on to enthuse with a description that seemed to tick every box:

“Of course expect on the outside some Paris decor, but also inside the building as the queue line decor will put the guests on the rooftops of Paris with breathtaking height feeling, thanks to forced perspective.

“Guests will then board in what will be probably LPS controlled vehicles – the same technology used at the TDL Winnie the Pooh attraction – and will be “reduced” at the size of Remy. No Mighty Telescope here, but a ceiling probably as high as the one inside Pirates of Caribbean as WDI imagineers will build giant decor to give us the feeling that we are as small as a rat.

Ratatouille dark ride at Walt Disney Studios Park

“The ride will begin inside Gusteau’s restaurant kitchen where we will be chased by some of the cooks and especially Skinner, the chef. I don’t want to tell you too much about the storyline to don’t spoil you the ride, but what i can tell you is that the ride itself will not follow the chronological order of the movie scenes, although WDS visitors will be pleased to find some of the key scenes from the movie.

“Of course we can expect Audio-Animatronics figures during the ride. As guests are supposed to have the size of a rat, any rat Audio-Animatronic will not be a problem (in terms of dimensions), but what about human figures which in all logic should be gigantic to respect the proportions. Well, WDI imagineers found an intelligent answer to this problem and sometime we will see – just like Remy in the movie – only the legs of a cook…”

Like Rémy, as he pored over his cook book, we can but dream for now…

Images © Disney; Plan with thanks to Mouetto, DCP.

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