Twenty-four hours later, we have our answers courtesy of the manufacturer themselves, constructor of the drywall dome known until now only as ‘Ratatouille Ride Element’. As they say themselves, it’s all about what the individual sees. Luckily, they’ve also provided some exciting specifics…
The extensive work to construct the metal stud framing we’ve all been looking at has since been covered in multiple layers of 3/8″ drywall. After that drywall was installed on top, the absolute highest level of drywall finish was applied — the smoothest possible. A complete “skim coat” to cover ALL the surface visible to the eye.
The reason for this extreme finish? It’s going to be a movie screen. Yes, it isn’t intended to sit on top of the building, but inside the building — as part of the ride. This dome is intended as a projection surface, to show specially-created footage as part of the attraction. Yes, really.
In fact, the ride vehicles of the Ratatouille dark ride are apparently intended to “travel directly at” this dome/screen, making it seem as if the vehicles are travelling with the film footage being projected, “in 3D”.
The constructor knows no other details of the footage or the ride, but confirmed the dome is a huge 26ft in height with a 30ft radius. The photo we saw is just the prototype, the first dome created for the ride, which would explain why it’s been created so far ahead of the ride’s green-lighting or construction. When — or dare we say — if the ride is green-lit, Walt Disney Imagineering will want to know that the technology and effects they’re planning will truly work. This could involve setting the “dome” up at their own research & development facility in California, running test projections to ensure that whatever effect they’re going for is as realistic as possible.
Imagine the possibilities — if the story sees us at rat size, being chased around a kitchen, picture this dome presenting Pixar-animated footage of humans towering around you. The concave of a dome could create some classic Disney forced perspective. Or, taking that very first colander guess, we could ride toward this dome projection screen, be trapped and then “carried” (through projections) to a different area in the kitchen, only able to see through those tiny holes, just like Remy during the chase scenes in the film. An altogether very different dark ride experience.
…But now we’re into more speculation. And based on the last 24 hours, WDI have some tricks up their sleeve that we weren’t quite expecting and as yet probably can’t fully imagine ourselves.
As Anton Ego might say, “Surprise us!”.
Images: Davidmackeydrywall.com, Disney/Pixar.