This week, the future Ratatouille dark ride made another highly visible step forward as a second tower crane began to rise above the Toon Studio construction site. The first, of course, made its mark on 11th April — a valiant effort by the second gate to steal the thunder of its partner a day before the 20th Anniversary events on 12th April 2012. Whether this date was chosen by chance or by reason, it was a fitting way to end one chapter with the beginnings of the next.
So what does a Disneyland Paris fan do, upon arriving at the resort after a long train journey on a blustery, rainy evening like that? Rush straight over to Walt Disney Studios Park, just 15 minutes before the gates closed, and photograph our exciting new landmark from every angle, of course. And then, a month later, actually find the time to post the pictures online.
But here we go, crane fans: over 40 photos and six minutes of video featuring “La Grue Ratatouille” — from Val d’Europe, Toon Studio, Backlot, Frontierland and beyond. This first crane alone was imposing enough on the skyline: this ride may be all about rats, but it won’t be small by any standard.
From the edge of the developing town of Val d’Europe next to Disneyland Paris, the crane joins now-familiar (if rather outlandish) icons across the fields.
This is the first time such a large piece of construction equipment has been used within the parks since 2007, when the crane(s) for The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror were dismantled. Toy Story Playland used smaller, mobile cranes for its construction.
The freshly repaved ticketing area, faded Studio 3 and crane, against a dark 11th April sky.
Andy got some new construction toys!
The soon-to-be-closed street, pictured in the pouring rain.
A look across the construction site, roughly two years before opening day, can we say?
The crane(s) are now an unmissable presence, but look suitably toy-like themselves.
Elsewhere, it only adds to the messy, unfinished feeling.
The Studios skyline: needs some work.
April 13th 2012: A brighter day and a new position for the crane.
Two years of Sorcerer Mickey and tower crane juxtapositions begin here.
Follow the crane to find the theming.
The street is so generally so quiet that closing it at this time of year will have had little impact on guest flow through Toy Story Playland. Someday soon, we’ll walk past a Pixar-ised Parisian street scene here, rather than the thinly-disguised “Studio 4” Cast Member building.
A welcome feature before the street was closed was this temporary gate, a park evacuation point that also handily allows perfect views into the construction site. Since not everyone wants to queue umpteen times for Toy Soliders Parachute Drop, let’s hope it returns later.
And no, we’re not the only ones peeking through there…
You could say the crane is pointing in the wrong direction…
And now, to Frontierland! Since the Ratatouille construction site actually sits right up against the berm of Frontierland, the crane is now an unmissable feature on the western skyline here, too.
Geyser Mountain finally got the green light!
It’s not the only crane on the horizon, either. This one, further back behind the park, is perhaps for the new water treatment plant. We’d cover that, but you’re probably more interested in the dark ride, right?
Henry Ravenswood is having a new kitchen fitted.
Not enough tower crane action for you? The fun continues in our special video tour of the construction area below, which also helps to point out all the wonderful hidden details and nods to Rémy of the pre-existing Ratatouille-themed street.
The street temporarily closed to guests just a day or so after we filmed this tour, perhaps to permit the construction of the second crane, so this is your only chance for now to see it again for yourself.
• Ratatouille Kitchen Calamity! (working title) is scheduled to open in 2014. It has not yet been formally announced by Disneyland Paris. Find everything you need to know about this exciting future dark ride in our previous news updates here.