While much of the Ratatouille attraction and restaurant exterior has been constructed and finished in full view of passing guests, one developing façade of La Place de Rémy in Walt Disney Studios Park has appeared noticeably shyer: the boutique, Chez Marianne Souvenirs de Paris.
Yet no longer, as white sheets covering the scaffolding along this side of the park’s Parisian street were gradually removed bit by bit yesterday, revealing the first glimpse at the remarkably complete façade of this future Ratatouille shop.
Later in the day, @1929Mickey on Twitter captured these photos of the unveiled finish, which seeks to cover up the corner of the “ImagiNations” Cast Member building as much as provide an exterior for the boutique.
The result matches well with plans published online last year, revealing the full extent of how this “Rue de Paris” leading towards Ratatouille: L’Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy will look.
Chez Marianne Souvenirs de Paris will be located actually inside this corner of the Cast Member building, in former backstage space, with a square corner frontage that will have entrance doors both onto the street, above, and facing out towards the attraction itself (to the left).
The colonnaded exterior seen on the plans matches the cream section still partially covered yesterday, with many finishing touches still to be done.
It’s odd to notice that the modern pitched section on the right of the existing building has been somewhat incorporated into the façade, but beyond this point the rest of the building remains uncovered, leaving an unthemed corner facing toward the Toy Story Playland entrance.
Luckily conifer trees have grown up to mostly cover it from view, but the area between here and Hollywood Boulevard, behind Art of Disney Animation, remains a real let-down (and a perfect spot to give us our own mini Pixar Place, surely).
To put the location into context, and to show just what a transformation this development presents, let’s go back to 2010…
The corner above is where the colonnaded façade is now taking shape, with doors on both sides leading into the boutique slotted into the building’s ground floor.
The boutique itself remains scheduled to open a little later than the attraction and restaurant, in “Autumn 2014”. This does indeed seem absurd, especially for a merchandise might like Disney, but construction did begin later and fitting a new boutique into the corner of an existing building is probably not as easy as building from scratch. And still, you never know, a store on Disneyland Paris property could open ahead of schedule for once.
Though Marianne, of the boutique’s name, is of course a national emblem of the French Republic, it’s been suggested that it could also be an in-joke referring to the (now apparently former) Disneyland Paris Director of Merchandise, Marianne Sharpe, who spearheaded many welcome improvements to the resort’s merchandise offer in recent years.
Inside, we no doubt expect to find the resort’s recently revamped range of “Paris” merchandise, along with items relating to the film and perhaps even culinary homewares or foodstuffs. Alongside Tower Hotel Gifts, it’ll be only the second adequately-sized boutique outside of the Studios’ Front Lot entrance area and the first in the character-filled Toon Studio, ignoring the miniscule Disney Animation Gallery and disappointing Barrel of Monkeys.
Add to this the very welcome toilets just next door, the desperately needed restaurant across the courtyard, and you see why Ratatouille will be the best step yet to make Walt Disney Studios both feel and work like a real Disney park, in this corner at least.